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Salt is one of the most ubiquitous food ingredients around. Those who think of salt only as something used to perk up flavor might wonder what could possibly give this ingredient the level of importance it has gained through the ages. In reality, there is much more to this crystalline cube than first meets the eye.
Besides enhancing taste, salt has several other functions in food products. It acts as an antimicrobial or microbiological control agent. It contributes to certain chemical reactions that create a wide variety of food characteristics.
Sometimes the terms "salt" and "sodium" are used interchangeably, but technically this is not correct. "Salt" is sodium chloride. By weight, it is 40 percent sodium and 60 percent chloride.
Most foods and tap water contain sodium and chloride. Sodium is an essential nutrient, a mineral that the body cannot manufacture itself.
Because of sodium's importance to your body, the excretory and nervous systems guard against under-consumption of salt, which is a threat to your body's nerves and muscles. Other ions such as calcium, magnesium, and potassium are also very important. Concentrations of these ions are held in narrow ranges by the kidney.
The association between eating salt and the risk of blood pressure increasing is difficult to quantify. Some people are sensitive to changes in salt intake whereas others can adjust so that blood pressure does not rise at all.
Americans typically consume 4,000-8,000 mg each day, well above their daily needs. A goal for moderation for all adults, (including pregnancy and lactation) is approximately 2,400 mg of sodium per day.
Simply put, mono- and diglycerides are fats. They are made from oil,usually soybean, cottonseed, sunflower, or palm oil, act as emulsifiers (provide a consistent texture and prevent separation), and are used in most baked products to keep them from getting stale. In ice cream and other processed foods, including margarine, instant potatoes, and chewing gum, they serve as stabilizers, which give foods body and improve consistency.
Mono and diglycerides themselves do not contain gluten, but mono and diglycerides are almost always on lists of questionable foods for celiacs because of the possibility that wheat might be used with them as a carrier.
Under FDA regulations, a carrier used with mono and diglycerides in this manner would fall into the incidental additive category. Additives are considered incidental when they are present in insignificant amounts and have no technical or functional effect on the final food product. FDA regulations, which generally require that all ingredients of a food be listed on the label, do allow certain incidental additives to be left off the label.
However, recent concern about allergens has led the FDA to warn food manufacturers that it does not consider the eight most common food allergens (eggs, fish, milk, peanuts, shellfish, soy, tree nuts, and wheat) eligible for this labeling exemption. The FDA first clarified the exemption in 1996 in response to a growing number of reports of allergic reactions from foods that according to their label should have been allergen free. Now, the FDA has updated that clarification in a compliance policy guide for the food industry that says incidental additives containing common food allergens have never been considered eligible for the exemption. The Food Allergy Issues Alliance, a group of food trade associations and consumer interest groups, in May issued labeling guidelines that say incidental additives should be on the label. For celiacs this means that if wheat is used as a carrier for mono and diglycerides, it has to be declared on the label.
All this would seem to indicate that celiacs can remove mono and diglycerides from any suspicious or questionable food lists and still feel safe.
Locust bean gum is extracted from the endosperm of the seeds of the carob tree Ceretonia siliqua, which grows in Mediterranean countries. The ancient Egyptians used locust bean gum to bind the wrapping of mummies.
In more recent times is is used as a thickener in salad dressings, cosmetics, sauces, as an agent in ice cream that prevents ice crystals from forming, and as a fat substitute.
Produced from the fermentation of corn SUGAR, xanthan gum is used as a thickener, EMULSIFIER and STABILIZER in foods such as dairy products and salad dressings.
Some people are allergic to xanthan gum, with symptoms of intestinal gripes, diarrhea, temporary high blood pressure, and migraine headaches
Also, since xanthan gum is produced by a bacterium that is fed corn to grow, some people allergic to corn will also react to it. Yellow Phrygian Husk is a common source of bacterium in which xanthan gum is created
Vitamin A is very important for maintaining good vision. In fact, the first sign of a vitamin A deficiency is often night blindness. Vitamin A also contributes to the maintenance of healthy skin and mucous membranes that line the nose, sinuses, and mouth. Research has shown that this nutrient is necessary for proper immune system function, growth, bone formation, reproduction, and wound healing. Animal studies also suggest that it provides some protection from toxic chemicals such as dioxins. (Dioxins are released into the air from combustion processes such as commercial waste incineration and burning fuels like wood, coal or oil. These chemicals can also be found in cigarette smoke.)
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