Preservatives Found in Foods

Article by Diet Bites

The Antimicrobials

These additives serve to extend shelf life and prevent fungus from forming as well as harmful bacteria.

1. Benzoic acid and benzoates are found in beer, soft drinks, margarine, fruit products and acidic foods.

2. Nitrites and nitrates are found in processed meats including bacon, sausage, franks, ham and lunch meats. If the food has been smoked it likely contains nitrates.

3. Sulfites are common in dried fruits, relishes and shredded coconut.

The Antioxidants

These additives assist in preserving color in foods and drinks and also from becoming rancid.

1. Vitamin C (ascorbic acid, ascorbates) are found in fruit juices, jams and canned fruits.

2. BHA, BHT: found in fatty foods including cereal, chips, margarine, butter, cooking oils.

3. Tocopherols (Vitamin E) is added to oils and shortenings to prevent rancidity.

The Flavor Enhancers

The following substances are intended to improve the flavor of processed foods, often by heightening the taste bud sensations.

1. Dioctyl sodium sulfosuccinate: added to packaged foods.

2. Disodium guanylate: added to commercially processed meats.

3. Hydrolyzed vegetable protein: found in commercial mixes, processed meats.

4. Monosodium glutamate (MSG): added to Asian food, seasoning packets - including cubes used to prepare broths.

The Food Colorings

These are added to foods to make them appear more appealing to the consumer. Food Colorings include any of the following: beta carotene, caramel, carrot oil, citrus red #1, beets, blue #1, blue #2, red #3, red #40, yellow #5, yellow #6.

These additives are commonly found in everything from soft drinks to processed meats - and even to fruit to add color to the peel.

The Emulsifiers, Thickeners & Stabilizers

These assist in enhancing the texture of foods as well as add creaminess. They may also assist in adding volume to foods. Most of these additives can cause digestive upset with symptoms ranging from abdominal cramping to trapped gas.

They are commonly found in commercially prepared soups, bakery items, some puddings, and sauces.

They include: carrageenan, cellulose, glycerol, guar gum, gum arabic, lecithin, and pectins.

For further reading relating to food additives and their impact to human health, refer to this page at Diet Bites.

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