The three food additives you need to avoid, hidden in plan sight on food labels

Food additives often get a bad name. Considered unnatural and even dangerous, the truth is that the vast majority of additives are used by food companies to improve the taste, texture, shelf life and flavor of processed foods (including natural emulsifiers, colors and flavors, food salts and acids, such as vinegar) are safe and not a cause for concern.

Emulsifiers, for example, are simply small, often natural, food molecules that are used to mix foods together.

But there are a handful of food additives that aren’t so good for us, and scanning food labels are the ones to avoid if possible, for a number of reasons.

Flavor enhancers (621, 635, 627)

Monosodium glutamate or MSG (621) is one of the most well-known flavor enhancers, but there is a range that you will usually find in chicken, cheese or soy flavored foods.

The flavor enhancers in your corn chips could be causing a variety of reactions if you suffer from a sensitivity. (Getty Images/iStockphoto)

A form of natural glutamates, flavor enhancers give the rich Moorish flavor in many packaged snacks like potato chips, rice snacks, 2-minute noodles, and corn chips, and they’re not just associated with overconsumption of these rich processed snacks, but can cause a variety of reactions including skin irritation, interrupted sleep, and skin rashes in sensitive individuals.

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While some people do not react to flavor enhancers, it is the association between these rich foods and overconsumption that is also cause for concern, especially for children. That’s why it’s best to look for foods with natural flavors whenever possible.

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Artificial sweeteners (900s)

Used to sweeten foods for more than 100 years, artificial sweeteners are chemicals that are significantly sweeter than sugar and offer very few calories. Artificial sweeteners are most commonly used in diet products, including soft drinks, they can be identified by the additives 900 on food labels and include acesulfame K (950), sucralose or Splenda (955), and aspartame (951).

For several years there has been debate about the safety of artificial sweeteners, but despite this, regulatory bodies still consider them safe for consumption. Given this ongoing concern from consumers, and since there are now a plethora of natural, plant-based alternatives to artificial sweeteners, a simple switch to natural alternatives is probably a better option for our health to help reduce our cravings for food. intensely sweet in the long run. .

READ MORE: Dietitians Dishes on Foods That Diet Culture Said Were Tasty

Artificial food colors (102, 110, 122-133, 151, 155)

If you were a kid in the ’70s and ’80s, you’ll remember the synthetic food dyes that were frequently enjoyed in confectionery (think: blue Smarties), birthday cakes, and cordials (who doesn’t remember bright red and green cordial?).

Who remembers these ’80s pantry staples? (Getty Images/iStockphoto)

While some of the brightest bright colors have been banned in Australia for some time, there are some like Brilliant Blue (133) and Sunset Yellow (110) that still creep in, especially through foods like sweets and ice cream that have been made abroad.

Commonly associated with fussiness, skin problems, and behavioral changes in children, again it’s wise to look for natural colors in food whenever possible, as most food companies now highlight, which explains the duller colors now found in confectionery and cake icing.

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Author susie burrell is a prominent Australian dietitian and nutritionist, founder of shape meco-host of The Nutrition Couch podcast and prominent media spokesperson, with regular appearances in print and television commenting on all areas of diet, weight loss and nutrition.

Ranked: sugar content in fruits from lowest to highest

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