Saturday, August 28, 2010

E-Numbers inside your food

Greetings from "My Right to Safe Food"

The consequences of refined processed and junk foods are there for us to see. Distraught parents succumb to children's tantrums so as to satiate their junk food taste buds. Unfortunately most young mother's are unaware that these refined processed, junk foods are designed to appease the senses but nothing more. Appeasing leads to addiction that costs children, youth, even young mothers and adults their lives. Diseases that were rare at the turn of the century is invading every second home. Not to forget the big dent in the pocket, the pain, the grief upon seeing a loved one suffer. This pain cannot be quantified.

Yet consumers are either unaware or remain oblivious that their daily kitchen grocery purchases are anything but safe. The food ingredients that they purchase with such trust and loyalty undergo intense chemical processing. They range from branded refined oils, rice, grains, sugar, synthetic sugar, flour, salt, fats, spices and more. No wonder cold pressed coconut, sesame, mustard oils and more are less sought after and their uses nullified. A huge conspiracy is behind this but I will not get into it.

These refined processed food products promoted have a longer shelf life as they undergo lethal treatments and stripped completely of nutrition. A whole lot of gimmicky advertisements shriek out their safety and advantages. With not a reason to doubt, consumers knowingly or unknowingly lap up all of the above and the fast selling refined breads, snacks, pizzas, burgers, cookies, cakes, chocolates and beverages. As if safe food alternatives were a thing of outdated past! Our Indian belief "Buy fresh and cook fresh" is fast flying out of the window. "No Time to cook", more of a western trait prevails in Indian homes. Sadly, cooking is reserved for occasions only! But this major time constraint has been merrily encashed by fast junk foods and food processing giants.

By buying deceptively attractive fortified packaged foods, health is bound to be compromised. It is not just India but across the globe. These branded food products by MNC's and private companies available in super market shelves are passed liberally by the food safety authorities as consumers fail to raise concerns nor question the source. Snacks like cakes, biscuits, chips, pizzas and more have a whole lot of trans-fats or hydrogenated fats. Besides this, goes in E- numbers like emulsifiers, additives, stabilisers, colourants and flavor enhancers.

A culmination of sedentary lifestyles and dietary shifts to processed food products and fast junk foods containing a whole lot of synthetic E-numbers are silently poisoning us. No wonder the West is suffering no end. We always look up to America. The reality is much worse there -
One in three Americans dies of cancer
One in three suffers from allergies
One in three suffers from obesity
One in five is mentally ill
One in ten has ulcers , the other degenerative diseases like diabetes, Alzheimers and more are sapping the life blood of the nation
One out of five pregnancies ends in miscarriage and one quarter of million infants are born with a birth defect each year.
Learning disabilities such as dyslexia and hyperactivity afflict seven million young people.
Americans spend one dollar out of every fourteen for medical services. The most cursory survey of current statistics can prove this.

Now the question arises "Who stands to gain?" Maximum profits are reaped at a quantum speed by the most powerful and flourishing food processing industry, all at consumers cost. Parallely, the medical and pharmaceutical companies stand to gain.

Eat healthy! How do you do this with the escalating food prices, gas and everything else? Where are the alternatives? How do we get them? This is a question often asked by people when considering how to improve their diets. However, the real question should be “How can you afford not to eat healthy with the high costs of being ill?”

Re-thinking healthy eating habits may help you make food choices that work for you. Eating healthy means selecting foods that are nutrient-dense( this will be shared shortly) readily available to the individual. What is stopping us from going back to our time tested traditional diets? Get back to the basics. Substitute refined oils to cold pressed sesame, coconut, mustard oil and more. Substitute margarine, low fats to ghee and butter. Substitute white refined sugar to cane sugar if not available, then go for jaggary or jaggary syrup, date syrup. Ban apartame completely out of your diets...Nutra sweet, splenda. Substitute idozised salt to Himalayan rock salt, refined white rice to red/ brown rice. So many alternatives yet the will to do is lacking.

Eating nutritious foods does not have to be costly and can actually be a cost savings in the long-run. There are many things people can do to control food costs while still wishing to have a health-promoting diet. When budgeting, most people separate medical costs from food costs. However, these two are linked. As one eats more nutritious foods, medical problems and costs can be mitigated or eliminated, thus reducing overall spending. And actually, for the typical family, an increase in food costs is not even necessary for improving the diet. Improving one’s diet does mean spending more time to finding more nutritious foods and safe food sources/ alternatives.

