The folk rumors say that the United Nations World Health Organization has selected instant noodles, cola soda, canned food and fried food as junk food, and many people are afraid to avoid these foods. After hearing the rumors, the WHO was at a loss because they had never made such a selection. But this argument is still spreading. The reason is probably that these foods are rich in taste and have a long shelf life. Everyone believes that there must be a lot of food additives in these foods. In 2011, a piece of news aroused people’s attention: a lady received two beautifully packaged moon cakes on the Mid-Autumn Festival three years ago, and left them at random and forgot to eat them. Three years later, she was surprised to find that the moon cake was actually well preserved without rot and mildew. If it doesn’t rot for 3 years, it must be a serious excess of preservatives, right? In fact, we always have many misunderstandings regarding food safety issues. “Unnatural is harmful, and artificial addition is a sin.” Food additives have become the target of public criticism.
Today’s people are not only concerned about food safety. The “Book of Rites” records that “the grains are not ripe from time to time, and the fruit is not porridge in the market”, which means that the grains cannot be sold in the market if they are not ripe to prevent people from being poisoned. This regulation is considered to be the earliest record of food safety management in the history of our country. The Han Dynasty’s “Two-year Law” stipulated that “everybody who eats dried meat, which kills, injures, and the sick, must do everything else.” The rotten meat will make people sick, so all these meats must be burned. If a vendor violates the regulations and still sells rotten meat to people, he will be punished accordingly. Now our country has stricter regulations on food additives, clearly stipulating which are food additives and the amount used in different foods. The Food Safety Law also puts forward basic requirements for the use of food additives by enterprises. The first point is that they are edible and harmless to the human body. As for clenbuterol pork, poppy shell hot pot, Sudanese red duck eggs, etc., these toxic foods are added with “illegal” additives, not “food” additives.
There are many types of food additives, mainly divided into preservatives, colorants, nutritional fortifiers, sweeteners, bleaching agents, flavor enhancers, enzyme preparations, etc. The invention and use of preservatives have greatly saved food and protected people’s health. Its function is to prevent food from decay and deterioration and to maintain food flavor. my country has stipulated 32 kinds of legally edible antiseptic additives, and clearly stipulated the dosage. As far as the common potassium sorbate is concerned, it can be completely metabolized into potassium ions, carbon dioxide and water in the human body, so it is completely harmless to the human body when used within the prescribed dose. What if it is overused? It is definitely harmful, even if it is water, overdrinking can cause water intoxication, and in severe cases, it can lead to death.
In fact, preservatives are not used, and it can also play a role in preventing bacteria in the production process. When Napoleon played against England, the weather was hot, and the food would soon deteriorate and rot, which would affect the combat effectiveness. So Napoleon offered a reward for collecting food to keep it fresh. After groping, Nicolas Appel invented the prototype of modern cans: heating the utensils containing food at high temperature and then sealing them, it can be stored for several months.
The ancients used sugar or salt to pickle the unfinished food, which can also extend the shelf life of the food. In this sense, sugar and salt are also preservatives. Now there are also vacuum-packaged foods, and foods that have been dehydrated and air-dried can be stored for longer periods of time. For moon cakes that have not rotted for 3 years, if the anti-bacterial treatment has been done in the production process, the outside is covered with a plastic bag to isolate the air, and then the legal dose of preservatives is added, and it is not impossible to keep it rot for a long time.
When we walked into the supermarket and picked up a can of infant milk powder, did that series of “chemical” substances make you a little worried? Such as potassium citrate, L-ascorbic acid, choline bitartrate, d-α-tocopherol acetate, pyridoxine hydrochloride, cytidine monophosphate, and so on. These are nutrient fortifiers, whose purpose is to compensate for the imbalance of nutritional intake. They are generally divided into three categories: vitamins, including vitamin ADE, etc.; minerals, essential iron in the blood, calcium required by bones, etc.; other human needs The nutrients, such as lutein, lactoferrin, etc. Therefore, the composition of milk powder is very simple, that is, milk powder raw materials plus nutritional fortifiers.
