food additives| Definition, Types, Uses, & Facts..

Food additives are needed to ensure that processed foods remain safe and in good
Reading Time: 14 minutes

What are food additives?

Food additives are needed to ensure that processed foods remain safe and in good condition. Food additives should not be used to cover up technical manufacturing. Some of the food we eat is fresh. They are not transformed. Most foods, however, are processed. Small amounts of certain chemicals are often added in food processing. They are called food additives. Any substance that becomes an integral part of a food product directly or indirectly during certain stages of processing, storage or packaging.

Basically, a food additive is something that is not normally found in the food we eat that needs to be added                 

Need for additives:

  • Additives are needed to ensure that processed foods remain safe and in good condition as they travel from factories or industrial kitchens, during transport to warehouses and stores, and ultimately to consumers.
  • Food additives should not be used to cover up technical manufacturing and handling defects in order to deceive customers.

Types of Additives:

Types of components Additives can also additionally be: foods-and-energy

  • Natural

determined naturally, which include extracts from beetroot juice (E162), used as a coloring agent;

  • Manmade versions

artificial same copies of materials determined naturally, which include benzoic acid (E210), used as a preservative;

  • Artificial

produced synthetically and now no longer determined naturally, which include nisin (E234), used as a preservative in a few dairy merchandises and in semolina and tapioca puddings

Some of the Common Functions of Food Additives:

  • Gives foods a smooth, even texture: Emulsifiers prevent separation of liquid products
  • Improves or preserves nutritional value:
  • Maintains food safety:
  • Controls acid-base balance of foods and provides the leaven:
  • Gives color and improves flavor:

Common food additives Should you avoid them?

1. Monosodium glutamate

Monosodium glutamate, or MSG, is a common food additive used to intensify and enhance the flavor of savory dishes. It is found in a variety of processed foods such as frozen dinners, savory snacks, and canned soups. It is also often added to foods in restaurants and fast-food outlets. MSG has been the subject of much controversy since a 1969 study in mice found that large amounts caused damaging neurological effects and impair growth and development. However, this additive probably has no effect on the health of the human brain as it is unable to cross the blood-brain barrier.

MSG consumption has also been associated with weight gain and metabolic syndrome in some observational studies, although other research has found no association. That said, some people are sensitive to MSG and may experience symptoms such as headache, sweating, and numbness after eating a large amount. In one study, 61 people who reported being sensitive to MSG were given either 5 grams of MSG or a placebo. Interestingly, 36% had an adverse reaction to MSG while only 25% reported a reaction to placebo, so MSG sensitivity may be a legitimate concern for some people. If negative side effects occur after consuming MSG, it is best to keep it out of your diet. Otherwise, if you are able to tolerate MSG, it can be safely consumed in moderation without the risk of negative side effects.


MSG is used to beautify the taste of many processed foods. Some people may be sensitive to MSG, but it is safe for most people when used in moderation.

2. Artificial meals

Artificial meals coloring is used to lighten and beautify the advent of the whole lot from sweet to condiments. In latest years, however, the capability fitness results have given upward push to tons concern. Specific meals colorations which include blue 1, crimson forty, yellow 5, and yellow 6 were connected to hypersensitive reactions in a few people. Additionally, one assessment suggested that synthetic meals colorations might also additionally sell hyperactivity in youngsters, despite the fact that any other take a look at located that a few youngsters can be greater touchy than others.

Concerns have additionally been raised approximately the capability carcinogenic results of a few meals colorations. Red 3, additionally called erythrosine, has been located to growth the chance of thyroid cancers in a few animal research, ensuing in its being changed via way of means of crimson forty in maximum cases. However, numerous animal research has proven that different meals colorations aren’t related to any carcinogenic results. However, greater studies are wanted to evaluate the protection and capability fitness results of synthetic meals colorations for humans. Regardless of this, meals colorations are in general located in processed meals, which must be restricted in healthful eating. Always select entire meals which can be richer in critical vitamins and certainly unfastened from synthetic meals colorations.

3. Sodium nitrite

 Often located in processed meats, sodium nitrite acts as a preservative to save you the boom of microorganism while including a salty taste and a reddish-purple color. When uncovered to excessive warmness and the presence of amino acids, nitrites can grow to be nitrosamine, a compound which can have many terrible fitness effects. One evaluates located that better consumption of nitrites and nitrosamines turned into related to a better chance of belly cancer. Many different research has located a comparable association, indicating that better intake of processed meats can be connected to a better chance of colorectal, breast and bladder cancer.

