Processed foods and additives

Processed foods and additives

This is what we discuss in this article:

Food additives: which ones affect endometriosis
What are food additives
Food additives and the correlation with cancer development
Types of food additives: list
Endometriosis: how to protect yourself from food additives
Heavy metals: why they are harmful

⏰ READING TIME: 4 minutes

If you, too, were a child in the 1970s, you will surely remember the pounding campaign against E 125 dye, a food additive that was present in popsicles, soft drinks, and candy at the time. With Directive 76/399/EEC, in fact, the scarlet red dye was finally banned, and for months on TV and in schools it was all anyone talked about.
That, probably, can be considered the real first moment when the scientific community took note of the danger of food additives, which present in most processed and preserved foods, adversely affect the health of humans. And of the woman, of course.

But what do food additives have to do with endometriosis? Let’s go in order.

First, you need to know that food additives mean all those edible substances that are intentionally added into food preparations, without these having any nutritional purpose. So why are they incorporated into foods? The answer is simple: just to aid their production, processing, packaging, storage and transportation.
Indeed, in some cases, the use of various food additives will be for the purpose of making foods more appealing, other times to aid their preservation, and still others to enhance their flavor. It is easy to recognize them: in fact, the relevant legislation requires that food additives be indicated on the label with a numerical abbreviation, always preceded by the letter E. In addition, it is mandatory that the manufacturer also specify their purpose. This is an effective way to understand what you are eating: in fact, you only need to take a few minutes of your time before slipping a product into your shopping cart to figure out what food additives what you are buying contains.

The question is always the same: Are food additives dangerous to health? Yes and no. Or rather not all of them. First, you have to consider the fact that taken one by one, most food additives do not expose you to any real danger, but the truth is that you have to watch your back against the combined effect of them. This means that it is not the individual additive that puts your health at risk, but the summation of them, which as reported by various research, can hinder cell development by interfering with neuronal growth and synapse functioning. Among the most common and most dangerous are quinoline yellow, E 104; monosodium glutamate, E621; aspartame, E951; and bright blue, E133.
And as more food additives are present in all foods, here is where the risk to your health becomes real. In addition, some of these substances have been shown to be correlated with the development of cancers. The ultimate carcinogenic food additives are nitrites and nitrates, which greatly increase the occurrence of stomach cancer. Present mainly in canned and processed meats, these elements eventually bind to other molecules and evolve into N-nitrosamines, components that are highly toxic to the body.

Current relevant regulations list up to 26 categories of commonly used food additives, specifying their functionality and purpose. But without getting lost in a myriad of acronyms and high-sounding designations, here are the food additives you’ll find most often in the foods you find on the market:

Colorants- they can be natural or artificial, but all serve to impart a particular color to the product. On the label, they are specified with the letter E, followed by a number between 100 and 199, depending on the specific color.
Preservatives-These food additives, their name suggests, serve to lengthen the expiration date by preventing the growth of pathogenic bacteria. They are indicated by acronyms between E200 and E299.
Sweeteners-used to impart a special sweetness to foods, you will recognize them by their abbreviations, ranging from E950 to E969.
Antioxidants and acidity regulators – denoted by the acronyms between E300 and E399, these food additives serve to protect foods from oxidative stress and to regulate flavor.
Thickeners – serve to thicken foods, and the abbreviations indicating them are those between E300 and E499.
While these are the food additives commonly found in many industrial foods, be aware, however, that many of the foods you eat also contain flavor enhancers, gelling agents, leavening agents, wetting agents, strength agents, as well as bulking agents, which serve only and only to increase the volume of a product so that the weight increases and, consequently, justify a higher price. In contrast, the nutritional values remain unchanged.

But then, are all food additives bad for you? Absolutely not, it depends. For example, natural food additives possess important nutrients: just think of lycopene, denoted by E160d, found in tomatoes, or turmeric and pectin, E440, or even anthocyanins, reported as E163 and found in berries.

Then, however, there is the vast array of thickeners, antioxidants, sweeteners and so on, whose health effects have been hotly debated among nutritionists, researchers and doctors for years now.


Not all food additives have anything to do with endometriosis, but some do. Just think, in fact, of polychlorinated biphenyls, the infamous PCBs, used as pesticide additives, which once ingested by animals end up in your system when you eat meat and dairy products. So there’s no use getting around it: there are now several studies that have established that the genesis of endometriosis is related to the intake of these products, so now that you know this, at least try to limit your consumption of them.
If you can, also, try to eat only white meat, preferably from organic farms, which as such do not use pesticides, food additives and preservatives in their production processes. For the rest, always rely only on fresh foods and foods that have not undergone industrial processing.
And finally, contrary to what you might think, don’t underestimate the benefits of frozen products instead: by virtue of this particular preservation process, in fact, these foods almost never contain food additives, and when they do, they contain them in negligible amounts.
Protecting yourself from food additives is possible, and for you who suffer from endometriosis it is an imperative: learn to read labels and choose only healthy foods that can keep you healthy.


As if food additives were not enough to threaten your health, you also need to take into account heavy metals, namely lead, arsenic, aluminum, mercury, cadmium and copper, which are often found in pesticides, insecticides and, more generally, are used in industrial processes. There are also some in your home, such as in plumbing, building materials and paint.

The danger of these metals lies in the fact that they impact the brain. In fact, the brain is an organ composed mostly of fat, which promotes its accumulation, exposing neurons to a high rate of toxicity. In addition, heavy metals produce free radicals, which change cell membranes, preventing cell nourishment. And a cell with a damaged membrane is incapable of properly excreting toxins, seriously affecting health.

To counteract the harmful effects of heavy metals, know that zinc, magnesium, selenium, vitamin C, and essential fatty acids can restore the proper functioning of cell membranes. A valuable aid, then, in protecting the body from the accumulation of these harmful substances.
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