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Common Food Additives Linked to Inflammation

Food Additives

Several additives used with processed foods, like emulsifiers, have been shown to be associated with changes in the composition of microorganisms in the intestines (the so-termed “gut microbiome“). In turn, this has been found to leas to increased inflammation in mice. Inflammation is linked to several ill-health effects and has an link with obesity.

A study has found that two of the 15 most common emulsifiers used in food processing can potential trigger ill-health effects. The two food additives are the type used to bind the oily and watery components of processed foods together. The emulsifiers are carboxymethylcellulose and polysorbate 80. Emulsifiers like these are common in ice cream, salad dressing, as well as other packaged foods.

Processed foods

Processed foods can be the cause of inflammations Image credits: NationOfChange

The findings, according to Nature News, are based on studies conducted using mice. The research found that mice that consumed the emulsifiers were more prone to a range of symptoms connected with inflammatory disease and metabolic disorders. This was after the mice had been fed the processed foods for a period of up to 12 weeks. The levels of each emulsifier in the food was at the maximum allowed by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

The research results showed that the mice were at twice the risk of developing colitis. The mice also gained 7 percent of their body weight, and had higher blood sugar levels.

Discussing the results in a research statement, lead author Andrew Gewirtz said: “Our findings reinforce the concept suggested by earlier work that low-grade inflammation resulting from an altered microbiota can be an underlying cause of excess eating.” By microbiota, this is a reference to a chabge to the types of microorganisms normally found within the gut.

The research was conducted at Georgia State University (U.S.) and it has been reported to the journal Nature. The research paper is titled “Dietary emulsifiers impact the mouse gut microbiota promoting colitis and metabolic syndrome”.

About the author

Tim Sandle

Dr. Tim Sandle is a chartered biologist and holds a first class honours degree in Applied Biology; a Masters degree in education; and has a doctorate from Keele University.

  • Victor Grayson

    Very concerning connection.