Are EMULSIFIERS Safe?! | Weight Gain, Chronic Disease & Gut Health
The content in this video is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.
In this episode of Abbey’s Kitchen, Abbey’s joined by the one and only Diet Debbie, who’s disturbed by the discovery of emulsifiers in her food. Debbie’s convinced it’s making us FAT and SICK. To avoid that, Debbie’s on an ANTI-emulsifier diet.
Abbey wants to first clear the air on what emulsifiers even are. Emulsifiers are artificial or natural food additives that help to mix two substances that typically separate when they’re combined. A great example is oil and water. They typically don’t mix, but when an emulsifier is added, they bind the oil and water to turn it into one solution. We often see this is in foods like salad dressings, ice cream and vegetarian meat products. Abbey also shares with Debbie a full list provided by Health Canada of these food additives that are added to foods and are deemed safe through rigorous studies.
Debbie still feels that emulsifiers are toxic binders that are causing chaos to our gut and making us fat.
Abbey has found claims that emulsifiers are contributing to inflammable bowel diseases like Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis. However, the arguments supporting these claims are mostly based on the fact that there’s been a rise in inflammatory bowel disease cases in Canada and even worldwide – many would suggest this is because of the influence that the typical Western diet of highly processed has had on the world.
Debbie learned from an article that emulsifiers can pass through our gut without being digested and then welcome a bunch of bad bacteria.
Abbey saw that same study, but points out that this has yet to be studied in humans. . Another study looked at whether food emulsifiers increase “bad bacteria” in the body, and they did find one type of emulsifier increased E-coli. However, Abbey cautions that the study had some weaknesses. They only studied on emulsifier and there wasn’t a control group.
Debbie still thinks that emulsifiers cause significant weight gain.
Abbey’s not yet convinced since barely any studies have been done on humans. In a mice study, mice were exposed to food emulsifiers and it found that their protective lining separating their bacteria and intestinal walls were reduced and some experienced inflammation of the gut. This still doesn’t give us enough evidence to whether these responses are happening in humans, but do give us some clues for where to begin our research.
Debbie found an article that used human simulators, which is better than mice.
Abbey found the same article where they used a simulator machine to mimic our gastrointestinal tract and they looked at two food emulsifiers. The study revealed that both of the emulsifiers acted on the gut and increased inflammation. Based on this, authors of the study stated that this inflammation in the gut may put us at risk for chronic diseases such as Crohn’s disease and obesity. But Abbey wants to warn Debbie that based on this we still cannot make solid conclusions about emulsifiers, because we haven’t seen these effects in REAL humans yet.
Debbie and Abbey agree that they’ll have to revisit this topic when there are more studies. For now, Abbey encourages Debbie to enjoy the majority of your foods as unprocessed as possible but not to be afraid to leave room in the diet to enjoy a little of everything totally guilt free.
For more tips on staying healthy, recipes, dieting, and information fit for consumption by foodies everywhere stop by Abbey’s blog.