Think you can tell the good from the bad among packaged foods? Sure, Twinkies and other sugar-and-flour concoctions are obviously not good for you.
But don’t assume you can discern everything about a packaged food from the first few ingredients or the grams of sugar and fat listed on the label.
Many packaged foods contain additives that fly under our radar—or even aren’t marked! Recent research suggests that a common preservative called propionate, found in baked goods and other packaged foods, might be harmful to health.
In a study that included animal research and a very small trial on humans, researchers found that consuming propionate led to hormonal changes that, over time, could lead to obesity and diabetes.
Propionate is listed on labels when it’s a separate ingredient, but it’s sometimes hidden in artificial flavorings and other ingredients, which means it’s quite possible (even common) to consume it unknowingly.
More research is necessary, but this study points to our common refrain: Eat whole foods.
When the vast majority of what you eat is “close to nature” and minimally processed (such as vegetables, fruit, intact grains like brown rice and quinoa, beans and lentils, fish, and herbs and spices), you won’t have to worry about questionable ingredients.
Make “go whole or go home” your family’s new motto—or better yet, go whole at home! Whole food plus your kitchen equals no surprises!
Source: The short-chain fatty acid propionate increases glucagon and FABP4 production, impairing insulin action in mice and humans.