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Why Should you Check the Labelling of Food Products

Posted Feb 14 2013 6:37am

Did you hear about the horse meat scam? This news sent shivers down my spine thinking to what extent people can go in order to make money. Well, I would advise you to always check the labelling before you buy food products. Food additives can cause a lot of harm to your body. They are used to preserve the flavour of food, make the food tastier and attractive to look. Food additives can be preservatives, artificial sweeteners and colourings.

Preservatives- the examples of preservatives are propyl gallate, BHA &BHT, sodium nitrite and sodium nitrate. A recent research found that by reducing the amount of sodium in foods many thousands of lives can be saved in the US. The risks of preservatives include allergic reactions and cancer. Exposure to nitrite and nitrate can cause methemoglobnemia. Sounds Greek and Latin? It is a potentially fatal condition which reduces oxygen carrying capacity of blood which results in blue colouring of skin and mucous membranes.

Artificial sweeteners include saccharin, aspartame, acesulfame- k. Some new artificial sweeteners are splenda and neotame which is 7,000 to 13,000 times sweeter than sugar. Artificial sweeteners are not good for the body as well as the metabolism. People with a disorder called phenylketonuria should avoid these artificial sweeteners especially the ones containing aspartame. Because they cannot metabolize an amino acid found in aspartame. In that case it accumulates in dangerous amounts and causes brain damage.

Hope I have scared you to death. People suffering from lactose intolerance should be careful about lactose. It can be added to biscuits and chips. The other flavour enhancer is caffeine it may cause peptic ulcer, sleeplessness, nervousness and in some cases even birth defects. Monosodium glutamate or popularly MSG is mainly used in Chinese cooking. It may cause allergic reactions to some, so be careful about it.

Food colours make the food attractive that’s it. It does not add any nutritional content to food stuffs. Some examples of artificial colourings are blue 1 and blue 2, red 3 and yellow 6. They can trigger allergic reactions and are found to cause cancer in some animal studies. Tartrazine was linked to hyperactivity in children. Food colourings such as sodium benzoate can adversely affect the behaviour of children between 3 to 9 years.

So the next time you go to shopping check the labels carefully and buy the products. On second thoughts to optimize the functioning of body and mind and to stay fit you can opt for fresh or freshly prepared grains, legumes, vegetables, fruits, nuts and milk besides cold pressed oils and natural sweeteners.

Take care,

Photo of funny egg by Patou
Photo courtesy of
Take care, Swarnam
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