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IMPACT OF FOOD ADDITIVES ON PREGNANT WOMEN AND CHILD HEALTH

Author: Krithaksha.V

Increasing scientific evidence suggests potential adverse effects on children’s health from synthetic chemicals used as food additives. Food additives are the chemicals which are added to food to prevent them from spoilage, to enhance their colour and taste. People are more cautious on the taste rather than the nutritional value in them as these additives are used for centuries. Some are associated with adverse health effects, while others are safe and consumed in minimal risk. Dangerous additives and preservations lead to health problems like Asthma, ADHD, Heart problems, Cancer, Obesity and etc. Number of studies suggests that some food additives may interfere with hormones, growth, and development. It is one of the reason where kids suffer from obesity. Children are more exposed to these kinds of dietary intakes than the adults. Women during pregnancy and breast feeding utilize several food additives which are not considered completely safe .We need to take certain measures to prevent using the harmful additives until it starts taking over our health.

  Food additives have been used for centuries. The ancient Romans would use spices such as saffron to give foods a rich yellow colour. Salt and vinegar were used to preserve meats and vegetables for long voyages. Food additives need to be checked for potential harmful effects on human health before they are used. The food additives must be added in limited quantities and should be within the acceptable daily intakes (ADIs). US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) describes food additives as any substance, intended use of which results or might reasonably be expected to result directly or indirectly in becoming a constituent otherwise affecting the characteristics of food. Boric acid was widely used as food preservative from the 1870s to 1920s, but it was banned after World War I as it was toxic and was demonstrated in animal and human studies. Use of Food additives has made consumers exposed to different variety of foods and access them from anywhere in the country. Food additives can be derived from animals, plants, minerals and etc. Our ancestors used salt to preserve fish and meat, added herbs and spices to improve the flavor of the food, preserved fruit with sugar and pickled cucumbers in vinegar. Today consumers demand more flavorful, colourful and affordable. Yet they don’t tend to look into the ingredients whether they are harmful to them or not. Additives perform variety of useful functions in food that consumers often take for granted. Some additives could be eliminated if we were willing to grow our own food, harvest and grind it, or even spending some more time in cooking and canning. Technology has grown and makes even food easier in cooking. As most of the consumers today, rely on technological or more convenient benefits that additives provide. Preservatives slow product spoilage caused by mold, air, bacteria, fungi or yeast.  They maintain or control the food contamination that may cause food-borne illness.

 

                       Many food preparations like Pizza, Burger, ice creams, bright green yogurt and many other foods which look appealingly delicious contains food additives or chemicals that can be dangerous to children. Over these last decades, the number of chemicals added to foods and other products has skyrocketed. Children are still growing so their dose of any given chemical ends up being higher. Their bodies are still developing, so they can be more at risk of harm and they are young, so the chemicals have more time to do more damage. In the 1960s, regulators decided to make a standardised list of these additives. In Europe, these are referred to as E numbers (the E stands for Europe). E number restrictions vary between countries, depending on how the local regulatory authorities interpret the product’s toxicity results.

                       Food additives have become an indispensible part of the food industry today. Millions of people suffer from hunger as a result of lack of enough food and thus advantages of using food additives in food processing are plenteous. Food preservatives along with other additives are under strict control by numerous governing bodies. Most artificial food additives impart negative health effects at high and chronic uses. Natural additives are an appealing alternative to artificial or synthetic food additives, especially with respect to health effects. In recent years, there has been increasing use of alternative sources of artificial food additives. Elimination of artificial food additives like colors and preservatives from the diet may provide benefits to children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and teratogenicity.

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