Toxicants in our Food

(Maheen Raza Hamdani, Rawalpindi)

Initially, people grew and consumed organic food from uncontaminated Earth. After Agricultural and Industrial Revolution, modern food industry became dependent on processed food and additives. Food additives are used to enhance the appearance and flavor of food and prolong their shelf life. But, is this reliance really an advancement or are we gambling with our health?

Let’s have a look. Aspartame known as NutraSweet used in sugar free foods is known to be neurotoxin, carcinogenic and affects short term memory. Trans fats that is used in deep fried fast foods and certain processed foods made with hydrogenated vegetable oil can increase the bad cholesterol levels in body (LDL), risk of heart attack and diabetes. Artificial colorings which are found in soda, fruit juices, and salad dressings may contribute to behavioral problems in children and lead to a significant reduction in IQ level. Certain preservatives and flavoring of hotdogs and other processed meats have sodium nitrate in them which can become highly carcinogenic once it enters the digestive system. Alginic acid used as gelling agent to thicken drinks, salad dressings, cheese spreads, dips and frozen desserts can cause birth defects and complications in pregnancy. Preservatives such as Butylated hydroxyanisole (BHA) and butylated hydroxytoluene (BHT) found in cereals, chewing gum, potato chips and enriched rice can affect the neurological system of the brain and have a potential to cause cancer.

Risk assessment of food additives are conducted by an independent, international expert scientific group – the Joint FAO/WHO Expert Committee on Food Additives (JECFA). Only food additives that have undergone a JECFA safety assessment, and are found not to present an appreciable health risk to consumers, can be used.

At the end, just remember, “To eat is a necessity but to eat intelligently is an art.”

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About the Author: Maheen Raza Hamdani
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19 Jul, 2018 Views: 326


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