From Maggi to Mother Dairy and colas to chocolates, food controversies have hit the headlines with alarming frequency of late. Whether its wiggly worms, nibbling mice, lead content or dangerous detergents, eatables are often at risk of food adulteration which could affect your health in a number of ways.

Food additives enhance the flavor of the food and prolong shelf life but how do they affect human health? How many of us read the ingredient list before buying something?

Here's the impact that some of these food additives can have on our bodies:

1. Artificial colouring

Artificial colours are chemical dyes. They are often used to colour drinks and packed food to make them look attractive. Research has found that some artificial food colours such as Blue #1, Blue #2, Yellow Tartrazine, Red dye #3 etc. are responsible for increasing hyperactivity in kids, causing thyroid cancer in animals and aggravate asthma symptoms in human beings.

2. Trans fat

A very common ingredient used in food products to prolong shelf life, mostly found in margarine, chips and fast foods etc. trans fat increases cholesterol levels, affecting the heart and exposing one to heart attack and strokes. Research says it also contributes to increased inflammation and diabetes.

3. Monosodium glutamate (MSG)

Commonly known as the tasting powder, MSG can easily enhance the flavor of your meal but at the expense of your health. Research shows that regular intake of MSG may lead to depression, obesity, cause eye damage or give you headaches and fatigue. Eating bread containing high fructose corn syrup could help you put on weight.

4. High fructose corn syrup

This sweetener is made from corn and is found in almost everything including bread, flavored yogurt, canned vegetables etc. This sweet stuff is a major cause of obesity and type 2 diabetes. Canned meat can cause cancer.

5. Sodium nitrate

This additive is found in preserved products such as sausages and canned meat. Research has found that most people eating canned meat on a regular basis have a higher likelihood of developing gastric cancer.

Now that you have a fair idea as to how some food additives can affect your health, we presume you will be more careful in selecting your food item from the grocery shelf. To avoid complications, do visit a doctor and review your diet and gastric health.