Nutritional supplements are special substances added to food products to give them the necessary properties.
Food additives are introduced into the product at the stages of processing, production, storage, packaging and transportation.
The goals of introducing a food supplement into a product can be:
- getting a taste or aroma;
- the formation of consistency;
- increase the shelf life.
For ease of use, all food additives have their own unique number, which begins with the letter "E" (according to the classification of the European Union). The classification of food additives is not a static phenomenon. New nutritional supplements are regularly added to the list, some of them move from allowed to prohibited and vice versa. In addition, such lists may vary from country to country.
There are natural supplements that do not harm the human body.
Natural nutritional supplements
This group of food additives includes substances that are found in nature and do not harm human health. The origin of these additives can be plant, animal, mineral. Even eating only products “from one’s garden” and “from one’s own cow”, such nutritional supplements enter our body and not only do not harm, but also often have a positive effect on our health.
Examples of natural nutritional supplements:
E100 - curcumin, a coloring substance obtained from a turmeric plant;
E406 - agar, a gelling agent from seaweed (a component of some sweets and marmalade);
E414 - gum arabic obtained from some trees;
E160c - paprika oil resins, as the name implies, is extracted from paprika, etc.
There are additives that are artificially made natural additives. That is, such substances are found in nature, but for industrial purposes they are obtained artificially. Such additives are also safe for the body, however, there is already one “but”: in the process of their preparation, distillation by-products, metal impurities, etc. can get into the substance. Food additives from this group are often called "identical to natural."
E300 is an ascorbic acid recommended by many doctors for daily use. For industrial purposes, ascorbic acid (vitamin C) is obtained from glucose.
E160a - carotenes, all known useful substances from bright carrots. In industry, carotenes are mined either by extraction from natural products or by chemical means.
E296 - malic acid, which is normally synthesized in the human body. Chemically malic acid is obtained.
E153 - vegetable coal, fossil substance. Often it is obtained by carbonization of plant materials.
E260 is the most common vinegar.
Fully Synthetic Nutrition Supplements
Nutritional supplements of this group are not found in nature, are not produced in the human body, and therefore require closer attention. Some of the synthetic additives are poorly understood, some significantly increase the risk of allergic reactions, the development of hypertension, digestive system disorders, and the occurrence of malignant tumors.
When determining the admissibility of the use of food additives in food products, they usually focus on lists of prohibited and unauthorized food additives.
Prohibited additives are substances whose negative effect on the human body has been proven. Unauthorized additives include substances for which data are not yet sufficient or studies have not yet been completed.
Prohibited food additives.
Examples of Common Junk Food Supplements
E250 - sodium nitrite. A traditional component of industrial sausages. Despite the fact that sodium nitrite is a poison dangerous to humans and mammals, it is actively used in the production of sausages, but its dose is extremely small and therefore not dangerous. When purchasing sausage in a store, it should be remembered that the permissible dose of sodium nitrite for smoked sausage exceeds the same indicator for cooked sausage, since smoked meat is considered to be a festive product, a delicacy that is used much less often.
E951 - aspartame. Aspartame is a popular sweetener in many carbonated sugary drinks. Once in the human body, aspartame breaks down into phenylalanine, aspartic acid and methanol - a known poisonous alcohol. Its dose of 5-10 ml leads to severe poisoning with the possible development of blindness, and 30 ml is already a lethal dose. Of course, after drinking even a full bottle of soda with aspartame, a person will still be far from methanol poisoning, however, limiting the use of such drinks is quite reasonable.
E338 - phosphoric acid. It is part of the low-calorie Coca-Cola and some other drinks. It is added to products to give sourness and a light bitter taste. This food supplement helps reduce bone strength and destroys tooth enamel.
E952 - sodium cyclamate. Sweetener used in sweet carbonated napkins