There are many food products are manufactured and marketed worldwide and we are eating them to reduce our efforts for food and saving times or just eat because we enjoy it.
But are they safe? Food manufacturer have to add many chemicals or additives to make the food presentable to the people with attractive color, flavor and nutrients or calorie. But the truth is they have to preserve the food for a long period and add preservatives.
Let’s try to evaluate some common food products and additives which are damaging our body silently-
- Soft drinks and other beverages:
Soft drinks and other beverages contain coloring agents, high sugar and soda.
All of these are injurious to our health. High sugar produces high calorie and you will gain weight. By drinking 1 cane soft drinks you could gain up to 5 pounds of weight in a year. (http://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/healthy-drinks/sugary-drinks/ )
Soft drink contains soda which causes osteoporosis and may fracture your bone.
- Bleached flour:
Bleaching agents are used in flour to make it whitish in color. Fleshly milled flour is yellowish. Bleaching agents also used to oxidize the surfaces of the flour grains and help with developing of gluten. The main contributor of ‘food and drug act’, Dr. Harvey Washington Wiley charged a case against using bleaching agent as food additives. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pure_Food_and_Drug_Act )The Supreme Court passed judgment to stop using bleaching agents to food. But many manufacturers are avoiding these rules and we have to take white bleached flour.
- Monosodium glutamate (MSG):
It is the sodium salt of glutamic acid a widely used food additive and using for last 100 years. It is used to create different tests and smell in food. It is a CNS (central nervous system stimulant). It is relatively safe but if we eat about every meal containing MSG may cause health hazards like obesity and it may damage our hypothalamus.
- Sodium Benzoate:
Sodium benzoate is a food additive used as a preservative in varieties of processed food. If sodium benzoate used with other artificial food color or vitamin C may cause cancer.
It's suspected that sodium benzoate, in addition to artificial food color, may increase hyperactivity in some children. Sodium benzoate in soft drinks may also react with added vitamin C to make benzene, a cancer-causing substance. In 2006 and 2007, the FDA tested a sample of almost 200 beverages from stores in different states that contained sodium benzoate and vitamin C. Four of the beverages had high levels of benzene. (http://www.fda.gov/food/foodborneillnesscontaminants/chemicalcontaminants/ucm055815.htm ). And it may cause cancer.
It is an artificial sweetener and its chemical composition is formed by benzoic sulfilimine. It has no food energy and is much sweeter than sucrose. It is used to sweeten products such as drinks, candies, cookies, medicines, and toothpaste. By prolong and high use it act as a carcinogen (a substance responsible for developing cancer).
Artificial food coloring:
These are chemical dyes used to color food and drinks. Many types of processed foods, beverages contain artificial coloring substances. Some of coloring dye like dye Yellow No. 5 has been thought to worsens asthma symptoms. In the 1970s, the FDA famously banned. Red Dye No. 2 after some studies found that large doses could cause cancer in rats. Red 40 and Yellow 6 also have negative effects on our body. (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2957945/ )
- Trans fat:
Trans fats are artificially created when manufacturers add hydrogen to vegetable oil. Although small amounts of Trans fats are present naturally in animal fat. Trans fats increases the risk of heart disease and type 2 diabetes. The American Heart Association recommends getting less than 1% of your daily calories from Trans fats. (http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/GettingHealthy/FatsAndOils/Fats101/Trans-Fats_UCM_301120_Article.jsp ) But we are taking much more by eating vegetables oil which is used to cook and by eating large amount of animal meat.
There are many other additives used in processed food. We have to be careful to take them and try to use minimum in our daily life.
Dr. Hasan Ebna Amin