A nice slideshow from FitSugar explains what the following ingredients, commonly found in processed foods are:
Maltodextrin – a carb, serves a as thickener
Inulin – a soluble fiber
Methylcellulose – an emulsifier and thickener from … cellulose
Xantham gum - a very “popular” emulsifier and thickener
Mono and Diglycerides – yet more emulsifiers
Carmine – Red coloring from insects…yuk.
What you need to know:
While these and other additives may not necessarily be harmful, you need to ask yourself why does our food contain so many “things”? Part of the answer lies with the modern food industry structure. Products are shipped long distances and need to maintain quality and freshness for a long time on the supermarket shelf and then at home in the pantry. In some products, the various ingredients would start to separate (peanut butter & peanut oil) if not for the additives.
Think of many things that you prepare at home. They’ll last a week in the fridge or a few months in the freezer. That’s not enough for industry.
What to do at the supermarket:
Mainly you should be on the lookout for dangerous additives that the FDA has still not banned, including food colorings and a few others. Here is a list courtesy of the Center for Science in the Public Interest.
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