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E-substances - a selection of the most common,which should be avoided



Prepared by Sandra Tamm



It's no secret that hundreds of additives are used in finished products today. Synthetic additives have a devastating effect on our health and very often it is difficult to read them from the ingredients - they are either hidden behind different names, coded or simply written so small that it is not readable.


What is a food additive?


Excerpt from

/ An additive is a natural or synthetic substance that is added to food for technological purposes. Additives have a European number code, or E code. The E mark means that the additive has passed the relevant safety evaluations and is approved in the European Union. Additives can be divided into three according to their origin:

* substances isolated from food, such as agar-agar (E 406) and carrageenan (E 407) from seaweed, pectin (E 440) from fruits, etc.;

* substances that occur naturally in food, but are obtained by synthesis, i.e. so-called nature-identical substances, for example antioxidant ascorbic acid (E 300) or preservatives sorbic acid (E 200) and benzoic acid (E 210);

* substances obtained by chemical synthesis and which have no analogue in nature, such as the antioxidant butyl hydroxyanisole (E 320) or azo food colors.

Additives are used, for example, to better preserve food (preservatives), to achieve the required consistency (stabilizers, gelling agents, emulsifiers), to give food a more attractive color (food colors), etc. /




Which additives should be avoided?


Understandably, it is not possible to memorize the hundreds of additives that can be harmful to health, but it is good to know at least some of them that should definitely be avoided (of course, the list is not exhaustive):


Synthetic Sweeteners


Aspartame (E951), also known as Nutrasweet and Equal, are very often found in foods labeled "sugar-free" or so-called diet products. Dozens of different side effects have been recorded for aspartame, related to the adverse health effects of its consumption.

Aspartame is not your friend! It is a neurotoxin (destroying the brain and causing memory disorders) and a carcinogen (cancer-causing). In addition to affecting brain function, this toxic sweetener can contribute to a variety of health problems, including brain cancer, lymphoma, diabetes, multiple sclerosis, chronic fatigue, migraines, dizziness, nausea, Parkinson's disease, Alzheimer's disease, emotional disorders such as depression and anxiety, and more. .

There is a newer sweetener next to aspartameacesulfame-K (E-950), which is in no way different from its predecessor. Another similar sweetener issucralose (E955), which is synthetically made from sugar and chlorine and has also recently been widely used as a replacement for aspartame.

Synthetic sweeteners can be found in baked goods, sparkling drinks, sugar-free products, sugar substitutes, diet cola, diet drink Coca Cola Zero, marmalades, puddings, yogurts, iced teas, chewing gums, toothpastes, nutritional supplements that boost the immune system (?!), etc.


2.   __fructose corn(KFMS)


KFMS is a highly processed product  that is very far from natural corn syrup.  It is a highly refined chemical sweetener that can be found in many processed foods. It quickly raises blood sugar, it also raises the level of triglycerides in the blood-  which in turn has a bad effect on cardiovascular health, promotes diabetes, etc. One of the effects of KFMS on our body is that it also attracts the body to eat more sweets. The more you eat foods with high fructose corn syrup, the more you crave sweets.


3.     Monosodium glutamate (MSG/ E621)


MSG-monosodium glutamate or sodium glutamatei.e. E621 flavor enhancer, which is added to almost all ready meals. It is produced in many different ways, but no matter how it is produced, it can cause various side effects, especially in more sensitive people. E621 causes the so-called Chinese syndrome (palpitations, nausea, migraine-like headaches, dizziness, joint and muscle pains.). Especially dangerous for children, allergy sufferers and asthmatics. Also, MSG is a neurotoxin, like aspartame, having a destructive effect on brain activity, causing memory impairment. Among them, MSG affects the body in such a way that it forces people to eat more and more.


For example, E621 can appear under names such as:


  • natural meat or broth flavoring

  • caseinates

  • malt extract

  • yeast

  • maltodextrin

  • aroma enhancer

  • food coloring caramel

  • etc

Below you can see the different names of the ingredients that generally contain E621  and that can cause different health problems in more sensitive people.

  • Glutamate

  • Glutamic acid

  • Autolyzed /.../*

  • Hydrolyzed /.../

  • /.../ protein

  • /.../ flavoring agent

*/../- any name, for example, hydrolyzed / vegetable protein / etc. Read more HERE.


