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Where Are Additives Found?

wf additives

Have you ever wondered why people say MSG is bad for you? Well, it is an additive, and we thought it might be helpful to unpack this concept a little! 

In our previous blog for this month, we shared what preservatives are and what kinds of ailments they have been known to cause. In this blog, we want to remind you of the heart behind sharing this well-researched information, before we explore what additives are and how they affect our body’s natural state. 

The heart of the Wholesome Food blog is to bring the right information to your inbox so that you can make wise decisions about food for you and your family.

Part of making wiser decisions in the kitchen is getting to know what is out there. We have done a vast amount of research and have seen the results of small, simple changes in our lifestyle firsthand. It is in our mail to you that we’d like to share some of these useful nuggets of information. 

What Is An Additive?

An additive is any substance that has been added to food. These will include preservatives, food colouring, flavour enhancers, thickeners, stabilisers, nutrients, and sweeteners.

Examples of some food additives include the following:

Sweeteners such as sucrose (sugar), glucose, fructose, sorbitol, mannitol, corn syrup, high fructose corn syrup, saccharin, and aspartame are added to sweeten food.

Colouring:FD&CYellow Nos. 5 and 6, annatoor beta carotene. 

Thickeners and stablisers: such as pectin, guar gum, carrageenan, xanthan gum, whey, andgelatin. 

Some Top Additive Offenders 

Artificial Colouring:

  • Yellow Dye No. 5 – this dye may cause severe asthma symptoms.
  • Red Dye No. 2 –  Studies have shown that it may cause cancer.
  • Blue Dye No. 1 and Blue Dye No. 2 (E133) – These dyes are banned in Norway, Finland, and France as they have the potential to cause chromosomal damage.

A lot of these colour dyes mentioned above can be found most often in candy sweets, breakfast cereal, soft drinks, sports drinks and pet foods.      

  • Red Dye No. 3 (also Red No. 40) or (E124) –  These dyes have been proven to cause thyroid cancer and chromosomal damage in laboratory animals.  They may also interfere with the brain-nerve transmission. These dyes can be commonly found in:  fruit cocktail, maraschino cherries, ice cream, candy sweets, bakery products and more. 
  • Yellow Dye No.6 (E110) and Yellow Tartrazine (E102) – These dyes are banned in Norway and Sweden. They are proven to increase the number of kidney and adrenal gland tumors in laboratory animals as well as potentially causing chromosomal damage. They can be found in some cheese, pre-made macaroni, and cheese, candy sweets, carbonated beverages and lemonade. 
  • Natural Green Colour – has several ingredients including curcumin which has been extracted via petroleum products and propylene glycol found in lollies and drinks.


  • High Fructose Corn Syrup– also known as HFCS, isoglucose, maize syrup, glucose-fructose syrup, glucose or fructose and it is cheaper to produce than cane sugar. This sweetener is often found in various sweet products, yoghurts, bread, frozen pizzas, cereal bars, cocktail peanuts, and boxed macaroni and cheese. Concerns: HFCS has been linked to increased risk of obesity and type2 diabetes.
  • Aspartame, also known as Canderel, Tropicana Slim, NutraSweet, Equal, AminoSweet. This sweetener can be commonly found in diet or sugar-free sodas (diet coke coke zero), jelly, desserts and puddings, sugar-free gum, drink mixes, baking goods, table-top sweeteners, cereal, breath mints, kool-aid, iced tea, chewable vitamins, and toothpaste. Concerns: Studies have shown that aspartame may elevate blood glucose and increase anxiety.
  • Caramelized sugar syrup which replaces E150 caramel, gives bread and cooked chicken a brown look.

Known Additives:

  • Potassium Bromate –has been banned inthe United Kingdom, the European Union, and in Canada. It is also known as bromates, calcium bromate, potassium bromate, sodium bromate or bromated flour.

Commonly found in:bread, this additive is used to strengthen bread and cracker dough.

ConcernsCaliforniaand the international cancer agency lists it as a carcinogen. It has been labelledas causing tumors, toxic to the kidneys and may even cause DNA damage.

  • Monosodium Glutamate(MSG) which is also known as, E621, sodium glutamate, MSG, Accent,Zest, Ajinomoto, Vetsin.

Commonly found in:Chinese food, canned foods, and processed meats

Concerns:Some reports have indicated numerous reactions such as headaches, flushing, sweating, facial pressure or tightness, numbness, tingling or burning in the face, neck and other areas along with rapid heart palpitations, chest pain, nausea, and weakness.

MSG looks similar to salt or sugar crystals, and it is tasteless but has the ability to enhance other flavours.

  • Rosemary Extract – Actual additive numbers 300-321. This additive can be found in some cereals, salami, fresh pasta or margarine or cooking oils.
  • Yeast Extract is a hidden form of MSG found in some spreads, soups, dips, chips, microwave dinners.
  • Rice Extract – is a chemical stabiliser and emulsifier used in ice cream, pizzas, savory snacks.
  • Roasted Barley Malt Extract – This additive is a flavouring and colour enhancer that makes cereals taste toasted.

So What CAN We Eat?! 

Phew, we are so proud of you for getting through all this interesting and shocking information.

So now, you are probably wondering what to do with all this information about additives, preservatives, colourants, and processed foods.

What CAN one eat?? 

You will be surpisedto know that there is a lot one can eat and believe me your body will thank you! 

We have made it easy for you and have created an awesome table of just a few different options to try. Keep an eye out on our social media for more!