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Preservatives, colorants, and flavorings. What are the health risks?

Know the risks to your health that processed foods have

Processed products and health risks

If you’re in the habit of reading product labels, you’ve probably noticed that at the bottom of the list, many have ingredients like preservatives, colorings, and flavorings.

These chemical additives, included by the industry in the processing of various foods, are used for different reasons: They increase shelf life, enhance flavor and give food a more vibrant air, making it more attractive to consumers.

Chemical components and their presence in food products

The use of these chemical components is normally regulated by a governmental entity in each country. However, manufacturers do not need to specify the quantity of each item on the packaging, only to mention its presence in the food in most cases.

This should not be a problem since, in theory, its consumption would not cause harm to health. But the truth is that, in excess, they can cause problems such as allergies, cardiovascular diseases, and gastric irritations. In fact, additives can even be linked to the development of some types of cancer.

A common dye in industry, titanium dioxide, found in milk, gum, and even soap, can penetrate the central nervous system and cause depression. However, it is still very difficult to establish a relationship between additives and diseases.

For this reason, it is essential to maintain a healthier diet, giving preference, whenever possible, to the ingestion of natural foods, without artificial additives. Leave the industrialized only for exceptional occasions, avoiding them as much as possible in everyday life.

Next, you will learn a little more about the main additives used by the industry.


Industrialized products need preservatives to increase their shelf life, preventing microorganisms such as fungi and bacteria or chemical reactions from spoiling food.

One of the most used preservatives is benzoate. Present in cookies, jams, sauces, ice cream, and sandwiches, it can accelerate the process of attention deficit in children, in addition to triggering allergy attacks with symptoms such as asthma and hives.


Colorings are used to improve the visual appearance of food by accentuating its color. Strawberry yogurts, for example, have doses of this chemical component, as well as jellies, ham, and candies.

They are usually associated with cases of allergy and some types of dye, such as tartrazine, can also contribute to hyperactivity and difficulty concentrating. Some studies also show that Caramel IV, a colorant found in soft drinks, can be carcinogenic.


Pizza flavored sandwiches, strawberry ice cream, lemon jelly. All of these foods end up receiving additives that work to improve their taste and aroma.

One of the most famous flavorings is monosodium glutamate, capable of intensifying the flavor of any product. Research suggests that once in the body, it acts as a transmitter for nerve impulses in the brain. Therefore, its excessive consumption has been linked to the appearance of diseases such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, and tumors.

What do you think?

Written by Facundo Martinez


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