Artificial Ingredient

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Ingredients have long been important in food preparation; the ancients used salt as a preservative for fish and meat. They also applied spices and herbs to intensify the tastes of the meal, as well as fruits preserved with sugar and cucumbers in a vinegar solution. In today's world, most consumers want flavored foods that are also nutritious, colorful, fresh, inexpensive, and convenient. Many of these demands are made possible by food additives and advances in technology. Thousands of foods are used by people every day, and the food and drug administration (FDA) accepts over 3000 of them. Sugar, flour, baking soda, paints, and spices are some of the most often used ingredients at home. Some consumers still have concerns about the additives because they may see complicated names and think of them as chemical mixtures. Every edible food whether a fresh fruit or a homemade meal contains compounds determining flavor, texture, color and even the nutrient values. All the additives are under the federal authority as well as international organizations regulation to ensure accurate labeling and safety. The purpose of this paper is to discuss the ingredients and the additives and determine their safety.

Body

Natural food is a broadly used word in the food sectors especially in the marketing department and contains various definitions some of which are vague. Often, the term is assumed to imply non-processed foods and that all its ingredient products are natural hence convey an appeal to nature. Lack of standards in most area renders the term meaningless although, in some countries, it has definition and enforcement procedures. In nations like the United States, it is not obligatory (Khan).

The food and drug administration (FDA) is an organization in the Health and Human Services department in U.S.A. FDA made some comments regarding the use of the term natural in the food labeling. There has been a changing landscape in the food production and ingredients and also a direct response to the consumers who for long have been advocating for the revisit of the word natural in food labeling. The agency responded by requesting the public to provide comments and information on the use of the term as seen in the already labeled food products. The organization took action in part since three petitions were demanding the agency to define the word “natural” and also one appeal wanted prohibition of that word. Some of the federal courts too, due to the lawsuit between the private agents, requested administrative direction and explanation from FDA on whether the products containing ingredients from genetic engineering and with a higher level of fructose corn syrup can have a natural label (Bicas).

Even though FDA has not taken an engagement in rulemaking to find an official definition of the word “natural,” there exists a standing policy concerned with its use in the human food labeling (Igoe). The organization considers the term to mean no addition of anything synthetic or artificial to any natural food including coloring additives. However, the policy did not intend to address the food production methods and processes such as pesticide usage. It also did not discuss the food manufacturing or the processing methods such as pasteurization and thermal technology or even the irradiation. Again, it limited itself from defining whether natural should contain any health benefits.

Artificial foods are all ingredients created to imitate the natural food such as specific coloring and flavors. Example of such products is the scientifically produced raspberry flavor that mimics the authentic taste of natural raspberries. However, some foods such as those canned and the long life milk are processed but have no other chemical additives. Ingredients are sometimes supplemented with food to increase nutrient levels for instance calcium added to orange juice. In labeling, artificial means any addition to processed foods. Food manufacturers use both natural and synthetic ingredients to preserve or combine the flavors, texture as well as the food color. Both types of food provide the processed one with extra minerals and vitamins. For example, the lecithin in soya and corn offers the product consistency. Also, beets give powder for coloring. Some natural ingredients can artificial production in a more economical method than the natural way, for instance, vitamin C can be produced quickly in a laboratory than found in an orange.

Some of the food additives added to make it artificial includes: the anti-caking means that checks the ingredients from forming lumpiness; antioxidants that stop foodstuff from becoming rancid or oxidizing; synthetic sweeteners that raise the level of sweetness and emulsifiers which stops the clotting of fats. Some other additives include the food acids that maintain the required acid levels; colors, humectants to keep the food moist; flavors and their enhancers; mineral salts for increasing flavor and texture; preservatives that prevent microbe multiplication and food spoilage (Carocho et al. 284). More additives are the vegetable gums and thickeners that enhance consistency and taste; firming agents and stabilizers to maintain an even dispersion; flour treatments to increase the baking quality and glazing agents to protect food and improve appearance. Also, we have the gelling agents to alter the food texture via forming the gel; propellants to drive food from the tin; swelling agents for the size increment by use of gases, and the bulking cause to enlarge the volume with no considerable energy alteration within the food. In the case where one is not sure that a product has some additives, they should check the labels even though it is possible for some additives to be contained in the ingredients but not mentioned. For example, one can list margarine as an ingredient, but it has some food additives. Both natural and artificial ingredients have chemicals, but their difference is that the former is formed from anything edible such as vegetables and animals and have no chemical additive while the latter comes from anything that cannot be eaten such as petroleum that can be processed to form flavoring chemicals.

What is wrong with artificial ingredients?

The reason as to why most food manufacturers use coloring is because the processed food loses most of its fibers, natural variations, texture, nutrients and flavors. What is left behind is just a bland and unexciting “pseudo-food” that defined as totally unappetizing? In this situation, additives such as colors, flavors, and some nutrients have to be added to increase desirability and hence making it loaded with additives.

