Addictive, Flavouring, MSG and Colouring
Over the years, people are becoming increasingly concerned about the quality and safety of the food they are consuming and beginning to question what they eat. Recent contamination scares, ongoing debates about GMO food, food irradiation requirements, mad cow diseases, bird flu – these are all linked back to the environmental causes, diet and pollution.
Today, the leading cause of illnesses in our ‘developed’ world are due to lifestyle diseases created from the choices people are making and the toxic environment that we have created and living in. Exposure to the many source of these chemicals are found to have been linked to a range of diseases on the rise. These include immune diseases – allergies, autism, auto immune diseases, several cancers and a broad range of reproductive problems including birth defects. Growing foetuses, babies and children are more vulnerable to this exposure because of their lower body weight, lower metabolic rates and their immature body functions.
We eat more processed, preservative and additive packed, low nutrient food and drink than our forefathers and also eating more food in general. Our society has shifted from a society that cooks at home to one that buys or eats our meals prepared or consumed elsewhere.
Do you really know what food addictives, preservative, flavouring were in the food that you pay your hard earned money for, would you want to make some simple changes in the way you shop for food to eat? As loving parents, you may try your best to coax and try your hardest way to get your children into better eating habits but when chemical flavouring, addictives agents are corrupting their taste buds, fresh vegetables and fruits are unappealing to them.
While food labelling will disclose the amount of salt, sugar, carbohydrate, protein and fat solids, the dangerous food addictive can fail to appear on the label. Most of these addictives are vibrant colours, flavour enhancers to improve taste, texture and are purely used as cosmetic agents to improve appearance for sales of poor quality and cheaper foodstuffs.
Flavour enhancer – monosodium glutamate (MSG) is often used in Asian cooking and has been associated with ‘Chinese Restaurant Syndrome’. Some people experienced symptoms of headache, numbness and tingling, thirst and dry mouth after eating food containing MSG.
What you can do to reduce unnecessary and harmful food addictives and toxic around you.
- Avoid eating processed food by going back to basic home cooking of simple and healthy meals using herbs and spices as enhancer of flavour to prevent any health issues due to toxic level build up in our blood.
- Shop carefully by reading all the labels on food that you are going to purchase, avoid all flavoured, coloured, enriched and sweetened food. Think why some of these addictives may have been added in the foods you are putting in your shopping trolley.
- Avoid extend shelf life food – which is normally done with food addictive.
- Avoid trans fats found in processed food, fried food, processed vegetable oil. Use natural oil such as cold pressed olive oil, sesame oil, avocado oil, coconut oil which has short shelf lives. They are not used in commercial cooking for this reason and they are also more expensive than the refined vegetable oils which contain food additives.
- Prepare your own baby food from natural ingredients, organic where possible.
- Create some fun and involvement with cooking together with the kids to make them understand where food is from and how they make it to the plate. Family outings to vegetable farms, fish and animal farms would be encouraging to promote understanding of how food is grown or farmed. Investing learning and time in early childhood is thus critical to the wellness of our children and future generations. Critically the bonding time given by the parents, also translate the development of improved relationship and social skills.
- Create a toxic free home – Reduce your exposure to all the harmful chemicals in cosmetics, personal products e.g. fluoride, paraben, mercury, BPA, formaldehyde. A good information site that provides useful tips that reduce toxic exposure – safersolutions.org.au
- Avoid air fresheners – they do nothing more than mask a smell.
- Reduce use of pest control products, use more natural ingredient.
- Food addictive avoidance can help to alleviate allergy, inflammation, liver intoxication, some respiratory control of asthma.
Preservatives are used to prevent bacteria, yeast and mould growth, preserve colour and flavour and keeping food from going bad. The common natural preservatives are salt, vinegar and sugar. However most preservatives used by food manufacturers are synthetic type. Commonly used synthetic preservatives are for example as below:
- Potassium sorbate
- Sodium Benzoate(211)
- Sulphites (221-228) – does this number tells you anything?
- Sulphur Dioxide(220)
- Sodium Nitrate(250) and Sodium Nitrite(251)
According to regulatory authority, most of these preservatives are safe in quantities in which they are found in individual food product. However there is no long term safety when you add up the amount of preservatives you are eating up over a long period of time. So how do you avoid such harmful preservatives in your diet?
- Eat fresh wholesome food that are cooked by you
- Read the ingredients on the labels carefully when you are buying pre-packed food – be sensitive to even artificial sweeteners, added sugar (high fructose corn syrup, dextrose), added salt
- Choose food that contains natural preservatives.
- Avoid processed or cured meat as much as possible. If you fancy ham or bacon occasionally look out for nitrate and nitrite free bacon from your local butcher.
- Roast your own meat for sandwiches.
- Avoid buying commercial breads that do not get mouldy. Bake your own bread.
- Buy Organic food.
- Take note of what your kids eat especially at school. At end of the week, you should be able to have an idea of your own child’s exposure to addictives and preservatives. So if you limit the intake and regulate it, you will cut down considerably.
Common side effects of preservative in your body:
- Experiences skin irritation
- Increases risk of cancer
- May cause damage to our body organs
- Experiencing muscle weakness, constipation, hives, abdominal pain