Food Additives Part 1: An Examination of What We Eat


By: Theresa Klepper
Edited by: Sharon E. Chin
“[The] FDA is responsible for protecting and promoting public health by, among other things, ensuring that the nation’s food supply for human and animal consumption is safe, sanitary, wholesome and properly labeled ”(2).
Picture of 2 week old cappuccino remains with syrup
Can we trust what we eat?
Our faith in the well-being of the food we eat sits on the shoulders of the FDA; it’s their job to make sure we can trust what we consume. Yet are the American people healthy? When we consider what the American people think they’re eating compared with what people are actually eating, we may want to ruminate a bit more before choosing what to munch on.
Today’s eatables often contain many harmful and unnecessary additives. For the inquisitive mind, therein lies the doubt: what am I really buying, consuming, and putting into my body? Am I just eating chicken, or am I getting more than what I bargained for? The thought of not knowing if food is safe casts doubt on the current strength of regulations on additives.

Let’s review these past case studies of food additives. In Part Two of this paper, we will discuss their availability, and examine who should be held accountable for their wide spread popularity.


What’s in the bag?
Grocery shopping has never been more complicated, especially as the food science industry has become more entrenched in society. Unfortunately, this has led to an array of harmful additives in any given food item.
These additives range from preservatives, artificial flavorings, artificial dyes, growth hormones, texturizers, antibiotics, and gene modifiers. Take, for example, a bag of Cheetos; the yummy orange bag of crunch is made up of ingredients including MSG and Maltodextrin for flavoring (toxic) and Yellow 6 for coloring (toxic). Many products contain multiple chemicals. Although we will only examine a few case studies here, they do demonstrate that additives are in fact not safe.
Artificial dyes
Case studies about artificial dyes have provided haunting conclusions. Yes, these dyes make mundane, ugly items look more appealing, but at what cost to us? A study from the Journal of American Science measured the effects of the coloring agent Yellow 5 on rats. The study provided clear links between eating Yellow 5 and having hyperactivity, anxiety, and depression-like behavior (6). Another study, published in this pamphlet, divides up case studies of the most widely used dyes and compares them in a chart. The results demonstrate that each dye, at the very least, causes allergy like hypersensitivity. Ingesting dyes might not be as benign as we are lead to believe (5).
Growth hormones
There are several case studies on growth hormones. For example, when animals with additive hormones are slaughtered, the hormones are still present in the fat, meat, kidney, and liver of the animal (3). When we eat those animals, we are ingesting those hormones.
The European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology carried out case studies on pregnant women who ate a high beef diet from cows who had been treated with hormones. They concluded that this diet led to a number of disorders to the reproductive system of the baby while in utero (7). The hormones used for extra growth and development in cows appear to be stunting our growth and development.
Antibiotics are used in livestock to ensure that they don’t get sick or spread diseases. Instead of addressing the overcrowded unsanitary conditions these animals are living in, it’s become the standard to feed them even more chemicals. The American Society for Microbiology has performed case studies on antibiotics in food and how they affect human health. The conclusion is that there are new strains of bacteria that are resistant to the antibiotics we have created (8). The results demonstrate that there are very real negative side effects due to the use of antibiotics in our food.
Then what?
From these case studies, we can see that chemicals in food are not mundane, they’re affecting everything. The FDA rides a fine line between extending the shelf life of food and making sure the food is healthy and wholesome.
And in case you’re wondering, yes, there are other non-toxic options that still get the job done. There is hope; nothing is static. We can change the way we create and distribute food so that we can trust and have faith in the FDA and in what we eat.
Theresa Klepper is a Reflexologist, a blogger, and owner of Step Royale. She is a member of the American Medical Writers Association. Her passion is writing about research and making it easily understandable for the general public.
Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology. 2007. Human Reproduction.
Food and Drug Administration. 2012. Report to Congress Annual Report to Congress on Food Facilities, Food Imports and FDA For Foreign Offices Provision of the FDA Food Safety and Modernization Act.
Henricks, DM, Gray SL, Owenby JJ, et al. 2001. Residues of Anabolic Preparations After Good Veterinary Practice. http://www.
Hoernlein, Carol.2014.Body Systems Affected by
Jacobson, Michael F., Kobylewski, Sarah.2010.Food Dyes: A Rainbow of
Kamel, Mervat M., El-lethey, Heba S. 2011. Journal of American Science.
European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology. 2007. Human Reproduction.
Image “Coffee Cup” by Helmuts Guigo can be found at:

Food Additives Part 1: An Examination of What We Eat was originally published @ Cancer inCYTES Blog and has been syndicated with permission.

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