What is an additive and what is it used for?

While waiting baby, it is more necessary than ever to monitor the contents of his plate. Food security plays a key role. But what about additives? Answers from Béatrice de Reynal, nutritionist in Paris.

What is the risk for a pregnant woman to consume products with additives?

Dr Béatrice de Reynal (1): The additive is an ingredient that is going to be put in a small quantity to fulfill its functionality: to gel, color, preserve, etc. The yeast or vanilla which is added in a dough to make a cake are additives.

And yet, do you advise against certain foods containing additives in the pregnant woman?

There are 340 additives authorized in Europe, more than half of which are of natural origin, such as agar (a gelling algae), pectin (from the apple, another gelling agent) or citric acid Lemon, an acidifier).

Why should women with allergic sites be even more cautious?

Conservatives are useful for limiting poisoning. Some are not essential such as dyes, but imagine a transparent granadine syrup or morello cherry ... The manufacturer must not only prove the interest of this but also satisfy safety tests. < Br>

How to avoid these foods

Dr. Béatrice de Reynal: The additives are much more monitored than the food. They are governed by three European directives 2,3,4 and sanitary watches report any adverse effects on the body. Their maximum allowable dose is provided so that a person can consume industrial products (colas, sweets, pizzas, etc.) all day long safely. They are, a priori, no more dangerous for a pregnant woman than for any adult. There are studies of children who, in some cases, suspect to favor the development of hyperactivity and bronchitis .... In reality, a pregnant woman is much more exposed to biological pollutions, such as insecticides and pesticides.

Dr. Béatrice de Reynal: Yes, because it is a precautionary principle. It is known that dyes, and even preservatives, can cause problems. The placental barrier lets the toxic substances pass. As much to avoid them. It is strongly advised not to consume ham and industrial sausages, which contain dyes and preservatives ... Yoghurt with artificially colored fruit, small Swiss colored fruit, gel jelly are also discouraged. As for dried fruits, they contain too many sulphites.

Dr. Béatrice de Reynal: Because the children of an allergic parent (and if both, the risk increases) can in turn develop cross-allergies. The allergens cross the placenta. As it is not advisable to consume nuts or exotics, as a precautionary principle, avoid also foods containing dyes and all those that can be allergenic. Special attention must be paid to soybean oil, peanut oil, industrial charcuterie and fruit with potassium sorbate. On the other hand, those containing natural gelling agents or baking powder do not pose any particular problem.

Dr. Béatrice de Reynal: You have to read the labels! Let us not forget that the consumer is better protected by the law on additives than by the law on food. It's simple: the functionality always precedes the name of the additive. For example, E407, also known as carrageenans, is a natural thickener from Eucheuma algae. The E330, on the other hand, corresponds to citric acid. It's like lemon juice.

In fact, "E" is proposed by European legislation to code additives, but it can be a natural additive! Namely: generally the frozen ready dishes or fresh dishes are free of dyes but the labels of semi-preserves are to be checked. And the fruit yoghurt to avoid. As for intense sweeteners such as aspartame, they do not properly belong to the additives and there is no evidence of toxicity. These sweeteners are not indispensable: then as a precautionary principle, it is easy to avoid them.

1 - Author of many books including "De l'étiquette * l'assiette". Editions Vuibert. To be published: "eating for oneself and baby" next June. Editions Vuibert, 2 - Directive 89/107 / EEC of 21 December 1988 on the approximation of the laws of the Member States relating to additives authorized for use in foodstuffs intended for human consumption; European Parliament and of the Council of 30 June 1994 on coloring agents for use in foodstuffs 4 - Directive 95/31 / EC establishing criteria of purity

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