Some Practical Thoughts On Fast Food & Food Additives and 4 Simple Steps To Improve Your Eating Habits

Fast food, or what is otherwise known as convenience food provides us with an immediate solution to our hunger without needing much thought or effort on our part.

But not only is fast food easy and fast to prepare, it is also fast to be eaten and fast to be assimilated by the body, which is exactly the opposite of what nature intended for us.

Fast foods are delicious and are intently made so through the use of research from the fields of psychology, food science, brain science and evolutionary sciences which make these foods as tasty and addictive as possible. Our limbic brains are attracted to sugar-rich, fat rich and, salt-rich foods because these are the foods that ensured our body’s and our brain’s survival. Fast foods send signals of reward to our brains giving us immediate pleasure and make us crave for more. Today, big food companies fight over what is known as “stomach share” which is the amount of digestive room that any one food company can take from all the competition out there.

The purpose of food: 

But on the one hand, people choose their foods by what tastes the best and what makes them feel good while they are eating. But we know for sure that the tastiest foods, manufactured for our liking and our addiction are precisely those foods that will only lead to momentary pleasure but in the long term may lead to lasting unhappiness. The right foods may provide you with less satisfaction while you are consuming them but will make you feel good long after your meal is over.

Why is unhealthy food tastier? 

Human nature allows our very limited ability to consume something that does not taste very good. This is very natural. However, the problem begins with the food industry who knows this and provides us with carefully manufactured foods that are so tasty they actually affect our taste buds in the long term. Our taste buds have become accustomed to foods that have strong tastes which send strong messages to our brains to make us want more and more of them. We begin craving foods strong in texture and flavor making us addicted to such foods and making it more difficult for us to eat the natural tasting foods.

The fast-food industry is making a conscious effort to make foods as addictive, cheap and convenient as possible, making fast food a bliss to consumers.

What are the consequences of the fact that our taste buds have become controlled by the fast food industry?

Today, less than one in three adults and one in four children are considered clinically obese, and 7 out of every ten people suffer and will die from a chronic disease that is associated with lifestyle and dietary choices.

In 2011, The New England Journal of Medicine published a study showing the reasons for weight gain in America. They found that every four years, the participants exercised less, watched more TV and gained an average of 3.35 pounds with the top contributors to weight gain being red meat, processed meats, sugar-sweetened beverages, and mashed and fried potatoes. But the most significant weight-inducing food was the potato chip.

So long as we are living in a fast-paced society always striving for “more” of everything, it will be difficult for us to become much healthier and happier as a society.

Healthy food preparation takes time and eating real meals has become a thing of the past due to our fast-paced lives. People seem to be skipping breakfast because they need to leave home early to avoid traffic. They skip lunch when they then need to finish a job on time, and they skip dinner when the children leave the house, and there are no longer enough people to cook for to be worth the effort. Meals are replaced with snacks that are mostly processed, cheap, effortless and addictive that make our brain think that they are low in calories because of the way these foods “behave” in our mouth.

It is time to stop being followers of the food industry and start being path makers.

We have the control in our hands, but we need to stop giving it over to others who have no real interest in our health but rather have the interest to make money off of us, and this is absolutely understandable, but we can choose not to fall into this trap.

If we have the knowledge, our taste buds can be reprogrammed to love natural foods.  By taking the right steps, we can improve our health and ensure it for the long term. So how do we do it?

Here Are The 4 Steps Towards Improving Your Food Habits:


The first thing is to find a good enough reason to change your diet. Having a good enough reason will help you persist with your efforts when the going gets tough, and it will at times. Whether your reason is fear from illness, fear from becoming sick with a disease that runs in your family, feeling really disappointed with the way you look and having a good reason to lose weight, or perhaps just feeling bad and not having the energy to have fun. Whatever your reason is, it must be strong enough to give you hope of a better life.


