Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

Could Common Food Additives Be Causing Serious Health Problems?

Food

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

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

An aerial view of a crude oil storage facility of Caspian Pipeline Consortium (CPC) in the Krasnodar Territory. Vitaly Timkiv / TASS / Getty Images

Oil rigs around the world keep pulling crude oil out of the ground, but the global pandemic has sent shockwaves into the market. The supply is up, but demand has plummeted now that industry has ground to a halt, highways are empty, and airplanes are parked in hangars.

Read More Show Less
Examples (from left) of a lead pipe, a corroded steel pipe and a lead pipe treated with protective orthophosphate. U.S. EPA Region 5

Under an agreement negotiated by community groups — represented by NRDC and the Pennsylvania Utility Law Project — the Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority (PWSA) will remove thousands of lead water pipes by 2026 in order to address the chronically high lead levels in the city's drinking water and protect residents' health.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored
ROBYN BECK / AFP / Getty Images

By Dave Cooke

So, they finally went and did it — the Trump administration just finalized a rule to undo requirements on manufacturers to improve fuel economy and reduce greenhouse gas emissions from new passenger cars and trucks. Even with the economy at the brink of a recession, they went forward with a policy they know is bad for consumers — their own analysis shows that American drivers are going to spend hundreds of dollars more in fuel as a result of this stupid policy — but they went ahead and did it anyway.

Read More Show Less

By Richard Connor

A blood test that screens for more than 50 types of cancer could help doctors treat patients at an earlier stage than previously possible, a new study shows. The method was used to screen for more than 50 types of cancer — including particularly deadly variants such as pancreatic, ovarian, bowel and brain.

Read More Show Less
Ian Sane / Flickr

Preliminary data from the Centers for Disease Control showed a larger number of young people coming down with COVID-19 than first expected, with patients under the age of 45 comprising more than a third of all cases, and one in five of those patients requiring hospitalization. That also tends to be the group most likely to use e-cigarettes.

Read More Show Less