Are There Any Safe Food Additives

Not all food additives are potentially toxic.  Those made from wholesome natural products are the least dangerous.  Synthetic chemicals and highly processed food derivatives are not found in nature, and are foreign to our bodies.  Not to mention, that they have ALL been shown to cause health problems in both animals and humans.  Even some additives from natural sources can have adverse effects.  These substances contribute to the toxic load in our bodies, depress our immune system, and irritate tissues.

Label Reading

You should avoid ALL foods containing chemical additives.  Often, you cannot tell from reading the ingredients on a label, if they are natural or not.  A simple rule-of-thumb is if the ingredient is a long multi-syllable word, it is probably a man-made chemical or a highly refined plant or animal extract and either should not be eaten.  Avoid all foods that contain ingredients you cannot identify.  The best foods to eat are those that are as close to their natural state as possible.  The more processing foods undergo, the longer the ingredient list becomes, and the more chance for not only the addition of chemical additives, but of contamination from processing (cleaning fluid residue, insect droppings, plastic leaching, etc).  It is best to avoid most products that have more than a half dozen or so ingredients.

Below are 2 lists of commonly used additives.  One contains additives that are generally safe to use.  Most of these additives are derived from natural sources, and are harmless when used in moderation.  The other list shows additives that should be outright avoided.  The additives in the second list are all synthetic or highly processed and denatured.  These lists are nowhere near complete, but give you an idea of what types of additives pose little harm, and which ones you should avoid.

Additives Generally Safe To Use


Beet Juice, Beet Powder

Beta-Carotene or Carotene

Citric Acid

Herbs and Spices (cloves, peppermint, ginger, etc)

Lactic Acid


Minerals (iron, calcium, carbonate, etc)

Natural Oils and Extracts (vanilla, almond, etc)

Natural Sweeteners (raw honey, raw maple syrup, molasses)


Sea Salt, Natural Rock Salt

Sodium Bicarbonate

Sorbic Acid

Vegetable Glycerin

Vitamins (thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, folate, etc)


Additives To Avoid

Aluninum Salts

Artificial Colors

Artificial Flavorings

Artificial Sweeteners (aspartame and saccharin)






Hydrogenated Vegetable Oils (including margarine and shortening)



Natural Smoke Flavor


Processed and Refined Sweeteners

Propylene Glycol

Propyl Gallate

Sodium Benzoate

Sodium Nitrate and Nitrite

Sodium Propionate

Sodium Sulfite


Sulfur Dioxide



So make sure you do your “due diligence” and become more label savvy.  These additives usually go unnoticed in a long list of ingredients, and many people just don’t take the time to read them, and become conscious of what they are really putting into their bodies.  You are what you eat, is not just a cute saying….its true!

Bon Veggie Appetit!

Gina ‘The Veggie Goddess’ Matthews


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