Allergies to Food Additives and E-numbers
Allergies to food additives and E numbers are common, with a variety of different additives causing problems. We take a look at what sort of allergies can occur, what the symptoms are and some of the common E numbers and additives that can trigger allergic reactions.
Many people have allergies to particular foods, but it’s also possible to have allergies to certain ingredients contained within foods and drinks. E numbers and food additives can be both natural in their origin and artificial and they’re frequently found in pre-packaged and processed foods, as well as fast food and takeaways. Although it might not always be easy to pinpoint the fact that it’s the E numbers and additives that are causing the reaction, rather than the food product as a whole, they can and do cause unpleasant allergies for many people.
Some of the common allergic reactions to E numbers and additives include:
- Urticaria (hives).
- Abdominal pain.
It’s possible to have an intolerance to an E number or food additive too, but in contrast to true allergies, the effects often don’t occur so quickly and aren’t so severe.
Which E Numbers and Additives Trigger Allergic Reactions?A range of different E numbers and additives, which perform different functions in foods, have been linked to allergic reactions. Some of the common suspects include:
- Food colourings, such as tartrazine, carmine, saffron and annatto.
- Antioxidants, such as butylated hydroxyanisole and butylated hydroxytoluene.
- Emulsifiers and stabilisers, such as lecithin, xanathan and carageenan.
- Flavourings and taste enhancers, such as monosodium glutamate (MSG) and aspartame.
- Preservatives, such as sulfites, nitrites, nitrates, sorbates, sorbic acid and benxoates.
Ultimately, if you are found to have allergic reactions that are triggered by consuming E numbers and additives, then the best way of reducing the risk of reactions and ill effects may be to try and avoid the products they’re contained in completely. Although it can be very difficult, if you swap processed foods for homemade and homecooked food, you can significantly reduce your exposure to unwanted additives.