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Food Additives Essay

2487 words - 10 pages

America, as we know it, is notorious for having the reputation as the fattest country in the world. In fact, diabetes and heart disease (which are both closely linked to the overweight and obesity problems of America) are the second causes of death in the country. According to statistics taken by the CDC in 2010, nearly 33 percent of all adult Americans are suffering with obesity. That is one out of every three adults… Partially responsible for this is food additives which have been used for thousands of years, even in prehistoric times. Our ancestors discovered that large amounts of sugar helped preserve fruit and the use of salt preserved meat and fish. The ancient Egyptians used sulfites to stop bacterial growth and fermentation in wine. Today, salt, sugar, and high fructose corn syrup are by far the most widely used additives. The role of food additives has become more prominent in recent years, due in part to the increased production of prepared, processed, and convenience foods. As a result, scientists and others have questioned the necessity and safety of these substances. Our nation’s health is at its lowest and because of food additives such as artificial sweeteners, high fructose corn syrup and hundreds of many others as well as the misapplication of proper food labeling; numerous health issues continue to attack the unknown consumer regularly.

According to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), a food additive is a substance or its byproducts that are used to affect the characteristics of a food. They are usually chemicals not including spices, seasonings, and flavorings. The additive may become part of the food product directly or indirectly during preparation, storage, or packing. Direct additives are added to a product to preserve or replace a specific feature; indirect additives are found in tiny amounts and get into foods during growing, storing, and packaging. Additives are used in foods for five main reasons: to control acidity/alkalinity, enhance flavor or desired color, maintain product consistency, maintain wholesomeness, and last but not least, improve or maintain nutritional value. Nevertheless, they are still detrimental to one’s health.

One of the most serious, harmful additives is aspartame, which is more commonly known as Equal and NutraSweet; it is a neurotoxin and carcinogen that may lead to a wide variety of ailments including brain tumor. Dr. Farlow declared in an interview she had with Norma Lehmeier Hartie of Harmonious Environment that, “Almost any symptom can be a result of a food additive… Aspartame has been associated with 92 different adverse reactions…”

The FDA’s approval of safe consumption of this sugar substitute should not be taken lightly and dismissed, 85 percent of all complaints registered with the FDA are for adverse reactions to aspartame. If that was not enough to shock you, try to wrap your head around this one. In a two-year study conducted by the manufacturer of aspartame, twelve...

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