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Additives and Preservatives

Preservatives are commonplace in most products bought in modern supermarkets, and while some of them are beneficial others can affect the health adversely so avoidance of the former is advised. Some suggestions on doing this follow below.

Preventing food from spoiling is an ancient technique, and preservatives are modern day methods for the same technique. To stop the food from becoming spoiled during storage and transportation, preservatives are placed in almost all food and beverages, so they maintain freshness. This is mostly done to combat mold, bacteria and yeast growth as well as to maintain the foods' original coloration and flavor. Methods for preserving food include pasteurizing, pickling, boiling, dehydrating, freezing, refrigeration and many others. Certain preservatives of natural origin, such as sugar, vinegar, salt and spices can be utilized for food preservation.

Though harboring a plethora of beneficial attributes, additives and preservatives can also cause harm to the health. Toxicity or carcinogenic properties can be attributed to some of them, which signify their ability to influence the reproductive health, central nervous system, immune system and behavior of individuals consuming them.

Preservatives with negative side effects.

Propyl Gallate is mostly placed in meat products, chicken soup base, chewing gums and potato sticks. Its original role is to stop the oil from becoming rancid, but has been found to be able to cause cancer. Alcoholic beverages such as wine, fruit and dried fruit, vegetables and soft drinks often contain antioxidants called sulfites and sulphur dioxide, which can eliminate the body’s vitamin B1 supply and can cause damaging reactions in asthma patients. Nitrates, usually sodium nitrate, are widely utilized in canned foods, cheese and meat to stop botulism, maintain color and add flavor, but they have also been found to potentially cause cancer and can even be the source of headaches and vomiting in children even more so than in adults. Sodium Citrate has been confirmed to cause bladder tumors, and is frequently placed in baby food and meat. Other preservatives, usually utilized in sauces, margarine, salad, fruit juices, baked foods, jams, cheese and pickled products, are sodium benzoate and Benzoic acid. Some of the damaging side effects they can cause include eczema, dermatitis (pseudoallergy) and eye irritation in asthmatics. Butylated Hydroxyanisole and Hydroxytoluene (BHA and BHT), usually contained in cereals, soft drinks and snacks, are additives that have carcinogenic traits and can instigate allergic reactions, nausea, hyperactivity, vomiting, asthma attacks and dizziness if consumed in excess. Finally, it is advised to avoid Tertiary Butylhydroquinone (TBHQ), found in high fat and oil content food, as it can induce delirium and nausea.

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