Food Additives Aren’t All Artificial
Additives aren’t all artificial
Do you automatically return a product to the shelves when you see E numbers on the label? If so, you could be missing out on some good buys. Not all additives are synthetic; in fact many are natural substances, and a product which is free of artificial extras could still list E numbers on its label. The trick is to know whether you’re looking at friend or foe:
- E100 Friend-curcumin, an orange-yellow colouring extracted from turmeric root. Used in biscuits, cheese and margarine.
- E102 Possible foe – tartrazine, an extract from coal tar. Used as yellow dye in foods such as soft drinks and smoked fish. May cause headaches and hyperactivity in children, or allergic symptoms such as migraine and skin rashes. Also affects some asthmatics and people sensitive to aspirin.
- E220 Possible foe – sulphur dioxide. Preserves fruit and fruit products. Can cause nausea, headaches or asthma in some sensitive people.
- E300 Friend – vitamin C by another name. Used to stop fruit turning brown and fatty foods going rancid.
- E306 Friend – better known as vitamin E. Added to a range of foods to preserve fats and oils.
- E320 Possible foe – a chemical preservative known as butylated hydroxyanisole. Added to a range of processed foods, drinks and snacks. Can affect some asthmatics, hyperactive children and people with allergies. Should not be given to babies.
- E322 Friend – a soya extract known as lecithin. Used in low-fat spreads and as an emulsifier in chocolate.
- E621 Possible foe-monosodium glutamate. Used as a flavour enhancer, but it can cause headaches, nausea, palpitations and dizziness for some. Banned from baby foods.