Emulsifiers

These particularly nasty additives used in mass-produced industrial bread are my pet hate.

Oil and water do not mix and will naturally separate out if you shake them together (e.g. in a salad dressing of oil and vinegar). However, if an emulsifier is added then it allows an emulsion to form and the oil and water do not separate out so readily. i.e. emulsifiers allow oil and water to mix.

Emulsifiers are used widely in processed foods including mass produced bread, ice cream, sauces, ready meals, salads dressings, biscuits, sweets, desserts, cakes and soft drinks. They are used to alter the texture and shelf life of foods and in some cases the manufacturing process itself.

Examples that you will see on food labels include:

  • Monoglyceride
  • Carboxymethylcellulose or cellulose gum
  • Citric Acid Esters of Monoglycerides
  • Succinic Acid Esters of Monoglycerides
  • Sodium Stearoyl-2-Lactylate
  • Mono- and Di-Glycerides of Fatty Acids (E471)
  • Diacetyl Tartaric Acid Esters of Monoglycerides (E472e)
  • Polyglycerol Esters of Fatty Acids
  • Polysorbate 60, 80
  • Sorbitan Esters of Fatty Acids
  • Propylene Glycol Esters of Fatty Acids
  • Sucrose Esters of Fatty Acids
  • Calcium Stearoyl-2-Lactate
  • Lecithin
  • Enzyme Treated Lecithin / Enzyme Digested Lecithin
  • Xanthum gum
  • Gum Arabic
  • Guar gum

Emulsifiers such as these have been implicated in a number of health related conditions. For example a study published in the scientific journal Nature in 2015 found that when mice were fed common emulsifiers (Carboxymethylcellulose and Polysorbate 80) that it allowed bacteria to cross the mucus membrane of the gut promoting inflammatory bowel disease (Colitis / Crohn’s Disease). The authors hypothesized that the widespread and increasing use of emulsifiers may be contributing to an increased incidence of chronic inflammatory diseases and metabolic syndrome (obesity, increased risk for Type 2 diabetes, and cardiovascular diseases like heart attacks and strokes).

A similar study in 2009, concluded that the translocation of Crohn’s Disease mucosal Escherichia coli bacteria is increased in the presence of low concentrations of an emulsifier that is commonly used in processed foods (Polysorbate 80) and may be a potential explanation for the association between the modern Western diet and Crohn’s Disease pathogenesis.

At a recent Nutrition in Medicine conference in London in March 2018 emulsifiers were again highlighted as a contributing factor in Crohn’s Disease and something to be completely avoided.

It goes without saying that Riddle-Me-Rye does not use emulsifiers (or any other artificial additives) in any of its products!