Food additives are added to various foods in order to enhance the shelf-life and prevent poisoning of food items by bacteria and fungi. Some food additives are naturally available while others are made by synthetic processes. Sugar and salt are some of the most common additives added during the preparation of food items.
Food additives are made from different natural sources, such as:
- Artificial colors are isolated from vegetables, fruits as well as seeds.
- Thickening agents are derived primarily from seaweeds, fruits and seeds.
- Tartaric acid which is a type of acidulate is extracted from fruits.
Some types of additives are produced by the method of synthesis or even biosynthesis, like follows:
- Ascorbic acid is an antioxidant that is obtained from fruits.
- Tocopherol, rich in Vitamin E is derived from vegetable oils.
- Coloring agents like carotenoids are extracted from vegetables and fruits.
- Citric acid is a type of acidulate obtained from citrus fruits like orange.
Some additives are made by modifying certain substances available from nature.
- Emulsifiers are generally obtained from organic acids or even edible oils.
- Thickening agents are prepared from natural fructose, starches and cellulose.
- Saccharin is made from sugarcane.
- Other substances like quinoline and indigotin colors, maltitol and sorbitol sweeteners are derivates of naturally available substances.
- Various additive flavors are derived from fruit juices, spices, vegetables, herbs, roots, leaves, buds or barks. Similarly animal foods like eggs, poultry, meat and seafood are processed to make certain additives.
About 3,000 different additives are available in the market today. However, though additives offer a lot of advantages, they can cause severe harm to the body in the long run. Hence, it is important to avoid consuming food products containing additives on a regular basis.
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