Wraps or Bread – which is healthier?
Last week, after attending a food safety seminar, I did my food shop on the way home. I wanted small wholegrain wraps, I spotted a best by date of August ’16. That is 6 months away! I checked 5 brands on the shelf, dates ranged from end Feb – End August.
The seminar had discussed food preservatives – the longer the shelf life, the higher the preservative content.
I scooted around to the Bread isle where I saw ‘Preservative Free’ labels and use-by-dates of a day or two. I could get fresh bread but not fresh wraps! I bought the bread.
To learn more about preservatives, read on
Fresh food is best. Once a person or company starts processing or packaging food, they are legally obliged to preserve it.
The EU list of approved Food Additives
Buy food grown within the EU as certain banned substances are still in use outside the EU
Margarine, Fatty foods e.g. crisps
Soft Drinks – cola etc
Packaged baked goods
Salad bar – sprayed with sulphites
What are Preservatives (Food Additives) ?
Traditionally salt was used on meats and vinegar on vegetables to preserve them. Breads were homemade. Today chemicals are added to food to prevent bacteria and fungi growing on the food and spoiling it, making it safe for human consumption.
All preservatives are tested individually on animals to ensure they are safe for human health. The EU advise food producers on the amount to use that is safe for humans BUT there is no test on our overall intake of preservatives i.e. the cocktail of all of them eaten across a few days
Are Preservatives harmful to human health?
I don’t know. No one can definitively say.
The increase in many diseases such as cancers, is being attributed to many possible causes – genetics, food, pollution, obesity, chemicals in soil and water, stress and so forth.
What strikes me is that certain preservatives have been banned by the EU after being in-use for a time, therefore I think it’s best to be aware of food with preservatives and try reduce intake. For example, E103 and E105, both colourings were banned, Potassium Bromate E924, used to strengthen flour, banned in 1999.
Most of us want to stay informed but nobody should be fretful.
Are there preservatives that are being questioned more than others in terms of human health?
- Butylated hydroxyanisole BHA (E320) and BHT (E321) Butylated hydroxytoluene – these chemicals bind to oxygen, protecting fats in foods from going off. Found in Crisps, butter, chewing gum, baked goods, cereals. Another ingredient to avoid is hydrogenated fats, found in crisps, margarines andd baked goods using oils or shortenings
- MSG Monosodium Glutamate (E621) – avoid if you suffer from neurotransmitter imbalances – any condition associated with mental health. Found in Chinese soups, sauces, packages goods such as highly flavoured crisps. I am anaphylactic and have ended up in hospital twice from this substance.
- Sodium Sulphate (E221) – Avoid if you suffer respiratory issues – asthma, sinusitis, chest issues. It can be hard to avoid as it is sprayed on fresh salad bars, grapes, wine, dried fruit.
- Sodium Nitrate (E251) Sodium Nitrite (E250) – mainly found in Pork and its derivatives and linked with gut problems but some producers don’t uses it. Look for Nitrate Free.
- Sunset yellow (E110), Quinoline yellow (E104), Carmoisine (E122), Allura red (E129), Tartrazine (E102) and Ponceau 4R (E124) –avoid in children showing signs of hyperactivity.
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