US (IP): Food additives are substances introduced to foods and drinks during processing and packaging. Not all food additives are harmful, but some, like nitrates, sulfites, and artificial sweeteners, can be.

Iran PressAmerica: A food additive is a substance not naturally found in a food or drink but added in processing or preparing it. Additives are used for several reasons, including to help prepare the product, preserve it, make it look more appealing, and/or enhance flavor.

Additives can be either synthetic-based or natural, and some are harmless. But certain additives, especially those common in processed foods, have been linked to health problems.  

Here are four food additives you should consider eating in limited amounts:

1. Artificial food colors 

Artificial food colors are found in many foods, from brightly colored frosting to yogurt. They are added to enhance or change color. 

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, studies over the last several decades have raised concerns that artificial food colors affect children's behavior and exacerbate ADHD symptoms.

However, more research is needed to determine which food colorings and to what extent they affect behavior.

Kids who have ADHD should avoid artificial food colors. Children are more vulnerable to the effects of artificial coloring because their bodies are still developing.

2. Nitrates and nitrites 

Nitrates and nitrites are often found in cured and processed meats, fish, and cheese, and they are linked to cancer in the digestive and nervous systems. 

The World Health Organization classifies processed meats as carcinogenic partially due to added nitrates or nitrites in the curing process. The classification came after reviewing over 800 scientific studies. Studies indicate processed meats with nitrates increase the risk of colorectal cancer in particular. 

3. Sulfites 

Sulfites are naturally occurring in some whole foods, but they are also added as a preservative to slow discoloration. Foods with sulfite additives include packaged gravies, biscuits, and pizza dough, and even dried fruit, 

Some people are sensitive to sulfites, which can cause them to experience breathing problems if they have sulfite-sensitive asthma. However, if you are not sensitive to sulfites they pose no known health consequences. 

If you have a sensitivity, avoid ingredients that contain sulfites.

4. Artificial sweeteners

Artificial sweeteners are synthetic sugar substitutes added to sweeten foods and drinks, most commonly soft drinks, dairy products, jams, and jellies. They are especially found in products labeled "diet" or "sugar-free," as they add virtually no calories. 

Although artificial sweeteners were developed to reduce obesity and insulin resistance, a 2017 review found they may actually contribute to the obesity epidemic. That's because they reduce feelings of fullness, leading to an increase in calorie consumption, and thus, weight gain.  


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