Digital Numbers – How Harmful Are These Meals Components?

Digital Numbers – How Harmful Are These Meals Components?

The E-number system was initially used within the European Union to control the usage of substances added to processed meals and drinks to paint them, taste them, modify their texture or enhance their protecting qualities. Components had been assigned a novel quantity and people accredited to be used had been preceded by an “E”. Since then, the numbering system has been adopted internationally, however solely European international locations use the “E” prefix.

Most meals components are thought of protected by authorities, though some are recognized to be carcinogenic or in any other case dangerous for you. Nations don’t at all times agree on whether or not a sure additive is harmful or not, which is why sure components are banned in some international locations however not in others.

Components are numbered in accordance with their main objective, as proven beneath:

  • E100 – E199 (colours)
  • E200 – E299 (preservatives)
  • E300 – E399 (antioxidants, acidity regulators)
  • E400 – E499 (thickeners, stabilizers, emulsifiers)
  • E500 – E599 (acidity regulators, anti-caking brokers)
  • E600 – E699 (taste enhancers)
  • E900 – E999 (varied)
  • E1000 – E1999 (extra chemical compounds)

Though there are a number of thousand components used, not all of them are artificial substances. We should understand that meals components comparable to salt, sugar and vinegar have been used for hundreds of years to protect meals. Nevertheless, the variety of components in our meals and drinks has exploded over the previous thirty years as processed meals have gone from being a uncommon merchandise to a serious a part of our eating regimen. It’s this total load that’s most likely essentially the most regarding.

So if an additive has been accredited, that is OK, proper? Nicely, not precisely. Some accredited components have been linked to hyperactivity (ADHD) in kids. Others have been linked to allergic or sensitivity reactions, bronchial asthma and migraines.

The components usually thought of to be essentially the most troublesome are:


Nitrates and nitrites (E249 – 252) are probably carcinogenic (carcinogenic). They produce the attribute taste of bacon and ham that can not be produced in any other case, so sadly these preservatives are laborious to ban.

Benzoates (E210 – 219) could cause sensitivity issues like hives or hives and bronchial asthma in people who find themselves additionally delicate to aspirin and/or tartazine (E102).

Sulphites, metabisulphites and sulfur dioxide (E220 – 227) can set off bronchial asthma assaults because of their irritating impact on the respiratory tract. They’re usually present in chilly drinks, concentrated fruit juices and wine, dried fruits together with apricots and sprayed on salads.


The artificial phenolic antioxidants BHA and BHT (E320 and 321) can set off bronchial asthma, rhinitis, and hives or hives.

Emulsifiers, stabilizers and thickeners

E430, E433 and E435 are specifically suspected carcinogens (carcinogens).


Artificial so-called azo dyes comparable to tartazine (E102), sundown yellow (E110) and amaranth (E123) are recognized to trigger sensitivity reactions comparable to hives or hives and bronchial asthma, particularly in kids . Extreme quantities of meals coloring and sodium benzoate preservatives are notably linked to hyperactivity (ADHD) in kids.

Taste enhancers

A very powerful and extensively used taste enhancer is monosodium glutamate, or MSG. Well-known for producing “Chinese language Restaurant Syndrome”, the signs of which vary from chest tightness and palpitations to fainting, flushing, sweating, complications and low blood stress, the MSG is now thought of an endocrine disruptor. Because of this it may well disrupt the physique’s endocrine (hormonal) system. The long-term results on all points of well being that this might have are probably far worse than “Chinese language Restaurant Syndrome” and for that purpose notably regarding. MSG has additionally been reported to set off assaults in some asthmatics.

Sadly, the additive labeling system isn’t foolproof. Sure classes of merchandise are exempt, comparable to alcoholic drinks, meals and drinks served in catering institutions and medicines. Meals offered with out packaging comparable to cheeses, deli meats and bread may additionally be exempt, though they’re prone to include components. Even with labeled meals, producers might not be required to checklist all substances already added to the substances.

Sure classes of components comparable to flavorings additionally shouldn’t have to look on the labels. Their security has by no means been examined and the idea that they’re protected relies on the truth that they’re utilized in very small quantities. Nevertheless, anybody who eats giant quantities of confectionery or sweet, tender drinks, and processed snacks will possible obtain a a lot larger dose.

Except we all know now we have points with particular components as people, we would suppose there’s nothing to fret about. Nevertheless, little or no is thought concerning the cumulative results of the 1000’s of chemical compounds we’re uncovered to in our each day lives, whether or not we take up them by means of our meals or drink, or by means of our pores and skin and lungs. We can not stop this assault on our physique’s cleansing programs (primarily our liver and kidneys) until we surrender fashionable residing. However frequent sense tells us that we are able to cut back our threat by avoiding added chemical compounds as a lot as potential. So the following time you go to the grocery store, evaluate processed meals labels and choose the manufacturers with the fewest components. Or higher but, purchase the substances, in as uncooked a kind as potential, and make your personal low-additive meals.

Copyright 2007

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