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Food additives exterminate gut bacteria!

There’s a lot of concern about ultra-processed foods (UPFs) at the moment, and for good reason. Many modern food manufacturing techniques involve adding an array of chemicals to food products in order to extend their shelf-life, and improve taste and texture. This prevalent feature of the Western diet is causing huge health problems.

Research shows that these UPFs contribute to numerous health conditions including obesity, diabetes, heart disease, cancer…the list goes on. Further research indicates that these additives have an adverse effect on the gut microbiome, which we will cover in this article.

What are food additives, and what do they do?

Examples of food additives and their use in food manufacturing:

  • Thickeners, stabilisers, and emulsifiers improve the texture and consistency of food products.
  • Artificial colours enhance or restore colour.
  • Flavourings intensify or improve taste.
  • Antimicrobials help prevent the growth of harmful bacteria.
  • Antioxidants help prevent food spoilage, keeping the food fresher for longer.
  • Anti-caking agents prevent lumps from forming in powdered products.
  • Artificial sweeteners increase the product’s sweetness without increasing calories.

The effects of food additives on the gut

How to avoid them

  • Read the food label and try to avoid ingredients you don’t recognise.
  • Eat fresh, seasonal, whole foods wherever possible.
  • Limit packaged and ready-made food products.
  • Cook from scratch as often as you can – take a look at the recipes on our blog!

Here is a list of common additives – it’s almost impossible to completely avoid them, but you can try to reduce them where possible!

  • Silicon dioxide
  • Calcium silicate
  • Magnesium stearate
  • Citric acid
  • Tartaric acid
  • Sodium citrate
  • Monosodium glutamate (MSG)
  • Disodium inosinate
  • Disodium guanylate
  • Tartrazine
  • Aspartame
  • Saccharin
  • Glucose-fructose syrup
  • Xanthan gum
  • Carrageenan
  • Polysorbates
  • Mono- and diglycerides
  • Lecithin
  • Sodium benzoate
  • Potassium sorbate
  • Sodium nitrite
  • Carboxymethylcellulose
  • Maltodextrin
  • E-numbers

Modern diets, laden with food additives, impact gut health in ways we’re only beginning to understand. While it’s nearly impossible to eliminate all additives from your diet, making conscious choices about what you eat can significantly improve your gut health. Start small by incorporating more fresh, whole foods into your meals and gradually reducing your intake of ultra-processed foods. Your gut will thank you, and so will your overall health.

Stay informed, stay healthy, and take control of what you put on your plate. For more information on ultra-processed foods, take a look at this article. Read Shann’s article What is a gut health protocol, anyway? to find out how to rebalance your gut microbiome!

Any questions? Contact one of our Nutritional Therapists via live chat, weekdays from 8 am to 8 pm.


Questions? Talk to a Nutritional Therapist on live chat!

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