Ingredients in food products listed on the packaging are called food additives. In addition to delivering nutrients, food additives can assist in reducing spoilage, improving the look of meals, and increasing the variety of foods available all year round.
They’re tested and authorized by governing agencies that advocate their suitability for consumption before being introduced to market platforms. Depending on their primary purpose, food additives are subdivided into numerous subcategories. Sweeteners, flavorings, coloring agents, stabilizers, thickeners, and texturizers are some of the most prevalent categories of food additives.
You can get more information about food additives by taking an online course, like a certificate in nutrition. The discussion below includes some of the pros and cons of food additives.
- Increase Product Shelf Life
Preservatives enhance shelf life in foods that cause chemical reactions. They help in bacterial reduction through oxidation, which prolongs a product’s life, reducing spoilage and maintaining quality.
- Increase Nutritional Value
Additives ensure nutritional balance in processed food. Some compounds can be added to processed foods to enhance their health benefits. Enriched and fortified foods can contain added vitamins and minerals, helping consumers maintain a healthy diet. However, organic food can also provide similar nutritional benefits as those with additives.
Food additives can change the original flavor of food to enhance taste, which is value addition in marketing. Manufacturers can add sweeteners, acids, and flavor enhancers to processed foods, enhancing their appeal to customers.
The improvement of food products by additives changes the appearance of products, which is a significant benefit to manufacturers and sellers of food, increasing demand. For instance, emulsifiers work by binding ingredients that typically separate, like oil and water. Without using additives, the texture of the food would be of poor quality, as the ingredients would separate, making it less appetizing to customers.
- Large Quantity Production
During manufacturing or processing, additives are used to reduce spoilage, which is a factor that enhances mass production, hence, maximizing profits.
By incorporating additives into food, micro bacteria and viruses can be eliminated, minimizing food decay, which can cause food poisoning when consumed.
Food additives can also reduce the calorie count of certain food products, which may be helpful to someone who wants to lose or manage their weight. An example is using sweeteners such as stevia, commonly found in confectionery products and fizzy drinks. Stevia typically has lower calories than sugar, making it an ideal choice for people who want to reduce their sugar intake or lose weight.
- Help Companies Stay Afloat
Innovation in food production helps industries stay afloat in competitive markets by producing substantial, quality, and long-lasting products, particularly perishable goods.
The coloring of food products can make them look appealing in the eyes of consumers, especially children. Color can actually heighten demand, and an increase in demand for a particular commodity means more sales. Therefore, using these additives increases the amount of production, increasing the sales of the company at the same time.
Some additives contain harmful components that pose health risks when consumed in large quantities or abused. Some of the health risks include cancer and heart attack.
Original vitamin value is altered or reduced when changing the form of a food product by using additives, thus, changing its appearance and affecting its quality. This is done to make them more visually appealing. Because of such replacements, the health and well-being of the consumers can be highly affected.
Too many additives can cause food poisoning when processed food is consumed. Some processed foods typically stay on shelves in shops and supermarkets for extended durations, which might render them toxic when ingested.
While additives are considered part of raw materials in the processing cycle, they may increase production costs compared to products in their original state.
- May Cause Allergic Complications
Some food additives can cause allergic reactions, such as itchy rash, dizziness, heart palpitations, nausea, headaches, and chest pains.
- May Cause Digestive Problems
Sweeteners can cause discomfort in the gut, which increases blood sugar, as well as chances of bacterial infection.
- May Promote Obesity And Diabetes
Food additives may also cause obesity and diabetes. The occurrence of such is mainly attributed to excessive consumption of artificially manufactured food products. An example is a corn-syrup additive used extensively in various processed food items.
It’s essential to limit your intake of food additives to a reasonable amount each day. You can ensure a healthy future by reducing your exposure to dangerous substances. You can begin to improve your diet by thoroughly reading the nutrition labels of the food products you purchase. There’s also the option of opting for farm-raised, organic food.