What are E- numbers?

E numbers are number codes for food additives that have been assessed for use within the European Union (the "E" prefix stands for "Europe"). Check this link -

E- numbers is a chemical compound that is added to protect against decay or decomposition to inhibit spoilage. Not all E-numbers are bad for you. However, most E- numbers are prepared/produced synthetically as these are often less expensive than the natural product.

It is extremely wise to avoid eating food with harmful food additives, preservatives. Many of these food additives were once of natural origin and were not harmful. Reading product labels for its E Numbers is essential. Its an awakening by itself. If you care for your well being, then when you purchase a food product, make a note of the E- numbers, it does not take much time. Another useful link - and below. This way you rule out many allergies or chronic symptoms from reoccurring. Invest in your health.

Classification by numeric range.

1. E100s are generally colours.
2. E200 to E282 are mainly preservatives and acids.
3. E300 to E341 are mainly antioxidants and acid regulators.
4. E400s include emulsifiers, stabilisers, thickeners, anti-caking agents, release agents and bulking agents.
5. E500-E599 - Mineral salts & Anti-caking agents
6. E600-E699 - Flavour enhancers
7. E900-E1520 and by name - Miscellaneous
In the links below, you will find the E numbers that are banned or forbidde by some responsible countries.

A peep into what you get to eat in the processed foods that you most enjoy....

a. E 102, Tartrazine, an azo dye, yellow and orange colourant. It is Forbidden - source -
Usage - Found in soft drinks, cakes, biscuits, puddings, meat products, sauces, tinned and packet convenience foods, confectionery.
Side effects - people who are intolerant to salicylates (aspirin, berries, fruits); in that case tartrazine also induces intolerance symptoms. In combination with benzoates (E210-215), tartrazine is implicated in a large percentage of cases of ADHD syndrome (hyperactivity) in children. Asthmatics sometimes react badly and may also experience symptoms following consumption of tartrazine, as it is a known histamine-liberating agent.

Interestingly, a valuable contributor to safe foods Dr. Madan Thangavelu of the Medical Research Council Cambridge shared his take on E102, "Some 20 years ago, aged 5-10, I was diagnosed as a "problem child", with fits of anger, rage and sometimes even hold my breath until I turned blue and passed out. The doctors just blamed parenting skills or my personality. But further investigation - mainly by my parents - found this was a reaction to E102, which at the time was used to colour cola, orange juice and other food stuffs. As soon as E102 was stripped from my diet I was as good as new".

b. E123 Amaranth, a synthetic coal tar dye, red in colour. Modern synthetics are more likely to be made from petroleum byproducts. Forbidden
Usage - sometimes in gravy mixes, cake mixes, fruit-flavoured fillings, jelly crystals; meat patties and black currant drinks.
Side Effects - can provoke asthma, eczema and hyperactivity; it caused birth defects and foetal deaths in some animal tests, possibly also cancer.

Banned in the USA, Russia, Austria and Norway and other countries

c. E220 Sulphur Dioxide, usage found in carbonated drinks, marmalade, glace cherries, mixed peel, cakes, fruit based products and meat products. Gas prepared chemically for use as a food preservative, flour improver, bleaching agent and vitamin C stabiliser.
Side Effects - Headaches, Intestine Upset, Skin Disorders, Destroys Vitamin B12

d. E621 - Monosodium glutamate (MSG), a Flavour enhancers derived from the fermentation of molasses, salt substitute; adverse effects appear in some asthmatic people, not permitted in foods for infants and young children; typical products are canned vegetables, canned tuna, dressings, many frozen food, and chinese foods. We Indians are very fond of Chinese food, thankfully in some well known restaurants they clearly mention - NO MSG, but most use it liberally. Warning: Adverse effects appear in some asthmatic people, Headaches, Intestine Upset and Skin Disorders. Not permitted in foods for infants and young children.

These are only a few of E- numbers one has shared. Most question labeling in India, that it has yet to come of age or for that matter can it be trusted? My take "First start the process of reading labels, slowly the jig-saw puzzle of your deteriorating immunities will unravel. Your road to recovery begins". Its best not to fear E-numbers as all are not bad for you. Just be informed, alert and take charge than be sorry. For many years now, my family and me have been cautious and conscious when buying anything off the shelve. It certainly has paid off.

