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In the most popular product found dangerous food supplement, which may increase the risk of obesity and type II diabetes.
This discovery was made by an international team of scientists from a medical unit at Harvard University. The work was carried out at a very high level, and includes both animal experiments and human studies.
Under suspicion was propionic acid. It is used as a food additive E280. In addition, there are three more additives in the form of salts of this acid with sodium, potassium and calcium (E281 – E283). All of them are used in the form of preservatives in the production of bread and butter products – these substances protect against mold, yeast and some bacteria.
Other areas where propionic acid can be found are cheeses, synthetic flavors and food for animals.
Scientists have found that propionic acid increases the level of several hormones in the body associated with an increased risk of obesity and type II diabetes.
It has been shown that propionate can cause a cascade of changes in metabolism that lead to insulin resistance (decreased insulin sensitivity) and hyperinsulinemia (increased levels of this hormone in the blood). Professionals are well aware that this is typical for both pre-diabetes and type II diabetes itself.
ADDITIVES ARE INSPIRED INSUFFICIENTLY
Scientists have chosen to study propionate is not accidental. Today, more than 400 million people worldwide suffer from diabetes, and their incidence rate is increasing.
According to serious forecasts of specialists, the number of such patients by 2040 will increase by 40%. This is despite the fact that a lot of efforts are being made to prevent this disease.
Among the triggers of this epidemic, they call not only the lifestyle and the modern style of food with a large amount of simple carbohydrates and fats, but also the toxic effect of a number of environmental pollutants and components of our food.
Scientists put forward this hypothesis several years ago. They suspected that some food additives (including preservatives), widely used by food manufacturers, could play an important role in the development of diabetes.
“We are exposed to hundreds of such chemicals on a daily basis, and most of them have not been sufficiently tested for the possibility that they can potentially cause metabolic changes with long-term intake,” says Amir Tirosh, an Israeli professor working at Tel Aviv University and Harvard .
In this study, scientists focused on only one of the suspected supplements — propionate. It is a naturally occurring, naturally occurring, short-chain fatty acid. By the way, it is produced by some bacteria and used in competition with other microorganisms.
At the first stage, scientists gave propionic acid to mice. Doses were comparable to those with regular meals.
Propionate quickly activated the sympathetic nervous system (it is responsible for stimulating the body), and as a result, the concentration of the stress hormone norepinephrine, as well as glucagon and a newly discovered hormone with a long name, Fatty Acid Binding Protein 4, (FABP4) increased.
These substances stimulate the production of large amounts of glucose in the liver for release into the blood. As a result, sugar (glucose) rises sharply. All these processes are typical for type II diabetes. In addition, an excess of sugar in the blood itself contributes to weight gain: in order to reduce it, the body begins to produce fats from it.
Scientists have confirmed all this: nutrition with propionate led to a significant increase in weight in mice and to the development of insulin resistance.
Repeating the same experiment in humans as in mice, scientists could not, this is unethical. To do this, it was necessary for two groups of homo sapiens to sit on different diets for a long time: one with propionate, others without it, and then compare their weight before and after the experiment. But scientists have very beautifully shown that propionate acts on humans in the same way as it does on rodents.
They checked the blood levels of those three hormones, which we have already written. Their concentration was determined before eating, 15 minutes after eating and then every 30 minutes for four hours.
All this was done in a double-blind way: neither the doctors nor the patients themselves knew whether they were eating propionate or a placebo. As a result, the hormones behaved in the same way as in mice. And this means that over time, with such changes in hormones, diabetes will develop.
What should we do in this situation? First and foremost, be more attentive when buying bread and any flour products. It is necessary to pay attention to whether there are food additives E280 – E283 in their composition.
Secondly, it is worth looking at whether there are artificial flavors in the product. Their composition and nomenclature are not given on the labels; they simply write that there is a flavoring agent. Therefore, in the product of interest to you there is a flavoring with or without propionate, we are not given to know. Therefore, food with any synthetic flavors should be avoided.
For reference: if the flavoring is natural, the manufacturer always indicates this, and if the “flavor” is simply written, then it is artificial.
Photo: REX / FOTODOM