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Fitness & Health

24th Aug 2018

Five nasty ingredients hiding within your food

Despite prolonging the shelf-life of your favourites, certain food ingredients can hinder your health and fitness

Alex Roberts

They’re hiding in many of your favourites, from bread and pasta to milk and meat. Now, the most harmful food additives have been revealed

Many ingredients exist for the purpose of extending shelf-life, but this may detract from the hidden dangers.

The team behind have researched and compiled a list of the most common nasties found in everyday foods, revealing just how they can affect your body and brain.

From causing minor headaches and fatigue to risking major health issues, many foods fall foul of containing potentially harmful ingredients. 

It would be a mistake to assume processed foods are the only culprit – healthier, ‘clean eating’ options are often guilty. There is still a place for your favourite foods in your diet plan, but make sure you read the label first.

1) Monosodium Glutamate (MSG)

A flavour enhancer made up of components naturally found in your body, MSG contains water, sodium and glutamate – but that doesn’t mean it’s good for you. You may also see this referred to as “hydrolysed soy protein” or “autolyzed yeast”.

Often used in seasonings, condiments, and crisps, a little MSG is fine, but excessive amounts can reportedly cause headaches and nausea. 

2) Nitrates/Nitrites

Nitrates are a synthetic food preservative often added to cured meat such as bacon. When nitrates are exposed to high heat during the cooking process, they convert to nitrites.

Nitrites form nitrosamines when combined with different types of amines – found in cheese, wine and chocolate. These compounds are well-known carcinogens.

3) High Fructose Corn Syrup

This sweetener is popular with food manufacturers because it’s cheaper and sweeter than cane sugar. It also maintains moisture while preserving freshness. This is all well and good, but high fructose corn syrup is also associated with an increased risk of heart disease and is extremely common in processed food.

4) Sodium Benzoate

A preservative used in food and drink, sodium benzoate is particularly prevalent in milk and meat. When combined with food colouring – for instance in carbonated drinks – it may increase hyperactivity in children.

This additive may also react with the vitamin C in foods such as canned vegetables to create a carcinogenic substance called benzene.

5) Ammonium Sulphate

An inorganic salt commonly used in the baking industry, ammonium sulphate increases the volume and shelf life of bread. It’s a cost-effective option, but excessive consumption of the chemical can cause some gastrointestinal issues.

Read more on how your diet can help you shed stubborn fat with JOE’s Ditch The Dad Bod series