Processed foods permeate in our modern lifestyle because we have less time and energy to prepare food from scratch.  The convenience of processed foods makes it for easy snacks and for busy people to whip up a meal in no time.

Before you savour on your meal, beware of the hidden dangers lurking in processed foods:


Additives are used in food processing to make the food look better, restore or enhance the taste and texture and to preserve them for transportation and storage.

Here are the 7 types of additives that are dangerous to our body that we should watch out for:

1) Artificial coloring

Artificial coloring is used to give food brighter color and makes it more pleasing. Look out for these in the ingredient listing; FD&C Red no.3 ( Erythrosine), Red no.40 (Allura Red), Yellow no. 5 ( Tartrazine), Yellow no.6 ( Sunset Yellow).

They can be found in beverages, snacks, cereals and cookies. They can give allergic reaction, headaches and hyperactivity.

2) Artificial flavoring

Artificial flavoring are chemical compound used in to mimic the flavor or enhance the flavor after the food has been denatured during processing. They are cheaper and more stable than natural flavors.

There are many difference types of artificial flavors. Here are some common ones:

  • Sodium nitrite used in bacon, ham and sausages. They are linked to various types of cancers.
  • Hydrolyzed textured protein is a flavor enhancer to give a stronger flavor with fewer ingredients. Monosodium glutamate (MSG) is possibly created on the side with this. MSG is harmful to the brain.
  • Diacetyl is used to give a buttery flavor and taste. Microwave popcorn contains this but in some places it is banned as it has reported to increase the risk of lung cancer.

3) Artificial sweeteners

Artificial sweeteners are used to replace sugar and maintain the same sweetness with reduced calories. They can cause headaches, rashes and seizures.

There are many types and here are some of them: Sucralose, Aspartame, Mannitol, Acesulfame.

You will find them mostly in beverages, snacks, food with claims on “lower calories” or “reduced sugar

4) High Fructose Corn Syrup

High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS) is another sweetener used a lot in drinks and frozen food. It cost less to make and is sweeter to taste and mix easily with other ingredients. HFCS cause an increase in bad cholesterol, decrease in good cholesterol, clog the arteries and increase the risk of diabetes.

5) Preservatives

Preservatives are necessary to prevent bacteria growth, prevent fat from turning rancid and maintain the integrity in processed food. However, they can cause hyperactivity, angioderma, asthma and affect estrogen balance.

They are chemicals such as benzoate, butylated hydroxy anisole (BHA) and butylated hydroxytoluene (BHT). You can find BHA in butter, meat, cereal, chewing gum and many snack foods.

6) Texturing Agent, Gelling Agent, Anti-caking Agent

Chemical additives are added in order to create or maintain the form of the processed foods.

Texturing agents are alginic acid that thickens drinks and food. They are found in salad dressing, soups, jellies and cheese dips. They can cause birth defects and complications in pregnancy.

Silicone dioxide are anti-caking agent that is used to keep powder from clumping together. This is used a lot in fast foods.

7) Trans Fat

Trans fat is hydrogenated vegetable oil that is used in most processed food. You can identify them from the ingredients with names such as vegetable shortening and hydrogenated oil.

They are not essential to the body and increase the risk of heart disease and stroke. They are commonly used in biscuits, muffins and fast foods.

Now that you are aware of these hidden dangers, it best you avoid processed foods as much as you can. However, it is really difficult to avoid them completely. So, you should detox your system regularly to clear of these chemicals, which you would have eaten and eat food high in antioxidants that can help reduce the free radicals created from these ingredients.

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