Wait! What’s in that delicious muffin you’re eating? Maybe, a lot more than you thought! Chemical additives are used to affect flavors or preserve products, and they have other uses. But these additives can also negatively affect your health, so it’s important to pay attention to them. You might be able to find a different tasty muffin without those additives.
Because you never know what might be in a food product these days, it’s important to read the ingredient list for each food item before you buy it.
These common food additives could be dangerous to your health:
Titanium dioxide. Titanium dioxide is a common ingredient in sunscreens, but it’s also used as a food additive. You may find it in salad dressings, powdered sugars, baked goods, and other items.
- The International Agency for Research on Cancer considers titanium dioxide a dangerous food additive and recommends that consumers avoid eating it. The agency labels it as a class 2 carcinogen based on several studies.
- The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) labels it as a GRAS product. GRAS stands for “generally recognized as safe,” but titanium dioxide is a controversial ingredient.
Sodium benzoate. Sodium benzoate is used as a preservative in multiple foods and drink products such as salad dressings, jams, sodas, and pickles.
- Sodium benzoate can cause allergic reactions in some people.
One of the main concerns with sodium benzoate is the product that is formed if it’s mixed with ascorbic acid. Some food and drink items contain both sodium benzoate and ascorbic acid, so benzene can form. Benzene is linked to cancer in several studies.
Brominated vegetable oil. This additive is found in sodas and has been linked to several health issues.
- The Food and Drug Administration doesn’t consider brominated vegetable oil a GRAS (generally recognized as safe) product. In addition, discussions about banning this additive are an ongoing topic.
- Brominated vegetable oil is banned in Europe, and several companies in the U.S. no longer use it.
- This additive can allow bromine to accumulate in your body and reach unsafe levels. Bromine has been linked to thyroid issues, nerve damage, cancers, and other health concerns.
Potassium bromate. It may sound similar to brominated vegetable oil, but potassium bromate is a completely different food additive.
- Potassium bromate can be found in bread, flour, crackers, and other baked goods. It’s banned in multiple countries, and health experts recommend that consumers avoid it because of health issues.
- This food additive has been linked to cancer.
Interesterified fat. This fat is used to help preserve food and help it last on store shelves. However, it’s a controversial additive that has been linked to different health issues.
- Interesterified fat can be found in baked goods, canned soups, and other food items.
BHA (butylated hydroxyanisole). You may have noticed this common food additive in your cereal, butter, beer, crackers, gum, or potato chips. BHA can also be found in baked goods and preserved meat.
This food additive is considered a carcinogen by the National Institutes of Health and the Department of Health and Human Services.
- It’s a controversial item that continues to be the focus of multiple food safety debates.
- BHA can negatively affect the body in several ways. It can disturb normal sleep patterns and affect your appetite. It can also hurt the kidneys and has been linked to cancer. BHA may cause hair loss and other issues.
By paying attention to the ingredient lists, you can see the common chemical additives in your food. Learn more about their features, uses, and side effects, and take care of what you put into your body with your food.