Keeping food additives in mind when grocery shopping

food additives

13 Jul Keeping food additives in mind when grocery shopping

We all understand that fresh groceries are best and the food we can grow in our backyard is the most nutrient dense and wholesome foods that we can be giving our families, but it’s not always possible. I’m thinking that probably 95% of us have something in the pantry that is tinned, boxed or packaged in a way that extends is longevity. Food manufactures do this with additives and preservatives, so we need to keep food additives in mind when we are grocery shopping.

FACT – For as long as people have been smoking meat, we have had preservatives in our diet.

FACT – Our tastes have evolved considerably over time, and people are becoming increasingly pleasured by artificial flavours. We add more salt to our food, or more sugar, or more fat.

FACT – The foods we eat can have significant immediate impact on our physiology and behaviour.

FACT – As the parent, you have control over the foods you provide to your family.

I am the first person to put my hand up and admit that analysing the food labels when doing the grocery shopping is tedious and confusing at times. There are so many things to consider especially if you have children who are highly sensitive to certain food additives, nutrients or entire foods groups. We have some great in information of food sensitivities in our guest blog posts by Marlies Hobbs (The Paleo Café) and Di’Anne Dolzan (The Wholefood Farmacist).

Good reasons for additives:

  • Antimicrobial agents to reduce food spoilage
  • Antioxidants and enriched nutrients to improve nutritional content
  • Stabilising agents to alter the texture of food to make it more palatable

Then the Nasty Stuff!

  • Bleaching agents to make foods “look” prettier
  • Synthetic flavouring agents to alter tastes to what they think people will like better
  • Artificial colours, again to make food “look” more appealing

I found some very simple to follow guidelines for food additive numbers from Vesna over at Make Bread. For most of us, it’s probably easier to remember categories of numbers rather than long technical names with 8 consonants in a row.

The categories are:

  • 100-182 Colours
  • 200-297 Preservatives
  • 300-385 Acidity Regulators, Anti-Oxidants, Mineral Salts
  • 400-495 Vegetable Gums, Thickeners, Emulsifiers, Stabilisers, Gelling Agents
  • 500-586 Mineral Salts, Anti-Caking Agents
  • 620-641 Flavour Enhancers
  • 900-1521 Thickeners, Vegetable Gums, Humectants, Artificial Sweeteners, etc.
  • Flavours, natural or artificial, are not regulated and thus don’t have any numeric identification (extract from Food Additives: dangerous cocktails in our food)


I’d really love to hear from you about avoiding food additives and preservatives in food. Do you do it to improve general overall health or are their ones you avoid of certain reasons? Give us your thoughts in the comments below.

x Krystal x

food additives

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