Are You Eating These 6 Food Additives?


What’s in your food? If you’re cooking at home using fruits, vegetables whole grains, legumes, nuts, seeds, and lean meats, or enjoying prepared meals made from fresh ingredients, you know what you’re eating.

Practicing portion control, eating plenty of fruits and vegetables, and other whole foods is the healthiest way to eat and manage calories.

But if your diet includes foods other than whole foods and meals made from fresh ingredients, you might want to know what’s really in it. Here are six common additives used in food the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics wants you to be aware of:

1. pH Control Agents

In a dish that contains an acidic ingredient (like orange, lemon, lime, pineapple), and pH control agents are sometimes used to offset the acidity. They’re frequently used in jams, ice cream, candy, cheese, and some fruit-flavored drinks.

2. Anti-caking Agents

Ever wonder how food manufacturers make pre-made powdered mixes for things like milk, eggs, cake, or brownies that isn’t lumpy? Additives like calcium phosphate, silicon dioxide, stearic acid, and others act as anti-caking agents to make it possible.

3. Emulsifiers

If you mixed oil and water together in your own recipe for a salad dressing or cookies, what would happen? You’d see the oil and water separate. And that’s not what you want if you’re in the business of making processed food with a longer shelf life. Food manufacturers use emulsifiers such as lecithin, diacetyl tartaric acid, and sodium stearyl lactylate to help blend foods like whipping cream, bread dough, and packaged egg whites.

4. Humectants

Ever bite into a boxed donut that’s been sitting on the shelf for days, and discover it’s still soft and moist? That wouldn’t happen if you made it exclusively from fresh ingredients. But by adding humectants (various forms of sugar), food manufacturers can prolong the shelf life, taste and texture of baked goods. It’s also used to sweeten some gums, candy, and foods.

5. Stabilizers

Here’s another commonly used food additive. Stabilizers. This group of additives can also include thickeners and gelling agents. And they come in many forms made from potatoes, corn, egg whites, some root vegetables, seaweed and some fruits.

6. Leavening Agents

Ever wonder how food manufacturers can make such fluffy pancakes, muffins, breads, and other baked goods? Leavening additives like baking powder, beer, yeast, whey protein, and yogurt can yield bigger results in the bakery.

These additives frequently used by food manufacturers are recognized as safe by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. But if you want to stick to clean eating, check out the Portion Control menu for meals made with fresh ingredients. To be clear, are a few of these additives to be found in our complete meals, usually in third-party ingredients such as beef base or gravy mixes.But we strive to keep the ingredients clean and fresh.