If you have limited time, please find the excerpts from links below. Print it out and carry it in your shopping bags, pick up a food product, read the label and check out for yourself. It may shock you at first but just start. There is basic toxicology principle for safe consumption. Some Es are so safe there is no acceptable daily intake (ADI) level. E202, the preservative potassium sorbate, for instance, you can eat up to 25mg for each kg of your body weight. But there are others that have strict ADIs, although these limits aren't indicated on food packaging. Well, anything in excess over a period of time boomerangs on health. Think, how many chips packets, biscuits, cakes, chocolates, cokes you buy off the shelve and calculate the intake of E numbers, it will be a startling revelation!

You will agree that no amount of yoga nor pranic healing, reiki nor exercise nor meditation will gain ground, if your basic Sattvic Food( pure foods that are rich in prana) is under grave assault. Energy which has three qualities, known as Gunas exist together in equilibrium. With a balanced flow of sattva energy starting from food, a peaceful mind in control of a fit body emerges. This is not just a prescribed diet for a yogic. Millions throng spiritual ashram/centres in search of peace, health and harmony. The food prepared is simple yet delicious, moderation is maintained along with calm energies. But most ingredients are refined in nature be it from oils, rice, sugar, flours, snacks like biscuits, cakes with hydrogenated fats and more are served. Vegetables with pesticides are outsourced. Can this be done away with? The spiritual centres surely can evolve sustainable models of growing and procuring safe sattvic foods for their million devotees, given their financial muscle. Some ashrams are striving towards growing some vegetable produce which is good. But most are lagging far, far behind. In small spiritual gatherings or satsangs, the food served thereafter is so rajasic and tamasic that the whole purpose of a satsang is diluted. Exchanges on spiritual discourse via emails there are neither dissections nor actions stressed to caution/remedify the toxic food available nor its intake.

“When sattva predominates, the light of wisdom shines through every gate of the body” (BG 14: 11).Is this not what most want? Why, then take for granted the "powerhouse of energies, your body"?

Unfortunately consumers are victims of their own colonised minds. If such grief stricken awakenings of loved ones reaching puberty at age six, muscular distrophy at age 4, diabetes at 5, heart disease, BP at age 16 is not a reason to stand up and question. Then suffering is surely written.

Dare to find the safe food alternatives and sustainable solutions? We have them.
Come, join us.

In solidarity

Sangita Sharma

Health specialists around the world are becoming increasingly convinced that the additives in processed foods are firmly linked to the dramatic rise in children's allergies. However, despite mounting evidence, there has been very few restrictions placed on the food manufacturers in the UK and the USA. Some countries have displayed a more responsible attitude and, as you will see from the lists below, have banned certain substances. Particular attention has been paid to infants and children's products because their immature organs are less efficient at removing such toxins from their systems. Unfortunately, it makes frightening reading.

Please note that, when reading the following lists, if a substance is shown as being banned in several countries, it means that the adverse effects are too numerous to list. These E-numbers should be avoided AT ALL TIMES. Any substance marked with * means that it is derived from animals (mostly pigs) and should be avoided if a child has pork allergies.

Colourant E- Numbers Banned in Some Countries

* E102 Tartrazine, yellow colourant - used in all manner of foodstuffs
* E104 Quinoline Yellow - used in all manner of foodstuffs and to colour medicines
* E107 Yellow 7G - used in soft drinks
* E110* Sunset Yellow FCF, Orange Yellow S- used in all manner of foodstuffs and medications
* E120* Cochineal, red colour
* E123 Amaranth - in cake mixes, fruit flavoured fillings, jelly crystals
* E124 Ponceau 4R, Cochineal RedA
* E127 Erythrosine red colourant - glace cherries, canned fruit, custard mix, sweets, snack foods
* E128 Red 2G
* E129 Allura red AC - in sweets, drinks and medications
* E131 Patent blue V
* E132* Indigotine, Indigo carmine - ice cream, sweets, baked goods, confectionery, biscuits
* E133 Brilliant blue FCF - dairy products, sweets and drinks
* E142 Green S - canned peas, mint jelly and sauce, packet bread crumbs and cake mixes
* E151 Brilliant Black BN, Black PN - brown sauces, blackcurrant cake mixes
* E153* black colourant used in jams, jelly crystals and liquorice
* E155 brown HT (chocolate) used in chocolate cake mixes
* E160(c)* Paprika extract
* E173 Aluminium colourant
* E174 Silver colourant
* E175 Gold colourant
* E180 Latolrubine BK

