There are a thousand reasons to avoid processed foods. They are often full of sugar, fat, and salt, and often lack some essential nutrients for health, such as fiber and can even negatively affect health, from being carcinogenic to staining or damaging the teeth to the point of needing dental veneers in Tijuana Mexico.
Now, new research suggests that some of the added substances that extend the life of these foods in the shelves and improve their texture could have unintended side effects, not directly in our body, but in the human microbiome, the millions of bacteria that inhabit in our guts.
These substances could selectively feed the most dangerous members of our microbial communities, causing illness and even death.
Let’s see the increase in fatal cases caused by Clostridium difficile, a bacterium that causes terrible intestinal disease. It usually occurs just after having used antibiotics to treat another condition. These antibiotics kill your natural microbes and allow the entry of C. diff.
Nearly half a million people develop the infection annually, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and approximately 29,000 patients die, sometimes after long and painful episodes of bloody diarrhea. According to an approximate calculation, the number of deaths related to this infection has grown exponentially.
The bacterium has become more powerful because it has developed resistance to antibiotics and cannot be treated quickly. And now they have a unique ability to take advantage of a type of sugar called trehalose.
Trehalose is present naturally in mushrooms, yeasts, and seafood, among others. Historically, it has been an expensive product, but in the late 1990s, a new manufacturing process cheapened sugar. That translated into good news for the companies that produced packaged foods since trehalose works wonders to stabilize processed foods, keeps them moist on the shelves and improves their texture. Since about 2001, we have added that kind of sugar to everything from cookies to ground beef.
We will do well to feed them with as much soluble fiber as possible, preferably in real foods like nuts, legumes, and vegetables. Also, we can add these concerns about binders, sweeteners, and emulsifiers to our list of reasons to limit the consumption of processed foods.