Starting Out Going Additive Free Part 1

Additive Free Solutions 

Going additive free can at first appear to be a real challenge for families who rely heavily on packaged foods in their every day diet. The key is to keep it simple and choose foods which are in their most natural, unprocessed state. Avoiding additives is easily achieved by eating a diet which consists predominantly of plant based foods such as fresh fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds and legumes with moderate amounts of lean meats, fish and dairy; preferably all organic! Avoiding or at least minimising sugars, trans fats and packaged foods is highly advisable. Additives are mainly used to preserve, thicken, emulsify and enhance the flavour of foods. They are hidden in everything from chips and biscuits to dips and ready made sauces. It is estimated that children often consume over fifty additives a day! Most of which have been linked to a number of adverse health effects such as asthma, eczema, fatigue, depression and hyperactivity. Below is a general guide to the labelling of additives:

It is a good idea to make yourself familiar with common additives in packaged goods. The best way to navigate your way around all the codes is to get your hands on a copy of ‘The Chemical Maze’ which is a great pocket sized book that I have in my home as a reference to all chemicals found not only in food and drinks but in cosmetic and household products too.

Food additives can have adverse health effects on us all, however children are particulary sensitive which is why signs and symptoms are often more noticeable in our little ones. Recent research in the UK identifed six artificial food colours which are linked to asthma and hyperactivity in children. These include Sunset yellow (E110), Quinoline yellow (E104), Carmoisine (E122), Allura red (E129), Tartrazine (E102) and Ponceau (E124). There use is widespread in a range of foods and drinks such as ice cream, lollies, cheese, pasta, meat, wine, donuts, fruit juice, marinades, breakfast cereals, canned fruit and crackers.

Below are some examples of alternatives to commonly consumed additive rich packaged foods which are quick and easy to prepare:

Armed with knowledge and a little creativity, going additive free doesn’t have to be difficult. Making the change will significantly improve the health of your family by avoiding toxic chemicals and encouraging healthy food choices for optimum health and wellbeing. Remember to always read the label of everything you buy; even if it appears to be healthy. If there doesn’t appear to be an option with natural ingredients then see if you can find a recipe to make it yourself at home.

Kate Harrison is a Melbourne based Naturopath and Mother. Kate specialises in Woman and Children’s health and has worked alongside other allied health professionals at Victoria’s first independent midwifery center, MAMA. (Midwives and Mothers Australia). Kate maintains a blog and social media platforms where she regularly writes health related articles which focus on educating the public about Herbal Medicine and Nutrition. You can follow Kate’s blog at


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{ 1 comment… add one }

  • Nyssa Millington January 10, 2013, 3:45 pm

    Hi Kate,

    Great article, and a great break down of some packaged foods and the alternatives to theses without additives.

    It is after all your choice what you put into your mouth, and being informed certainly helps you make better food choices.


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