bannerHON
img
HONnews
HONnews
img PATIENT / PARTICULIER img PROFESSIONNEL DE SANTE img WEBMESTRE img
img
 
img
HONcode sites
Khresmoi - new !
HONselect
News
Conferences
Images

Themes:
A B C D E F G H I
J K L M N O P Q
R S T U V W X Y Z
Browse archive:
2019: J J M A M F J
2018: D N O S A J

 
  Other news for:
Food
Hormones
Insulin
Weight Gain
 Resources from HONselect
Could Common Food Preservative Make People Fat?

By Amy Norton
HealthDay Reporter

WEDNESDAY, April 24, 2019 (HealthDay News) -- If you're watching your weight, you probably know to avoid sugary and fatty foods. But what about preservatives?

Eating a preservative widely used in breads, baked goods and cheese may trigger metabolic responses that are linked to obesity and diabetes, an early study suggests.

The additive, called propionate, is actually a naturally occurring fatty acid produced in the gut. When it's used as an additive in processed foods, it helps prevent mold.

But in the new study, researchers found that feeding mice low doses of propionate gradually caused weight gain and resistance to the hormone insulin -- which, in humans, is a precursor to type 2 diabetes.

And when the researchers gave healthy adults a single propionate dose, it spurred a release of blood sugar-raising hormones -- and a subsequent surge in insulin.

None of that proves propionate-containing foods raise the odds of weight gain and diabetes, said senior researcher Dr. Gokhan Hotamisligil, a professor at the Harvard School of Public Health.

"The point is not to say this additive is 'bad,'" he stressed.

Instead, Hotamisligil said, his team is interested in understanding the effects -- good or bad -- of the various "molecules" humans consume in their diets.

"There's a scarcity of scientific evidence on a lot of the things we put in our bodies through food," he said. "Propionate is just one example."

Still, Hotamisligil said, the findings do raise an important question: "Could long-time consumption of propionate in humans be a contributing factor to obesity and diabetes?"

When it comes to processed foods, the concern is usually directed toward ingredients like added sugar, sodium and trans fats. But there's also a host of additives that, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, are "generally recognized as safe."

Despite that "GRAS" status, though, there is typically little known about how those food additives might affect metabolism, according to Hotamisligil.

Dr. Emily Gallagher is an assistant professor of endocrinology at Mount Sinai Icahn School of Medicine in New York City.

She agreed it's important to dig into the potential metabolic effects of food additives.

"People may look at food labels and think they are making healthy choices," said Gallagher, who had no part in the study. "But without our knowledge, very small amounts of certain additives in food may be causing detrimental metabolic effects."

That said, it's too soon to point the finger at propionate, according to Gallagher.

She called these early findings "thought-provoking," but said longer-term studies are needed to better understand any health effects from the additive.

For the animal portion of the study, the researchers gave mice propionate in their water. The immediate effects included an increase in three hormones that spur the liver to produce glucose (sugar). Over time, chronic exposure to the additive caused the mice to gain weight and become resistant to the hormone insulin, which helps lower blood sugar levels.

The human portion of the study included 14 healthy people given a dose of either propionate or a placebo with a meal. Compared with the placebo meal, the additive caused the same hormonal response seen in mice, plus a surge in insulin in the blood.

Whether those effects over time could harm people's health is unknown.

Many factors, including overall diet and exercise, affect the risks of obesity and diabetes, Gallagher pointed out.

For now, she said, the findings support the general advice that we should be limiting processed foods, in favor of healthier, whole foods.

Hotamisligil agreed. "I'm not saying, if you don't eat propionate, you'll live forever," he said. "But these are the types of foods we should limit anyway."

The findings were published online April 24 in Science Translational Medicine.

More information

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has more on food additives.

SOURCES: Gokhan Hotamisligil, M.D., Ph.D., professor, genetics and metabolism, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, Boston; Emily Gallagher, M.D., Ph.D., assistant professor, endocrinology, diabetes and bone diseases, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, New York City; April 24, 2019, Science Translational Medicine, online

Copyright © 2019 HealthDay. All rights reserved. URL:http://consumer.healthday.com/Article.asp?AID=745475

Resources from HONselect: HONselect is the HON's medical search engine. It retrieves scientific articles, images, conferences and web sites on the selected subject.
Hormones
Research Personnel
Blood
Diet
The list of medical terms above are retrieved automatically from the article.

Disclaimer: The text presented on this page is not a substitute for professional medical advice. It is for your information only and may not represent your true individual medical situation. Do not hesitate to consult your healthcare provider if you have any questions or concerns. Do not use this information to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease without consulting a qualified healthcare professional.
Be advised that HealthDay articles are derived from various sources and may not reflect your own country regulations. The Health On the Net Foundation does not endorse opinions, products, or services that may appear in HealthDay articles.


Home img About us img MediaCorner img HON newsletter img Site map img Ethical policies img Contact