This common food additive triggers diabetes and obesity. Consumption of propionate, a frequently used food additive, promotes obesity and diabetes, according to a new study . Yet it is considered a safe product in the United States.
Propionate is widely used by bakeries and the creators of artificial flavors. It is a fatty acid that helps prevent the formation of mold on food.
The research, which combined data from a human trial with mouse studies, indicated that this food additive could trigger a cascade of metabolic events leading to weight gain and insulin resistance.
Fight the epidemics of obesity and diabetes
“Understanding how food additives affect metabolism at the molecular and cellular level could help us develop simple and effective measures to combat the epidemics of obesity and diabetes ” around the world, said Gökhan S. Hotam L. Gil, professor of genetics.
To determine if the results in mice could be applied in humans, the researchers set up a double-blind, placebo-controlled study of 14 healthy people. One group consumed a meal containing one gram of propionate and another ate the same foods with a placebo. Blood samples were taken before the meal, within 15 minutes and every 30 minutes for the next four hours.
A “metabolic disruptor”
The researchers found that people who consumed the meal containing propionate showed significant increases in norepinephrine and glucagon (hormones, Ed) soon after eating. These results indicate that propionate can act as a “metabolic disruptor”, which potentially increases the risk of diabetes and obesity in humans.
“We are exposed to hundreds of these chemicals daily and most of them have not been tested,” concludes Amir Tirosh, an associate professor of medicine.
This common food additive triggers diabetes and obesity