Food Additives Every Day Will Not Keep the Doctor Away!

Food Additives Every Day Will Not Keep the Doctor Away!

Key highlights from our first blog on food additives:

  • Food manufacturers use food additives to extend the shelf-life of their products or to improve taste or texture.

  • There are over 3,000 food additives that are purposely put into the food that we eat.

  • It is estimated that the average person consumes 8 - 10lbs of food additives every year and, for some, this amount may be even higher.

Unless you only eat whole, unprocessed food that comes directly from mother nature, you are likely eating many different food additives throughout the day.

Let’s be real, life is busy! Of course, we may have to resort to convenient, processed foods to get us through the work week. We are not saying that you should never eat another food additive ever again—that would not be realistic! What we can do is start to educate ourselves on the food additives that we should be avoiding and steer clear of foods that contain them.

Food additives aren’t necessarily all bad, some food additives ensure that our food remains safe from spoilage, which helps keep us safe from foodborne illnesses. BUT… Many of these additives may be more harmful to our health than helpful.

How do Food Additives Affect our Health?

Remember, there are about 4,000 food additives in our food system! Here we are describing how only a few have been shown to affect our health.

Quite frankly, we know you don’t have all day to read this, which is why we had to make it short and sweet and couldn’t list all of the food additives and the harm that they may do to our bodies (if you are curious about other food additives, do your own research by searching on PubMed or another legitimate website).

Research has shown that food additives may:

  • Harm our gut microbiome:

    • What: Emulsifiers - Added to processed food to improve texture and extend shelf life.

      • How: Research has found that two very common emulsifiers, polysorbate 80 and carboxymethylcellulsose, changed the species of microbes in the gut microbiome of mice to be more pro-inflammatory. This resulting low-grade inflammation may lead to the development of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) and metabolic syndrome. Metabolic disease a group of obesity-related disorders that can lead to diabetes, heart, and liver disease. Notably, IBD and metabolic syndrome have been significantly increasing since the mid-20th century when food additives became more prevalent in our food.

    • What: E171 (titanium dioxide nanoparticles) - A whitening agent that can be found in over 900 common food products, including chewing gum and mayonnaise. This food additive is consumed in high amounts every day by the general population.

      • How: Research has found that E171 impaired the activity of microbes in the gut microbiome and significantly reduced their production of SCFA’s (vital for gut health and therefore, overall health). It also promoted microbe growth in the form of an undesirable biofilm that has been implicated in the development of a broad range of diseases, including colorectal cancer and colitis.
    • Mimics estrogens:

      • What:

        • Propyl Gallate- A whitish crystalline powder that is added to foods to prevent fats and oils from spoiling, thanks to its antioxidant properties (don’t confuse this with phytochemicals found in plants that act as antioxidants, which are the real deal btw!).

        • 4-hexylresorcinol-An anti-browning agent that is used to prevent discoloration in shrimp and other shellfish

      • How: Food additives, such as propyl gallate and 4-hexylresorcinol, have been found to be xenoestrogens or synthetic chemicals that mimic natural estrogens. These chemicals have been implicated in a wide range of health issues, including breast cancer in women and decreased sperm count in men.

    • Can lead to insulin resistance and may be associated with increased risk of diabetes and obesity.

      • What: Propionate - Used to prevent mold in baked foods and animal feeds, and is also used in artificial flavorings.
      • How: Research has shown that propionate appears to increase levels of hormones that can lead to insulin resistance and excessive levels of insulin, which increases risk of obesity and diabetes.
    • Messes with our hormones so we can’t tell when we are full.

      • What: Butylhydroxytoluene (BHT) - used for its antioxidant properties, which help to extend the shelf life of food and is commonly used in breakfast cereals.

      • Research has shown that butylhydroxytoluene (BHT), may interfere with digestive signals that are sent to our brain to tell us that we are full. When this system becomes interrupted, people often don’t realize they are full and tend to overeat. Overeating can lead to overweight, obesity, and all of the chronic diseases associated with these conditions.


    FoodNerd to the Rescue!