Other research propose that nitrosamine publicity will also be connected to a better prevalence of kind 1 diabetes, despite the fact that the effects are inconsistent. However, it is great to reduce your consumption of sodium nitrite and processed meats. Try changing processed meats like bacon, sausage, warm dogs, and ham with unprocessed meat and wholesome sources. Pork, legumes, nuts, eggs, and tempeh are only some delicious, excessive-protein ingredients that you could upload in your eating regimen in area of processed meats. Sodium nitrite is a not unusual place aspect in processed meats that may be transformed into a dangerous compound referred to as nitrosamine. A better consumption of nitrites and processed meats can be connected to a better chance of various styles of cancer.

4. Guar Gum

Guar gum is a protracted chain carbohydrate used to thicken and bind ingredients. It is extensively used withinside the meals enterprise and is determined in ice cream, dressings, sauces, and soups. Guar gum is excessive in fiber and has been related to a bunch of fitness benefits. For example, one examines confirmed that it decreased signs and symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome which include bloating and constipation. An overview of 3 research additionally determined that folks that took guar gum with a meal felt greater complete and ate fewer calorie-dense snacks for the duration of the day.

Other studies indicates that guar gum may additionally assist lower blood sugar and ld. cholesterol levels. However, excessive quantities of guar gum could have poor fitness effects. This is due to the fact it could swell 10 to twenty instances its size, probably inflicting issues which include blockage of the esophagus or small intestine. Guar gum also can reason moderate signs and symptoms which include gas, bloating, or cramping in a few people. However, guar gum is normally taken into consideration secure in moderation. Additionally, the FDA has strict recommendations on how a great deal guar gum may be delivered to ingredients to decrease the threat of poor facet effects. SUMMARY Guar gum is a protracted chain carbohydrate used to thicken and bind ingredients.

5. High-Fructose Corn Syrup

High-fructose corn syrup is a sweetener crafted from corn. It’s regularly determined in soda, juice, candy, breakfast cereals and snack ingredients. It’s wealthy in a sort of easy sugar referred to as fructose, that could purpose extreme fitness troubles while fed on in excessive amounts. In particular, excessive-fructose corn syrup has been connected to weight advantage and diabetes. In one study, 32 humans fed on a drink sweetened with both glucose or fructose for 10 weeks. By the stop of the study, the fructose-sweetened beverage prompted large will increase in stomach fats and blood sugar levels, plus reduced insulin sensitivity as compared to the glucose-sweetened beverage.

Inflammation is assumed to play a primary position in lots of continual conditions, which include coronary heart disease, most cancers and diabetes. Additionally, excessive-fructose corn syrup contributes empty energy and delivered sugar to ingredients with none of the essential nutrients and minerals that your frame needs. It’s high-quality to bypass sugary snacks and ingredients that comprise excessive-fructose corn syrup. Instead, pass for whole, unprocessed ingredients without delivered sugar, and sweeten them up with Stevia, or sparkling fruit.


High-fructose corn syrup is related to weight advantage, diabetes and infection. It’s additionally excessive in empty energy and contributes not anything however energy in your diet.

6. Artificial Sweeteners

Artificial sweeteners are used in lots of weight-reduction plan meals and drinks to decorate sweetness even as lowering calorie content. Common varieties of synthetic sweeteners consist of aspartame, sucralose, saccharin and acesulfame potassium. Studies display that synthetic sweetener can usefully resource in weight reduction and assist control blood sugar levels. One observes located that individual who fed on a complement containing synthetic sweeteners for 10 weeks had a decrease consumption of energy and won much less frame fats and weight than the ones eating normal sugar.

Another observes confirmed that eating sucralose for 3 months had no impact on blood sugar manage in 128 human beings with diabetes. Note that positive varieties of synthetic sweeteners like aspartame can also additionally purpose complications in a few human beings, and research display that positive people can be greater touchy to its results. Still, synthetic sweeteners are commonly taken into consideration secure for maximum human beings while fed on in moderation. However, in case you enjoy any terrible aspect results after the use of synthetic sweeteners, test substances labels cautiously and restriction your consumption.


