Learn about additives and preservatives

Artificial flavors

Artificial flavors are specific and often complex mixtures of flavor compounds combined together to either imitate or enhance a natural flavor. The list of known flavoring agents includes thousands of molecular compounds, and the flavor chemist (flavorist) often mixes these together to produce many of the common flavors. Here is a list of the common chemicals used as flavorants: Diacetyl (Buttery … [Read more...]

Hydrolyzed vegetable protein (HVP)

Hydrolyzed vegetable protein, or HVP, is produced by boiling vegetables, such as soy, corn, or wheat, in hydrochloric acid and then neutralizing the solution with sodium hydroxide. The acid hydrolyzes, or breaks down, the protein in vegetables into their component amino acids. The resulting brown powder contains, among other amino acids, glutamic acid which consumers are more familiar with as MSG, … [Read more...]

BHA (butylated hydroxyanisole)

BHA acts as a preservative and an antioxidant to prevent the rancidity of fats and fat-containing foods. It is used in such foods as dry cereals, crackers, instant potatoes or potato flakes, soup bases, seasonings, dry mixes for desserts or beverages, canned or bottled beverages, lard, shortening, baked goods, ice cream, candy, and more.  It is still on the GRAS list. BHA, as well as BHT, … [Read more...]

BHT (butylated hydroxytoluene)

BHT is an antioxidant preservative. Common foods that contain BHT include enriched rice, breakfast cereals, shortenings, animal fats, dog and cat foods, potato flakes, chewing gum, and cake mixes. BHT can be irritating to the liver and kidneys, especially when there is decreased function of these organs.  BHT can also produce allergic reactions.  In the United States , it is on the GRAS … [Read more...]

Monosodium Glutamate (MSG)

MSG (Monosodium glutamate) is a flavor enhancer. It comes from a common amino acid, glutamic acid, and must be declared as monosodium glutamate on meat and poultry labels. It is used commonly in seasoning salts, soups, spices, condiments, meats, some baked goods, and candies. Other fermented and Asian food preparations contain MSG, as do most food dishes served in Chinese restaurants. Is MSG … [Read more...]


Nitrites-often listed as "sodium nitrite" on package labels - are preservatives primarily used to cure meats. Nitrites are found in including ham, bacon, lunch meats, bologna, frankfurters, meat spreads, some smoke-cured fishes, and corned beef. When the protein in meat (amines) interacts with the nitrite, cancer-causing compounds called nitrosamines are formed. Special Note: Healing … [Read more...]

Sodium Benzoate

Sodium benzoate is a preservative.  It is used most prevalently in acidic foods such as salad dressings (vinegar), carbonated drinks (carbonic acid), jams and fruit juices (citric acid), pickles (vinegar), and condiments. It is also found in alcohol-based mouthwash. Sodium benzoate is found naturally in cranberries, prunes, greens, plums, cinnamon, ripe cloves, and apples. In combination … [Read more...]

High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS)

High-fructose corn syrup (HFCS) is any of a group of corn syrups which have undergone enzymatic processing in order to increase their fructose content and are then mixed with pure corn syrup (100% glucose) to reach their final form. Special Note: Healing Gourmet does not endorse any product containing high fructose corn syrup. … [Read more...]


Generally Recognized as Safe (GRAS) is a United States of America Food and Drug Administration (FDA) designation that a chemical or substance added to food is considered safe by experts, and so is exempted from the usual Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (FFDCA) food additive tolerance requirements. GRAS exemptions are granted for substances that are generally recognized, among experts … [Read more...]

GMP (disodium guanylate)

Disodium guanylate is the disodium salt of the flavor enhancer guanosine monophosphate (GMP). Disodium guanylate is a food additive and is usually used in conjunction with glutamic acid (monosodium glutamate, MSG). As it is a fairly expensive additive, it is not used independently of glutamic acid; if disodium guanylate is present in a list of ingredients but MSG does not appear to be, it is … [Read more...]

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