Asthma UK community forum

Food additives

I read I scary article on artificial food additives recently, which said that apparently several have possible links with asthma/respiratory problems. Being too lazy to properly research which are ok & which are suspect I decided to totally cut them out of my diet. I've been completely amazed by the results! In just two weeks I've gone from 1200mcg of beclometasone a day to 400mcg (I have an agreed plan with my nurse for increasing/decreasing my dose as needed) & as a bonus my food cravings have almost totally disappeared so I'm eating far more sensibly & losing weight!

I just thought I'd post in case it helped anyone else, as it wasn't something that I'd thought about before.

PS I can find nothing bad about soya lecithins, so good quality chocolate's ok & Gu brownies are ok too!

5 Replies

Hi, E (european) numbers are a variety of aditives both natural and artifical.

some of the worse offenders are the azo dyes E102 - 159 etc covering tartrazine and can cause allergies and hyperactivity.

the E 220 s etc are benzoates and also cause allergies. then on to the Sulphures which are bad for some of us.

The E number system goes up to over 900 I think and some of the aditives are perfectly harmless such as cocchineal ( red from a squashed beetle)(Unless your veggie etc) caramel, lecithin ( a natural thickner from soya)

I think the FSA ( food standards agency website has a lot more info or you can try googling it.


Hope this helps


Hi sha76

Well done with cutting out the additives and being able to decrease your meds, I know it's a difficult thing to avoid them as food manufacturers (and drugs companies, lol don't get me started) tend to feel the need to colour and enhance everything!

There is a good list of food additives, their common uses and common reactions here:

I've been allergic to artificial colourings since I was a child and have become a bit of an expert at avoiding them. I tend to be ok with other additives except MSG but try not to have any additives if i can help it, tho a busy uni life sometimes makes this difficult. I always avoid the colours though!

I'm also allergic to Annatto which is a natural colouring often added to cheese, biscuits, dried foods etc and has been seen to cause urticaria and anaphylaxis in some people, including me!

I seem to eat a lot healthier than my friends at uni and haven't really had any weight problems because I avoid the student junk food / take away culture.

Sparkly Fairy



I've never been confirmed as being allergic to food additives but they make me quite aggressive and so i dont eat a lot of them. Especially things that are quite brightly coloured and i cant drink alcopops or anything very often and i can only have certain ones, sminroff ice turns me into a monster!! so my boyfriend has banned me from them in case i set off whilst we're out and he has diffuse the situation, could turn nasty!!

Claire xx


I have a food allergy, which I have been told is most probably due to an additive but I've been told that it is almost impossible to find the culprit.

I go scarlet, my skin feels tight so there must be some swelling and it travels down my body from my head, neck, torso, arms. The last time was the worst and my skin felt like it was burning, even my t-shirt hurt. And it was evening and I had no piriton so I ended up at A&E for a few hours waiting for piriton to decide to work. At least it did eventually kick in so I didn't need adrenaline but it was close. After about 3 hours or so I was able to come home but the redness and the pain took all night to go.

So now the wee bottle of piriton they gave me to take away is never out of my handbag and I have more piriton at home.



Thanks for the replies - particularly the links, they look really useful.

I meant to post this before, but I had a nasty attack (well, by my standards, not that nasty in the big scheme of things) & I have to admit I was feeling a bit sulky that I'd been over optimistic about how much healthier I was. I do now think it was just a blip though, and it's not like I was expecting to never have an attack again.

I can see why you'd always have piriton on you if you had allergies to any additives, they get everywhere! Thankfully my reaction doesn't seem that serious, so I'm not worrying too much if I'm eating out, but I am allergic to some red/orange colour (I just come out in blotches, annoying but hardly a worry!) & discovered it hiding in fish & chips once!


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