Preservatives and Enhancers. Pluses and Minuses

(opinion article)

The topic of healthy food will always be relevant, but is it always natural – synonymous with health?

Olena Livinska, Candidate of Biological Sciences, Microbiologist, «ПроЗдорове» Expert, interestingly explained this topic, so I decided to look into it in a little more detail.

Preservatives, stabilizers, emulsifiers, flavor enhancers, flavors, dyes – these are the substances that can often be found in many products from supermarkets. Bread, yoghurt, canned food, meat and fish products, sauces, sweet carbonated drinks. These substances are needed so that the products are stored longer and do not spoil, have a stable consistency, attractive appearance and brighter taste.

There is an opinion that everything natural is useful and healthy, and the so-called ‘chemistry,’ which is harmful. This is not the case. Natural is not always synonymous with healthy. For example, honey is a natural product, but it has a lot of sugar. The effect on our body is almost indistinguishable from white sugar. Salt is also a very natural product, but if you eat a lot of it, it will hurt your health.

It should be understood that these substances are not always artificial and are very natural. For example, the same sugar is often found in unsweetened foods, such as sauces and ketchup, because it is a natural flavor enhancer. Salt also performs this function. The danger lies in the fact that we may not even notice how much salt and sugar we consume per day, if, for example, we regularly eat with sauces.

Preservatives are used to ensure that food can be stored, spoiled and does not cause food poisoning. For example, for anchovies to be stored for a long time and not spoil, they must contain either sodium benzoate or a large amount of salt. But in the second case, it is also not very good, especially for people with hypertension.

Emulsifiers are substances that allow you to create homogeneous emulsions from immiscible substances. Often these impurities are contained in confectionery, mayonnaise, various sauces. Such foods should not be the basis of our diet, so if we eat them infrequently, they won’t harm the body. Instead, if you eat a lot of confectionery, it is also a question of what health problems will arise – from emulsifiers or a large amount of sugar. But for some reason, many people suffer more because of emulsifiers.

When choosing products, you should always pay attention to the expiration date, the content of free sugars (those contained in the product, not just added to it), salt and saturated fats. You should also try to choose foods that contain fiber. These are the aspects that have the greatest impact on our health.

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