The 12 most harmful food additives for health

Although in theory all food products should be safe for health, this is just that: theory. The shelves of supermarkets or food stores are full of food products that are far from being safe for our health. These products are full of synthetic ingredients added to achieve different purposes: modify their color, aroma, texture, last longer, etc.

Just taking additives into account , there are more than 10,000 in our food. And unfortunately for us, many of them are harmful to our health, as indicated by The Environmental Working Group (EWG), which has produced this list of the 12 most harmful.

In addition, it is important to mention that on many occasions, chemical agents that have an appetite-activating action are added, intentionally, which make you eat larger amounts.

The 12 most harmful food additives for our health

1.- Nitrates and nitrites : are agents that are used as colorants, flavorings and to extend the useful life of the product. They are added to meat products. Nitrites, which can be formed from nitrates, react naturally to proteins called amines. This reaction can cause the formation of nitrosamines, which have a carcinogenic action. Nitrites have been associated with cancer of the stomach, esophagus, brain, and thyroid. If you buy products of this type, read the labels carefully so that they do not contain nitrates or nitrites.

2.- Potassium bromate : it is an agent that is used in bread and other bakery products to help the dough rise during baking. It is listed as a carcinogen and prohibited in some countries. It can cause different types of tumors, kidney toxicity, and damages DNA.

3.- Propylparaben : paraben is an endocrine disruptor, that is, it causes very serious damage to our hormones. There are studies in rats that showed a decrease in sperm and testosterone. Propylparaben acts in our body as a synthetic estrogen. It is capable of altering the experience of genes including those of breast cancer cells. In fact, propylparaben accelerates the growth of breast tumor cells. It is also associated with infertility in women. Propylparaben is used in tortillas, muffins or muffins, dairy products, beverages, etc. Read the label and avoid products that contain it.

4.- Hydroxyanisole butyrate : although it is classified as a possible carcinogen by the international cancer agency. In animal studies it has caused different types of tumors. Also in Europe it is classified as an endocrine disruptor. It is capable of lowering the levels of testosterone and the thyroid hormone thyroxine. It adversely affects sperm and reproductive organs. This agent is found in French fries and meats. It is also used to flavor any product. Again, read the label.

5.- Hydroxytoluene butylate : it is added to food for its preservative effect on them. Studies carried out with this agent have concluded that it causes tumors, specifically the rats given this agent developed lung and liver cancer. It also causes changes in thyroid hormone, being another endocrine disruptor. It also impairs corrdination.

6.- Propylgalate : it is used as a preservative in products that contain fats. A study by the US National Toxicology Program associates it with tumors in rats. It is also suspected that it can act as an endocrine disruptor due to its estrogenic activity.

7.- Theobromine : it is an alkaloid that is found naturally in cocoa with an effect similar to caffeine. It is used in a multitude of products including bread, cereals and sports drinks. The animals exposed to this alkaloid had impaired reproductive system and developmental problems.

8.- Flavors : it is usually detailed on the label either as a flavoring or as a natural flavor . They are in more than 80,000 food products. Flavor mixes are sometimes very complex and a single product can contain up to 100 different agents. You may be surprised to learn that the natural flavor we see on the label contains synthetic chemicals such as propylene glycol or BHA. The flavored extracts in many cases come from transgenics.

9.- Artificial colors : they are used to make products more visually attractive. They do not add any nutritional value. The alarms went off when analyzed and found that, for example, caramel colors contained very harmful contaminants that can cause tumors. They can also be contaminated by furans, associated with cancer. There are also studies on how artificial dyes affect the behavior of children, and it can be observed that the mixture of these agents is associated with hyperactivity and inattention.

10.- Diacetyl : used to flavor popcorn with microwave butter. It is associated with severe and irreversible damage to the lungs, specifically with bronchiolitis obliterans, which causes chronic inflammation of the airways. Diacetyl is also used in yogurts and cheeses.

11.- Phosphates : they are one of the most used additives. They are in more than 20,000 food products. For people with kidney problems they can be very harmful, being associated with cardiovascular problems and death. Another 15-year study showed a direct association between phosphates and severe heart damage.

12.- Aluminum : Aluminum accumulates in our body mainly in the bones. Aluminum is used in the food industry as a stabilizer. Animals exposed to aluminum suffered neurological changes such as behavioral alterations, learning difficulties or motor response difficulties.

All of these additives are in many of the manufactured and processed products. Reduce the consumption of these types of products and incorporate more fresh and organic foods into your usual diet , for your health.

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