Fattening food additives – the hidden threat in our food (part 1)

Certainly, some of us have already experienced the following: You are going to the gym/muscle factory regularly, lifting as if you’re going to perform for the mister or miss of the universe show, squeezed in super tight sportswear just in order to keep focus and motivation, and meticulously analysing what kind of food may be allowed – and how much – while your stomach is desperately picking up every crumb it gets. As if that weren’t enough you’re tracking every step via app or diet diary. And yet, whatever you do, you don’t get the shape you desire – or you even gain weight. Seriously: what the hell!

How is that possible? You’re tracking every bite, you’re performing beyond your limit, perhaps there are already rumors you are mistreating yourself and still it seems your body doesn’t want to get lean. The reason is as simple as shocking. There are several factors. However, there is one almost nobody considers: food additives.

Additives in our food

This article doesn’t give attention to the well-known yo-yo effect that is striking back after finishing your diet. This is a case of an entirely unknown phenomenon: programming our brain to “fattening mode”. Admittedly, the introduction above seems to be extreme, almost excessive. Though, it is true. However, this post doesn’t primarily focus on why you can’t lose weight in spite of every effort. Rather, we want to have a closer look at fattening ingredients we didn’t put our attention on yet: food additives.

Food additives are known to everybody. At least, everyone has heard about it. As its name suggests food additives are additives that are added to our food. This happens both intentionally and accidentally. Intentionally added additives are used to improve our food – as flavour enhancer, preservative agents, colouring substances as well as (alleged) healthier substitutes. Often and intentionally used food additives that are suspected to cause weight gain are:

  • Sweeteners
  • Flavour enhancer
  • Preservative agents

Moreover, there are additives that under no circumstances should be found in our food. However, it occurs in many food products – added accidentally or indirectly. Some of these substances leading to increase in weight are:

  • Coatings
  • Plasticisers
  • Pesticides
  • Heavy metals
  • Perfluorinated chemicals
  • Antibiotics

So far, so good. But how is it possible that diet coke, mineral water, fruits and low-fat products increase our body weight?

The power of our brain

The human brain is a masterpiece of nature. Everything we do and everything we are is only possible by means of our grey matter. Not only does it control complicated movements, communication and reproduction but it also controls us – without us noticing it. We are not even able to influence this manipulation. We’re using our brain for the daily life. In doing so this organic supercomputer consumes huge amounts of energy to run smoothly. In order to get this energy it uses us in turn. Researchers found, that there are several systems within this control centre pursuing one goal only: maximum energy gain. To this end, our brain makes our body to maximise the energy intake – in the form of food. This leads to another problem: the more we feat our brain, the more it demands. This so called “hungry brain syndrome” has the same effect as drugs.

However, only blaming our brain wouldn’t help to solve the problem. As the saying goes, we are what we eat. Accordingly, the key problem is the nutrition or, to be more exact, the quantity as well as the quality of energy we are providing to our brain – or do not. Many of these consumed additives have two things in common: They provide misleading information to our brain by pretending energy intake that doesn’t exist at all. The moment our grey matter realises the fake it strikes back promptly by provoking food cravings. Furthermore, many of these additives cause addiction. They influence our eating behaviour by telling our brain to ask for more of these empty calories. It’s a vicious circle.

What’s next

If you wanna know what kind of food additives influences our eating habits and how they manipulate our metabolism and the brain functions have a look at the second article Fattening food additives – specific manipulation. Here you learn which additives are added systematically, why and what side effects come with them.


In a nutshell

Our brain consumes huge quantities of energy. To ensure to get these it manipulates our body by forcing us to eat more than necessary. At the end of the day we’re getting fat as a result of too much calories we consume combined with too little physical activity. However, it may happen that you miss your body goals (fat loss > reduced body weight), even when being disciplined with your workouts and tracking your food intake. That’s because of the food additives which, despite of analysing our nutrition precisely, we consume daily. These additives influence our metabolism and manipulate the communication between brain and body – we eat more than needed.  Particularly alarming in this context is the fact that additives are not only added specifically but also get into our food with detours.


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