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Common food additives promote obesity

By Tim Sandle     Mar 1, 2015 in Health
Various food additives have been linked to ill health effects, including weight gain and obesity. This is because additives alter the composition of microbes in the gut.
Of particular concern are emulsifiers. These are chemicals that are added to processed foods to improve texture and to extend shelf life. New research suggests that these additives can adversely affect the microorganisms in the human gut (the collective microbiome) in a way that promotes inflammation. Inflammation has been linked with different types of bowel disease and weight gain.
A new study has highlighted how emulsifiers added to various foods, promotes an effect called “bacterial translocation”, where bacteria move across epithelial cells. This, in turn, triggers the ill-health effects. To demonstrate this, a team of microbiologsts undertook experiments on mice.
For the study, the microbiologists fed mice two emulsifiers called polysorbate 80 and carboxymethylcellulsose. The dose levels were typical of those added to processed food. At regular intervals, the researchers tested the composition of the microbes in the guts of the mice using advanced genetic methods. An alteration in the microbial types and numbers over time was observed.
Furthermore, as the microbes changed the mucus layers of the intestine also altered as some bacteria made a transition into this region. This is an area normally devoid of bacteria. Interestingly, these changes coincided with chronic colitis developing in the mice. As a control, the effects of the emulsifiers were eliminated in germ-free mice, suggesting that gut bacteria are of importance.
The implications of the study are that the addition of emulsifiers to food can be harmful and may trigger immune diseases and weight gain.
The new study has been published in the science journal Nature. The research paper is titled “Dietary emulsifiers impact the mouse gut microbiota promoting colitis and metabolic syndrome.”
In related news, new research has confirmed that highly processed foods, including certain types of chocolate, pizza, burgers and French fries are among the most addictive and trigger an inclination to overeat.
More about Obesity, Food additives, processed food
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