If you’ve been reading my blogs for awhile now, you know I’m all about eating foods with as few ingredients as possible. And if there are several ingredients on the label, than they should be ingredients that I can pronounce. As minimally processed as possible. Except sometimes life takes over and it’s not all fruits, veggies, and protein up in here. Processed foods happen. And that’s okay.
But I think it’s important to know what we are putting into our bodies when those items have a longer than we’d like ingredient list. OR when we think we’ve consumed something “healthy” yet there are some unfamiliar ingredients on the list.
Below are 3 common food additives found in a ton of things that you are probably consuming on a regular basis. Simply, a “food additive” is any substance added to food for a specific purpose, such as production, processing, treatment, packaging, transportation or storage.
Regarding the “safety” of the food additives below, it depends on whose study/report you read. In my research it was noted that all 3 of these additives have been linked to stomach/digestive issues. But again, not always and not everyone will experience those symptoms. Here’s my take, and it’s what I always say, minimize your intake of processed foods as much as possible.
#1. Carrageenan- Found in many non dairy milks, ice cream, yogurt and other processed foods. It’s extracted from a red seaweed. And is used as a thickener and emulsifier to improve the texture of foods.
#2. Soy Lecithin- Found in chocolate, cooking sprays, creamy salad dressings, and other processed foods. It’s an emulsifier made from soy bean oil and trace amounts of soy protein from unfermented (boo) soy. Lecithin is added to a solution of oil and water to help break down the oil into smaller particles (emulsification) making the food item easier to digest. Has been linked to bloating, diarrhea, and skin rashes.
#3. Xanthan Gum- Found in baked goods, jams/jellies, salad dressings, cosmetics, and other non food sources. It is a thickening and stabilizing agent. Produced when glucose, sucrose, or lactose is fermented by bacteria. It’s then made into a solid, dried, and ground into a powder. Finally it’s added to liquid to form a “gum”. It’s frequently used as an alternative binding agent to gluten.