Next, you want to replace unhealthy snacks that are readily available for you at home and at work or any place you spend much of your day, with healthier, more natural options. Have natural nuts in boxes, seeds in small snack bags, whole grain crackers, rice cakes, vegetable sticks and fresh fruit readily available while ensuring unhealthy options are less available.


Third, you want to start to remove processed foods from your diet gradually. Start with salt and sugar. It’s not easy to reduce salt or sugar intake, but the real cravings last less than a week after you decide to reduce their intake, and then your taste buds will soon follow suit.

Where is salt found? Not only in the salt shaker but also in all of the processed foods in high quantities and different forms. Salt adds strong flavor while also acting as a preservative. High quantities of salt have been associated with stroke, cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure, left ventricular hypertrophy, renal disease, and stomach cancer. The best way to reduce salt consumption is to replace it with vegetable salt which is made from natural vegetables that have a higher sodium content or to simply add high sodium foods to a dish to give it more flavor. High sodium foods include celery, kale, and seaweed.

Where is sugar found? Pretty much everywhere. Since most of us love sugar or salt, these additives are added to most all unnatural and processed foods. Sugar is added to morning coffee or tea, your breads, meats, breakfast cereals, jams, cookies, candies, ice cream, condiments like ketchup and is found in pre-made meals, and may even be sprinkled by you on certain foods. Sugar is also found in most beverages including most fruit juices.

It is incredibly abundant in our everyday diet.  When you consume over five teaspoons, the rest gets converted directly into fat leading to all the debilitating chronic diseases so prevalent in the western world today. Excess sugar damages the liver and leads to hormone imbalances resulting in weight gain and insulin resistance. It also affects cholesterol levels, leads to high blood pressure and is a risk factor for heart and kidney disease.

Fructose causes inflammation and also stimulates the brain creating dependence and addiction just as alcohol does. Fructose also feeds cancer cells which promotes their growth and allows cancer to spread faster. Type 2 diabetes is also associated with high sugar consumption. Processed white flour and other refined carbohydrates break down into sugar in your body, which increases insulin levels and causes insulin resistance leading to metabolic syndrome.

I recommend drinking plain water or unsweetened natural teas instead of any other beverages. I also recommend using natural sugar substitutes with low glycemic index. The best of which comes from the stevia plant which you can grow on your windowsill or in your garden, or buy it in the convenient tincture form.


The last step is to start reading food labels before buying or consuming any foods. There are so many additives, and flavorings added to foods that make them look, taste and feel different from what they really are. Now I want to make this point clear, by reading the food labels I do not mean to read the calorie content or the fat or protein content. No! I suggest reading the ingredient part of the label.

When you start reading food labels, you’ll be surprised to learn how many unnatural ingredients are in your food that wreak havoc on your health.

The food industry is obliged to write the ingredients in the order that they are found in the food. However, precise quantities are not required, and this is to prevent imitation by other competitors in the food industry.

So let’s look at some unnatural food additives, what their purpose is in the food and why they should be avoided:

A. Food colourings are added to almost all processed foods to make them look more attractive. They are added to meats, canned fruits, soft drinks, french fries, cakes, cookies and much more. Very few food colourings are natural.

B. Artificial sweeteners are added to foods to provide sweetness with less calorie content than sugar. They are used by the food industry because people are requesting sugar-free foods. The food industry is actually quite happy with this since artificial sweeteners are cheaper than sugar, and they have a longer shelf life. This makes artificial sweeteners perfect for the food industry but far from perfect for pour health. These include:

  • Aspartame
  • Cyclamate
  • Saccharin
  • Acesulfame potassium

C. Sequestrates are preservatives that are intended to improve the quality and stability of food products. They remove minerals from foods such as copper and iron to prevent the oxidation of the fats in the food. These include:

•Calcium chloride (E509)

•Calcium disodium ethylene diamine tetra-acetate (E385)

Glucono delta-lactone (E575)

Sodium gluconate (E576)

Potassium gluconate (E577)

Sodium tripolyphosphate

Sodium hexametaphosphate (E452i)

 Sodium and calcium salts of EDTA.

