A food additive is a substance not naturally found in a food or drink but added in processing or preparing it. Additives are used for several reasons, including to help prepare the product, preserve it, make it look more appealing, and/or enhance flavor.

Additives can be either synthetic-based or natural, and some are harmless. But certain additives, especially those common in processed foods, have been linked to health problems.  

"There are no food additives in the United States food supply that will harm your health by eating them infrequently," says Angela Lemond, a registered dietitian nutritionist and co-owner of Lemond Nutrition and a national spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. "However, there are some food additives that might pose a risk if eaten on a regular basis."  

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