According to a study from Georgia State University(1), there is a common ingredient in most supermarket food that may be contributing to the prevalence of certain chronic diseases, such as Irritable Bowel Syndrome (or IBS) and Crohn’s Disease.
Dietary emulsifiers like lecithin, soy lecithin are often added to foods to make their texture chewier and to help prevent spoilage. But research is now showing that they can kill off beneficial “good” bacteria in the digestive tract, causing intestinal inflammation and increasing the risk of IBS and metabolic syndrome.
Metabolic syndrome in particular is no joke – it’s a condition which can in some cases lead to diabetes, heart disease, and liver failure.
What The Research Shows
While our own natural probiotic bacteria include roughly 100 trillion bacteria that live in the intestines, helping to control the immune system, these beneficial bacteria are delicate and easily disturbed.
Such disturbances have been linked to IBS and metabolic syndrome, but this recent study is among the first to directly link the consumption of emulsifiers to these digestive problems.
“These results support the emerging concept that perturbed host-microbiota interactions resulting in low-grade inflammation can promote adiposity and its associated metabolic effects,” the report states.
“Moreover, they suggest that the broad use of emulsifying agents might be contributing to an increased societal incidence of obesity/metabolic syndrome and other chronic inflammatory diseases.”
In addition to this, researchers on the study also believe that these emulsifiers can contribute to overeating and excessive weight gain as well – meaning that an underlying cause of overeating, which can lead to obesity, may in fact be these common additives in the foods we eat.
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The Dangers Of Chronic Inflammation
Chronic inflammation that researchers believe is caused by emulsifiers in food is linked to a number of serious health conditions. Irritation and inflammation of the bowels is associated with Crohn’s disease, a chronic disease with major health ramifications for those who struggle with it(2). It’s also associated with increased risks for cancer and cardiovascular disease(3,4).
-  http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v519/n7541/full/nature14232.html
-  http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmedhealth/PMHT0022801/
-  http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19149749
-  http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11801260