How Food Additives Act Against You

FOOD ADDITIVES are non-foods added to food. They may cause mutations, genetic damage or birth defects — all very subtle effects. They may also cause cancer, or interfere with the body’s normal processes — long-term effects that are little understood.

They may even impair the liver. If toxins are absorbed through the gastrointestinal tract, they are transported to the liver. The liver has innumerable functions — it not only metabolises and detoxifies chemicals, but also produces bile to digest fats, regulate blood sugar levels and store vitamins.

But with constant assault from toxins it can become overburdened and damaged. And if toxins get past the liver, they may lodge in, and cause damage to other organs.

Here are some specific ways additives can undermine our health, taken from the book, Additives: Your Complete Survival Guide.

AFFECT the way the body absorbs and uses nutrients, which are vital for it to function properly. For example, the sulphites (E220-227) destroy Vitamin B1, which is vital to the nervous system. They also affect the absorption of another B vitamin, folic acid, which is needed to produce genes and new cells.
Some additives can also lock on to nutrients. For example, additives used as sequestrants or chelating agents — ie substances that tie up and deactivate metallic impurities (which reduce the shelf life of fats, oils and other foods that oxidise and spoil) as well as prevent undesirable flavour and colour changes in foods — may bind up with calcium and iron and prevent the body from using them.

Some common chelating agents are disodium EDTA, polyphosphates and citric acid.

> INTERFERE with cell metabolism and inhibit the formation of new cells. They can disrupt the balance of essential chemicals within the cell and prevent other chemicals which the cell needs from being taken in.

> AFFECT the natural balance of bacteria in the gut. Antimicrobial preservatives, like nitrates/nitrites (E249-252) and benzoates (E210-219) are used to prevent the growth of bacteria which spoil food, but they also affect the natural balance of bacteria in the gut.

INTERFERE with enzymes and disrupt the body’s vital functions. Every process in the human body depends on enzyme action. Enzymes control the chemical reactions which make possible the digestion and metabolism of food, and the synthesis of materials to repair tissues, for example. Any interference with the function of enzymes can thus disturb the body’s normal activity.

Sulphur dioxide (E220), sodium nitrate and sodium nitrite, as well as many food colours are enzyme inhibitors.

Other additives, such as BHT (E321), interfere with the normal functioning of enzymes by stimulating overproduction. Too much of any one enzyme can throw the whole system out of balance by disrupting the usual chain of reactions.