Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

Help Support EcoWatch

Could Common Food Additives Be Causing Serious Health Problems?

Food
Could Common Food Additives Be Causing Serious Health Problems?

Emulsifiers approved for use by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration are commonly added to processed foods to improve texture, increase shelf life and prevent oils and fats from separating. You'll see them listed on ingredient labels as polysorbate 80, lecithin, carrageenan, polyglycerols, xanthan and other gums in everything from bread and cookies to salad dressings, ice cream, non-dairy milks and more. Emulsifiers are also utilized to reduce or remove trans fats and gluten from low-fat, dairy-free and gluten-free items marketed as "health" foods and can appear in organic and non-GMO labeled foods as well. As pervasive as they are in packaged foods, could emulsifiers be causing health concerns?

Emulsifiers are common food additives found to cause gastrointestinal inflammation.
Photo credit: Shutterstock

A recent study concludes that dietary emulsifiers promote inflammatory diseases in mice by interfering with beneficial microbiota in the gut. According to researchers, dietary emulsifiers disrupt the mucus layer separating beneficial microbiota from epithelial cells of the intestinal wall, resulting in increased bacterial translocation and inflammation of the gut.

In the study, mice were administered polysorbate 80 (commonly found in ice cream) and carboxymethylcellulose through food at water at levels comparable to those approved for use in human food. The experiment caused chronic colitis in mice predisposed to the disorder and low-grade inflammation and metabolic syndrome in mice with normal immune systems, which can lead to overeating, obesity, hyperglycemia and insulin resistance.

According to the researchers, while gastrointestinal inflammation caused by consuming dietary emulsifiers is not the sole contributor to the rise in obesity, their increased use in the food supply does roughly parallel the increase in chronic inflammatory diseases that can interfere with satiety and lead to overeating and obesity.

YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

Striking Photos Show What Kids Around the World Eat for Lunch

Sugar Beet Leaves Create Vegan Protein Alternative

How Good Gut Health Can Boost Your Immune System

Colette Pichon Battle, attorney, founder, and executive director of the Gulf Coast Center for Law & Policy. Colette Pichon Battle

By Karen L. Smith-Janssen

Colette Pichon Battle gave a December 2019 TEDWomen Talk on the stark realities of climate change displacement, and people took notice. The video racked up a million views in about two weeks. The attorney, founder, and executive director of the Gulf Coast Center for Law & Policy (GCCLP) advocates for climate justice in communities of color. Confronted with evidence showing how her own South Louisiana coastal home of Bayou Liberty will be lost to flooding in coming years, the 2019 Obama Fellow dedicates herself to helping others still reeling from the impacts of Katrina face the heavy toll that climate change has taken—and will take—on their lives and homelands. Her work focuses on strengthening multiracial coalitions, advocating for federal, state, and local disaster mitigation measures, and redirecting resources toward Black communities across the Gulf South.

Read More Show Less

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

A palm tree plantation in Malaysia. Yann Arthus-Bertrand / Getty Images Plus

Between 2000 and 2013, Earth lost an area of undisturbed ecosystems roughly the size of Mexico.

Read More Show Less

Trending

A home burns during the Bobcat Fire in Juniper Hills, California on September 18, 2020. Kyle Grillot / AFP/ Getty Images

By Stuart Braun

"These are not just wildfires, they are climate fires," Jay Inslee, Governor of Washington State, said as he stood amid the charred remains of the town of Malden west of Seattle earlier this month. "This is not an act of God," he added. "This has happened because we have changed the climate of the state of Washington in dramatic ways."

Read More Show Less
A new report from Oxfam found that the wealthiest one percent of the world produced a carbon footprint that was more than double that of the bottom 50 percent of the world. PickPik

A new report from Oxfam found that the wealthiest one percent of the world produced a carbon footprint that was more than double that of the bottom 50 percent of the world, The Guardian reported. The study examined 25 years of carbon dioxide emissions and wealth inequality from 1990 to 2015.

Read More Show Less
The label of one of the recalled thyroid medications. FDA

If you are taking medication for an underactive thyroid, check your prescription.

Read More Show Less

Support Ecowatch