Preservatives, colorings and flavorings: What they are and how they harm your health

 Preservatives, colorings and flavorings: What they are and how they harm your health

Lena Fisher

If you are in the habit of reading the labels on products, you have surely noticed that at the end of the list, many present ingredients such as 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 foods a more vibrant look making them more attractive to consumers," explains Gisele Werneck, a nutritionist from Belo Horizonte, Minas Gerais.

The use of these chemical components is regulated by the National Health Surveillance Agency (Anvisa). However, manufacturers do not need to specify, on the packaging, the quantity of each item, just mention its presence in the food.

This should not be a problem since, in theory, their 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 As a matter of fact, additives can even be linked to the development of some types of cancer.

Also read: How to know if a food is whole or refined

"A common dye in the industry, titanium dioxide, present in milk, chewing gum, and even soap, can penetrate the central nervous system and cause depression. Despite this, it is still very difficult to establish a relationship between additives and diseases," advises Gisele.

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

Below, you can learn a little more about the main additives used by the industry.

Also read: What are refined carbohydrates


Industrialized products need preservatives in order to increase your shelf life This prevents microorganisms, such as fungus and bacteria, or chemical reactions from spoiling the food.

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


The dyes are used for improve the visual aspect of food Strawberry yogurts, for example, have doses of this chemical component, as do jellies, ham, and candies.

Some studies also show that Caramel IV, a coloring present in soft drinks, can be carcinogenic.


Pizza-flavored snacks, strawberry ice cream, lemon Jell-O. All of these foods end up getting additives that work to enhance your flavor and aroma .

One of the most famous flavorings is monosodium glutamate, capable of intensifying the flavor of any product. There is research that suggests that, once in the body, it acts as a transmitter of nerve impulses in the brain. Because of this, its excessive consumption has been linked to the onset of diseases such as Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, and tumors.

Also read: Best substitutes for wheat flour

Lena Fisher

Lena Fisher is a wellness enthusiast, certified nutritionist, and author of the popular health and well-being blog. With over a decade of experience in the field of nutrition and health coaching, Lena has dedicated her career to helping people achieve their optimal health and live their best life possible. Her passion for wellness has led her to explore various approaches to achieving overall health, including diet, exercise, and mindfulness practices. Lena's blog is a culmination of her years of research, experience, and personal journey towards finding balance and well-being. Her mission is to inspire and empower others to make positive changes in their lives and embrace a healthy lifestyle. When she's not writing or coaching clients, you can find Lena practicing yoga, hiking the trails, or experimenting with new healthy recipes in the kitchen.