Food Additives

When feeding hamsters food that is meant for human consumption please bear these points in mind as processed food have additives that are not suitable for ingestion by animals. These additives can carry high health risks. During the processing of food natural nutrients are removed and synthetic ones are supplemented, sugar, salt and other chemicals are added to processed foods in large quantities. Synthetic nutritional supplements are not readily bio-available, adding vitamins to food or the hamsters water is unnecessary and tends to be ineffective. Additions of synthetic nutrients and vitamins mean the body has to do a lot of work to digest and assimilate them.
Too many vitamins and supplements may cause problems with the digestive system, and vitamin toxicity. Whatever food you put in his mouth has to be broken down and processed by an amazing and complex digestive system, if what he eats is beneficial to him the system will work perfectly well.

Food processing is used to produce attractive and marketable food products. This is done with the sole intention of giving the food a better appearance and a longer shelf life for the supermarkets by adding salts, sugars, colouring, and preservatives, some that are listed below.

The food additives and quantities used are generally considered safe for human consumption, again may leave other questions to be answered.
Theses additives may cause food sensitivities and some allergic reactions in animals as well as human beings.
Animals have a totally different digestive system than humans that differs greatly from animal to animal.

Sodium Nitrite:

This additive becomes important in the processing of red meat; it is the additive that gives it that dark red colour, without it meat would be an otherwise dark brown a very unappetizing colour. Sodium nitrite can react with Amines: amines are produced by cooking certain meats at high temperatures, and create chemicals that are not present in uncooked meats producing powerful toxic carcinogenic (cancer causing agents) the one reason red meat should not be fed to a hamster.

Sulfur Dioxide:

This is a colorless toxic gas and is used as a preservative in alcoholic drinks. Unless you have a hamster that regularly hit's the bottle you should not have a problem with this one. Sulphur dioxide is also used in the drying process of fruits, apricots, sultanas, raisins and other kind of fruits. The drying process destroys most of the Vitamin C in the fruit. This preservative is added to maintain the appearance of the fruit rather than to prevent it from decaying. Raisins are simply dried grapes processed this way; these are known to be toxic to some animals. See toxic Grapes

Butylated Hydroxyanisole:

(BHA) and the related compound Butylated Hydroxytoluene (BHT) are phenolic compounds that are often added to foods to preserve fats. BHA is generally used in processed foods to keeps fats from becoming rancid. BHA is found in butter, meats, and cereals, chewing gum, baked goods snack foods and dehydrated potatoes, it is also found in some animal feeds. Scientific studies have proved this compound to cause tumors in fish and rodents; this includes hamster’s mice and rats.


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