7 emulsifiers used in common foods may increase the risk of type 2 diabetes

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About 530 million adults around the world have diabetes, with type 2 diabetes accounting for 98% of cases.
French researchers have now identified seven food additive emulsifiers found in ultra-processed foods that are associated with an increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
Researchers estimate that about 530 million adults globally live with diabetes, with 98% of those diagnoses being type 2 diabetes.
Certain lifestyle choices, such as being sedentary, following an unhealthy diet, and having overweight or obesity can increase a person’s risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
After an average follow-up of 7 years, the scientists identified seven food additive emulsifiers associated with an increased risk for type 2 diabetes.
These are: tripotassium phosphate (E340) — 15% increased risk per increment of 500 milligrams (mg )per day guar gum (E412) — 11% increased risk per increment of 500 mg per day xanthan gum (E415) — 8% increased risk per increment of 500 mg per day mono- and diacetyltartaric acid esters of mono- and diglycerides of fatty acids (E472e) — 4% increased risk per increment of 100 mg per day sodium citrate (E331) — 4% increased risk per increment of 500 mg per day carrageenans (total carrageenans and E407) — 3% increased risk per increment of 100 mg per day gum arabic (E414) — 3% increased risk per increment of 1,000 mg per day.
“Two cohort studies from our group showed associations between exposure to various food additive emulsifiers and an increased risk of cardiovascular disease and cancer,” Touvier continued.
“Certainly, the potential pathways of affecting inflammation, interrupting detoxification and gastrointestinal health are plausible contributions that could increase type 2 diabetes risk,” she hypothsized.


Diabetes affects 530 million adults worldwide, with type 2 diabetes making up 98% of cases.

A person’s risk for this illness may be raised by certain lifestyle decisions, such as eating a diet heavy in processed foods and unhealthy fats.

Seven food additive emulsifiers, which are present in highly processed foods, have now been linked by French researchers to a higher risk of type 2 diabetes.

According to research, 530 million adults worldwide are estimated to have diabetes, with type 2 diabetes accounting for 98% of cases.

The chance of acquiring type 2 diabetes can be raised by a number of lifestyle decisions, including being sedentary, eating poorly, and being overweight or obese.

According to earlier studies, a person’s risk for the illness may also be increased by a moderate consumption of ultra-processed foods, which typically have high levels of fat, sugar, salt, and food additives.

Researchers at the National Institute of Health and Medical Research (INSERM) and the National Research Institute for Agriculture, Food and Environment (INRAE) in France have now discovered that eating seven particular food additive emulsifiers—which are present in ultra-processed foods—may raise your risk of type 2 diabetes.

The Lancet Diabetes and Endocrinology, a journal, published the study recently.

One of the most often used additives in processed foods, according to co-lead author Bernard Srour, PhD, a junior professor at INRAE, is emulsifiers.

In an interview with Medical News Today, he described the usual locations of these food additives:.

To enhance the look, taste, texture, and shelf life of packaged and processed foods, including some industrial cakes, biscuits, and desserts, as well as ice creams, chocolate bars, breads, margarines, and ready meals, as well as to enable the blending of water- and oil-based ingredients, they are frequently added. “.

Srour and colleagues examined health information for this study from over 104,000 French nationals who took part in the NutriNet-Santé online cohort study from 2009 to 2023.

Participants in the study over a period of 14 years submitted food records every six months for at least two days. In order to determine the presence and quantity of food additives, foods were matched to databases.

Following an average follow-up of seven years, the researchers found seven emulsifiers used in food additives that were linked to a higher incidence of type 2 diabetes.

These are the following.

tripotassium phosphate (E340): increasing risk by 15% with each daily dosage increment of 500 mg.

Guar gum (E412): an 11% increase in risk for every 500 mg daily increment.

xanthan gum (E415): for every 500 mg increase in daily dosage, there is an 8% increased risk.

Esters of mono- and diglycerides of fatty acids containing mono-and diacetyltartaric acid (E472e): each increment of 100 mg per day results in a 4% increased risk.

sodium citrate (E331): for every 500 mg of daily increment, the risk increases by 4%.

