To increase the shelf-life of food items and to prevent them from getting spoilt, we add chemicals or substances known as additives. These substances inhibit the growth bacteria or fungi and increase food quality.
Additives can be classified into natural and man-made additives. Direct additives are added too food items while preparing, whereas indirect additives are added during storage, processing or packing process. There are about 3,000 additives available in the market. Many of them act as anti-microbial agents or as antioxidants. The most common additives used in preparing and preserving food are salt and sugar.
Though preservatives and additives are a big boon to the food market, they can result in many health problems, allergies, hyperactive reactions and even mental disorders. Asthma, rashes, eczema, hives, head ache, nausea, vomiting, chest pain and stomach related disorders are some of the allergic reactions of the body to additives.
Additives also destroy certain vital nutrients causing deficiencies. For example, excessive intake of Caramel can result in deficiency of vitamin B6. Butylates result in high cholesterol levels as well as cause kidney and liver to malfunction. Caffeine adds flavor but is a stimulant that causes palpitations as well as nervousness. Saccharin causes tumors, cancer in the bladder, and also problems in the gastrointestinal tract. It also affects heart and skin. Mono and di-glycerides and Red Dye 40 may result in causing certain birth defects or even cancer. High levels of sodium chloride increases blood pressures and leads to failure of the heart and kidney.
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