25 Kilograms Of Food Additives Per Person

Japan has recently been forced to permit some 70 new food additives that are used in the US and Europe, or face the usual trade related wrath of food exporting countries. That means 423 food additives are now allowed in Japan as of December 27, 2011. Some 350 food additives have been used for a long time, with very few ones approved since the late 1960s.

Over 3 million tons of food additives are now used annually in Japan. That means each Japanese consumer on average eats about 25 kilograms of food additives each year.

The largest share is artificial flavouring and synthetic seasoning products, that amount to over 2.5 million tons. This includes the controversial class of additives that are loosely labelled as アミノ酸 など (amino acids etc.) in Japan.

107,000 tons of synthetic preservatives are used while colouring products add up to about 23,000 tons.

Many are genetically engineered including Vitamin B2 and Aspartame, the controversial artificial sweetener in Diet Coke and Nutrasweet.

25 kg - And that is just from the food you will eat that is produced here in Japan.

This country imports some 60% of its foods, so with the same amount of food additives, thus your total intake could be in the range of 50-60 kilograms per year. Or more, depending on your habits. If you eat organic foods, and locally produced veggies, you are in the lower range.

Which means, others are consuming a lot more chemicals. No wonder some of the people we meet and try to talk to just don't make much sense. I get this feeling all the time. As if there is no "there" there...

Avoid foods with chemical additives and you will notice how things start change.

Consumers Union of Japan: Food Additives: You Think You Know But Really You Don’t


Tom O said…
In the UK they are known as 'E' numbers, tatoeba:



A major problem that can and does arise is that certain addititives can literally be lethal, ie nuts/sulphur based stuff. This may or may not sound a tad sad but one reason I once upon a time began to avoid Chinese restaurants/food was the proliferation of MSG (Monosodium Glutamate). I always bug free range eggs, just wish there was a 'food' that would counteract my liking for beer!
Just another reason to get back to health by going raw food diet. I have been doing it for 4 years and feel like a 17 year old and I lost 17 kilograms.... Still eat as much as I want - just make sure it's raw (sashimi is great!)

Paleo diet for people who absolutely need things like steak, is also recommended...
Martin J Frid said…
Tom, the E number system is great, it helps consumers avoid all kinds of additives.

Mike, raw food sounds like a good plan, I'd like to try it. The Paleo diet though isn't really for me as I stopped eating meat when I was 14... It would be a huge stretch to get used to the taste. The key word I think is "need" that you mention - do people really "need" meat? Could be a deep-rooted fear of food shortages, a serious issue in the past.
Tom O said…
I read a thing where it stated that the main reason for the increase in brain mass/capacity was our 'ancestors' discovered that cooking meat/captured animals per se resulted in a massive intake of protein thus the increase in size.. It would also seem that the way our teeth have evolved as such, ie to grind, chew (aka mastication!) reflects this. Of course, these days with things like tofu et al providing same said protein (and fish if that ok too) it could be said a big change could be enabled. But then one walks past yet another McDonalds and sees lots and lots of people muching away at 'food', 95% of it meat etc.
As for 'deep-rooted fear of food shortages' I think the above applies in that sense. When there be crop failures and/or famines that literally affected people's lives. So, when they discover the fire + meat principle thats when the hunter-gatherer thing presumably came into its own. A book I've recently read had a great theory that most sports as we know them today came into being in the 18th century - basically replacing the hunting which had been going on for thousands of years. And a lot of, especially male, sports are spatial and a target/goal is involved (football, tennis..). Which would correlate to same skills - judging space, assessing the speed of target etc - involved in hunting. Everyday survival was indeed that!
Unknown said…
Aspartame, also known by the brand names Nutrasweet and Equal, is a sweetener found in so-called diet foods such as low-calorie desserts, gelatins, drink mixes, and soft drinks. It may cause cancer or neurological problems, such as dizziness or hallucinations. Click Here to Visit

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