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Do you Read Food Labels Carefully? 4 Food Additives that you should avoid

 Do you find yourself often rushed for time and buying processed, chemical-laden foodstuffs? Prolonged consumption of food additives can lead to harmful health effects.

Paul Brent, Chief of Australia’s Food Standards, says that food additives have little or nothing to do with nutrition at all. They are a technological feature of the food industry. In Australia, food stuffs often have to travel a long distance and preservatives are a necessity from the economic point of view.

However, it’s important to realise that not everyone will experience adverse reactions to food additives; only those who suffer from sensitivity to certain food products are at enhanced risk.

Quick tips on Interpreting Food Labels

According to Australian Food Standards, ingredients must be noted down on labels according to decreasing weights.

Why are Food Preservatives Added?

  • Too add desired colour; many consumers associate foods with specific colours (Food colourings have their code beginning with 100-)
  • To add shelf life and extend life-span of the commodity (preservative ingredients have codes beginning with 200-)
  • To prevent premature oxidation of food (If you see food codes beginning with 300-, those are antioxidants)
  • Artificial Food flavours begin with 600-

4 harmful food additives

Sodium Benzoate

Sodium benzoate is added to prevent food from becoming rancid. There have been concerns over combining sodium benzoate with vitamin C (ascorbic acid) as it forms a compound called benzene. Large amounts of benzene consumption may be toxic.

Monosodium Glutamate

Monosodium glutamate is often added to foods like soy sauce and other Chinese foodstuffs for added flavouring. MSG is not recommended for those who have an allergic reaction. People who are sensitive to MSG may experience headaches or wheezing.


Nitrates on their own are relatively harmless and are used as food preservatives. However, a by-product of nitrates called nitrites reacts with meat proteins to form cancer causing products. Scientists are investigating the possible link between excessive consumption of nitrates and stomach cancer.

Food Colourings

Food colourings are known to worsen symptoms of ADHD in children. Children with ADHD display boisterous, hyper and overactive behaviour. The food colourings under question in Australia are sunset yellow (code 110), carmiosine (122) and allura red (129).

Chief Dietician of Royal Alfred Prince Children’s Hospital, Dr Ann Swain suggests that natural additives contain only a small amount of chemicals while with artificial additives you tend to consume a large amount at one shot.


Synthetic food additives contain a concentrated amount of chemical culprits.