As if you needed another reason to be weary of preservatives in your food, a new study from the University of Hawaii Maui College found that certain food preservatives cause harm to the good bacteria you have in your stomach. Lead researcher, Dr. Sally V. Irwin, conducted the study to see what effects a common food preservative, sulfites, has on beneficial bacteria found in fermented foods and the human stomach.
Dr. Irwin states,”As a geneticist and a professor of microbiology, I have been interested in the human genome and microbes, and their combined influence on human disease and health. Studies show a significant increase over the past 40 years in food allergies, obesity, and metabolic disorders that have a direct correlation to disbiosis, or changes in the microbiome.”
There is good bacteria that’s naturally found in the human microbiome as well as good bacteria found in fermented food products such as yogurt, kimchee and kombucha, which are rich in probiotics. Having good gut bacteria has been shown to benefit a person’s immune system, diet, metabolism and overall health.
The study’s results showed that sulfites in food preservatives killed or inhibited the growth of good bacteria. The two sulfites used in their study was sodium sulfite and sodium bisulfite. The level of sulfites used in the tests were also amounts generally considered safe by the FDA. This study is the first of many sure to come as the researchers want to continue studying the effects of sulfites as well as other food preservatives in the lab to see new results found from testing living organisms, such as mice.
These results suggest that preservatives such as sulfites may have a negative effect on our gut health and we should try to lessen the amount of food products we eat that contain preservatives. To do that, you could download our FoodFacts app! Our app shows you the complete list of ingredients as well as nutrition per serving for any food product you scan or search for. Any ingredients that are considered harmful for you to eat, such as food preservatives, are flagged as controversial ingredients and given definitions for you to further understand more about. The more we know and understand what’s in our food, the healthier we can make our bodies.