Food Additives and Human Health

Historical Background of Food Additives, Their Advantages and Drawbacks

Author(s): Shafaq Asif, Muhammed Bule, Fazlullah Khan and Kamal Niaz

Pp: 1-17 (17)

DOI: 10.2174/9789811446139120010004

* (Excluding Mailing and Handling)


Food additives have been used since primordial times. They are the most important to impart artificial flavors and improve the quality of food and drinks. The earliest record in the history of adding additives to food dates back to Ancient Egyptian papyri circa 1500 BC. Food additives are added to food during preparation, processing manufacturing, treatment or packaging to modify chemical, biological, sensory or physical characteristics, and most of them do not have any nutritional value. They play a very important role as colorants, preservatives, antioxidants, acidity regulators, thickeners, stabilizers, emulsifiers, anti-caking agents and flavor enhancers. In addition, the demand of food additives in the food processing industries has sharply increased due to consumers’ preferences and commercial advantage they provide to the manufactured food because of longer shelf-life, standardized composition and convenience in processing. Dietary fibers play a vital role in weight management, diabetes, immune regulation, promoting dental health, colonic health, cardiovascular disease prevention and functions as dietary fiber and also support digestion in both animals and human beings. On the other hand, the use of food additives has been criticized for multiple health impacts such as cancer, asthma, allergies, and behavioral disorders in children. Therefore, regulatory authorities and law enforcement agencies have passed strict laws regarding food additives' approval and control. Nevertheless, in the last few decades, the food science and technology has swiftly advanced, resulting in an increased number and variety of food additives. Moreover, the quality and safety of food additives have developed as well.

Keywords: Disease, Food additives, Health.

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