The truth about emulsifiers: are they destroying our gut health?
Authors: Amy Fleming – The Guardian 29 June 2023
The E numbers in food make bread softer and ice-cream silkier. But there is growing concern about how they might affect our microbiome.
As if excess salt, fat and several types of sugar weren’t bad enough, the ingredient lists of much ultra-processed food often end with a befuddling number of additives. Either written as E numbers or given their full chemical names, this information is unsettlingly opaque to non-experts, prompting many of us to just refer to them derogatively as “chemicals”, even though, technically, everything is made of chemicals.
One category of these additives – emulsifiers – has hovered below the radar for many years. But as scientific understanding of the gut microbiome has grown, they have emerged as potential culprits in the modern western diet’s attack on gut health. And, as we now understand, gut health means general health because it governs everything from mood and metabolism to inflammation and immune response.
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