How do food emulsifiers increase risk of diabetes?

 - Sakshi Post

New Delhi, April 25 (IANS) Emulsifiers like xantham gum and guar gum, which help enhance the appearance, taste, texture, and shelf life of ice creams, cookies, yoghurts, and mayonnaise, can also raise the risk of diabetes, said experts here on Thursday.

Long known to be safe at limited levels, these food additives are now emerging as risk factors for various health issues like cancers of the breast and prostate.

Now, a 14-year-long French study appearing in the journal 'The Lancet Diabetes & Endocrinology' showed that the commonly known emulsifiers can raise the risk of developing Type 2 diabetes.

As per the study, emulsifiers that raise the risk of diabetes include carrageenans (3 per cent increased risk per increment of 100 mg per day); tripotassium phosphate (15 per cent increased risk per increment of 500 mg per day); mono- and diacetyl tartaric acid esters of mono- and diglycerides of fatty acids (4 per cent increased risk per increment of 100 mg per day); sodium citrate (4 per cent increased risk per increment of 500 mg per day); guar gum (11 per cent increased risk per increment of 500 mg per day); gum arabic (3 per cent increased risk per increment of 1,000 mg per day) and xanthan gum (8 per cent increased risk per increment of 500 mg per day).

According to the experts, these food additives alter the gut microbiota, causing inflammation and leading to diabetes.

"Studies explain that the prolonged use of these emulsifiers might cause side effects like disturbing the gut microbiota. When this happens, there is an increase in insulin resistance and that is the plausible mechanism," M Wali, Senior Consultant, Department of Medicine, Sir Ganga Ram Hospital, told IANS.

"Emulsifiers are generally considered safe and some emulsifiers such as xantham gum were even found to lower fasting and post-meal sugars along with cholesterol in certain test subjects," Tushar Tayal, Consultant - Internal Medicine, CK Birla Hospital, Gurugram

However, their link with diabetes and other diseases is due to "alteration of gut microflora", he explained, noting that the simplest way to avoid the disease "is to avoid consuming packaged food products".

Emulsifiers are food additives that help mix two substances that typically separate when they are combined (e.g., oil and water). These are extensively used by food manufacturers to enhance texture and allow a longer shelf-life in various ultra-processed foods.

Rakesh Kumar Prasad, Consultant -Diabetology & Endocrinology, Fortis Hospital, Noida, told IANS that “emulsifiers can directly modulate the composition and function of the intestinal microbiota, driving microbiota encroachment and chronic low-grade intestinal inflammation, thus exacerbating metabolic disorders, also predispose to several diseases such as hypertension, obesity, diabetes, and other cardiometabolic disorders”.

The latest study comes amidst a high diabetes rate around the world and India. As per ICMR data, the overall prevalence of diabetes in India is estimated to be 11.4 per cent, while prediabetes stands at 15.3 per cent.

The doctors noted that people who eat processed food regularly, or foods that have additives in the form of emulsifiers are at risk, recommending them to avoid processed foods.

Disclaimer: This story has not been edited by the Sakshi Post team and is auto-generated from syndicated feed.

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