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Food Additives Glossary

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ADI
The Acceptable Daily Intake (ADI) is defined as an estimate of the amount of a particular chemical in food (food additive), as per body weight basis, that can be ingested daily in the diet over a lifetime without appreciable risk to health. The ADI is usually given as a range of 0-x milligrams per kilogram of body weight per day.

Aroma
Aromas are concentrated substances to give or enhance the flavour to a food. The term aroma can also refer to specific products such as liquid plant proteins, meat proteins, and herb extracts.

Acesulfame K
Acesulfame K, or acesulfame potassium, is a low-calorie sweetener approved for use in the United States in 1988. It is an organic salt consisting of carbon, nitrogen, oxygen, hydrogen, sulphur and potassium atoms. It is 200 times sweeter than sucrose,

Additives (food additives)
Any natural or synthetic material, other than the basic raw ingredients, used in the production of a food item to enhance the final product.

Amino Acids
Amino acids function as the building blocks of proteins. Chemically, amino acids are organic compounds containing an amino (NH1) group and a carboxyl (COOH) group. They are classified as essential, nonessential and conditionally essential. Essential amino acids include leucine, isoleucine, valine, tryptophan, phenylalanine, methionine, threonine, lysine and histidine. Nonessential amino acids can be synthesized by the body and include alanine, aspartic acid, asparagine, glutamic acid, glutamine, glycine, proline and serine.

Aspartame
Aspartame is a low-calorie sweetener used in a variety of foods and beverages and as a tabletop sweetener. It is about 200 times sweeter than sugar. Its basic components are aspartic acid and phenylalanine.

Calorie
A calorie is the amount of energy required to raise the temperature of one milliliter (ml) of water at a standard initial temperature by one degree centigrade (¡C).

Caffeine
Caffeine is a naturally-occurring substance found in the leaves, seeds or fruits of over 63 plant species The most commonly known sources of caffeine are coffee and cocoa beans, cola nuts and tea leaves.

Carbohydrate
Carbohydrates are organic compounds that consist of carbon, hydrogen and oxygen. They vary from simple sugars to very complex polymers. Plants manufacture and store carbohydrates as their chief source of energy.

Emulsifiers
Emulsifiers are ingredients that keep two substances with opposing properties mixed (for example water and oil).

Fats (Dietary Fats)
Fats are composed of the same three elements as carbohydrates -- carbon, hydrogen and oxygen, but have relatively more carbon and hydrogen and less oxygen, thus supplying a higher fuel value of nine calories per gram (versus four calories per gram from carbohydrates and protein).Dietary fat is needed to carry fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E and K and to aid in their absorption from the intestine.

Fatty Acid
Fatty acids can be saturated, monounsaturated or polyunsaturated. These terms refer to the number of hydrogen atoms attached to the carbon atoms of the fat molecule. Fats that contain a majority of saturated fatty acids are solid at room temperature, those containing mostly unsaturated fatty acids are usually liquid at room temperature and are called oils.

Fiber
Dietary fiber generally refers to parts of fruits, vegetables, grains, nuts and legumes that can't be digested by humans. Meats and dairy products do not contain fiber. There are two basic types of fiber - insoluble and soluble. Soluble fiber can be found in cereals, oatmeal, beans and other foods. Insoluble fiber can be found in cauliflower, cabbage and other vegetables and fruits.

5 A Day
Refers to the dietary recommendation to consume five servings of fruits and vegetables every day. The tagline, 5 A Day, became a promotional message in campaigns to increase fruits and vegetable consumption.

Fluoride
Fluoride is a natural component of minerals in rocks and soils. It is considered good for oral Health.

Gluten
Gluten is the protein in wheat that is responsible for the strong structure of dough. Gluten is one of the easily digested proteins.

Gum Arabic
Gum Arabic (also known as E414, acacia gum) is a useful but rexpensive thickening agent, emulsifier, texturizer and film-former used in the beverages and confectionery.

Glucose
A sugar, most commonly in the form of dextroglucose, that occurs naturally and has about half the sweetening power of regular sugar.

Glycerol
A colorless, odorless, syrupy liquid that is chemically, an alcohol and is obtained from fats and oils and used to retain moisture and add sweetness to foods.

GRAS (Generally Recognized as Safe)
GRAS is the regulatory status of food ingredients not evaluated by the FDA prescribed testing procedure. It also includes common food ingredients that were already in use when the 1959 Food Additives Amendment to the Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act was enacted

Lactose
A sugar naturally occurring in milk, also known as milk sugar.

Low-Calorie Sweetener
Low-calorie sweeteners are non-nutritive sweeteners, and can replace nutritive sweeteners in most foods.

Lycopene
Lycopene is a carotenoid related to beta-carotene. Lycopene gives tomatoes and some other fruits and vegetables their distinctive red color. Nutritionally, it functions as an antioxidant.

MSG (monosodium glutamate)
MSG is the sodium salt of glutamic acid.

Micro-organisms
Microorganisms are very small life forms that can be seen only with a microscope. They include bacteria, viruses, moulds and yeasts. Certain microorganisms can cause food spoilage and some of these (pathogens) can also cause foodborne illness.

Modified starch
Modified starches are natural starches that are chemically or physically modified to assist in the food processing industry.

Pasteurization
During pasteurisation food is heated to temperatures between 60° C and 100° C. It is used to prevent certain kinds of microbial food spoilage. It kills the less heat- resistant micro-organisms and the bacteria that are not sporulated.

Pectin
Pectin is the major binding component of the cell walls of plants and fruits. It is chemically a polysaccharide. Pectin has the property to form a gel with sugar and is used as a thickening agent in the food industry.

Saccharin
Saccharin, the oldest of the non-nutritive sweeteners, is currently produced from purified, manufactured methyl anthranilate. It is 300 times sweeter than sucrose, heat stable and does not promote dental caries.

Sterilisation
Sterilisation is a process used to kill the heat -resistant spores of bacteria. Temperatures of 120° C and higher are used, for the purpose.

Sucralose
Sucralose is the only low-calorie sweetener that is made from sugar. It is approximately 600-times sweeter. It is highly stable under a wide variety of processing conditions

Sucrose
Sucrose, a type of sugar, is a diglyceride composed of glucose and fructose.

Umami
In addition to the four main taste components (sweet, sour, salty and bitter), there is the additional taste characteristic called umami or savory. One of the food components responsible for the umami flavor in foods is glutamate.

Vitamins
Vitamins are organic substances that do not deliver any energy but are essential for cellular functions. Not all of them can be produced by the human body, thus these have to be obtained from the diet.

Yeast
Yeast is a micro-organism, a single-celled mould.


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