    Now that all the depressing stuff out of the way…On to good news!

    FoodNerd’s products contain absolutely NO FOOD ADDITIVES, whatsoever. The only ingredients that you will find in these products are RAW, SPROUTED, ORGANIC superfood ingredients that are GMO-free and never pressurized or treated with chemicals or preservatives.

    These natural superfood ingredients nourish us from the inside out! Sprouting makes the nutrients in these foods more bioavailable to us, which means that we are better able to absorb them! The combination of sprouting and fiber found in these foods also helps to feed the good bacteria in our microbiome, which means better health and wellbeing for us!

    FoodNerd has got you covered—these products are delicious, nutritious, and something that you can feel good about eating yourself, and giving to your kids!

    You can find out more about FoodNerd’s products here.

    How to Protect Yourself from Harmful Food Additives

    • Eat more natural, minimally processed foods.

      • Eat more foods that come from mother nature like fruit, vegetables, whole grains, and natural plant-based protein foods (beans, lentils, nuts, and seeds), and POSITIVELY processed, nutrient-rich foods like Foodnerd’s OverNights!

    • Read the ingredient list on the food label.

      • If you cannot pronounce an ingredient and have no idea what it is, chances are it is a food additive. Not all food additives are detrimental to our health, but it is smart to be aware of the ones that we are eating. Remember, ingredients are listed by weight from the highest amount to lowest amount. This means that the first ingredient on the list is found in the largest amount in that food.

    • Cook more meals at home!

      • You will know exactly what is going into your food when you cook at home. Eating out is a different story—there is no telling what kind of ingredients or food additives were used! You may have to invest some time into this, but the upside for your health is more than worth it.



    The FDA’s process of evaluating the safety of food additives is not perfect. There is a lot of scientific evidence telling us that many food additives may be harmful to our health.

    Of course, we can avoid all of this by eating healthier, minimally processed foods. Thankfully, there are products out there like Foodnerd’s that puts the health of their consumers first by making delicious, nutrient dense-foods that our bodies will surely thank us for eating!


      1. Carocho, Marcio, Patricia Morales, and Isabel CFR Ferreira. "Natural food additives: Quo vadis?." Trends in food science & technology 45.2 (2015): 284-295.
      2. Carocho, Márcio, et al. "Adding molecules to food, pros and cons: A review on synthetic and natural food additives." Comprehensive reviews in food science and food safety 13.4 (2014): 377-399.
      3. Chassaing, Benoit, et al. "Dietary emulsifiers impact the mouse gut microbiota promoting colitis and metabolic syndrome." Nature 519.7541 (2015): 92-96.
      4. Mirza, Shazia Khanum, U. K. Asema, and Sayyad Sultan Kasim. "To study the harmful effects of food preservatives on human health." J Medicinal Chemist Drug Discovery 2.2 (2017): 610-616.
      5. Neltner, Thomas G., et al. "Navigating the US food additive regulatory program." Comprehensive Reviews in Food Science and Food Safety 10.6 (2011): 342-368.
      6. Pinget, Gabriela, et al. "Impact of the food additive titanium dioxide (E171) on gut microbiota-host interaction." Frontiers in nutrition 6 (2019): 57.




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      At FoodNerd, we're on a mission to redefine what kids eat today, tomorrow, and in the future. We make a wide range of tasty foods, but underneath all that deliciousness, we’re also setting new standards for nutrient density. We believe that parents should never have to compromise their children's well-being because of busy schedules or a lack of great pre-packaged options. That's why we've dedicated ourselves to creating nibbles that are positively brimming with the goodness of nature’s best ingredients.

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      Our products are designed to seamlessly fit into the ups and downs of parenthood. Whether it's snack time on the go, or dinner time where you’re like “where did the day go?” our healthy creations are there to support you. At FoodNerd, we believe that the healthy growth and development of our kids should go hand in hand with scientific rigor, tasty delight, and the kind of love for little ones that would make one stop at nothing in the pursuit to revolutionize how food gets made for the next generation.