05 March 2013

Do we need them very much?

Food additives. Are they good or bad? 

What are Food Additives?
The pursuit of happiness through the enjoyment of food is a centuries old human endeavor. Tastetexture, freshness and eye appeal are major contributors to such enjoyment, made possible in our
modern lifestyle through the use of highly specialized ingredients known as food additives.

Food additives afford us the convenience and enjoyment of a wide variety of appetizing, nutritious, fresh, and palatable foods. Their quantities in food are small, yet their impact is great. Without additives, we would be
unfortunately lacking in the abundant and varied foods that we enjoy today.

Food additives's purpose. What they are made for?

1. To provide nutrition 

-To improve or maintain the nutritional quality of food. 
-The addition of iodine to salt has contributed to the virtual elimination of simple
-The addition of Vitamin D to milk and other dairy products has accomplished the
same thing with respect to rickets. 
-Niacin in bread, cornmeal and cereals has helped eliminate pellagra, a disease characterized by central nervous system and skin disorders.
-Thiamine and iron are used for further fortification in the diet and as a result, diseases due to nutritional deficiencies, common in lesser developed countries, are now very rare in the United States.

2. To maintain product quality and freshness 

-Fresh foods do not stay that way for long periods of time; they rapidly deteriorate, turn rancid and spoil. 
-Food additives delay significantly this deterioration and prevent spoilage caused by growth of microorganisms, bacteria and yeast and also by oxidation (oxygen in air coming into contact with the foods). 
-Can avoid the fresh fruits like apples, bananas or pears to turn rapidly brown as a result of the oxidation process. So, placing the slices in juice from lemons,limes or oranges are such a good way to stop this oxidation process.
-Ascorbic acid do the same thing by using the principal active ingredient in citrus juice – when packaging fruit slices. 
-Propionates, which naturally occur in cheese, are used similarly in bakery goods to prevent the growth of molds.

3. To aid in the processing and preparation of foods 

-Emulsifiers such as lecithin from soybeans maintain mixture and improve texture in dressings and other foods.
-They are used in ice cream where smoothness is desired,in breads to increase volume and impart fine grain
quality, and in cake mixes to achieve better consistency.
-Pectin, derived from citrus peels and used in jellies and preserves when thickening is desired, belongs in the
category of stabilizers and thickeners. 
-Leaveners used tomake breads, biscuits and rolls rise, include yeast, baking powder and baking soda. 
-Humectants, like sorbitol that naturally occurs in apples, are used when moisture retention is necessary, such as in the packaging of shredded coconut.

4. To make foods appealing 
-Food additives such as flavoring agents and enhancers, coloring agents and sweeteners are included by food processors because we demand foods that look and taste good.

But............ do they have effect on us? Are all this delicious foods are bad? 

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