Nowadays, it is impossible to imagine food without various food additives. Almost every product in a grocery store contains a large number of such substances: colorants, flavors, flavor enhancers, stabilizers, acidity regulators and sweeteners. Without food additives, the expiration date of most products would be substantially reduced, and some products would not appear at all. Nutritional supplements significantly diversified the menu of a modern person and allowed to give unusual tastes and non-standard textures to even familiar and ordinary food products.
What are nutrition supplements?
Nutritional supplements are specific substances of natural or synthetic origin. They are used in the manufacture of food products to create unusual combinations, changes in the properties, structures of products. Such substances have their own name and labeling, which consists of the letter E and a digital code. In this form, all manufacturers must indicate the presence of food additives in the composition of their product. There are approved food additives and are prohibited for use in certain countries or the European Union. To understand the variety of additives, you need to understand what they are and why they are needed.
Depending on the origin all E additives can be divided into two types – natural and synthetic:
- Natural nutritional supplements are substances that are isolated from fruit, vegetables, and other plants. These include additives such as agar agar and pectin.
- Synthetic additives that are produced in the laboratory artificially
Why do we need nutrition supplements
Nutritional supplements are designed to change the properties of food products and improve them, add additional qualities, save for a long time. In ancient times, people noticed that some substances change the taste and allow you to store food for a long time. Such substances were salt, sugar, lemon juice, vinegar, honey and other natural components. With the development of the chemical industry, the list of food additives has expanded significantly, allowing you to create unusual combinations and properties of products.
Types of nutrition supplements
Nowadays, there are such types of food additives:
- Dyes (E100-E182);
- Preservatives (E200-E280);
- Acidity regulators (E300-E391);
- Stabilizers, emulsifiers, thickeners (E400-E481);
- Amplifiers of taste and flavorings (E600-E637);
- Sweeteners, improvers, anti-foam (E900-E967);
- Enzyme substances (E1100-E1105).
Dyes are designed to increase or change the color of the product. Use them only in products that have been processed. And natural products such as fruit, vegetables, meat, fish, milk should not contain dyes. Synthetic dyes are also prohibited for children. Do not be afraid and avoid all food colors, because among them there are completely harmless.
All dyes are divided into three types:
- Natural – made from natural ingredients (vegetables, fruits, herbs). These include carotene, chlorophyll, anthocyanins and others. They, like other nutritional supplements, have their own designation with the index E.
- Mineral – they are isolated from mineral substances and are used to dye the surface.
- Synthetic – chemical dyes. They are brighter and more stable than natural nutritional supplements. Their production is cheap, so synthetic dyes are used most often. But they should be handled very carefully, because some of them can be harmful.
Preservatives are a group of substances that allow you to save food for a long time. They kill bacteria and other microorganisms that can quickly destroy a product. Preservatives can also affect the human body, so only harmless preservatives that have passed the test should be used in the food industry.
Scientists and doctors have established dose restrictions for preservatives that allow you to keep the product fresh and not harm your health. If the manufacturer adheres to these standards the products can be consumed. In addition, there is a large number of habitual preservatives that were used by our ancestors and which we still use when preserving products. This is salt and sugar. They are not so harmless if you use them in large quantities.
This group of substances is called differently: acidity regulators, antioxidants, antioxidants. Such E additives can prevent oxidation of products and preserve the taste and properties of the goods. They are found naturally in many natural products: tea, vegetables, and fruits. These are ascorbic, citric and phosphoric acids. For industrial purposes, acidity regulators can be isolated both from plant components and synthesized in laboratories. The formula and alphanumeric designation of these substances will be identical. The differences are only in origin.
These substances including thickeners and emulsifiers make it possible to give the product the desired consistency, texture and keep it in this form throughout the shelf life. They are divided into 2 types:
- Thickeners are food additives designed to gel products. They are used to make jelly, jelly drinks, marmalade and other products that need to give a jelly-like mass. Food products use only natural (agar-agar, guar gum, pectins, etc.) substances or semi-synthetic (modified starch, methyl cellulose, etc.) Semi-synthetic thickeners are also made from plants, but they are also processed and modified.
- Emulsifiers and stabilizers are substances allowing mixing and preserving the combination of such products that cannot be mixed without additives. For example, using emulsifiers, you can combine vegetable oil and water into a stable mixture. These nutritional supplements are based on fatty acids and esters.
