This Article is From Mar 11, 2019

The Truth About Food Additives And How Food Adulteration Can Progressively Harm Your Health

Food additives are used to process food and improve its aroma, texture, packaging and much more. Read here to know the numerous health risks posed by food additives and adulterated food.

The Truth About Food Additives And How Food Adulteration Can Progressively Harm Your Health

Adulterated food can increase risks of cancer


  • Food additives can increase risks of obesity and type 2 diabetes
  • They can make you feel dizzy and cause more headaches
  • Adulterated food can increase mental health risks as well

Food additives definitely deserve more attention than is given to them. They are substances that are added to food to give it interesting colour, taste and to increase it's shelf life. Nutritionist Nmami Agarwal takes to Instagram to share the risks related to additives in food. She says that food additives are used to process food and improve its aroma, texture, packaging and much more. More than 2,500 additives are added to food in order to process it in the desired form. These additives may be causing a progressive harm to your health, based on the frequency of their inclusion in your daily diets.


In order to help you make a wise food choice in future, here are the risk factors related to food additives:

1. Preservatives

Sulphites are added to dried fruits and wine in order to prevent the former from turning brown and stopping bacteria from spoiling the latter. Nmami informs that sulphites can cause allergic reactions, hives and even cause asthma attacks.

Sulphur dioxide, metabisulphites, nitries and nitrates are instances of sulphur additives which are added to sauces, bacon and salami. They enhance these foods with colour and also increase their shelf life. Nitrites and nitrates in processed foods tend to form nitrosamines - which can increase risk of developing cancer. Other instances of preservatives include BHT, BHA and EDTA.


Artificial colours are added to some fruits to make them look more appealing
Photo Credit: iStock

Also read: Do You Think Artificial Sweeteners Are Healthy? Here's The Truth

2. Artificial flavours

Artificial flavours are chemical substances that are used to mimic the original or natural flavour of food. These artificial flavours can cause chest pain, headaches, dizziness, depression, fatigue, mental health issues and much more. Ethyl maltol, diacetyl, ethyl decadienoate and methyl anthranilate are examples of chemicals that are added to enhance flavour of food.

Also read: And You Thought You Could Lose Weight With Artificial Sweeteners

3. Artificial colours

As mentioned above, artificial colours are added to food in order to make them look more appealing. Candies, cereals, beverages, meat products and desserts are foods which are commonly adulterated with artificial colours. According to Nmami, food colouring has the tendency to increase hyperactivity and behaviour problems in children. They can cause allergies and also increase risks of asthma. Blue 2, green 3, yellow 3, yellow 6 and red 3 are colours used commonly to add artificial colour to foods.

4. Artificial emulsifiers

Emulsifiers are aerating and starch complexion agents that are added to foods like salad dressings, breads, chocolates and ice creams. Emulsifiers in these foods make them smoother and more resistant to melting. Artificial emulsifiers can increase risks of diseases related to metabolism like type 2 diabetes, obesity and cardiovascular diseases. They can also interfere with your digestion.

Thus, the next time you head to the supermarket for buying your groceries, do give a look to these ingredients in the label at the back of the foods. Make better food choices for a healthier, fitter future.

Also read: You Can Get Rid Of Food Adulteration

(Nmami Agarwal is nutritionist at Nmami Life)

Disclaimer: This content including advice provides generic information only. It is in no way a substitute for qualified medical opinion. Always consult a specialist or your own doctor for more information. NDTV does not claim responsibility for this information.