Packaged food contains preservative that increase the life span and shelf life of food items and thus make for an ideal meal option for people with fast paced lives. This also makes packaged food industry one of the fastest paced food industries in the market.
However, packaged food contains preservatives and additives designed to increase the longevity of the food items, maintain their taste and protect them from harmful germs while sealed inside the container. Although the additives do succeed in achieving these objectives they have a side effect of decreasing the nutritional value of food products.
Let’s look at some of the dangers of food preservatives in order to understand them better:
Dangers of Food Additives
These food items are readily available in the market and contain artificial flavoring such as sugars, chemical preservatives and food colors, which are all detrimental to health in the long run. Additives in particular include sodium nitrate, trans-fat, BHT, monosodium glutamate (MSG). You also want to look out of the sign ‘no sugar added’. This usually implies empty calories, which means they will be stored as fat. Soft drinks take up a major chunk of this category and are a leading cause of obesity in developed world.
Sodium nitrate is added to packaged meat, fast food and snacks. The sodium nitrate in meat converts into nitrosamines when exposed to high temperatures as in cooking. This new chemical is considered carcinogenic. Trans-fat also known as animal fat, is also found in biscuits, cakes and other packaged snacks. When you hear about obesity, diabetes and weight loss on the television animal fat is the culprit. It can clog up arteries and increase risks of a heart attack.
BTA and BTH are additives added to food to prevent fermentation. They are found on most food items especially in frozen food. Monosodium glutamate is also found in frozen food to enhance the flavor and currently under research to determine its carcinogenic potential. It is best to avoid food with these additives.
Food coloring can be found in ice creams, cereals and candies. They are the worst perpetrators of cancer and have no nutritional value. They have been known to cause autism, allergies and many other diseases. Other symptoms of additives include but not necessarily limited to:
- Body Ache
Packaged food has benefits as well and one prominent advantage is that of convenience as mentioned above. There is an additional advantage of reducing wastage; in the developing world food wastage is up to 30% in stark contrast to developed world where it is just 3%. However, these benefits come at the price of ill health and that makes them not a worthy choice for our daily food intake.