Taste amplifiers and flavors
This group of food additives allows you to enhance the taste or aroma of the product, change it and improve it. Such substances may be natural or synthetic. Sometimes in the composition of the product may indicate that the flavor is “identical to natural.” The most popular flavor enhancer is monosodium glutamate. It is used in most modern products. There are many myths about its dangers and benefits, and a lot of opinions are voiced. There is currently no evidence that monosodium glutamate harms the body if used in limited quantities. But in any case, do not use products with this substance for children and people with food allergies.
Sweeteners, improvers, anti-foam
This category includes substances that can improve the properties of a food product. Among them are:
- Sweeteners – dietary supplements that replace natural sugar in foods. It can be both natural substitutes (fructose, stevia extract), and synthetic (xylitol, maltitol, saccharin). As a rule, they are much sweeter than regular natural sugar, so it is more profitable for manufacturers to use sweeteners or sugar substitutes. In addition, many sweeteners can be used in diet foods, such as diabetics or those on a low-calorie diet.
- In addition, many sweeteners can be used in diet foods, such as diabetics or those on a low-calorie diet.
- Improvers – substances that can preserve the structure of the product in an unchanged form. For example, ammonium sulfate helps protect flour or other bulk products from caking.
- Antifoam or antifoam agents – designed to control gas and foam formation in the production of products.
This small group of food additives includes substances that are often used in the production of cheeses and other dairy products, yeast pastry, and confectionery. They accelerate the process of fermentation of the product, improve the structure.
E supplements: harm or benefit?
Disputes about the dangers of E nutritional supplements worldwide are continuing. The effect of food additives on the human body is studied by scientists and physicians constantly. Many substances are recognized as absolutely safe for health. They are universally used in the food industry and do not cause any problems in healthy adults. But there are categories of people who are forbidden to use some even the most harmless supplements: these are children, pregnant and lactating women and people suffering from various diseases. There is also a whole list of nutritional supplements that are officially recognized as harmful to everyone.
How to protect your health? You should carefully study the composition of each product before you purchase it in a store. In order not to make a mistake with the choice, you need to know the list of prohibited and unauthorized substances.
Prohibited food additives (studies have been carried out and finally proven harm):
- E121 – citrus red 2 (dye)
- E123 – red amaranth (dye)
- E128  – 09/03/2007. red 2G (dye)
- E216  – para-hydroxybenzoic acid propyl ether, paraben group (preservative)
- E217  – para-hydroxybenzoic acid propyl ether sodium salt (preservative)
- E240 – formaldehyde (preservative)
Unauthorized nutritional supplements (tested or controversial results):
- E127 – Erythrosine – banned in several countries
- E154 – Brown FK
- E173 – Aluminum
- E180 – Ruby lithol VK
- E388 – Thiopropionic Acid
- E389 – Dilaurylthiodipropionate
- E424 – Kurdlan
- E512 – Tin (II) chloride
- E537 – Iron hexacyanomanganate
- E557 – Zinc Silicate
- E912 – Esters of montanic acid
- E914 – Oxidized Polyethylene Wax
- E916 – Calcium Iodate
- E917 – Potassium iodate
- E918 – Nitrogen oxides
- E919 – Nitrosyl chloride
- E922 – Potassium Persulfate
- E923 – Ammonium persulfate
- E924b – Calcium Bromate
- E925 – Chlorine
- E926 – Chlorine Dioxide
- E929 – Acetone Peroxide
There is still a large list of substances that can cause certain negative reactions of people with food allergies or chronic diseases. Such persons should pay special attention to the composition of the products and know the list of food additives that they are not recommended to consume. Also, nutritional supplements must be excluded from the nutrition of children under 3 years old.
Manufacture and sale of food additives
The production of food additives is carried out according to modern technologies. This approach allows you to get high-quality safe substances that comply with State Standard and other regulatory documents. Nutritional supplements significantly improve and simplify the process of food production. At the same time, it is important that the manufacturer used only high-quality additives from the category of permitted and approved.
Food processing enterprises require high-quality nutritional supplements, but they should be inexpensive. Now you can order these substances online on the Internet. Manufacturers offer a wide selection of nutritional supplements in their catalog. It is only important to clarify the availability of quality certificates for products so that they can subsequently be safely added to their products.
Food supplements have become a common and necessary ingredient. One can argue long and hard about the harm of such substances. But one thing is clear that modern nutrition is impossible without nutritional supplements. A wide choice of food and manufacturers allows consumers to choose the right products for their table independently.
For this purpose it is necessary to study the dietary supplements and why they are necessary in this or that product. In addition, it is worth remembering what kind of additives are harmful and controlling so as not to buy products with them. The best thing is to buy food from trusted stores and from trusted manufacturers who use only authorized harmless food additives.