Chemicals and Synthetic additives form a large part of processed food available today. These chemicals are used for anything from adding or enhancing flavour, preserving, colouring or to provide nutrition or or assist in making nutrition available to us. Some additives are considered safe to consume – though their relevance is questionable while others are banned in many countries where they are recognised for their connection to a varied number of health issues.
The taste and nutrition of real food has taken a back seat for a higher priority in the food processing industry. Extended shelf life is more profitable for manufacturers and for consumers the temptation of a longer lasting product outweighs the health issues associated with an abundance of synthetic chemicals in food.
We are so accustomed to the taste of a product containing chemical enhancers that we often do not recognise the taste of the real thing. Several years ago while suffering from a toothache I decided to begin using sugar free substitutes. It took a short time to get used to but after a while I found myself looking for products containing sugar free alternatives. A few months later after having my tooth removed I tried using natural sugar again. After just a few short months sugar now tasted almost unbearably sweet. I had gone from using 2 spoons of sugar in a cup of coffee to less than a spoon full. Even then the taste of sugar was not how I remembered it.
Chemical additives can be found in almost all processed foods we buy today. If a product is not labelled as Preservative, Flavour or Colour free it can be assumed it likely contains some form of chemical. Chances are several foods in your home pantry contain some form of chemical flavour, colour or preservative.
Commercially produced biscuits, cakes and pastries often have chemicals in them that give them a buttery taste and texture. Cheese sauces in some snack food products is produced without cheese in the recipe. Soft drinks can be sweetened without sugar as can many sweets including those marketed as cough and throat lozenges. Many of these additives bad for our health. Chemical emulsifiers are used in edible food products to hold the product stable. Emulsifiers work to hold oil and other liquids in a suspension by preventing them from separating.
Investigating food labels is a key part of educating yourself on the dangers that exist within commercially produced food. Look at some of the products in your cupboard, refrigerator or pantry or on your next visit to the supermarket and see if you see any products that sound unnatural and synthetic. Look for 3 digit numbers on the ingredient list (sometimes followed by a lower case letter). These are a good indication of an additive in the product.
Article written by Eric J. Smith