What You Don’t Know About Food Additives

Colorants 

TARTRAZINE (E 102) 

Tartrazine is a bright yellow coal tar dye, commonly found in many sweets with colors ranging from cream to yellow to orange to green. Tartrazine is generally recognized to be responsible for a wide range of allergic and intolerant symptoms, including hyperactivity in children, asthma, migraine headaches, and skin rashes. According to some research, Tartrazine is also suspected as a possible cause of cancer. Its use is prohibited in Norway and Finland and restricted in Sweden. We often make the mistake of thinking that if a food is Tartrazine-free it is safe to consume, regardless of what other additives it may contain. So even if the package proclaims it is tartrazine-free, check what other ingredients it may contain, as many of the other approved colorants can also be harmful. 

ANNATO (E 160 [B]) 

This is a natural yellow coloring extracted from the Annato tree and used to color cheese and butter. The dairy industry may claim that it is harmless, but there is evidence that it can provoke symptoms of intolerance in people who are susceptible to urticaria (hives) or angioneurotic edema (a severe condition of hives or a bad skin rash). 

ALUMINUM (E 173) 

Used as a silver colorant, aluminum is also found in Ceylon (black) and green tea (though not herbal teas). Aluminum pots can oxidize and contaminate the food during the cooking process and can then be absorbed into the body. There is evidence that this metal plays a part in the onset of Alzheimer’s disease or senility. 

Preservatives 

SODIUM BENZOATE AND OTHER BENZOATES (E 210-E 219) 

Sodium benzoate is used in all margarines and in some dried fruits, sodas, juices, and bottled sauces and salad dressings. In all related studies, levels of consumption have been found that provoke ill-health including (in some cases) fetal damage, hyperactivity, asthma, and urticaria. 

SULFUR DIOXIDE AND THE SULFITING AGENTS (E 220-E 227 [INCLUDING SODIUM SULFITE]) 

These substances are commonly found in all dried fruit other than dark dried fruit such as dates, raisins, and prunes. If the dried fruit retains its original color, for example if the dried peaches are bright yellow and soft, then more often than not they have been treated with sulfur dioxide. It is also one of the most widely used preservatives as it is readily available and inexpensive. It is found in beer, wine, sausage meat, soups, sauces, juices, sodas, salad dressings, and dried vegetables. Sodium sulfite is used on red meat to retain the red, fresh appearance. Sulfur dioxide and sodium sulfite can reduce levels of calcium as well as enhance the carcinogenic (cancer-forming) action of any known carcinogen. They also destroy vitamin Bl and can cause nausea and headaches. They can provoke asthma attacks, eczema, hypertension (high blood pressure), and ulcers. I have found they also cause hives or urticaria and in some can result in anaphylactic shock. They appear to reduce levels of calcium in the body, making teeth and bones brittle. 

I have found that in several cases they have caused severe coughing in children, which in some instances had been diagnosed as bronchitis by their own doctors. Removing the offending food or drink has resulted in a return to health within days. If you wish to dry your own fruit and vegetables and want to retain the color, dip them in freshly squeezed lemon or pineapple juice. 

SODIUM NITRITE AND NITRATE (E 250 AND E 251) 

These substances are found in virtually all processed meats, bacon, polony, and Vienna sausages. They interfere with the mechanism for distributing oxygen around the body and they also combine with amines (basic chemicals found in our food) to produce nitrosamines, which are among the most carcinogenic substances ever identified. The question, according to scientists, is not whether they cause cancer but how much cancer they cause. 

ACETIC ACID (E 260) 

Acetic acid is the main ingredient of vinegar and is thus found in all bottled mayonnaises, dressings, pickles, and sauces. It is used both as a flavorant and a preservative. It is a corrosive and toxic substance that irritates the tissues and can damage the central nervous system, the kidneys, and the liver. Remember that acetic acid is a by-product of fermentation of food in the stomach, frequently the result of poor combining. Using lemon juice on salads is the healthiest option for that tang but if you must use vinegar then grape, apple, or balsamic is best. Read the ingredients; even though vinegar is a natural preservative it often has sulfur dioxide added! 

CALCIUM PROPIONATE (E 282) 

This is widely used as a preservative in breads, ranging from white loaves to whole wheat and rye. Calcium propionate prevents bread from becoming moldy. It can cause gastrointestinal symptoms similar to a gallbladder attack, and it may also be a cause of migraines. Calcium propionate destroys the enzyme that enables us to assimilate calcium. Imagine a more questionable combination than margarine on bread! So use butter and bake your own bread (or buy from a reputable baker). 

Sweeteners 

SORBITOL (E 420) 

Sorbitol is mainly used as an artificial sweetener. Formerly presumed safe, recent research shows that there is the possibility of it being carcinogenic, causing, in particular, bladder tumors. It can also produce diarrhea. Sorbitol is not permitted in any baby foods. 

ASPARTAME (NO E NUMBER GIVEN AS YET) 

Aspartame is also marketed as NutraSweet, Canderel, and various other brand names. Independent scientists claim that aspartame causes mental retardation, brain lesions, and neuroendocrine disorders (disorders associated with the nervous, endocrine, or hormonal systems) thus affecting the thyroid, pituitary, and adrenal glands, the ovaries and testes. In laboratory experiments, lesions (tumors) were produced in the uteruses of rats. According to Professor Wurtman (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) it may also disturb brain function in a variety of ways resulting in epileptic seizures. Further research shows that chronic brain damage may be caused when aspartame is consumed in combination with monosodium glutamate (MSG). Over the years I have dealt with hundreds of women who have had some serious hormonal problems and/or headaches that have cleared up after a few months off sweeteners. Diet soda and sweeteners are not an option in my opinion. Use raw honey or fructose in a powdered form. Other so-called natural sweeteners such as stevia and xylitol are known to cause diarrhea. Xylitol has a bit of a history as some animals in the research inexplicably died. I don’t believe either sweetener has been in use long enough to be found safe in humans. 

SACCHARIN (NO E NUMBER GIVEN AS YET) 

Saccharin has been found to cause cancers in laboratory tests, particularly cancer of the urinary tract. There has been much controversy surrounding this product throughout the past century, but the fact remains that it is carcinogenic and mutagenic. The most natural sweeteners to use would be freshly extracted fruit juices, dried fruit pastes such as date paste, and raw honey; in small quantities fructose powder can be used as a transitional food because even though it does not upset blood sugar like cane sugar does it is still highly processed and devoid of nutrients.