Technological development as well as consumer expectations are the cause of mass production of easy-to-prepare food, attractive in terms of taste, smell and appearance, and suitable for long storage. Shop shelves abound in articles, whose list of ingredients raises doubts. At the same time, more and more inquisitive consumers are afraid in the composition of the products purchased „the entire Mendeleev table”. So how do you choose products and where to look for information to host food on your table as the least processed, healthy, devoid of chemical additives?
E – how to break a code
Additives in food are chemical compounds that are not typical food products, nor are they food ingredients. Their application in the technological process of a given product affects its features, eg taste, appearance, durability, consistency. These substances are marked with the letter E – from the continent of Europe and the corresponding number or chemical name (eg E211 or sodium benzoate).
These compounds constitute a wide group of over 2,000 substances, which are divided into dyes, preservatives, antioxidants, emulsifiers, flavor enhancers, sweeteners. The safety of using additional substances is assessed by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA). On the basis of research, it specifies the Acceptable Daily Intake (ADI) for a given additive, i.e. the maximum daily dose (mg / kg body weight / day) that is consumed throughout life – it is unlikely to adversely affect health.
On the trail of E – additions
Despite the established rules for the use of additional substances, their addition to food is controversial. Every day we consume many products for which additional substances were used, so we do not know their actual consumption or mutual interactions. The influence of artificial coloring on the deterioration of the functioning of children with autism or ADHD is more and more often heard. As well as the increased risk of asthma in children whose mothers during their pregnancy consumed beverages containing artificial sweeteners. So where to look for information about additional substances? During everyday shopping, take a moment to familiarize yourself with the list of ingredients available products. At the beginning of the list, raw materials are placed which are used in the largest amount. The composition also contains information about additional substances in the form of a symbol with the letter E and number or their full name with the given technological function that they perform in the product.
Detective on shopping
The best way to make healthy dishes reign on our tables, is to choose products that are least processed, avoid instant dishes, ready-to-eat, artificial sweetened and colored drinks, food with a very long period of consumption. We buy food from proven sources, traditional, having quality certificates (eg ecological), and above all, carefully read the labels – the information contained therein is often downplayed and so important for the consumer.