5 Food Additives that Destroy Your Gut
Countless food and beverages at the grocery store contain a long list of ingredients. Many of which you would need an advanced degree in chemistry to know what they are. While some of these additives are safe, others can cause serious harm to your gut health. Toxic or chemical food additives can disrupt gut function, leading to a host of digestive issues, chronic fatigue, and even weight gain.
Since your gut plays such a significant role in your well-being, it’s important to avoid the worst food additives if possible. Even seemingly healthy foods can be rendered unhealthy with the wrong additives. Here are 5 common food additives that can damage your gut function.
1. Canola, Corn, or Soy Oil
Refined vegetable oils like canola, soy, and corn are among the worst substances you can put in your body. When these refined vegetable oils are exposed to heat during the extraction process, they oxidize and go rancid (1).
You’ll find these oils in processed foods, salad dressings, and most fried fast food. Consuming these rancid oils can trigger rampant inflammation in the body, especially in the gut.
Over time, this inflammation can compromise the lining of your intestines and allow partially digested food particles to pass into your bloodstream—this is called leaky gut syndrome (2).
A leaky gut can lead to several more serious health issues like autoimmune disease, food intolerances, skin rashes, and nutrient deficiencies (3, 4).
Emulsifiers are additives used to stabilize and modify the texture of food. Think of how oil and water separate in a salad dressing. Emulsifiers help ensure that the oil and water do not separate while a product sits on the shelf.
While emulsifiers can make processed foods more enjoyable, they can cause damage to your gut. One study found that consuming emulsifiers dramatically altered the gut microbiome (5). These changes in gut bacteria triggered inflammation in the intestines. Animal studies also discovered that emulsifiers kill off beneficial bacteria, resulting in weight gain and inflammation (6).
To avoid emulsifiers, scan the ingredients label for additives such as polysorbate 80 and soy lecithin. Carrageenan and cellulose gum are also often used as emulsifiers. They’re commonly found in creamers, coconut milk, sauces, and salad dressing.