Antioxidants are food additives that are used to prevent or slow down the oxidation of fats and oils in food products. Oxidation can lead to rancidity and deterioration of flavor, color, and nutritional value in foods. Antioxidants help to preserve the quality and shelf life of these products by inhibiting the oxidation process. Common antioxidants used in food include vitamin C (ascorbic acid), vitamin E (tocopherol), and synthetic antioxidants such as butylated hydroxyanisole (BHA) and butylated hydroxytoluene (BHT). These additives are often used in processed foods, oils, and fats to maintain their freshness and stability.