Food additives are natural substances or synthetic compounds deliberately added to food during the manufacturing process.
Food additives mainly serve to extend shelf-life, enhance flavour and odour, improve colour, preserve or enhance nutritional value and improve the appearance of food. They facilitate the manufacture, processing, packaging, delivery and storage of food, thus rendering consumers a vast choice of reasonably-priced food of stable quality There are many types of food additives, commonly-used ones include preservatives, colouring matters, antioxidants, flavourings, flavour enhancers, thickeners and artificial sweeteners.
A simple general rule about additives is to avoid sodium nitrite, saccharin, caffeine, olestra, acesulfame K, and artificial coloring. Not only are they among the most questionable additives, but they are used primarily in foods of low nutritional value. Also, don’t forget the two most familiar additives: sugar and salt. They may pose the greatest risk because we consume so much of them.