The Food Additive that’s Making You Fatter

Struggling with your weight? Us too. It seems like even when we eat the proper amount of calories, good nutrients and exercise vigorously and regularly, the weight still wants to stick around. It’s frustrating. However, recent research suggests that some of the additives in our foods, particularly emulsifiers, may be to blame for some of our problems with weight.

Medical Daily reported:

Emulsifiers are added to most processed foods in order to extend shelf life and add texture to the foods. The research team decided to feed mice a couple of the most common emulsifiers on the market — polysorbate 80 and carboxymethylcellulose — at doses comparable to a human’s consumption of processed foods. They watched the emulsifier change the mice’s gut microbiota, which is an individual’s personal 100 trillion bacteria inside the intestinal tract. Not only did this increase their chance of developing obesity-related disorders, but also inflammatory bowel disease. It’s no coincidence both conditions have been increasing since the 1950s.

This does not mean that we can stop paying attention to calories and exercise. A researcher reports:

“We do not disagree with the commonly held assumption that over-eating is a central cause of obesity and metabolic syndrome,” the study’s coauthor Andrew T. Gewirtz, a researcher from GSU’s Institute for Biomedical Sciences, said in a press release. “Rather, 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.”

In addition to exercising regularly and managing calories, it is also important to eat fresh, quality foods. While pre-prepared items may be convenient, they are packed with emulsifiers and other additives that may cause at least some of our weight problems. The healthiest thing to do is to buy fresh, locally sourced foods with few or no additives and preservatives and cook those foods yourself. It’s a little bit of work, but the benefits, and great tasting food, are worth it.