What is Citric Acid?

While the idea of only eating simple unprocessed foods is great, it can be challenging.

I try to go for the second best thing which is understanding what the unpronounceable ingredients are. With that goal in mind I give you… Citric Acid

What is citric acid?

Citric acid is versatile, widely used, cheap, and safe. It is commonly sold as “sour salt” because of its resemblance to table salt. It is found in almost all living organisms as an important metabolite and is especially abundant naturally in citrus fruits and berries.

What is citric acid used for?

It is used:

  • to provide tartness to balance the sweet flavors in soft drinks
  • as an antioxidant and pH control agent in fruit drinks
  • as an emulsifying agent to keep fats from separating in frozen desserts
  • to prevent sucrose crystallization in caramel
  • as a substitute for fresh lemon juice in recipes

Is citric acid safe?

Citric acid appears to be safe.

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Synthetic and Natural Additives: What’s Safe?

Are you scared of food additives?

These include things like colors, flavors, sweeteners, and preservatives. Some are as common as baking soda and table sugar, some are less familiar to us such as chymosin or erythorbic acid.

Synthetic vs. natural

Most additives are synthetic compounds but that does not make them inherently less safe than natural compounds.

The toxicity of any compound is determined by its effects in the body, not whether it is synthesized in a lab or produced by a plant.

The dose is also very important. Even something as common as table sale (yes, even sea salt) can cause illness or even death if consumed in excessive amounts.

It’s also interesting to note that many plants contain natural toxins. Some research suggests that we ingest at least 10,000 times more natural plant toxins than synthetic additives or pesticides!

What you need to know

Natural additives aren’t necessarily safer than artificial or synthetic ones.

The FDA regulates the safety of food additives but if you want to lower your intake of additives, read food labels and eat fewer highly processed foods.

What is Blue 1? What is Blue 2?

While the idea of only eating simple unprocessed foods is great, it can be challenging.

I try to go for the second best thing which is understanding what the unpronounceable ingredients are.

With that goal in mind I give you…

Blue 1 & Blue 2 from projecteatme.wordpress.com

What are blue 1 and blue 2?

Blue 1 and blue 2 are artificial food dyes.

Blue 1 is poorly digested so it comes out the other end as green #2.

Blue 2 is filtered rapidly by the kidneys and turns urine blue.

Yum.

What are blue 1 and 2 used for?

Blue 1 is used:

  • to color things like ice cream, blue curacao, blue raspberry flavored foods, other beverages, candy, and baked goods.

Blue 2 is used:

  • To color pet food, beverages, and candy.

Fun Fact: Blue 2 is also used as a pH indicator.

Are blue 1 and 2 safe?

An unpublished animal test suggests that blue 1  may pose a small cancer risk. A test-tube study indicated that it might affect neurons. It also causes occasional allergic reactions. So it generally appears that it might be safe for people that are not allergic, but it should be better tested.

Take away message: Try to avoid blue 1.

Animal studies found some evidence that blue 2 causes brain cancer in male rats, but the FDA concluded that there is reasonable certainty of no harm.

Take away message: Avoid blue 2 because it is poorly tested and not worth any risk.

Tell me: Do you eat blue foods?

Pop Quiz

What food does this ingredient list belong to?

Ingredients: Potatoes, partially hydrogenated oil, corn syrup solids, salt , coconut oil, whey powder, sugar, nonfat dry milk, dehydrated vegetables (bell peppers, onions, jalapeno), spice sodium caseinate, mono and diglycerides, calcium stearoil lactylate, artificial color, natural and artificial flavor, dipotassium phosphate, lecithin, lime juice powder, lime oil, sodium acid pyrophosphate, disodium inosinate, disodium guanylate, sodium bisulfite, citric acid, mixed tocopherols and less than 2.0% silicon dioxide.

Leave your guess in the comments and be as specific as possible

What is Carrageenan?

While the idea of only eating simple unprocessed foods is great, it can be challenging.

I try to go for the second best thing which is understanding what the unpronounceable ingredients are.

With that goal in mind I give you…

Carrageenan

What is carrageenan?

Carrageenan is a vegetable gum which is a type of indigestible carbohydrate or fiber.

It is extracted from seaweed.

As a gum, it has the ability to absorb water and swell to several times its original volume.

What is carrageenan used for?

It is used:

  • to emulsify or help with the mixing of salad dressings and non-dairy creamer
  • to stabilize the foam in whipped cream and other whipped desserts
  • to thicken pudding, pie filling, sauces, sour cream, soy milk
  • to improve texture of syrup, fruit drinks, processed cheeses and meats
  • to add body, prevent ice crystal formation, and help ice cream resist melting.

Is carrageenan safe?

There are concerns about carrageenan because some research has found that large amounts of carrageenan can harm the colons of test animals.

However, at this point, the small amounts of carrageenan used in food appear to be safe.

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