Dispensable Additives: Colors and sweeteners

Dispensable Additives: colors and sweeteners
Modern man knows little about what you eat and what you drink. Most foods we cast daily to mouth contain chemicals that can be aggressive to the body. These are called food additives, of which there are about 300 authorized in Spain.
When are cumulative, when are incompatible with other similar or when consumed in excess can seriously damage your health, although health authorities warn not from labels.
We often go unnoticed inadvertent abuse we make of these chemicals. For example, to take a small slice of pizza with a soda, we may be consuming more than 20 various chemical additives. Three or four in each pizza ingredient, many others in the mass and up 8 more drinking. However, Many additives are unnecessary and perfectly dispensable, because it does not bring any substantial element to food. This applies to most dyes, that only serve a cosmetic function to hide the true quality of the raw materials. Or most of the sweeteners used in products “ligth”, Fooling the body but, despite what he believed, in any way help us lose weight.
Below are related and commented, with their codes “E” relevant and contraindications, all colors and sweeteners currently authorized in Spain. If it is true that we are what we eat, it will be useful in the market and in the kitchen to better understand.
Food colors are already used in ancient Egypt. Some unscrupulous manufacturers and traders have made fraudulent use of these additives since ancient times.
Its use in the fraudulent coloring spoiled food to trick consumers led governments to regulate their production and consumption. The first European-level legislation dating from 1962.
In Spain, the first list of permitted colors was published in the Official Gazette 13-10-64. Then the list only included 13 products. Currently they are 43 authorized dyes (BOE del 22-1-96). They may be natural or artificial and are identified because their codes are between the E-100 and E-180.
In certain circumstances, They can be aggressive or dangerous to health. And this applies to both licensed and those who are not allowed. For example, Germany 10.000 people are affected each year by urticaria and allergic reaction to this type of additives.
It is estimated that the 10% asthmatics suffer from asthma attacks because of azo dyes. In addition, are completely expendable, and who have no food except the utility to beautify or improve the appearance of food and drinks.
For the Consumer Advisory Committee, which brings together various associations across Europe, “dyestuffs are the perfect example of useless additive. Its use any technological justification should not be. They help to give foods a particularly flattering look that, in fact, misleads. Artificial food coloring is an unacceptable practice”.
Which are particularly undesirable part of the group of azo: E-102, E-110, E-122, E-123, E-124, E-127, E-128, E-129, E-154, E-155 E-180 y. Their impact on the body is not sufficiently known and has often been accused of causing allergies and behavior disorders in children. In the Nordic countries are banned almost all synthetic dyes. In the United States current authorized 9 artificial colors and Spain 23.
The dyes may also be natural, de origen mineral, vegetal o animal, but this does not mean they are necessarily safe. In addition, many colors “natural” are industrially reproduced by chemical synthesis (E-100, E-101, E-140, E-160, E-161), or are obtained in the presence of ammonia (E-150). Some, as cochineal (E-120), come from insects or other animals.
A significant example of food fraud to which the dyes are provided in the case of the xanthophylls (E-161), used as feed for livestock and poultry farmed fish for a more intense color in egg yolks and trout or salmon steaks.
Tartrazine (E-102) is the yellow dye used as a substitute for saffron to color the paella. May cause allergic reactions in asthmatics or poorly tolerated aspirin, itching, rhinitis and sleep disorders in children.
The rise of sweeteners and food sweeteners has much to do with fashion products “ligth” or low-calorie, but it is not clear that help you lose weight. Conversely, has been said to increase appetite anomalously. Some authors claim that intense sweeteners trick the body into believing that immediately come quickly absorbable nutrients. The body is prepared and predisposes to store what you get. The result is increased weight.
They often have a decent account toxicity, why some sweeteners have been recalled. Sweeteners can be natural or artificial but the most used are those of chemical origin. Its most common function is to sweeten soft drinks. This is the case, for example, of Aspartame (E-951). Of chemical origin, was discovered in 1965 and used from 1983 as a sweetener in many consumer products. In the body becomes phenylalanine, aspartic acid and methanol. Its toxicity is the subject of heated arguments in United States, where he has been accused of causing seizures, states as, brain tumors and blindness. On the other hand, the presence of high concentrations of phenylalanine in the blood is associated with severe mental retardation in a congenital disease known as phenylketonuria, so the Aspartame should not be consumed by people with the disease.
Cyclamic acid and its salts of sodium and calcium (E-952) an artificial sweetener is used since 1950. Effects not yet known very well. In animal experiments caused ovarian tumors, kidneys, skin and uterus. In humans, it has been said that interferes with the synthesis of thyroid hormones and can cause allergies. According to WHO could have potential carcinogenic and mutagenic effects, so are banned cyclamates in the United States, Japan, Britain and France from 1970. Consumption is not recommended especially for children and pregnant women. Can damage sperm and testes.
Saccharin and its sodium, potassium and calcium (E-954) is an artificial sweetener used since the early twentieth century. Has not been proven to help you lose weight. Higher doses caused bladder cancer in rats in experiments carried out in the seventies. It has been said that can cause cancer in children and grandchildren who takes. It was banned in France and in Canada. In the United States is obligatory to label products containing saccharin as a warning: “This product contains saccharin, of which has been determined to cause cancer in laboratory animals” the “the use of this product may be hazardous to health”.

Esteban Cabal.
Author of "Guide used in food additives". Mandala Publishing.

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