Preservative E-numbers Banned in Some Countries

* E214 Ethyl p-hydroxybenzoate
* E215 Sodium ethyl p-hydroxybenzoate
* E217 sodium propyl p-hydroxybenzoate
* E219 Sodium methyl p-hydroxybenzoate
* E226 Calcium sulphite
* E227 Calcium hydrogen sulphite
* E228 Potassium hydrogen sulphite
* E230 Biphenyl, Diphenyl
* E231 Orthophenyl phenol
* E232 Sodium orthophenyl phenol
* E233 Thiabendazole
* E236 Formic acid
* E237 Sodium formate
* E238 Calcium formate
* E239 Hexamethylene tetramine
* E249 Potassium nitrite
* E252* Potassium nitrite

Acids, Antioxidants and Mineral Salts E-Numbers Banned in Certain Countries

* E310 , E311, E312 - various gallates used in oils, fats and salad dressings
* E320 Butylated hydroxyl-anisole (BHA)
* E363 Succinic acid
* E370 1,4-Heptonolactone
* E385 Calcium disodium EDTA

Vegetable Gums, Emulsifiers and Stabiliser E-numbers Banned in Certain Countries

* E420 Sorbitol
* E421 Mannitol
* E432* Polysorbate 20
* E434* Polysorbate 40
* E463 Hydroxypropyl methyl cellulose
* E470* Fatty acids salts
* E474* Sucroglycerides
* E483* Stearyl tartrate
* E493* Sorbitan monolaurate
* E494* Sorbitan mono-oleate
* E495* Sorbitan monopalmitate

Mineral Salts and Anti-Caking Agents E-Numbers Banned in Some Countries

* E513 Sulphuric acid
* E524 Sodium hydroxide
* E525 Potassium hydroxide
* E527 Ammonium hydroxide
* E528 Magnesium hydroxide
* E530 Magnesium oxide
* E540 Dicalcium diphosphate
* E541 Sodium aluminium phosphate
* E544 Calcium polyphosphates
* E545 Ammonium polyphosphates
* E553(a) Magnesium silicates
* E576 Sodium gluconate

Flavour Enhancer E-Numbers Banned in Some Countries

* E626, E627, E629 - various guanylates
* E635* Disodium 5'-ribonucleotide - flavoured crisps, instant noodles, pies

Miscellaneous E-numbers Banned in Some Countries
* E907* Refined microcrystalline wax - sweets, dried fruit.
* E927 Azodicarbonamide
* E952 Cyclamic acid - artificial sweetener
* E954 Saccharines - artificial sweetener

E-numbers, Not in the Banned Lists, that are Believed to Cause Allergic Reactions Ranging From Hyperactivity to Asthma, Migraines, Rashes and Digestive Upsets
* E120* Cochineal, Carminic acid - red colourant
* E150(a), (b), (c), (d) - caramel colourants
* E160(b) Annatto - used to dye cheese, butter, margarine, cereals, snack foods.
* E210* Benzoic acid - preservative in baked goods, cheeses, gum, ice creams, relishes, soft sweets, cordials
* E211 Sodium benzoate - orange soft drinks, milk and meat products, relishes, baked goods, ice lollies and lollipops and in medications
* E212 Potassium benzoate - as E211
* E220 Sulphur dioxide - soft drinks, dried fruit, juices, cordials, potato products.
* E221, E222, E223, E224, E225 - as E220
* E235 Natamycin - meat, cheese
* E249, E250, E252*- various nitrites used in the preservation of meat
* E280, E281, E282, E283 - various propionates used in bread and flour products
* E296 Malic acid
* E319 Tert-ButylHydroQuinone
* E320 Butylated hydroxyl-anisole
* E412 Guar Gum
* E413 Tragacanth
* E414 Acacia
* E416 Karaya Gum
* E441* Gelatine
* E620* Glutamic acid - flavour enhancer
* E621 Monosodium glutamate - flavour enhancer
* E951* Aspartame - artificial sweetener
* E967 Xylitol - used in low-calorie foods

Please note that the above lists are not comprehensive in that they do not include E numbers that relate specifically to lactose intolerance or gluten intolerance in children. If your child has been diagnosed with those conditions then your doctor should have given you a list of E-numbers to avoid.

1 comment:

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