D. Clarifying agents are used to make liquids clear and not cloudy. These include:


aluminium chloralhydrate

aluminium sulphate

calcium oxide

calcium hydroxide

iron(II) sulphate (ferrous sulphate)

iron(III) chloride (ferric chloride)



sodium aluminate

sodium silicate

E. Anticaking agents prevent the formation of lumps in food and make foods easier to package, transport, and consume. Good for manufacturers, but not for consumers. These include:

•341 tricalcium phosphate

•460(ii) powdered cellulose

•470b magnesium stearate

•500 sodium bicarbonate (baking soda) although there are many other great uses for baking soda, see them here.

•535 sodium ferrocyanide

•536 potassium ferrocyanide

•538 calcium ferrocyanide

•542 bone phosphate

•550 sodium silicate

•551 silicon dioxide

•552 calcium silicate

•553a magnesium trisilicate

•553b talcum powder

•554 sodium aluminosilicate

•555 potassium aluminium silicate

•556 calcium aluminosilicate

•558 bentonite

•559 aluminium silicate

•570 stearic acid

•900 polydimethylsiloxane

F. Humectants keep foods moist. The most common one used as a food additive is glucose because it absorbs water. Others include:

Propylene glycol, hexylene glycol, and butylene glycol

Glyceryl triacetate


•Sugar alcohols (sugar polyols) such as glycerol, sorbitol, xylitol, maltitol

•Polymeric polyols such as polydextrose



Aloe vera gel (Natural Aloe Vera has many benefits)

MP Diol

Alpha hydroxy acids such as lactic acid


Lithium chloride

Sodium hexametaphosphate E452i

G. Nitrites and Nitrates are used to prevent the growth of bacteria, and to add taste and the red colour to meats. These can be toxic in high amounts for animals and humans. The main concern about nitrites is their formation of cancer-causing nitrosamines when meats are charred or overcooked. This process also happens within the human digestive system, as well as during the curing process used to preserve meats. 

H. Foaming agents reduce the work needed to create the foam. These are used in whipped cream and cake decorations.

I. Antifoaming agents reduce the release of gas during food preparation or serving. This is used in processed meats and includes:

polydimethylsiloxane (a type of silicone). 

J. Firming agents are added to foods to strengthen their structure and prevent foods from caving-in during processing. These include:

Calcium carbonate (E170)

Calcium hydrogen sulphite (E227)

Calcium Citrates (E333)

Calcium phosphates (E341)

Calcium sulphate (E516)

Calcium chloride (E509)

Magnesium chloride (E511)

Magnesium sulphate (E518)

Calcium gluconate (E578)

Magnesium gluconate (E580)

K. Monosodium glutamate (MSG) is used by the food industry as a flavour enhancer that intensifies the meaty, savoury flavour of food. It balances the perception of other tastes. It may cause headaches, general weakness and numbness as wells an overall feeling of discomfort. It is addictive.

L. Bleaching agents are used to make flour or cheeses whiter


By reading this non-exhaustive list, you notice that the food industry adds food additives to foods to:
1. Make foods more appealing physically
2. Provide foods with a longer shelf life
3. Make them tastier for our taste buds making us addicted.

The reasons for adding food additives are for the profit of the food manufacturers which are not concerned with our health, but rather concerned with their profits.

I recommend having 90 percent of your food come from natural whole food sources and only 10 percent or less from processed foods.

The responsibility for your health is only yours. By taking the above four steps, you are ensuring yourself and your children better health, closer to what nature intended, preventing many of the debilitating conditions prevailing in the modern world today.

Your choices matter. Making knowledgeable food choices is the basis of a health conscious individual, and we all know that when we have health, we have more happiness and fulfillment.

Feel free to comment below and let me know what you liked best about this article.

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