Food manufacturing and processing have high usage of dyes connected to most types of cancer. The widely used ones are red 40 and yellow 5 and 6 and they are polluted with known carcinogens. Others are red three which FDA recognizes to be carcinogenic and yet it is still in supply. The Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) says that yellow five causes hyperactive and behavioral problems in children besides organ damages, congenital disabilities, cancer and some allergic reactions (Batada et al. 1113). Most of the dyes found in fruit juices, soft drinks, as well as salad dressings and preservatives such as sodium benzoate, make children more distractible and hyperactive. The E-numbered dyes also lead to a significant IQ reduction, and this made the Food Standard Agency give an advisory warning to parents to limit additive intakes to children in the case where they notice behavior changes to children. Due to such toxicity, dyes in food can never be considered safe, and FDA should abolish such additives.

Most of the processed food contains excess sugar or the fructose corn syrup which are essential to the body although it causes adverse effects on the metabolism when consumed in excess. Manufacturers of those products also spend massively to ensure that it is rewarding and eventually lead to overconsumption. Most of the artificial foods contain refined simple carbohydrates which lead to a rapid increment of the insulin and blood sugar levels and ultimately bring adverse health effects.

Why do you think artificial ingredients are harmful?

Almost every nutritionist recommends people to eat a variety of vegetables and fruits to acquire the needed minerals and vitamins, but one can also use drinks enriched with vitamins such as some sodas and pasta with calcium. The consumption of the enhanced products may produce equal benefits as consuming the supplements and can even be more efficient and beneficial than some of the multivitamins. Most nutrients such as vitamin A are digested better when taken with food because they are fat-soluble and hence this explains why most margarine products include it. Other nutrient additives can favorably combine with the naturally found components in specific foods. For example, vitamin D is mixed with milk and helps in calcium absorption. Most of these artificial foods are not impressive as claimed by their labels despite the fortification. Processing denatures some of the nutrients depending on the level of that activity. Sometimes, the manufacturers have to add the lost vitamin to ensure an increased healthy of the final product.

One of the major components missing in artificial food is fiber which helps the body to slow the sugar absorption into the blood; makes one feel fuller for a longer time and improves digestion. Moreover, such food may contain an excess of some components such as minerals or vitamins and thus make one to have an overdose especially when consumed regularly. Such excess consumption is not healthy, for instance, taking too much vitamin A can result in reduced bone strength and headaches. It is recommendable to check the food label and ensure no usage of a single component (Solymosi). Most of these foods ranging from trans-fat to colors have questionable health effects, and even if proven safe via research, a scare can linger for long in the people’s mind. It is possible to take years in researching the safety of a given processed food and sometimes it is never confirmed. Moderation and variety are essential parts of a diet, and though some people prefer the processed food, I would recommend usage of a variety of fruits and vegetables on a regular basis.

Conclusion

Food ingredients have been in use for many years although our ancestors used the natural additives. Such elements help to increase the flavor, color and the blend. The increased technology and business competitions have resulted in the production of many different artificial varieties that has substituted the natural ones. Synthetic food can heavily be linked with the health issues although its effects are not immediate. The accumulation of chemicals for a long time accompanied by an inactive lifestyle poses an impending threat to human life. At an individual level, people should consider using natural food that has negligible health effects such as vegetables and fruits. Being active also would help to remove most of the toxins from the body. An organization like FDA should enact stricter rules to ensure transparency in food labeling. If the ingredient contains any unnatural additive, then it should never be labeled as natural, and this would help to ensure personal and family health accountability. Besides such rules and regulations, they should provide enforcement to every food chain just like some countries do. Some ways of enforcing includes setting excessive monetary fines, jailing or even closure of the business. Some other ingredients such as the carcinogenic dyes, excess sugars and the fructose corn syrup need to be abolished and kept far from human consumption (Bearth et al. 130). Even though there exist significant issues from artificial ingredients, others have nutritional value with elements such as vitamins A, C, D and E; some acids like folic acid; also minerals such as zinc oxide, calcium carbonate, niacin and thiamine among others. These elements are in products such a flour, breakfast cereals, biscuits, bread, margarine and gelatin desserts. The manufacture of these foods also results in the availability of food over the year, and this means that food processing has advantages as well.

Work cited

Khan, Ikhlas A., and Ehab A. Abourashed. Leung's encyclopedia of common natural ingredients: used in food, drugs and cosmetics. John Wiley & Sons, 2011.

Igoe, Robert S. Dictionary of food ingredients. Springer Science & Business Media, 2011.

Bicas, Juliano Lemos, Mário Roberto Maróstica Jr, and Glaucia Maria Pastore, eds. Biotechnological Production of Natural Ingredients for Food Industry. Bentham Science Publishers, 2016.

Carocho, Márcio, Patricia Morales, and Isabel CFR Ferreira. "Natural food additives: Quo vadis?." Trends in Food Science & Technology 45.2 (2015): 284-295.

Solymosi, K., et al. "Food colour additives of natural origin." Colour additives for foods and beverages. Elsevier Ltd, 2015.

Batada, Ameena, and Michael F. Jacobson. "Prevalence of Artificial Food Colors in Grocery Store Products Marketed to Children." Clinical pediatrics 55.12 (2016): 1113-1119.

Bearth, Angela, Marie‐Eve Cousin, and Michael Siegrist. "“The Dose Makes the Poison”: Informing Consumers About the Scientific Risk Assessment of Food Additives." Risk Analysis36.1 (2016): 130-144.

October 19, 2022
Category:

Food Science Health

Subcategory:

Chemistry Human Body

Subject area:

Food Additives Salt Sugar

Number of pages

8

Number of words

2109

Downloads:

55

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