Artificial sweeteners can also additionally assist sell weight reduction and blood sugar manage. Certain kinds can also additionally purpose moderate aspect results like complications; however, they’re commonly taken into consideration secure in moderation.

7. Carrageenan

Derived from pink seaweed, carrageenan acts as a thickener, emulsifier and preservative in lots of one-of-a-kind meals merchandise. Common reasserts of carrageenan encompass almond milk, cottage cheese, ice cream, espresso creamers and dairy-unfastened merchandise like vegan cheese. For decades, there had been issues approximately the protection of this not unusual place meals additive and its ability results on health. One animal looks at confirmed that publicity to carrageenan improved stages of fasting blood sugar and glucose intolerance, specifically while mixed with a excessive-fats diet. Test-tube and animal research have determined that carrageenan brought about inflammation, as well. Carrageenan is likewise believed to negatively affect digestive health, and can be related to the formation of intestinal ulcers and growths.

One small look at determined that once humans in remission from ulcerative colitis took a complement containing carrageenan, they skilled an in advance relapse than people who took a placebo. Unfortunately, cutting-edge studies at the results of carrageenan continues to be very confined and greater research are had to apprehend how it can have an effect on humans. If you do determine to restriction your consumption of carrageenan, there are lots of sources on-line that allow you to discover manufacturers and merchandise which are carrageenan-unfastened.


Test-tube and animal research have determined that carrageenan may also purpose excessive blood sugar and will purpose intestinal ulcers and growths. One looks at additionally determined that carrageenan contributed to an in advance relapse of ulcerative colitis.

8. Sodium Benzoate

Sodium benzoate is a preservative regularly brought to carbonated beverages and acidic ingredients like salad dressings, pickles, fruit juices and condiments. It has been commonly identified as secure with the aid of using the FDA, however numerous researches have exposed capacity aspect results that have to be considered. For example, one observes located that combining sodium benzoate with synthetic meals coloring expanded hyperactivity in 3-year-vintage children.

Another observes confirmed that a better consumption of drinks containing sodium benzoate become related to greater signs and symptoms of ADHD in 475 university students. When blended with diet C, sodium benzoate also can be transformed right into a benzene, a compound that can be related to most cancers’ development. Carbonated drinks include the very best awareness of benzene, and food regimen or sugar-unfastened drinks are even greater liable to benzene formation.

One observes reading the awareness of benzene in quite a few ingredients located cola and Cole slaw samples with over one hundred ppb of benzene, that is over 20 instances the most contaminant degree set with the aid of using the EPA for consuming water. To reduce your consumption of sodium benzoate, test the labels of your meals carefully. Avoid ingredients that include components like benzoic acid, benzene or benzoate, especially if blended with a supply of diet C including citric acid or ascorbic acid.


Sodium benzoate can be related to expanded hyperactivity. If blended with diet C, it could additionally shape benzene, a compound that can be related to most cancers’ development.

9. Trans Fat

Trans fat are a sort of unsaturated fats which have gone through hydrogenation, which will increase shelf existence and improves the consistency of products. It may be determined in lots of varieties of processed ingredients like baked goods, margarine, microwave popcorn and biscuits. A variety of capability fitness dangers were related to trans fats consumption, and the FDA even currently determined to revoke their GRAS (commonly diagnosed as safe) status.

In particular, a couple of research have related a better consumption of trans fat to a better chance of coronary heart ailment. One have a look at determined that ingesting ingredients excessive in trans fat improved numerous markers of inflammation, that is one of the foremost chance elements for coronary heart ailment. Research additionally indicates there can be a connection among trans fat and diabetes.

A massive have a look at with 84,941 ladies even confirmed that a excessive consumption of trans fats became related to a 40% better chance of growing kind 2 diabetes. Cutting processed ingredients from your food regimen is the perfect and only manner to lower your trans fats consumption. You also can make some easy switches to your food regimen, like the usage of butter rather than margarine and swapping out vegetable oils for olive oil or coconut oil instead.


Eating trans-fat has been related to many bad results on fitness, such as inflammation, coronary heart ailment and diabetes.

