Harmful ingredients, additives in food

Harmful ingredients, additives in food

by Sanjay B

Common Eatables and Their Harmful Ingredients

The description given below only gives the harmful elements contained in the following foods but it doesn’t mean that they are totally harmful and shouldn’t be taken at all. They have got some beneficial nutrients also. That’s why their occasional use is permissible.

Ice water (or chilled/refrigerated water)

  • Ice water impairs the ability of the spleen and stomach functions. Therefore the digestion of food is hampered.
  • Ice water or other drinks make the body and its joints stiff and aggravate arthritis and rheumatic problems. According to Ayurveda, it increases ‘vayu’ in the body.
  • Ice creates inertia in the body.

Soft drinks (or carbonated drinks or cola drinks):

They are sweetened aerated drinks charged with CO2 under pressure. The principal ingredients of soft drinks are:

  • Carbondioxide (CO2)
  • Sugars
  • Citric acid (preservative)
  • Colouring agent
  • Flavouring agent
  • Caffeine
  • Soda (Sodium bicarbonate)

In addition they are ice cold also. It can be seen that most of these substances are harmful for the body unlike popular belief, I may clarify that these drinks are acidic (because of CO2 & citric acid) and not alkaline in nature. The only plus point with these drinks is that they help to replace lost fluid and energy very quickly after vigorous activity.

Coco drinks

Coco drinks (e.g., coca cola, pepsi, thums up etc.) have a substance ‘cocaine’ in it in addition to other substances usually found in other soft drinks. Cocaine is obtained from coca leaf. Cocaine is a stimulant and is addictive in nature and comes under the category of ‘Narcotic drugs’.


The ice cream usually contains 20-25% cream and milk products, 15% sugar and sometimes egg and then lot of chemical additives as stabilizers, emulsifiers, buffers, synthetic colours, surfactants, artificial If flavours and preservatives. Stabilizer is used in order to retain the smoothness of the ice-cream by preventing the formation of coarse ice crystals.

All these chemical additives are harmful and some of them even cancer producing. Sugar, ice and saturated fat of milk further add to the harmful effects.

In ice creams prepared by local manufacturers without any control, lot of cheap chemicals are used and substandard materials in place of sugar and milk/cream are used which increase the damaging effect on body further. The only benefits of Ice-cream are that most varieties contain vitamins A, B2 & B12 plus they contain calcium.

Cakes, Pastries, Cream roll

The harmful ingredients in these are white flour (maida), white sugar, high saturated fat (Butter/cream/Dalda) and high dietary cholesterol (because of egg).

Jams & Jellies

The harmful ingredient in these substances is excess white sugar. Many jams contain natural organic compounds called salicylates and many cheaper brands contain artificial colours which may trigger allergies in some people.

Biscuits (Cookies)

The harmful ingredients in these are

  • White flour (Maida)
  • White sugar
  • Saturated fat (Butter/hydrogenated fat)
  • Artificial Flavours/essences

The only advantage of biscuits are that they are convenient snack foods and rich source of carbohydrates. Now a days fibre rich biscuits are also available.

Patties, Samosa

They are harmful mainly because of white flour (Maida), salt and excess oil/fat used for frying them.

Namkeen, Chips

They are harmful mainly because of salt and excess fat/oil used for frying them.

Sweet meats

The harmful substances in sweetmeats are mainly white sugar and cholesterol (since sweets are usually prepared in ‘khoya’ or ‘paneer’ which are milk products). Some sweets e.g. ‘Gulab Jamun’ have additional disadvantage of being fried.

Pizza, Bread, Bund, Burger

The harmful elements in all these are mainly white flour (maida) and salt. Cheese spread on Pizza adds to saturated fat & cholesterol. Burger has an additional fried ‘aloo tikki’ in it.

Pickles and chutneys

Pickling is a traditional way of preserving fresh fruit and vegetables by discouraging the growth of microbes that would otherwise cause them to decompose. The food to be pickled is usually immersed in hot or cold vinegar and then the containers are sealed. Vinegar discourages the growth of harmful microbes and gives the food a tangy flavour. Salt is often mixed to reduce the moisture content. Thus sodium level of the food is much increased. Many nutrients are lost in the pickling process although some vitamin C is retained. Sugar often added to chutneys and fruit chutneys may consist of as much as 50% sugar.

Toffees, Candies

Toffees contain mainly the following things – sugar, water, milk powder, glucose, white flour, artificial flavours/colouring agent.

The harmful ingredients in these are sugar, white flour and flavouring/colouring chemicals. Milk contributes to increase in cholesterol.


contains a substance cocoa which is obtained from the ripe seeds of cocoa beans after they have been sweetened, dried, roasted and deprived of their shell. Cocoa is stimulating in nature and so causes all those harms which any other stimulant does. The stimulating principle in cocoa is theobromine. Chocolate, contains a substance Tyramine’ which is alleged to trigger migraine attack.

Chocolate also contains caffeine, white sugar and artificial flavours which are harmful substances. Milk powder in chocolates contributes to increase in cholesterol level. Chocolate however contains some useful minerals like iron, magnesium and potassium

Sauce, Ketchup

The harmful elements in these are sugar, salt, red chillies and chemical preservatives (citric acid etc.).


The harmful elements are (i) Sugar (ii) Chemical preservatives (citric acid etc.). In case ice is added in making ‘sharbat’ then it is another harmful ingredient.

Mathari and Namakpara

They have three harmful ingredients

  • White flour
  • Salt
  • Fried fat (these are fried in fat/oil)

Tinned or canned foods

The process of canning preserves foods by sealing them in air light containers and cooking them to a sufficiently high temperature to ensure that they are sterile. Because any microorganisms inside the container are killed and air is excluded, tinned foods will keep for a long time without deteriorating. However their disadvantages are:

  • Many tinned foods are high in salt.
  • Colour, texture and taste of foods are altered.
  • Some nutrients are lost during heating (e.g. vit. B, & C). It is however observed that vit. A, D & riboflavin are retained.
  • Tinned food no more remains a live food. Its life energy or prana is lost in the process.

Frozen foods

Keeping foods at or below-18°C (0°C) significantly slows down spoilage. The major losses are the water soluble vitamins (B & C) from vegetables & fruits which leach out during blanching. Blanching is done to halt the action of enzymes within the food and to prevent spoilage. Some food don’t freeze well and freezing changes the structure of many fruits. Infact frozen food is not a live food. Its life energy or prana is lost.


Its main disadvantages are its salt content and excess fat/oil used for frying it in black gram flour (‘Besan’).

Noodles, Chowmein

Harmful ingredients are (i) salt (ii) sauce (iii) MSG (Monosodium gluconate). This chemical additive in Chinese food is alleged to trigger migraine headache.


Harmful ingredients are salt and excess fat/oil used in frying ‘Urad’ dal. Otherwise it is a good source of protein because of urad dal as its main constituent.


Harmful ingredients are ‘maida’ in fried form, salt and chutney.


They are made from Atta (Wheat). Harmful factor in them is only the excess fat/oil used for frying them.


It has the same harmful ingredients as in chowmein/noodles and it has an additional disadvantage that noodles are fried in chopsuey.

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