Food additives have becomes such a common ingredient in the foods that we encounter every day that some of them almost seem natural. Natural flavorings, dyes, sorbitol and aspartame, BHA, BHT, lecithin, sodium citrate. Even organic and health foods an contain additives in order to preserve freshness or enhance flavor. Most processed foods would not be shelf stable without these additives. And there’s such a tiny amount in there, it doesn’t really matter, does it?
Sometimes additive sensitivities are mistaken for food sensitivities. You may have a reaction every time you eat bread, for example, but it may be the additives commonly found in commercial bread that you are reacting to, not the whole ingredients themselves. When you make homemade bread with ingredients that you mix yourself, you may be able to tolerate it just fine.
Food additives can irritate the digestive system and cause mucosal damage. Sensitivities can also cause skin conditions and delayed reactions. I have also found that additives can exacerbate ADD and autism symptoms. Since additives can be added to a food at any time from the process of growth to consumption, and many are considered safe by the FDA, some even go unlisted on ingredient statements.
The following may be signs of additive sensitivity:
- gas and bloating
- abdominal pain and cramping
- diarrhea or constipation
- headaches or migraines
- brain fog
- hyperactivity and restlessness
- rashes or eczema
- bronchitis or coughing
- joint pain
- neurological symptoms
The simplest way to cut back on the amount of additives in your diet is to focus on whole foods. Cut back on processed foods. Bake your own bread and culture your own yogurt. Seek out foods sold at farmer’s markets or grown at home, so that you know exactly what chemicals the foods came in contact with. Try reducing the load of additives in your diet and notice what changes occur in your symptoms.
For more information on how to avoid additives, contact me for a free consultation.