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Food additives can cause serious harm to your health !!

Food additives are actually chemical substances added to foods to improve their flavor, texture, color, appearance and consistency or preservatives and are used during the manufacturing or processing stages.

Food additives can include artificial sweeteners, bleaching agents, coloring agents, glazing agents, flavor enhancement etc.

Now you may think that at some point in your lives you may have tried hundreds of dishes with the above-mentioned ingredients either present in them or on them. And not having them along with the food could have made it another plain boring dish. Also, nothing has ever happened to you after all these years even after consuming food with these ingredients on a regular basis.

Well, you might want to think again about consuming dishes with additive substances on them. Researchers have found some of the possible ways of how these food additives substances can cause serious harm to your body and your health. Take a look.

Food additives found in candy, gum could alter digestive cell structure and function !!

According to a new research conducted in the Binghamton University, the ability of the small intestine cells to absorb nutrients and act as a barrier to pathogens is greatly decreased after chronic exposure to nanoparticles of titanium dioxide which is a common food additive found almost in every kind of ranging from chewing gum to bread.

The study !!

Researchers first exposed a small intestinal cell structure model to the physiological equivalent of a meal’s worth of titanium oxide nanoparticles, 30 nanometers across over a period of four hours (acute exposure) or three meal’s worth over a longer period of 5 days (chronic exposure).

The results showed that -

  • Acute exposures did not have much effect.
  • Chronic exposure reduced the absorptive projections on the surface of intestinal cells called microvilli.

With fewer microvilli, the intestinal barrier was weakened, metabolism slowed and some nutrients like iron, zinc and fatty acids particularly were more difficult to absorb. 

Enzyme functions were negatively affected, while inflammation signals had increased.

Titanium dioxide is generally recognized as safe by the U.S Food and Drug Administration and ingestion is nearly unavoidable. However, the compound is actually an inert and insoluble material that is commonly used for white pigmentation in paints, paper, and plastics. 

It is also an active ingredient in mineral-based sunscreens for pigmentation to block ultraviolet light.

So where is titanium oxide usually used in?

  • Titanium oxide is used to create abrasion needed for cleaning.
  • The oxide is also used in some chocolate to provide it with a smooth texture.
  • It is used in donuts to provide color.
  • The oxide is also used in skimmed milk for brighter, more opaque appearances which make the milk more palatable.

In a study conducted in 2012 by the Arizona State University, 89 common foods were tested. It was later food that titanium oxide was present in even common food products like gum, Twinkies and even mayonnaise. About 5 % of products in that study contained titanium dioxide as nanoparticles. 

Researchers have now concluded that to avoid foods rich in titanium oxide nanoparticles, people should avoid processed foods at all cost and especially candy, which is where you see a lot of nanoparticles. 

The research was carried out by a group of researchers from the Binghamton University.

Food additives with hidden phosphorus food additives dangerous to Kidney patients !!

Researchers have found out in a study that a great deal of processed and fast food actually contains phosphorus additives which can be dangerous for patients with kidney diseases.

Kidney disease patients have a list of foods they know they should avoid because they naturally contain a higher level of the mineral phosphorus, which is difficult for their compromised kidneys to discard.

High blood levels of phosphorus have been known to cause heart disease, bone disease and even death among patients who are already diagnosed with advanced kidney disease. This is one reason why these patients must avoid foods with naturally higher levels of phosphorus. Some of these foods include certain kinds of meat, dairy products, whole grains, and nuts.

Why are food additives added?

Researchers have discovered that it has become an increasingly common practice by food manufacturers to include phosphorus additives such as sodium phosphate or pyrophosphate to processed foods. Additives are added for the following reasons -

  • They are used to enhance the flavor 
  • They are used to increase the longevity of the foods, specifically in meats, cheese, baked goods, and beverages.

It was found that calories, fat, and sodium content are required to be listed on nutrition labels whereas Phosphorus is not. This makes it impossible for patients with kidney diseases to know how much phosphorus they were consuming. 

Researchers also discovered that while chicken is often on the dialysis patients, ”safe list”’ of foods to eat, not all places really provide a chicken meal that is safe for consumption. The chicken served in fast food and sit down restaurants to unsuspecting customers often contained phosphorus additives.

The study!!

A study was carried out where researchers assigned 270 advanced kidney patients receiving dialysis treatment to a control group that received usual care or to an intervention group who were trained to avoid additive-containing foods when purchasing groceries or eating at fast food restaurants.

After 3 months, the phosphorus levels decreased two and a half times more in the intervention group than the individual group.

However, the study authors have noted that even people with normal kidney function may be affected by these additives as previous researches have found that high phosphorus diets appear to lower bone density and may even increase the risks of fracture as well.

What do the researchers say?

Researchers have given the following recommendations 

  • Limiting phosphorus as adding more phosphorus to our food supply, we could be exceeding the body’s regulatory ability. Especially for patients with kidney diseases.
  • Individuals should limit the use of these additives until their impact is better understood.
  • Initiatives should be taken to encourage the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to require food manufacturers to report phosphorus content on nutrition food labels.  

The research was carried out Catherine Sullivan, M.S, R.D., from the Center for Reducing Health Disparities., a joint center created and operated by Metro Health and Case Western Reserve University.

Food additives linked to Hyperactivity in Children !!

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Food additives linked to Hyperactivity in Children !!

Do you feel that your children are being hyperactive these days? Well then may it has something to do with the food they are eating. And if the food contains food additives, well then there is no reason to doubt any further.

A study published a few years ago has shown evidence of increased levels of hyperactivity in young children consuming mixtures of some artificial food colors and the preservative sodium benzoate.  The possibility of food colors and preservatives were affecting children’s behavior and has long been an unresolved question for the parents. However, the findings of a new research provide a clear demonstration that changes in behavior can be detected in three-year-old and eight-year-old children.

The study!!

Researchers studied levels of hyperactivity in 153 kids who were three years old and 144 kids who were eight years old living in the city of Southampton. The kids were selected from a general population to represent the complete range of behaviors ranging from normal to hyperactive. The children weren’t selected judging by their past behavioral issues or known sensitivities to particular foods. 

The children’s families were asked to put them on a diet free from the activities used in the study. Over the course of a 6 week period, the children were then given drinks containing test mixtures. As expected in some cases their behavior was significantly more hyperactive than they previously used to be.  

The researchers collected a combination reports on the children’s behavior from teachers and parents, together with the recordings of the children's behavior in the classroom made by an observer and for the older children, a computer-based test of attention. 

The conclusion !!

The researchers conclude that it was indeed the mixtures of certain food colors and benzoate preservatives that both had an effect and influenced the behavior of children. While initially there was some previous evidence that some children with behavioral disorders could benefit from the removal of certain food colors from their diet, results from a larger group of children confirmed that this was true. Consumption of certain mixtures of artificial food colors and benzoate preservative could influence children’s hyperactive behavior.

Researchers warn parents shouldn’t think that by simply removing these food additives out of the food will help prevent all kinds of hyperactive behavior the child is indulging in. There may also be other factors that influenced the child’s behavior but this food consuming activity could be atleast one thing a child could avoid. 

The study was carried out by a professor of Psychology, Jim Stevenson and a team of researchers from the University of Southampton.