Food is any material used to provide nutrition to an organism. In a food processing method, food is mechanically processed to remove any unwanted material and render it ready for human consumption. Food is generally of animal, plant or fungi origin, and often contains nutrients, like proteins, carbohydrates, vitamins, or other minerals. Processing of food involves various stages such as cleaning, soaking, boiling, freezing, roasting, grinding, mashing, treating with enzymes, or adding flavorings or coloring agents. It also involves storage of the finished product in various forms.
Amongst all the various food additives, food colorings, flavorings and preservatives are the most popular. Some of the additives used in food processing are used to extend the shelf life of the food by prolonging its storage period and/or prolonging its freshness. These include artificial flavors, coloring, flavoring, fiber, sodium benzoate (SBA), polyethylene terephthalate (PET) and saccharin.
A healthy diet is important to maintain a healthy body weight. By eating healthy diet, body can fight and prevent many illnesses, including cancer. There are numerous food additives that do not contribute to good health but rather contribute to disorders and diseases like obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and various forms of cancer. Often times, these chemicals can be removed by using food additives, and thus promoting a healthier lifestyle and better health.
One of the most common food additives used today is milk. Milk is primarily made from cow’s milk, although goat milk, soy and goat cheese are also produced. Though food additives for milk may increase milk’s taste and nutrient content, research indicates that excessive intake may result to hyper lactation syndrome, which is characterized by frequent urination and bloating of the abdominal region. Hyper lactation syndrome may eventually lead to Type 2 diabetes and can lead to the development of kidney stones.
Other food additives generally recognized by the food industry include red coloring and flavors, stabilizers and emulsifiers, and sulfates. Some of these additives are generally recognized as safe (GRAS), meaning they meet the requirements set forth by the FDA for generally recognized ingredients. However, it should be noted that these claims are generally based on the concentration level of the individual ingredients in the product. Thus, the concentration of each additive in a food will vary greatly, with some ingredients being more concentrated than others. This variation results in products containing a wide variety of different ingredients, which are then packaged and sold for individuals to purchase.
Carbohydrates and proteins are the two main nutrients found in whole foods. Common carbohydrates found in foods include breads, cereals, rice and pasta. Common proteins found in food options include beef, chicken, fish, eggs, poultry and nuts. Meats are generally classified into animal-based meats, dairy products, and poultry products.