Even Healthy Foods You Purchase Contain THIS Ingredient That Cause Obesity, And It’s Not Sugar!
What is an emulsifier?
Emulsifiers are common in many food products that you probably eat every day, from your breakfast sausage to the mayonnaise you spread on your sandwiches. Oil and water normally don’t mix because of their different densities and polar properties, but emulsifiers make this possible. The hydrophilic (“water loving”) ends of emulsifier molecules coat oil droplets, allowing them to disperse uniformly throughout the water-based solution or foam. This improves the consistency of foods that would otherwise be extremely unappealing (clumpy ice cream, anyone?).
The dark side of emulsifiers
As crucial as they are in producing some of our favorite foods, emulsifying agents may have unexpected health consequences. A study using mice published in Nature on February 25th, 2015 concluded that ingestion of emulsifiers at levels below those allowed by the FDA may contribute to a variety of intestinal problems. The layers of mucous lining the insides of the intestines serve to protect them from gut microbes, which should not normally come into contact with the epithelial cells of the intestinal wall. Emulsifiers appear to break down some of this mucous, leading to colitis (general inflammation of the intestines) and metabolic syndrome, commonly referred to as obesity. Mice that were engineered to be genetically predisposed to colitis showed even higher levels of inflammation.
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What can you do to avoid consuming emulsifiers?
The simplest way to avoid all unwanted food additives is, of course, to make all of your own meals and snacks from scratch at home. This way you know exactly what you’re putting in your body. However, not many of us have the time and patience for such a difficult daily challenge.
When shopping for groceries, try to purchase the least processed options for every item on your list. Some specific foods that are more likely to contain emulsifiers include:
- bread and other baked goods
- ice cream
- non-dairy milk
- processed meat products
- creamy sauces
Even if you typically shop at health food stores and select non-GMO and organic options, you still should take measures to avoid emulsifiers. Items that appear perfectly healthy such as a can of coconut milk or a bar of dark chocolate may contain natural emulsifiers that are just as dangerous as the artificial varieties. Two of the most common natural emulsifiers to watch out for are lecithin and carrageenan.
Emulsifiers may seem harmless and help to make our food more enjoyable, but whatever benefits they confer may come with a heavy cost. Consuming products that contain emulsifiers may lead to obesity and other unhealthy outcomes. It’s best not to trust the FDA when it comes to making important decisions about what you eat. New research is constantly adding to the body of knowledge we have on the dangers of additives, and we must be responsible for keeping up with current information on our own if we want to stay as healthy as possible.