Monday, April 23, 2007

Food Additives

I have decided to do some posts on some of the nasty food additives that we commonly eat. I think we tend to just focus on the carbs being evil too much and forget about what else we put into our mouths and our children's mouths. No-one really seems to talk about these much in low carb circles even though, there's plenty of endorsements for low carb products. Yet, when you look at their ingredients list *gasp* sometimes I wonder if they are any better then the item they are trying to replace...

If you feel you do fine with food additives well that's your decision but, that's no excuse for ignorance. The reason I say that is, because when it comes to our children this is a much bigger problem so it really is good to be aware. Children generally eat a ton of additive laden foods in fact, for many children, that's practically all they eat. When you consider how small they are you realise, that's alot of additives per pound of their body weight.

No wonder theres so many kids climbing the walls these days!

However, even if you feel that additives don't effect you, just keep in mind in cases of food intolerance's, effects often don't become apparent immediately, it can take up to a few days for the effect to become apparent. Not only that, intolerance's are often cumulative in that, they build up in your system over time until you reach your tolerance level. Also, your tolerance level can change through out your lifetime and be triggered by all sorts of things such as hormones, illness, medications and stress.

Today, I am going to focus on a preservative, calcium propionate or otherwise known as the number 282. This preservative is way too common in Australia and to my understanding, that it is also common in the US as well. The worst thing about this preservative is that it is in our daily bread, and yes we lowcarbers don't escape it either as it is in our low carb breads too. Not, just loaves of bread but any bread product like bread crumbs and wraps. For the low carb Aussies you will find it in your Empower and Subway wraps. Apparently, this can now be found in cheese, dried fruits and juices as well. Not only that, but because you find it in bread crumbs you also find it in sausages, stuffing, crumbed meats, meat patties etc...

Why is it used? Here is a quote from a fact sheet from fed up with food additives that explains it well.

Isn't it important to keep our bread fresh?

Contrary to what the food industry would like you to believe, this additive is not to keep your bread fresh. Calcium propionate (282) is added to inhibit the growth of mould. There is no mould on a freshly baked loaf of bread, so why use a mould inhibitor? Bakers who keep their work benches and slicer blades clean and mould-free, by wiping with vinegar every day, do not need this additive. However, bakers in large factories prefer the less time-consuming method of "fogging" their equipment with a chemical spray. Putting hot loaves in plastic bags makes the problem worse. Preservative 282 is for the convenience of the manufacturer not the consumer.

Like MSG, 282 can also be hidden on the label, I don't know about in the US and other countries but in Australia it can be hidden in whey powder because, like MSG, it can be produced naturally. To avoid listing it in their products, they culture it in whey and can still label their product 'preservative free'. Sometimes you can spot this when they list it as cultured whey butapparently they don't have to list it as cultured whey.

282 can effect both adults and children as well as be passed through breast milk. Some common symptoms include asthma, bed wetting, behavioural disorders and ADHD, concentration and memory problems, congestion, depression, fatigue, a host of gastric upsets, headaches and migraines,immunosuppression,irritability, learning difficulties, nightmares, sleeping problems, skin rashes and the list goes on.

And before you fob this one off, I have known of quite a few families that have found 282 effects their children. It seems very common place,at least here in Australia, so common that some major manufacturers have bowed down to public pressure and lobbying and stopped using it in their products.

Research on 282:
Controlled trial of cumulative behavioural effects of a common bread preservative.

Numerous anecdotal evidence as well as details on research on rats I urge you to go have a read through peoples experiences with 282 and their children.

Preservative 282 isn't the only proprionate that you need to look out for, there are 3 others as well:

Propionic Acid - 280
Sodium Propionate - 281
Potassium Propionate - 283

We have a thread going which I will try to keep updated with anything new I come across on 282, Bread Preservative (282) and if anyone else comes across anything new I would love to see it there!



Mother said...

I found your article on 282 very interesting. For 4 years, I struggled with my son, who for 90% of the time was a quiet, caring and well tempered boy. Then strangely, for no apparent reason, he would wake during the night screaming due to leg or arm pain. On a few occasions he was even unable to walk the next day, even though he went to bed without a problem. I went to numerous GP's, a paeditrician, physiotherapist, podiatrist...the list goes on, all of whom told me it was either growing pains or that I was an irrate parent. I have no medical proof on this, but after eating crumpets one day and my son going absolutely out of control, I started to eliminate various foods - I found that foods with 282 in it would send my son into fits of rage, where he would be irrational, sweating and sobbing uncontrollably. He was unabled to be reasoned to, which he usually was. He would also have a bad nights sleep waking every few hours screaming from leg or arm pain. I am not a doctor - far from it, but I am a mother, and I would hate for any other parent to go through what I did. If your child has similiar problems, but you doubt it - All i can say is try eliminating 282 - what have you got to lose - a better behaved child?

Sherrie said...

Wow thanks for sharing your story :)

I don't need to eliminate 282 simply because we don't eat it, I had already eliminated food additives from our diet some time a go in my quest to be as healthy as we could be.

Unfortunately with my daughter it seems to be something natural.

Courtney said...

It's not the mould on the machines the plant that the manufacturers are trying to prevent the growth of, but the mould floating in the air at your house. Spoilage moulds and yeasts are ubiquitous and washing the counter won't prevent their growth unless you're working in a vacuum.

Tony A said...

Interesting and thought provoking. I took a look at the ingredients of some flat bread, factory produced, and came across this as the preservative. I always make my own bread when i can without any preservatives. This article confirms my beliefs that preservatives should be avoided if possible. Interestingly my son has developed psoriasis and it may be linked to this or another preservative-though there is no proof. He was told to avoid gluten, yet it made no difference. It could simply be as a result of an allergy to a preservative like this...

Sherrie said...

Sorry I missed your comment. Wheat also contains fructans which are commonly an issue for people with fructose malabsorption. Fructose malabsorption is VERY common so if when giving up wheat he was still eating fructans or a high fructose to glucose ratio then that could explain it also.