New Study: Common food additives found in organic foods causing major health damage

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muffins-and-blueberries(NaturalHealth365) Organic food consumption is at an all-time high in the United States primarily due to wider consumer education about the dangers of chemicals, pesticides and other additives found in conventionally grown and processed foods. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), three in four grocery stores stock organic products, and organic foods account for approximately 4 percent of all food sales in the U.S. In a 2014 Gallup poll, nearly half of all Americans – 45 percent – said they actively try to include organic foods in their diets.

People who consume organic foods typically do so because it is better for personal and environmental health. Unfortunately, the lack of chemicals used to treat organic foods does not necessarily make them safe. In fact, there are some common food additives found in organic foods that could be causing serious health complications to unsuspecting consumers.

Watch out: Emulsifiers linked to poor gut health

A study published in Nature, from researchers at Georgia State University, found that one particular type of additive – “emulsifiers” – altered the balance and composition of gut bacteria and also produced an inflammatory effect in the bowels. During the study, mice that were fed a diet including emulsifiers not only experienced intestinal inflammation, but also experienced thinner quantities of intestinal mucus, allowing bacteria closer to the intestinal wall.

In addition, mice that consumed foods and water containing emulsifiers experienced weight gain and developed more abdominal fat. These short-term effects mimic the symptoms of metabolic disease, which has been shown to increase the risk of type-2 diabetes, heart disease and stroke. While metabolic syndrome has long been linked to overeating, this study suggests that common food additives – even those included in some organic foods – may play a contributing role.

Understanding emulsifiers and identifying them in organic foods

Many people are surprised to find that there are emulsifiers in organic foods. However, many USDA certified organic foods are also processed and contain approved emulsifiers that are used to change the texture of a food, making it thicker and creamier. Examples of organic foods that may also contain emulsifiers include ice cream, almond milk, creamy sauces and certain baked goods.

While there are many food additives allowed in organic foods, one emulsifier in particular – carageenan – has come under fire for inflammatory effects on the digestive system. Research has shown that carageenan can wreak havoc on gut health, potentially causing autoimmune reactions similar to colitis, as well as other health complications. Despite the fact that carageenan has no nutritional value and has inflammatory effects, the USDA and food manufacturers justify the use of this additive because it is naturally derived.

Unfortunately, consumers cannot rely on the USDA and organic manufacturers to identify healthy foods. You cannot toss just any USDA organic food product into the grocery cart and assume everything in it is safe. Emulsifying food additives cannot be presumed harmless. So, before you purchase your next carton of almond milk or ice cream, check to ensure emulsifiers aren’t on the label.


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  • beck

    Oh for God’s sake. I guess we just can’t eat anymore.

    • Eliao Jah

      Well, I know your just being sarcastic (in a fun way) but we must all use wisdom when it comes to food choices and preparation. A friend of mine, her sister-in-law makes a lovely organic broccoli and cream soup and she uses cashews as the thickening agent.

  • Jan

    I am grateful that you’re writing about this. This is one of my biggest complaints with “organic” food industry. Numerous brands that coops and health food stores stock all carry food that contain this ingredient and others as well such as natural flavors, soy lecithin, etc. I think we would be very shocked to see the coop/store would be significantly smaller in size if their inventory only contained food and products that did not have these added ingredients. It is annoying that the industry continues to use ingredients like carrageenan despite research that shows its detriment. More frustrating is the canned response ensuring its safety whenever I contact a company questioning the ingredient. Sadder yet is that one can’t rely on store employees to know these facts. Self-education is crucial.

    This was a rude awakening to me one day after browsing EWG’s website where I learned that a product is not automatically safe or healthy just because it has the word organic on the label. That eliminates a LOT of food (and products) IF we are serious about getting well.

  • Guest

    Organic canola oil and soybean oil are still very bad for you — toxic.
    Baked goods, chips, and 99% of salad dressings and mayo at the natural food store contain these two ingredients.

    I’ve started making my own olive oil and egg mayonnaise (search for recipe using immersion hand blender) and then my own ranch dressing from this mayo. It is delish!

    • Sofy

      Wow! How do you make your own olive oil????

  • Sammy P

    These are great posts. Finally, the truth about packaged foods including those with the word organic on the front of the label. Suppliers need to use cheap additives, nothing taste like something from a garden.

    You really can’t duplicate nature, so its best to use wholefoods and add your own flavors.

  • Caroline West

    The reason food use to taste so good is it came out of the oven and was made by the cook. Now, all you have to do is pop it into a microwave oven and call it a meal.

    Today’s children may never know the taste of real food and that may be why they also don’t know real health.

  • Claudie Falcon

    We are so use to the tastes of processed foods. Our taste buds need to be re-educated when learning to do without the high sodium and high sugar placed in these so called tasty treats.

  • Jan Fineberg

    The organic food industry is just that an industry. It has its own agenda and lobby groups. The only thing that isn’t business oriented is your own garden, where you grow your own vegetables.