Nutritional Supplements: Truth and Myths
We buy most of the products in stores, and these products, as a rule, have undergone industrial processing. And this means that we, whether we like it or not, eat a considerable amount of food additives every day. What do we know about these substances? Our ideas about food additives are vague and contradictory: from “all this is terrible poison” to “it’s okay, because they are not prohibited.”
What are nutritional supplements for?
They are added to products for different purposes:
to increase the shelf life – preservatives, stabilizers;
to give the product a natural / beautiful color – dyes;
to give the desired consistency – thickeners;
antioxidants to prevent fat spoilage;
for mixing various immiscible components of the product – emulsifiers;
Myth No. 1. Nutritional supplements are solid chemistry.
This statement is not true. In fact, many nutritional supplements are derived from natural raw materials, animal, vegetable, mineral. These are some dyes, for example curcumin or carmine, thickeners – pectin, etc.
Myth number 2. All food additives are harmful
No. Harmless and even useful additives necessary for the body are added to the products. The same pectin, for example, improves digestion, removes toxins from the body, lowers blood cholesterol and has a number of useful properties. Additives contain many vital trace elements: potassium, selenium, iodine. Moreover, the familiar salt is also a nutritional supplement for all of us.
Myth number 3. Natural supplements will not bring harm, but obtained artificially is poison
It is not that simple. After all, there are very strong poisons of plant origin, and vice versa, there are food additives obtained by chemical means, which are harmless. So, citric acid, vinegar are considered safe and are allowed in all countries.
Myth number 4. Nutritional supplements that are approved for use are absolutely harmless.
This statement is not entirely correct. It all depends on the quantity: that in small doses will be beneficial, in large doses it can do harm. For example, safe tannin, used as a dye in large quantities, interferes with the absorption of vitamins. Therefore, each additive has its own acceptable rate. And you also need to consider that some supplements, slowly eliminated from the body, can accumulate in large quantities and have a negative effect.
In addition, there is such a thing as individual intolerance, therefore, for a particular person, a substance harmless to all can become dangerous.
And finally, science does not stand still: there is more and more information about the effect of various substances on the body. And what was considered harmless yesterday, today can be hazardous to health.
Myth No. 4. Nutritional supplements are akin to a drug and addictive.
This is an exaggeration. Of course, flavor enhancers are added to foods to make them tastier, and then food without them seems fresh. But dependence on them does not arise – neither physical nor mental. This is the same as salty food – you get used to it, but salt is not a drug and it’s easy enough to break the salty habit.
Myth No. 5. If it is not indicated that the product contains nutritional supplements, then they are not there.
Alas, there are still unscrupulous manufacturers who do not completely indicate all the additives contained in the product. It should be remembered that food additives are present in almost all food products that have undergone industrial processing. So, sausages or sausage got their attractive pink color due to dyes. In addition to the declared very useful bifidobacteria, stabilizers and thickeners are added to yogurts, etc.
Myth No. 6. The product contains those additives that are listed on the package.
Unfortunately, this is not always true. It happens that instead of expensive ingredients, manufacturers use cheaper similar additives. By the way, if you see that the product contains a “flavor identical to natural”, then know that in most cases this additive is produced artificially.
What to do
In the world in which we live, it is impossible to do without food additives. The only way is to go to an abandoned village and completely switch to subsistence farming: grow fruit, vegetables, bake bread from our own grain, get livestock, chickens, bees, etc. It is clear that this is unrealistic, and it is not worth exclusively healthy food a complete rejection of the usual life. But this does not mean that you can simply brush aside the damage that food additives can cause to your health.
The way out, as always, is in the middle ground.
Try to buy products directly from small farmers whenever possible. If you are not fond of gardening and gardening in the country, then vegetables and berries, as well as milk, cottage cheese, eggs can be purchased at the markets from rural residents (but not from dealers – they often take goods at the same vegetable depots as shops).
Do not get involved in semi-finished products, as well as sausages and sausages. Instead of sausage, you can buy a piece of meat and bake it in foil in the oven. It will come out and cheaper…