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March 1, 2022 •

An Emulsifier to Avoid

Sound the alarm! In a pivotal new report, we now have direct, clear evidence that a commonly used food additive, carboxymethylcellulose (CMC), quickly disrupts the gut microbiome in healthy subjects.

A slew of recent reports from animal studies have indicated that the ubiquitous family of food additives called emulsifiers  radically alter gut bacteria and the intestinal lining, fostering a wide-range of diseases including colon cancer, colitis, and obesity.

To evaluate in humans, scientists performed the following clinical trial. A small group of healthy adults were placed on one of two test diets while housed in a clinical research center. Their diets were identical except that one contained added  CMC.  The scientists performing the study were focusing on the impact of CMC on the study subjects’ gut bacteria and its beneficial metabolites.

The results? Consuming the CMC significantly altered  gut microbes. Specifically, there was a notable reduction in select species of good gut microbes and an alarming depletion of a family of vital gut metabolites called short-chained fatty acids, compounds  essential for maintaining a healthy gut lining.

What’s more, colonoscopies performed on the study subjects before and after the two-week study showed that a subset of the CMC consuming study subjects displayed bacteria within the  mucosal lining of their guts—a known pathologic  feature of inflammatory bowel disease and other inflammation-based conditions.

So, What should you  do?! Avoid processed foods – in other words –  Eat real food!  Processed foods are the only place you will encounter this man-made chemical. If you are going to eat a factory made, packaged food, check its ingredients list for the word carboxymethylcellulose, sometimes called CMC for short. 

Regarding the processed foods that  contain CMC, the list is long, but common culprits are:

  • sauces
  • ice cream
  • frozen yogurt
  • breads
  • cakes
  • biscuits
  • margarine
  • peanut butter

It is likely that most food additive emulsifiers there are about 30 more in use) will have the same effect. Thus, why the best approach is to simply eat real foods and feed your family real foods that come from Nature not a factory!