A number of additives and preservatives are added to enhance the flavour and appearance of food and for prolonging its shelf life. They are also used to help facilitate food processing, packaging and storage.
While some natural additives have been used safely for a long time, a host of new, synthesized ones have taken their place and their frequent use has raised safety concerns. Here is a look at some commonly used food additives and preservatives and their potential health risks.
1. Artificial sweeteners
Foods that come labelled “sugar-free” or “diet” are often flavoured with artificial sweeteners to improve their taste. Among these, the most popular one is aspartame. Not only is aspartame believed to be a neurotoxin that causes cognitive erosion and impacts short-term memory, it is also a carcinogen that can cause a number of ailments such as Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, diabetes, chronic fatigue and emotional disorders among others.
Whether it goes by the name of aspartame or something else, it is worth noting that artificial sweeteners are synthetic sugar derivatives. Although touted as no-calorie alternatives, artificial sweeteners can cause symptoms ranging from headaches, migraines and weight gain to serious health issues like cardiovascular disease.