Food Ingredients Without Nutritional Value

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One of the most important reasons why we take in food is to get properly nourished. That is precisely the reason why we give special attention to the nutritional value of ingredients we use in preparing food we eat. Nutritional value can be defined as the component of an ingredient and the impact it will have inside the human body. 

The ingredients we put in determine what our food will be made of. Do you know that there are at least 10 food ingredients which do not have nutritional value? Here they are:

1. Color Additives (Food Color)

Color additives or food color is added to food for several reasons. One is to offset color loss. Another is to enhance colors that occur naturally. The main reason why there are so many colors used in food is to make them attractive especially for "fun" food targeting children. 

2. Flavor Enhancers 

Flavor enhancers are intended to bring out flavor from meat and vegetables. They are chemical substances used to improve quality and taste of processed food. Monosodium Glutamate or MSG is an example.

3. Emulsifiers

Emulsifiers are chemical additives that work to suspend one liquid in another. These are used to make food more appealing. Without emulsifiers, the oil and water in mayonnaise will separate before it is used rendering it unappealing to eat. 

4. Stabilizers

Stabilizers are likewise chemical additives that work similar to emulsifiers. They help maintain consistent texture in food like margarine, ice cream, and mayonnaise. Pectin and calcium chloride are examples of these.

5. Thickeners

Thickeners make food thicker in consistency. They are mostly based on starches, vegetable gums, and pectin. They are also sometimes referred to as gelling agents.

6. Sweeteners

Sweeteners work to enhance the flavor and texture of food. Non-nutritive sweeteners are much sweeter than sugar. These are the zero or low-calorie alternative to natural sweeteners.

7. Antioxidant

Antioxidants are added to food that contain unsaturated fat to prevent them from turning rancid. 

8. Preservatives

Preservatives are added to food to prevent growth of mold, fungi, and yeast. They are commonly used in cheeses, bakery products, and dried fruit preparations.

9. Curing Salt

Curing salt is used in food preparation to prevent or slow down spoilage. Pink Prague powder is commonly used as it blends well with the color of meat.

10. Ascorbic Acid

Ascorbic acid, more commonly known as Vitamin C, is added to processed food as an antioxidant stabilizer.  

These ingredients which are all chemical additives are included in food preparation primarily for 3 reasons:

1. To improve the appearance of the food
2. To preserve the prepared appearance of the food
3. To prevent or delay spoilage

The inclusion of food additives in manufactured food is closely monitored by the Food and Drug Administration.


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