10. Xanthan Gum

Xanthan gum is a not unusual place additive that’s used to thicken and stabilize many sorts of meals which include salad dressings, soups, syrups and sauces. It’s additionally every now and then utilized in gluten-loose recipes to assist enhance the feel of foods. Xanthan gum has been related to numerous fitness advantages. One look at discovered that eating rice with introduced xanthan gum led to decrease degrees of blood sugar than eating rice with out it. Another look at additionally discovered that ingesting xanthan gum for 6 weeks decreased degrees of blood sugar and cholesterol, plus improved emotions of fullness.

However, latest studies at the ability advantages of xanthan gum continues to be limited. Furthermore, eating big quantities of xanthan gum can also be related to digestive problems, which include improved stool output, fueloline and gentle stools. For maximum people, though, xanthan gum is usually secure and nicely tolerated. If you do revel in terrible signs and symptoms after ingesting xanthan gum, it’s quality to lessen your consumption or do not forget putting off it out of your diet.


Xanthan gum might also additionally assist lessen degrees of blood sugar and cholesterol. In big quantities, it is able to reason digestive troubles like fuel line and gentle stools.

11. Artificial Flavoring

Artificial flavors are chemical substances designed to imitate the flavor of different components. They may be used to mimic a whole lot of one-of-a-kind flavors, from popcorn and caramel to fruit and beyond. Animal research have observed that those artificial flavors may want to have a few regarding results on health. One has a look at observed that the purple blood molecular manufacturing in rats turned into considerably decreased once they have been fed synthetic flavorings for seven days.

Not simplest that, positive flavors like chocolate, biscuit and strawberry have been additionally observed to have a poisonous impact on their bone marrow cells. Similarly, some other animal has a look at confirmed that grape, plum and orange artificial flavorings inhibited Mo biliary department and have been poisonous to bone marrow cells in mice. However, preserve in thoughts that that research used a miles greater focused dose than you would possibly locate in food, and in addition studies is wanted to decide how synthetic flavoring withinside the quantities observed in meals may also have an effect on humans. In the meantime, in case you need to restriction your consumption of synthetic flavoring, test the components label of your meals. Look for “chocolate” or “cocoa” at the components label as an alternative than “chocolate flavoring” or “synthetic flavoring.”


Some animal researches have observed that synthetic flavoring can be poisonous to bone marrow cells. More studies are wanted to assess the results in humans.

12. Yeast Extract

Yeast extract, additionally known as autolyzed yeast extract or hydrolyzed yeast extract, is brought to positive savory ingredients like cheese, soy sauce and salty snacks to reinforce the flavor. It’s made through combining sugar and yeast in a heat environment, then spinning it in a centrifuge and discarding the mobileular partitions of the yeast. Yeast extract incorporates glutamate, that is a sort of certainly taking place amino acid discovered in lots of ingredients. Much like monosodium glutamate (MSG), ingesting ingredients with glutamate may also purpose moderate signs like headaches, numbness and swelling in those who are touchy to its effects.

Additionally, yeast extract is exceedingly excessive in sodium, with approximately four hundred milligrams in every teaspoon (eight grams). Reducing sodium consumption has been proven to assist lower blood pressure, particularly in humans who’ve excessive blood pressure. However, maximum ingredients simplest incorporate a small quantity of brought yeast extract, so the glutamate and sodium in yeast extract are not likely to purpose a lot of a hassle for maximum humans. As of 2017, yeast extract continues to be identified as secure through the Food and Drug Administration. If you do enjoy terrible effects, do not forget restricting your consumption of processed ingredients with yeast extract and including greater fresh, complete ingredients for your diet.


Yeast extract is excessive in sodium and incorporates glutamate, which may also cause signs in a few humans. Yet due to the fact simplest small quantities of yeast extract are brought to ingredients, it’s not likely to purpose troubles for maximum humans.

Importance of the food additive:

  • Foods are subject to many environmental conditions, such as temperature changes, oxidation and exposure to microbes, which can change their original composition
  • Food additives play a role key in maintaining the quality and characteristics of foods demanded by consumers, keeping food safe, wholesome and attractive from farm to fork.

Why not stick to natural additives?

  • Some artificial colors have almost disappeared from food as companies have realized that many consumers prefer food products to contain natural colors. Additive functions required.
  • Artificial additives can be more effective for preservation and certain natural colors fade in certain products.

