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Nutrient Additives—Can You Spot Them on the Label?
When you buy prepared foods at the store, do you know what is in them? Are there words on the ingredients list of the label that you don’t recognize? There are many types of food additives such as added vitamins, preservatives, gums, sulfites, food colorings, sweeteners, and fat substitutes. Many of these additives give food a more appealing texture, appearance, or taste, and prolong shelf life.
Label-Reading Exercise
1.Select three different brands of a given food such as cookies, bread, or another type of snack food. Pick an organic version, a low-fat/low-sodium version, and a typical version of this food.
2.List the ingredients on the label that you do not recognize in the table below and categorize the type of additive that each ingredient represents. Also note how it benefits the food that it is part of or if there are any health concerns associated with this additive in the Comments section.
3.The Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) has a website with an excellent article with a comprehensive listing of additives. You can locate this article by searching for “Food Additives” on the Center for Science in the Public Interest https://www.cspinet.org/
4.Fill out a table for each of the food’s ingredient labels that you are studying. Consider whether a certain type of food contains more preservatives or other additives to give the food a certain texture, taste, or appearance. Use the website to help you learn about the additives in any food that you may consider buying and consuming.
Food item ____________________________
Version of food ______________________________
Ingredient
Type of Additive
Comments

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