Talk about “color” discoloration?
Coloring agent is also called food coloring. When it comes to coloring, we can’t help but think of the tongue being dyed colorful. “The more colorful, the more dangerous”, this is the memory engraved in human genes. Food coloring is naturally divided into the “unhealthy” area.
But the ancients have long been associated with pigments. As early as the 10th century AD, the Aleksans of Great Britain began to use madder plant pigments to make rose purple to add color to the pale food. Red Yeast Red is an earlier natural pigment. In the Southern Song Dynasty “Tiaoxi Fishing and Drinking Conghua”, there is a record of “Red wine made by people in the south of the Yangtze River, both in color and taste”, in which “red wine” refers to “red yeast wine”. . The addition of red yeast rice to red yeast rice was not originally for coloring, but mainly to make use of the alcohol fermentation power of monascus to make rice wine, which is luscious and mellow. It is precisely because of the existence of red yeast rice that the wine is bright red, and red yeast rice wine is also called Chinese “red wine”. Nowadays, there is still the custom of brewing red yeast rice wine in Fujian and Zhejiang. The color is bright red and festive, and the wine has a fragrant aroma. In fact, red yeast rice can not only color, but also antiseptic, and it is also good for health. The pigment with such a superb ability is not only red yeast red, but lycopene is extracted from tomatoes. It has the functions of preventing various cancers, protecting cardiovascular and cerebrovascular, protecting skin, and improving immunity. It is used in health care products and cosmetics. And food and beverage fields.
Of course, natural pigments are not always beneficial. Beet red is extracted from red beets. It is not so powerful. It is usually only used for coloring. It is often seen in the ingredient list of colorful snacks such as soft drinks, cold drinks, jams, and candies. Some natural pigments are even harmful. For example, amaranth is also a kind of natural edible pigment, but as early as the Soviet Union, scientists discovered that amaranth is carcinogenic, but a small amount of intake will not affect your health. From the above example, it can be seen that the formula “natural = health” is not valid.
The first synthetic edible color is aniline violet. In 1856, the 18-year-old British chemist William Henry Birkin would not have thought that he was about to invent a new substance that would affect the development of the world’s food and clothing industries. At that time, he was struggling to synthesize quinine, a special anti-malaria drug, but due to technical and environmental constraints, he has not been able to obtain the ideal substance. After another failure, he cleaned the beaker with ethanol, but the beaker appeared beautiful and dazzling purple. At that time, the dyes were all extracted from plants, and the dyeing degree and durability were not strong. He quickly grasped this and imagined using a new substance to make a dye. In 1857, he established the world’s first synthetic dye factory. The gorgeous colors were popular all over the world, even favored by Queen Victoria, and he became the world’s richest man. In this way, food coloring is not terrible, it can bring color, and even make people rich.
Flavor enhancers are also called umami flavor agents. Japanese chemist Ikeda Kikunao invented MSG and developed a series of umami flavor agents. In 1908, Ikeda Chrysanthemum seedlings studied how to extract iodine from kelp. One day while eating breakfast, he suddenly found that today’s cucumber soup was exceptionally delicious, so he observed it carefully and found that some kelp had been added to the soup. Relying on the intuition of a chemist, he was convinced that there must be something mysterious in the kelp, so he stopped the previous research and concentrated on the new substance. After half a year of hard work, he extracted sodium glutamate from kelp. It is this substance that makes kelp soup delicious. Then use wheat and defatted soybeans as raw materials to extract MSG to produce MSG “Ajinomoto”. Ikeda and Suzuki introduced “Ajinomoto” to the market. This delicacy has been loved by the public, and people who come to buy it The door was squeezed.
