Food Additives – Good or Bad?

By: Michael Lam, MD, MPH

Food additives are difficult to understand and often lead to confusionFood labels nowadays are more confusing than ever. To consumers these labels often read like a foreign language. For those who are not nutritionally oriented, it is difficult to know what we are really eating with all the different food additives used today.

Over 30 other common additives are used. Here is a summary of which ones you should take and which ones you should avoid:

Good and Safe to Consume: Ascorbic Acid (vitamin C), beta-carotene, calcium proprionate, citric acid, EDTA, gelatin, thiamin mononitrate

Food Additives – Avoid or Use Discretion

Reduce Intake: Caffeine, corn syrup, dextrose, high-fructose corn syrup, partially hydrogenated vegetable oil, salt, sorbitol, sugar (sucrose), sucralose (artificial sugar).

Avoid for Certain People (Highly Allergic Potential): Artificial and natural flavoring, aspartame (artificial sweetener), caffeine, monosodium glutamate (MSG), hyrolysed vegetable protein (HVP), sulfites (sulfur dioxide, sodium bisulfite).

Do Not Take: Acesulfame-K (artificial sweetener), saccharin (artificial sweetener), potassium bromate (flour improver)

For a detailed discussion on each of these food additives, see this site:
The Guide to Food Additives

Food additives are difficult to understand and often lead to confusion


  • Mavis says:

    Can red food dye increase anxiety?

    • Dr.Lam says:

      yes, but this is quite rare.

      Dr Lam

    • Dr.Lam says:

      AFS comes in different presentations. YOurs is not typical and thus you should first get a thorough check up with your doctor and rule out thyroid disorder beyond what the lab are showing and correlate with the clinical symptoms. AFS may indeed be part of the overall picture but without a lot more information, accurate assessment cannot be made

      Dr Lam