Today we wanted to talk about those letters and numbers you often find in pre-packaged foods.
E numbers are codes for substances that are permitted to be used as food additives: they include food colouring, preservatives, antioxidants, emulsifiers, stabilisers, thickeners and gelling agents. Although they are permitted from the food authorities, it does not mean they are good for you, in fact many of them have extreme health adverse effects.
Some of the immediate effects of these chemicals and additives in your food may cause headaches or alter your energy level, or they may affect your mental concentration, behavior, or immune response but more scarily they can lead to chronic diseases like diabetes, cardiovascular problems and cancer.
It is important to know how to recognise these numbers and avoid them from the food we consume everyday. Here find an explicative list and their health risks:
E numbers 100-199 include not only artificial food colours derived from petroleum, but also natural additives originating from sources such as vegetables, insects, or mixtures made from natural foodstuffs.
Sulfites are common preservatives used in various fruits,may have side effects in form of headaches, palpitations, allergies, and even cancer.
E300–E399 (antioxidants, acidity regulators)
Food acids are added to make flavours “sharper”, and also act as preservatives and antioxidants. They can have adverse effect in children and irritate one’s mucus and overall make the food more acidic and therefore upset pH balance.
E400–E499 (thickeners, stabilisers, emulsifiers)
They have the potential to damage the intestinal barrier, leading to inflammation and increasing our risk of chronic disease. They can also worsen autoimmune diseases such as Crohn’s Disease, rheumatoid arthritis and heart disease, diabetes or stroke.
Uncontrolled chronic inflammation is harmful and leads to tissue damage. This results in side-effects such as fatigue and pain and, in some instances, organ failure.
E500–E599 (acidity regulators, anti-caking agents)
Some studies suggest that anticaking agents may have a negative effect on food nutrition, such as one study which indicated that most anti-caking agents result in the additional degradation of vitamin C added to food.
E600–E699 (flavour enhancer)
These are many health risks of flavour enhancers:
- Rashes, itching, burning, numbness;
- Migraines, headaches;
- Irritable bowel syndrome symptoms;
- Chest tightness, heart palpitations, heart arrhythmia, anxiety;
- Irritability, restlessness, sleep disturbance;
- Obesity (according to a study conducted by the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Public Health, people who use MSG flavour enhancer in their food more often are more likely to be overweight or obese).
The most common food enhancer is MSG. Children are more vulnerable to MSG dangers than adults. In fact, MSG and other flavour enhancers are not permitted in foods produced specifically for infants and young children who are 12 months old or less. However, MSG effects can change with age.
It may be a surprise to some people that antibiotics are added to foods, but as you can see they have a range of numbers. They are especially used as additives in animal feed.
Bacteria that are frequently exposed to antibiotics develop a resistance to them. As a result, the antibiotics are no longer as effective at killing harmful bacteria. This is a great concern for public health.
Resistant bacteria can be passed from food-producing animals to humans in a number of ways.
If an animal is carrying resistant bacteria, it can be passed on through meat that is not handled or cooked properly.
You can also encounter these bacteria by consuming food crops that have been sprayed with fertilisers containing animal manure with resistant bacteria.
E900–E999 (glazing agents, gases and sweeteners)
Studies have linked intense sweeteners like aspartame (951), cyclamate (952) and saccharin (954) to cancer.
E1000–E1599 (additional additives)
This category includes a mix of all of the above in a non-specific category including stabilisers, solvents and thickening agents. Solvents irritate the eyes and the respiratory tract.
Do you read ingredients lists and labels? Learn more about them here, 5 steps to read nutritional lables!
We are very proud to offer many wholesome products that do NOT contain any of the above. Don’t settle for less, pick from our amazing wholesome food selection
on our online shop.