According to a study published in the journal Cancer Research, the additives and emulsifiers used in the food products can cause colon cancer and colorectal cancer. The researchers from the Institute for Biomedical Sciences at Georgia State University conducted the respective study.
The study basically enumerates the negative impacts of processed foods on human health. It states that the additives, added during food processing, potentially promote tumor development within living bodies.
Emulsifiers and food additives are usually added to the food in order to,
- Extend the shelf life of the food
- Create a better taste
- Enhance the texture of the food
However, they exhibit various health hazards as well. There are certain mucous structures that cover the intestines and protect them against harmful bacteria. This way, the epithelial cells, that line the intestine, are kept safe from the harmful bacteria. However, emulsifiers or additives help to transport the harmful bacteria across the epithelial cells.
For the study, the researchers fed mice with polysorbate 80 and carboxymethylcellulose. These two are the most common food additives and are linked to low-grade bowel inflammation and metabolic diseases.
The results of the study showed that emulsifiers severely change the composition of the gut microbiota, increasing the risk of inflammation. This, in turn, creates a model environment for the growth and progression of colon cancer and colorectal cancer.
Moreover, the alterations caused by emulsifiers in the gut causes the bacteria to display more flagellin and lipopolysaccharide substances. These kinds of substances activate pro-inflammatory gene expression in the immune system. The emulsifiers also disturb the balance between cell production and cell death. Thus, they promote the development of tumors.
The researchers also transplanted the microbiota from the emulsifiers-consuming mice to germ-free mice. They noticed that it changed the balance in the intestinal epithelial cells of the germ-free mice as well. Thus, it was proved that the microbiota plays a central role in tumor induction and development.
The findings of the study also revealed that changing the composition of gut microbiota causes low-grade inflammation which encourages the development of cancer.
Furthermore, the study also highlights the health hazards of eating too many processed foods. It also emphasizes the importance of balance between gut health and gut bacteria. Research has shown that a healthy gut influences the wellness of both the body and the brain. Thus, it is crucial to keep your gut healthy.
Whatever you eat or drink influences your gut health. It sets which bacteria thrive in the gut. Vegetables, grains, and beans promote a positive gut environment. However, meat, junk food, dairy, and eggs feed a negative gut environment.
Probiotics and prebiotics are two kinds of gut-friendly compounds. The former is the gut-friendly bacteria, while the latter is food for these bacteria. Probiotics are commonly obtained from fermented foods such as sauerkraut, kimchi, tempeh, miso, and kefir. On the other hand, certain fruits, vegetables, and whole grains contain prebiotics.
Fiber is the best prebiotic of all. It provides energy, nutrients, and vitamins to the gut-friendly microbes which, in turn, boost immune function, reduce inflammation, and protect against obesity.
Fibers are of two kinds,
- Soluble fiber
- Insoluble fiber
Soluble fiber is found in oatmeal, legumes, and some fruits and vegetables. It helps to lower the levels of blood sugar and low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol. On the other hand, insoluble fiber cleanses our digestive system. It is obtained from whole grains, kidney beans, and some fruits and vegetables as well. Both of these kinds prevent digestive disorders. Studies link insoluble fiber to help reduce the risk of diverticulitis i.e. the inflammation of the intestines.
Researchers encourage further studies regarding the respective subject. Moreover, they suggest people to avoid excessive consumption of processed foods in order to avoid related health issues.