As many of us know, most processed foods contain any number of food additives, like, artificial flavours, colourants, preservatives, etc. However, they also contain another less talked about additive called emulsifiers.
Each of these food additives has the potential to disrupt your health. We all know about artificial sweeteners and their problems associated with health, however, it’s time to focus on emulsifiers as they have been found to be linked to possible ill health, and potential causative agents of Inflammatory Bowel Disease, whether it be Crohn’s or Ulcerative Colitis.
Why are Emulsifiers Used?
So why do the processed food manufacturers need to use EMULSIFIERS?
Emulsifiers help liquids of different densities to bind together and resist separation. They also aid in dissolving ingredients that would not otherwise dissolve on their own and allow better-spreading properties. All of these characteristics make it a popular choice for a range of processed foods to add texture and extend shelf life, but what about the negative effects on our overall health?
Georgia State University completed a study on emulsifiers and fed them to mice at levels an average person would be exposed to if eating a processed food diet. The conclusion to the study was that the mice that were exposed to these synthetic chemical emulsifiers experienced:
1 Weight gain,
2 Disruption of the gut bacteria,
3 Inflammatory Bowel Disease,
And these additives are supposed to be safe for human consumption?
The two emulsifiers included in this study were:
Polysorbate 80 and Carboxymethylcellulose, both are chemical emulsifiers that are regarded as safe but do not be fooled, they are not.
Both of these emulsifiers are commonly used in manufacturing processed foods like margarine, mayonnaise, ice cream, candy, mustard, frozen desserts, low-fat products, chewing gum, bread, tomato ketchup, and many other processed foods.
Does this mean that eating all or any of these foods could be contributing to the marked rise in Inflammatory Bowel Disease over the last 70 years? It certainly is a possibility we should be considering.
The Link Between Emulsifiers and Autoimmune Conditions.
A key effect of processed food on normal bodily functions is that it appears to alter our gut bacteria. Thus changing our healthy gut state to a pro-inflammatory state potentially exposes us to developing all these inflammatory bowel diseases. All these emulsifiers in our food act like a detergent which can potentially disrupt and wash away the mucus layer in our gut. The main purpose of this mucus layer is to act as a barrier to prevent none digested food particles from being able to pass through our gut walls directly into our blood and protect us from all the bacteria there. Thus, breaking down this mucosal layer can directly lead to LEAKY GUT! Some people call it gut permeability. This so-called leaking gut has given rise to increases in the number of autoimmune conditions:
2 Thyroid problems.
The increased incidence of these autoimmune diseases has remained unexplained until now! The incidence of Crohn’s Disease/Ulcerative Colitis has been markedly increasing since the 1970s (despite consistent genetic factors). This suggests we must look further afield for an explanation. Is it beyond our comprehension that environmental factors and food additives could play a pivotal role and that these could be the bad guys responsible for the mayhem, contributing to the world of sickness?
How do Autoimmune Diseases Affect the Body?
The additional problems with these diseases are that they can contribute to other health complications that occur outside the digestive tract which can include:
2 Skin rashes
5 Vitamin deficiencies
It seems obvious to me, that not enough emphasis is being put on our food, or food being our medicine, rather than food being the cause of a lot of our ill-health. The next time you are swallowing that delicious burger smothered in low-fat mayonnaise and ketchup with a processed bread bun, just ask yourself the question, ‘Am I feeling lucky today?’ and ‘Do I really want to play Russian roulette with my health?’. Don’t let poor food choices destroy your health, let your smart food choices defy your good health expectations!