Are natural antioxidants better -and safer -than synthetic antioxidants?
Sommaire de l'article
Antioxidants are necessary in the Western diet as it is rich in polyenoic fatty acids, which are easily oxidized with formation of free radicals that are harmful if present in higher amounts. Consumers prefer natural antioxidants to synthetic antioxidants, mainly for emotional reasons. The common Western daily diet contains about 1 g natural antioxidants even if no natural antioxidants have been added for lipid stabilization. Their main sources are cereals, fruits, vegetables, and beverages. Only a part of the natural antioxidants is absorbed and used as free-radical scavengers in vivo. Natural antioxidants should be added to food in larger amounts than synthetic antioxidants as they are less active, but the actual activity depends very much on particular conditions and food composition. Nevertheless, the addition of additional antioxidants is still negligible in comparison with the dietary supply of native antioxidants. The safety limits of natural antioxidants are mostly not known, but they are hardly safer than synthetic antioxidants. The best protection would be to replace high-polyenoic oils in the diet with high-oleic oils, and to use alternative methods of food protection against autoxidation.