Classification of Food Additives:

  • Preservatives:
  • save you the boom of micro-organisms which can reason meals spoilage and cause meals poisoning; • expand the shelf-existence of products, so they may be allotted and bought to the customer with an extended shelf-existence.

Examples of decided on preservatives:

  • Salt, sugar, vinegar and pepper (not unusual place family preservatives)
  • Saltpeter or sodium nitrate (used to season meat)
  • Sulfur dioxide (sulfurous acid) and sulfur (inhibits discoloration of reduce fruit and serves as an antitorture agent)


  • Food coloring is added to foods to replace lost colors during preparation, or to make foods look more attractive.
  • In the USA there are seven artificial colorings that are permitted in foods.

Why use Color additives?

  • Restore coloration misplaced in the course of processing or storage.
  • Ensure that every batch produced is equal in look or does now no longer appear ‘off’.
  • Reinforces coloration already in ingredients, e.g., decorate the yellowness of a custard.
  • Give coloration to ingredients which in any other case could be colorless (e.g., tender drinks) and so cause them to greater appealing appetizing and greater saleable

Flavoring agent:

  • Flavor enhancers convey out the flavor in ingredients without presenting a flavor in their own, e.g., monosodium glutamate (E612) is introduced to processed ingredients.
  • For instance, a few soups, sauces and sausages.


To beautify taste of meals ∙ To repair the authentic taste which can be misplaced at some stage in meals processing ∙ To upload taste to ingredients which can be tasteless themselves (e.g., ice cream, jelly) Common flavorings.

Emulsifiers, stabilizers, gelling retailers:

  • Emulsifiers assist to combine components that might generally separate, elicitins (E322)
  • Stabilizers save you components from setting apart again, e. Carob seed flour (E410).
  • Gelling retailers are used to extrude the consistency of food, epectin (E440).
  • Thickeners and glazing agents:
  • Thickeners – are materials which, while delivered a mixture, will increase its viscosity without extensively enhancing its different properties. Its assist delivers meals body, e.g., may be determined in maximum sauces.
  • Glazing agents – offer a defensive coating or sheen at the floor of foods, e.g., confectionary (for look and shelf-life).

Acids, Bases & Buffers Acids, Bases & Buffers:

  • Food acids are added to “enhance” flavors and also act as preservatives and antioxidants. Common food acids include vinegar, citric acid, tartaric acid, malic acid, fumaric acid, and lactic acid.
  • Acids, bases and buffers control the acidity or alkalinity of foods, for safety and flavor stability.

Testing methods:

  • Evaluate thru complete treating and medical procedures.
  • Chemical analyses degree the direct components correctly in minute quantities.
  • Variety of animal assessments used to estimate the protection of a additive in human diet.
  • Also required research on metabolism, genetic toxicity, carcinogenicity and reproduction.

Food Additive Safety:

  • ADI, its possibly day by day consumption from all meals reassets for unique institution consumers (diabetic, clinical diet, ill person on formulated liquid diet) could be taken into account
  • It ought to be of meals grade excellent and is ready and dealt with in identical manner as a meal’s element.
  • Carry over of a meal’s additive from an uncooked fabric to different element is unacceptable for ingredients inclusive of little one formula, follow-up formulae and formulae for unique clinical purposes, complementary ingredients for babies and younger children

Advice to the general public of meals components:

  • Buy ingredients from respectable reasserts.
  • Read the label of prepackaged meals cautiously specifically the element listing for meals components added (if any) which you can accept.

People with allergic condition, inclusive of bronchial allergies patients, can also additionally revel in allergy because of a few meals’ components like Sulphur dioxide and ought to be cautious in choosing meals. Advice from clinical experts can be sought while vital in Hazards of preservatives.

Sajid Saleem

Sajid Saleem

We struggle over for students of general and medical education. Also, we play an essential role in the acquisitions of knowledge and in intellectual development. In general Education we provide the knowledge and the skills needed by everyone, regardless of their future field and occupation. In medical Education we provide knowledge and skills to the students of medical field. A Nutritionist from our team who is expert in food and nutrition can help patients to choose the right things to eat. He is also writing very helpful content for the students of nutrition and diet.

2 thoughts on “food additives| Definition, Types, Uses, & Facts..

  1. Basically, a food additive is something that is not normally found in the food we eat that needs to be added

  2. It’s beneficial for us…..

Comments are closed.