Food additives are compounds added to foods for industrial purposes. They are used to preserve food or to improve properties such as taste, smell or texture. They are not nutrients and have no nutritional value.
The World Health Organization (WHERE) defines food additives as substances added to food to maintain or improve safety, of texture, of freshness, of their taste or appearance. People have been using some additives, such as salt, for centuries. However, other food additives were introduced with the rise of modern industry. Read this article to know how food supplements affect your body.
The use of food additives is justified, in the first place, from technological need. The main goal is to ensure the proper preservation of food in relation to their nutritional quality or their stabilization.
However, companies add these compounds to make the taste or appearance of certain products more attractive. In each case, at least in theory, Food manufacturers must always respect the recommendations of organizations such as FAO (Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations).
Food additives: Classification
Food additives come from different sources. Some of them are extracted from vegetables, other than animals or metals, and there is a group produced synthetically. Today, The food industry uses thousands of these substances, which they add to food for specific purposes.
The WHO and FAO group these associations into three broad categories:
-Aromatic substances: substances added to enhance the taste or aroma.
-Enzyme preparations: these are natural proteins that catalyze chemical reactions and may not be in the final food product.
-Other additives: used to add color or for a sweet taste.
Health hazards from food additives
Each country has specialized bodies dedicated to analyzing the impact of food additives on human health. Internationally, WHO and FAO are responsible for this project. For that reason, set up the FAO Joint Committee of Experts / WHERE for food additives (JECFA).
To learn how food additives affect your body, start with a permitted daily amount. This is the amount of food additive that a person can consume per day, without seeing health effects.
Identification of risks
The risks you may be exposed to when eating food additives are listed in the Codex system. To create and publish any Codex, you need to involve various intergovernmental organizations that analyze the risks of each case and compile a list, in addition to rules, instructions and recommendations.
The first step in risk assessment is to identify the risks. Scientists examine them from a toxicological point of view.
After these analyzes, the scientists then determine the supplements that a person can consume per day, related to body weight, without posing a risk to his health. After this, classify the risks.
The most well-known side effects
Food additives can cause various side effects. This is especially true when used illegally, without being subject to the controls of regulatory agencies. These reactions are organized into three major groups:
-Allergic reactions: these are due to an immune response. The substance that usually causes allergic reactions is dyes.
-Non-immune intolerance or temperament: these have to do with an unknown intolerance that the person consuming them has.
-Endocrine or neurotoxicity disorders: when substances interfere with the synthesis or release of neurotransmitters in the brain.
Natural manifestations of the negative effects of food additives
There are a number of manifestations or diseases associated with these side effects. The following list is a collection and is not exhaustive, nor final, on the adverse effects of these substances.
The most well-known symptoms are:
-Respiratory conditions such as asthma and rhinitis: generally, the effects of colors on your central nervous system cause these problems.
-Skin problems such as urticaria or contact dermatitis: these diseases are mainly related to preservatives and dyes.
-Changes in your central nervous system and your endocrine system.
Things to remember
There are additives in the vast majority of foods we eat and buy every day. Therefore, we need to take the time to look at the components of our markets and that way we will know if a recognized organization approves. If you think you have had an allergic reaction to a food, then it is best to see a doctor.