“Mmm, sodium nitrate.”
When is the last time you heard someone say that? Right before you sunk your teeth into some juicy sodium nitrite?
People typically don’t consider the chemicals in their cuisine. However, additive-laced processed foods have become more American than apple pie.
Americans spend 90 percent of their food budget on processed food, claim some sources. It’s more convenient. It can be less expensive. But is it as healthy?
Dietitian Kate Patton and intern Sara Saliba of Cleveland Clinic’s Section of Preventive Cardiology & Rehabilitation explain.
What is processed food?
“Processed food has been altered in some way from its natural state,” says Ms. Patton. “Often, that means it has been treated with additives – substances that add color, enhance flavor or increase shelf-life, for example. Additives are not necessarily bad. Most foods do require additives to prevent spoilage and maintain their nutritional value.”
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved thousands of additives for use in food. But while consuming small amounts is safe, it may be warranted to limit the amount of these foods you consume.
What’s so bad about food additives?
“People should eat a healthy diet, rich in fresh vegetables and fruits. Eating a diet rich in processed foods is linked to many health problems, such as high blood pressure, heart disease and cancer,” says Ms. Saliba.
Read more on MSN.com.