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Food Ingredients

Food ingredients are generally required in preparation of food. There are different types of food ingredients and the role played by each of them differs greatly. Some of them are used in more than one food preparation. Check them out.

5 types of food ingredients commonly used

1. Preservatives

-How do they help?
Preservatives are probably the most commonly used food ingredients. They help in preventing food spoilage due to molds, bacteria, yeast, fungi. They slow down changes in texture, color, and flavor. In other words, it helps in keeping the food fresh.

-Where are they used?
You will find preservatives in beverages, fruit sauces, cured meat, margarines, baked food, jellies, cereals, vegetables, snack food etc.

2. Color Additives

-How do they help?
These food ingredients will prevent the food products from losing its color due to light exposure, or exposure to air. It will also help in correcting the color variations.

-Where are they used?
These ingredients are mainly used in processed foods that include cheese, soft drinks, jellies and jams, pudding, snack foods etc.

3. Sweeteners

One of the frequently used food ingredients and they are used for the following-

-How do they help?
It adds sweetness to the food. Sweeteners may be with or without calories.

-Where are they used?
They are used mainly in processed foods, beverages, baked foods, confectionery etc.

4. Fat Replacers

 Fat replacers are basically substances that replace fat in the foods stuff.

-How do they help?
It offers a creamy feel in foods. It also provides texture to the food product.

-Where are they used?
These food ingredients are used in frozen desserts, dressings, baked food, dairy products, cake mixes, dessert mixes, and confectionery etc.

5. Flavor Enhancers

-How do they help?
These ingredients don’t have a flavor of their own but enhance the flavor present in the food.

-Where are they used?
Used mainly in food that is processed.

In addition to the ones mentioned above, you will come across many food ingredients that include gases, firming agents, conditioners and dough strengtheners, enzymes, anti- caking substances, and yeast nutrients as ingredients of food. Emulsifiers, nutrients, agents to control pH and acidulants, thickeners, texturizers, stabilizers, binders, humectants and leavening agents are used too.

Food ingredients to be avoided

Remember not all food ingredients are safe to use and there are many ingredients that are no longer used. Some of them are as follows –

• Trans-fats
• Butylated HydroxyAnisole or BHA
• Butylated Hydroxy Toluene
• High fructose corn syrup or HFCS
• Excitotoxins, the prominent one in this group being MSG or Monosodium Glutamate. Aspartame belongs to this group too.
• Sodium Nitrite etc

It is a wise move to avoid using any of the food ingredients that may disable you for a lifetime.  So, next time if you are shopping around for the ingredients that you are planning to incorporate in your food preparation regime, say no the unsafe food ingredients.


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