When the news reached China, chemist Wu Yunchu also began to extract sodium glutamate from flour. After painstaking research, he also extracted sodium glutamate-dozens of grams of crystal clear white powder. In order to allow people to accept this magical condiment, he came to the famous Jufengyuan Restaurant in Shanghai, every time he put the white powder into the soup in front of everyone, and then tasted it with intoxication. Everyone was very curious. They gathered around and wanted to taste it. This was an eye-opener for everyone. The taste of this soup is more than the broth that has been boiled for several days! ! In this way, domestically produced MSG was also promoted and was officially named bergamot MSG. Later, he published the MSG formula and applied for an international patent, which was also the first product in China to apply for an international patent. Wu Yunchu became the “king of monosodium glutamate” and also donated planes for the War of Resistance Against Japan.
In fact, as long as the food contains protein, it contains glutamic acid. It is commonly found in daily foods, such as mushrooms, kelp, meat, etc. Glutamate root stimulates the umami receptors on the tongue, making us feel delicious. Sodium glutamate decomposes at 120 degrees Celsius, but does not produce toxic substances, but loses its umami taste. So when cooking, you should put MSG last. Add a new common sense in the kitchen. It is best not to put MSG together with acidic substances such as vinegar, otherwise it will react and adding MSG will not improve the freshness.
Let’s talk about sweeteners. Sugars such as glucose, fructose, sucrose, maltose, starch sugar and lactose can give people sweetness, but they are food raw materials, not food additives. Sugar is essential energy for the human body, but if it is too much, it will bring harm to the body. Diseases such as high blood sugar, high blood fat, and obesity will follow one after another. Sweeteners can only make people taste sweet, but they don’t contain energy. This is undoubtedly a good news for foodies. It is mainly divided into two categories: high-sweetness sweeteners and functional sweeteners. The characteristic is that there are few or no calories, but it can stimulate people’s sweet taste receptors and make people feel sweet. The digestive process is not controlled by insulin, and it will not cause obesity and blood pressure.
High-sweetness sweeteners, such as aspartame, are purely synthetic sweeteners, 200 times the sweetness of sucrose, as long as they are sweet beverages, almost all of them are included in the ingredient list. Its appearance is also an accident. In 1965, an American scientific researcher was immersed in the research and development of synthetic gastrostimulating hormone. The intermediate product was splashed on his hands. He knew that these substances were non-toxic, so he could not worry about washing his hands immediately. Later, when he licked his finger to take a piece of weighing paper, he was surprised to find that there was a sweetness similar to sugar on his hand. Aspartame was discovered in this way. There is also a similar discovery of a high-sweetness sweetener. The same is that the chemist forgot to wash his hands, which caused sweetness on all the items he touched at home. After recollecting, he locked the phthalyl sulfonimide, or saccharin, in the chemical laboratory. For those engaged in chemistry research, washing hands after work is an ironclad discipline and requirement. Forgetting is a very dangerous thing, but sweeteners are discovered in such a small probability.
Functional sweeteners not only have the function of high-intensity sweeteners, but also have many beneficial functions to the human body. For example, maltitol has the same taste as sucrose, but it will not be metabolized by oral microorganisms, so it will not cause dental caries, and it can promote the absorption of calcium. The human body can only absorb a small part of its calories, so it will not Cause obesity. Xylitol has the same ability. Its sweetness is higher than that of sucrose, but its calories are less than that of sucrose. It can also be regarded as a good weight loss product. Note, however, that xylitol will absorb heat when it is dissolved, which will give people a “cold” feeling. And although xylitol does not stimulate human insulin secretion, the bodies of dogs and cats are highly sensitive to xylitol, and large amounts may cause large amounts of insulin to secrete, leading to the death of pets.
Of course, there are many other food additives, all of which have their own functions and contribute to people’s food in obscurity. The idea of ”artificial additives must be unhealthy” is a bit biased. Before industrialization, there was no industrial pollution and no synthetic chemical products. All food was purely natural, but the average life span was very short. Most pre-packaged foods now contain food additives, but they have not caused adverse effects. As long as the approved food additives are within the prescribed dosage, they are harmless to the human body. Its use not only saves food, but also allows people to enjoy more delicious food. However, if you see food with too many food additives on the ingredient list, you still have to control your appetite around the corner. Although the content of additives in various foods is strictly calculated, if the different kinds of additives are added up, there may be a risk of exceeding the standard.