Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Five Main Uses of Food Additives

Do you ever wonder why food have artificial colors, preservatives, artificial flavors or additives?

These are the five main reasons:

To control food texture.

Emulsifiers, stabilizers and thickeners can give food an even texture. They help keep ingredients and flavors blended in the product.

To improve nutritional value.

Nutrients are added to foods to replace those that were lost during processing. When nutrients are added that were never in the food, the foods are said to be fortified. This process of adding nutrients to foods helped reduce malnutrition.

To maintain freshness and safety.

Some additives are called preservatives. These are used to prevent spoiling in foods that may exposed to air, mold, and bacteria. The US Food and Drug Administration, known as FDA, has classed some food additives as "generally recognized as safe." This is known as GRAS. BHA and BHT are classed GRAS.

To help foods rise and control the acid-base balanced of food.

Leavening agents cause baked goods, such as bread, to rise. Other additives, such as yeast and sodium bicarbonate, help control the acidity and alkalinity of foods, which affect the flavor, taste, and color.

To improve flavor and color.

Natural and artificial colors enhance the appearance and taste of certain foods.

The FDA regulated the use of food additives. Before the FDA approves the use of a particular food additive, studies must be conducted that prove the substances are safe in large doses when fed to animals.

Food Additives are quite safe for most people, but some people may be allergic or sensitive to certain additives. Because of this, food manufacturers are required to list additives on food labels. People who know they are allergic or sensitive to certain things should always read the food labels and avoid any foods that may not be healthy for them.