Additives Quietly Being Added to US Foods

Additives Quietly Being Added to US Foods

( – The World Health Organization (WHO) defines food additives as substances added to either improve or maintain the safety, taste, texture, freshness, or appearance of the food people buy. It explained that additives are necessary for processed foods to ensure the products remain in good condition when they reach consumers. WHO said the substances can come from animals, minerals, and plants, or be manmade.

On January 31, the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics posted a research paper examining the consumption of products that contained four common additives over time. The doctors used Nielson Homescan Consumer Panels from 2001 through 2019 to compile their data and draw conclusions. They found the percentage of US purchases of foods containing the targeted additives jumped from 49.6% to 59.5% over that time period.

Although the doctors admitted there was an overall decrease in the use of such additives in many food and drink products, people were buying more of the food containing the substances. The researchers noted that the increase in households buying baby food products containing additives — a 20% bump — was cause for further investigation.

The researchers recognized the importance of additives for safety and shelf-life purposes and that most additives don’t pose a health risk at all. However, they claimed some can have negative effects and have been linked to “adverse health outcomes.” The doctors said research had connected high intakes of artificial food coloring to hyperactivity in kids and some emulsifiers causing weight gain and insulin resistance — for example.

A Professor of Nutrition at the University of North Carolina, Barry Popkin, said it’s important to know what “Americans are buying and eating” and hopes the study will “inform policymakers” on consumers’ exposure to additives in foods in order to spark positive change. It also could serve as a direction for future researchers who study the correlation.

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