4.    _cc781905-5cde-3194-bb3b-136bad5cf58d


Trans fatty acids are found in hydrogenated (solidified) fats. Hydrogenation - treatment of liquid oil with hydrogen at high pressure and temperature, whereby unsaturated fatty acids become saturated fatty acids. Hydrogenated fats are more solid,   have a higher melting temperature, and the shelf life also increases - the environment becomes unsuitable for bacteria when fat is hydrogenated - that's why, for example, some cookies last forever. Fried and baked ready meals, pastries, sweets, margarines, etc. may contain trans fats. Hydrogenated fats are also used, for example, instead of milk fat in curd products and ice creams. The harmfulness of trans fats to the heart has been proven in several studies. Eating trans fats increases the level of bad, or LDL, cholesterol, and scientists warn the most about the harmful effects of trans fats on the cardiovascular system. If you notice the words "hydrogenated vegetable fat" on the product labels, it is better not to buy this product. The word "hydrogenated" is important, because all vegetable fats do not contain trans fats.


Synthetic food coloring


Food colorings are primarily used to make the product look more attractive.  Both synthetic and natural food colorings are used. Food colorings are widely used in the production of candies, soft drinks and confectionery, as an additive to yogurts, ice creams and, of course, in the red coloring of sausages. The health effects of synthetic food colorings can manifest as skin rashes, ear infections, and other allergic symptoms. They can also increase the risk of cancer, accelerate aging, and also have a bad effect on sensitive germ cells. More than 40 different food colors are used in Estonia. Some food colorings together with sodium benzoate (E211) have a particularly strong effect on children's health, making them easily irritable, hyperactive and aggressive. Azo dyes (or nitro dyes), which are extremely dangerous synthetic dyes, are also used to make various products (and also medicines) more attractive. In Estonia, it is allowed to use 10 azo dyes.  For example, the azo dye E110 is found as an excipient in the well-known flu and cold medicine Goldrex.


Allowed azo dyes in Estonia:

  • E102- Tartrazine

  • E110- Sunset yellow

  • E122- Azoruby pomegranate

  • E123- Amaranth

  • E124- Bright red 4R

  • E129- Magic red AC

  • E151- Brilliant black BN

  • E154- Brown GK

  • E155- Brown HT

  • E180- Litolrubin BK


6.     Vääveldioksiid ( E220) ja Naatriumsulfit (E221)


Synthetically obtained preservatives and antioxidants used in flour products, beers, wines, cheese products, fruit juices, etc. Sulfites can cause breathing difficulties, swelling of mucous membranes, hives, stomach irritations, etc.


7.     Naatriumnitraat/ Naatriumnitrit _cc781905-5cde-3194 -bb3b-136bad5cf58d_ (E249-252)


Nitrites and nitrates are added to meat products (including all sausage products) in order to extend the shelf life, to make the color more appetizing, as well as to prevent the action of botulism bacteria. In the digestive tract, nitrites/nitrates produce carcinogenic compounds - nitrosamines. Their formation is also facilitated by the preparation of the product at a high temperature (e.g. smoking and frying). Although it is known that nitrates/nitrites can be dangerous to health, their use has not been banned, because their antimicrobial effect is more important than their harmfulness. At the same time, efforts are being made to reduce the formation of dangerous nitrosamines by adding vitamins C and E to meat products. With regular consumption of nitrites/nitrates, they can promote migraine attacks, the development of bronchial asthma, the development of diabetes, skin redness, etc. Nitrates are also found in some garden vegetables (leafy lettuce with a high nitrate content, celery, beets and herbs).


8.   _cc781905-5cde-3194-bb3b-120_bad5cf58d (EHT12) and BHA


These two substances belong to a group of antioxidants, both of which are synthetic and derived from petroleum. Their task is to preserve both the color and the aroma and flavor characteristics of the food, so that they do not change over time. Antioxidants also prevent fatty food from going bad. They are used in edible fats and oils, cakes, bakery products, sweets, as well as in cosmetics (lip glosses and sticks, eye liners, hair dyes, face creams, etc.) and even in baby oils. These two antioxidants are among the most harmful. , they can be carcinogenic (promoting cancer), mutagenic (inducing mutations) as well as teratogenic (affecting the fetus, during pregnancy can cause malformations of the fetus).

Health problems that BHA and BHT may contribute to:

Behavioral problems, central nervous system disorders, fertility problems, skin rashes, asthma, allergic rhinitis, hives, eczema, tumors.


9.   __Potassium Bromate (E)


It is added to the flour to make the dough more fluffy and elastic. Therefore, various breads and buns and other flour products may contain this substance. It has been confirmed that E924 is carcinogenic.


10.  Carrageenan  (E407)


It is a stabilizer, emulsifier, thickener. Most ice creams contain carrageenan, which can cause intestinal problems and colitis and is undesirable for children. Although there are two types of carrageenan - unprocessed and processed - the latter, i.e. processed carrageenan, is considered more dangerous. But since only the manufacturer knows what carrageenan was used in the food, in general the substance should be included in the list of dangerous E substances, and the easiest thing is not to consume foods where E407 is present. 






Used sources:

Erin, Angelika "Mysterious E-Ingredients in Our Daily Food", 2010örsemenä-peaks-l%C3%B5petama






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