Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Additives are Used in Foods

If you are concerned about some of their effects, there are some very good pocket guides available that you w take with you to the supermarket.

A. Colorings

These are colours added to make a product seem more appealing. Colours can be divided into two groups. There are natural colours extracted from plants or animals, like caramels and carotene; or a tificial colours made from azo dyes or coal-tar dyes. There are people who are sensitive to some 0 these colourings.

B. Preservatives and food acids

These are added to foods to slow down or prevent spoilage from bacteria or fungi. They maintain constant acid levels in the food.

C. Antioxidants, mineral salts and food acids

Diet StartAntioxidants slow down rancidity and colour change due to oxidation from air. Mineral salts increase plumpness, add texture and water-holding capacity. Food acids maintain constant acid levels.

D. Emulsifiers, stabilisers, humectants, mineral salts, vegetable gums, anti-caking agents, firming agents, flour treatment agents

Emulsifiers and stabilisers stop water and oil from separating, for example, in margarines, chocolate, pastry and confectionery. Humectants are used in things like icings, cakes, soft tortillas and muesli bars to maintain moistness. Mineral salts improve the texture of foods like deli meats and ham. Vegetable gums thicken and gel foods like ice cream and mayonnaise. Anti-caking agents ensure that foods like flavour sachets and salt flow freely from the packet and do not clump together.

E. Flavour enhancers

Fl your enhancers bring out the flavour or aroma of a product, but do not contribute any flavour of their own. Number 621 (Monosodium Glutamate - MSG) is one of the most common examples.

This chemical flavour enhancer is very questionable because of the health risks associated with it. Flavour your enhancers are used in savoury foods like crackers, stock and gravy powders, instant noodle sachets and sauces, and some children's snacks.

F. Sweetening agents, bleaching agents, propellants (aerosols), anti-foaming agents, glazing agents

Sweeteners are used as a replacement for sugar in foods like soft drinks, yoghurts, chewing gum, protein powders and weight-loss products. Aspartame (951) is one of the more commonly used, and there are questions about its safety. Sometimes two sweeteners are used together - one as an intense flavour hit and the other as a bulking agent.

... andjoyohoxing