About Careers Internship MedBlogs Contact us

Common Food Additives

Written by Bina Naik | Medically Reviewed by dr. reeja tharu / dr. sunil shroff, MBBS, MS, FRCS (UK), D. Urol (Lond) on May 16, 2019
Font : A-A+

Common Food Additives

Food color: The turmeric grown at home and powdered, is not as visually appealing as its commercial counterpart and hence its contribution to flavoring the food is limited. Food color is added to it to improve its visual appeal. Natural or synthetic color can be added to provide attractive and appetizing qualities to food. Some natural colors include:


Cochineal, a natural color, is extracted from females of an insect called coccus cacti. Natural reds from cranberries, grapes, beets are also available.

Common synthetic colors include certified coal tar dye used in carbonated drinks bakery items and candies.

The synthetic colors have an edge over natural ones in that they provide greater color stability and uniformity and are cheaper compared to the natural ones. Further the desired hue of natural colors may not available.

Dietary sweeteners: Sweeteners are non-nutritive and do not add calories to the food. These are used by the weight-conscious and by patients with diabetes. Among the initial sweeteners were the cyclamates and saccharine. The former was banned in 1969 and the later was in use extensively till 1977. The common ones available today are aspartame, sucralose, and acesulfame-K. Unlike aspartame, sucralose can be used while cooking. These artificial sweeteners are of great use in the preparation of low calorie or diabetic foods.

Flavoring agents: The need of flavoring agents is on the rise. This is because some flavor loss occurs either totally or partially during the steps involved in the processing of food such as heating, concentration or drying. Besides, variety being the spice of life, these flavoring agents helps in the preparation of different varieties of food. Flavoring agents is the largest group of food additive with 1200 varieties, comprising of both natural and synthetic flavors. Some natural flavors include herbs, spices and essential oils.

Synthetic flavoring agents include:

Amyl acetate for banana flavor
Benzaldehyde for cherry flavor
Ethyl butrate for pineapple flavor
Methyl anthranilate for grape flavor

Also included in this group are 'flavor enhancers' which by themselves do not have flavors but enhance the flavor when added to food. One such product is mono sodium glutamate or better known as 'ajinomoto' used, largely in Chinese cooking.

Anti-caking agents: These are used to keep the product from clumping together e.g. calcium phosphate used in salt, or magnesium carbonate used in icing sugar.


  1. Food Science: Third Addition - By Norman Potter
  2. Anticaking Agents - (http://www.foodadditivesworld.com/anticaking-agents.html)
  3. Hydrogenated Sperm Oil: Sec 173.275, of Ch 1 "Food and Drug Administration, Dept of Health and Human Services", Code of Federal Regulations.

Citations   close

Please use one of the following formats to cite this article in your essay, paper or report:

  • APA

    Bina Naik. (2019, May 16). Food Additives. Medindia. Retrieved on May 17, 2022 from https://www.medindia.net/patients/patientinfo/common-food-additives2.htm.

  • MLA

    Bina Naik. "Food Additives". Medindia. May 17, 2022. <https://www.medindia.net/patients/patientinfo/common-food-additives2.htm>.

  • Chicago

    Bina Naik. "Food Additives". Medindia. https://www.medindia.net/patients/patientinfo/common-food-additives2.htm. (accessed May 17, 2022).

  • Harvard

    Bina Naik. 2021. Food Additives. Medindia, viewed May 17, 2022, https://www.medindia.net/patients/patientinfo/common-food-additives2.htm.

Request an Appointment with a Doctor (Nutrition Expert)

Ms. Himaja H
Ms. Himaja H
BSc, MSc
12 years experience
Health and Nutrify clinic, Serlingampally
Teleconsult Now View Profile
Dr. Varsha
Dr.  Varsha
39 years experience
Teleconsult Now View Profile
Ms. Bharathi Ravi
Ms. Bharathi Ravi
B.Tech, M.Tech
2 years experience
Teleconsult Now View Profile
View All

Post a Comment

Comments should be on the topic and should not be abusive. The editorial team reserves the right to review and moderate the comments posted on the site.



Thanks for such good post. Food additives is used in to food to preserve flavor or enhance its taste and appearance.Food additives is to be divided into several groups all are acidic in nature .artificial food additives have been linked with cancer, digestive problems, neurological conditions.


The Centre for Science for the public Interest in the USA reports that - Hazards in food cause an estimated 76 million illnesses, 325,000 hospitalizations, and 5,000 deaths in the United States each year, most of which are never reported to public health officials. These illnesses cost American taxpayers approximately $6.9 billion annually in medical costs, hospitalizations, and lost work time according to the Economic Research Service (USDA).

Health Topics A - Z

    What's New on Medindia
    World Hypertension Day 2022 - Measure Blood Pressure Accurately, Control It, Live Longer!
    Drinking This Popular Beverage May Drop Dementia Risk
    Worst Mistakes Parents Make When Talking to Kids
    View all

    Medindia Newsletters Subscribe to our Free Newsletters!
    Terms & Conditions and Privacy Policy.

    Most Popular on Medindia

    Accident and Trauma Care Turmeric Powder - Health Benefits, Uses & Side Effects Nutam (400mg) (Piracetam) Pregnancy Confirmation Calculator Post-Nasal Drip Blood Pressure Calculator Sanatogen How to Reduce School Bag Weight - Simple Tips Hearing Loss Calculator A-Z Drug Brands in India

    Disclaimer - All information and content on this site are for information and educational purposes only. The information should not be used for either diagnosis or treatment or both for any health related problem or disease. Always seek the advice of a qualified physician for medical diagnosis and treatment. Full Disclaimer

    © All Rights Reserved 1997 - 2022

    This site uses cookies to deliver our services. By using our site, you acknowledge that you have read and understand our Cookie Policy, Privacy Policy, and our Terms of Use