There is a 3% increase in risk for every 100 mg of carrageenans (total carrageenans plus E407) taken daily.

gum arabic (E414): every 1,000 mg of daily increment, there is a 3% increase in risk.

The discovery that these additives appeared among the ingredients in some foods and beverages that people frequently consider to be healthy was the most surprising.

Even participants with more favorable dietary behaviors may be exposed to these substances, according to Srour. “Surprisingly, some of the emulsifiers were present in some foods that are marketed as ‘healthy’ foods such as plant-based light margarines, some types of bread, plant-based milks, flavored yogurts,” Srour informed us.

The research team decided to investigate the potential impact of food additive emulsifiers on type 2 diabetes risk because a small number of experimental studies, including in vitro, animal, and short-term randomized controlled trials, suggested adverse effects of some emulsifiers, such as gut microbiota dysbiosis, inflammation, and metabolic perturbations. Mathilde Touvier, PhD, research director at INSERM, coordinator of the NutriNet-Santé cohort, and co-lead author of this study, told MNT.

Touvier added, “Two cohort studies from our group showed associations between exposure to various food additive emulsifiers and an increased risk of cancer and cardiovascular disease.”.

To the best of our knowledge, no such study has been carried out to evaluate the risk of type 2 diabetes. Because we have comprehensive and repeated dietary data—including commercial brands of foods consumed—along with a lengthy follow-up, we have chosen to investigate these associations in the NutriNet-Santé cohort, the spokesperson informed us.

Touvier stated that since the underlying mechanisms underlying this association are currently unknown, the team will look into them in the future.

“In order to better understand the underlying mechanisms, we will be examining variations in certain blood markers and the gut microbiota linked to the consumption of these additives,” she informed us. In addition, we’ll examine the possible “cocktail effects” of additive mixes on health. “.

Monique Richard, MS, RDN, LDN, owner of Nutrition-In-Sight and registered dietitian, told MNT after reading this study that these results present an intriguing “causation” hypothesis when viewed through the lens of observational methodology.

As is widely known, diabetes is a multifactorial illness that is frequently ascribed to various factors. E. factors that could increase risk or affect how a disease manifests itself, such as genetics, lifestyle, and consuming too many foods high in energy.

She postulated that there are plausible pathways that could increase the risk of type 2 diabetes, including altering inflammation, disrupting detoxification, and affecting gastrointestinal health.

In addition, Pouya Shafipour, MD, a board-certified family and obesity medicine specialist at Providence Saint John’s Health Center in Santa Monica, California, who was not involved in this study, told MNT that he was not shocked by the study’s conclusions.

Shafipour went on, “We know that additives are a big contributing factor to obesity.”. It is not surprising because that causes fatty liver, insulin resistance, and weight gain in general. It was a smart move because it should now lead to more government regulation and encourage patients to consume a greater variety of whole foods. “.

Shafipour stated that cutting back on food additive emulsifiers can be achieved simply by concentrating on consuming actual whole foods.

“They have to add […] different preservatives to be able to preserve and make it last longer,” he said, referring to diet supplements, protein bars, protein shakes, and anything else that essentially comes in a wrapper and is dried.

Consequently, it is better for us to consume more natural sources in our diet and supplementation. increasing fruit consumption as opposed to fruit bars, fruit juices, and [and] soda. Use more organic protein sources like cheese, meats, or plant-based protein in place of protein bars. “.

Pouya Shafipour, M.D.

Richard urged everyone to learn about the nutritional profile and composition of the food they are selecting by reading the nutrition facts panels and the ingredients list.

“keeping an eye on the quantity and frequency of those packaged food types — i. e. Increased consumption of naturally occurring foods free of these extra ingredients, such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean protein, and healthy fats, is advised. Chocolate or candy, snack foods, baked goods, and pre-packaged meals, are also very important.

Additionally, Richard stressed the importance of “meeting with a registered dietitian nutritionist to further understand how to interpret the ingredients list and possible consequences, as well as understand [individualized advice] for specific dietary recommendations.”.

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