Food additives have once again been linked to hyperactivity in children, and a new study says they could damage cell DNA. So which of the E-numbers are causing the most concern.
You would think we'd all be pretty well versed in the dangers of food additives by now. The British Nutrition Foundation, however, says most of us lack a "sufficient understanding", and last month called for better education. This campaign could not be more timely - Professor Peter Piper from Sheffield University has just issued a stark warning that certain compounds found in fizzy drinks could damage cell DNA, while a study into additives and their effect on children's behaviour is currently being conducted by the University of Southampton on behalf of the Food Standards Agency (FSA). It will be published in a few months, but a leaked report revealed certain colourings and additives could increase hyperactivity.
The leak coincided with a promise from Britain's major supermarkets to ban potentially dangerous additives from the majority of their own-brand products: Sainsbury's, Marks & Spencer, Asda and Tesco will be additive-free by the end of the year.
A spokesperson for the FSA says, "All additives approved for use in this country undergo stringent tests and are safe for use. The health dangers are either non-existent or controlled by the safe levels within the food." But some experts fear that although additives may have been approved on an individual basis, we still don't know what their combined effect on the body may be. Professor Vyvyan Howard, a pathologist and professor of bioimaging at the University of Ulster, who has conducted research into the "cocktail" effects of food additives, says, "These chemicals are tested one at a time and declared safe one at a time, but we are exposed to a mixture of chemicals. Their combined effect could be more than simply adding two or three separate chemicals."
Both the FSA and experts raising awareness of additives agree that if you want to live an additive-free life, the easiest option is to eat food that is freshly prepared. But if you do buy processed food, it can't hurt to know exactly you are feeding your body.
Source - Guardian