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Are You Eating This Substance That Lines Food Industry Pockets & Destroys Your Metabolism?

2/27/2015 Update: Ground breaking research was just released that links this additive to weight gain, inflammation and digestive problems. (must watch video below) From CBS News:

“The magic of food science has made it possible to walk into a supermarket and buy a bag of cookies that are just as soft and chewy as the ones grandma used to make — but last a whole lot longer. These chemicals found in foods, known as emulsifiers, are the reason store-bought bread and cake is soft and fluffy, margarine and bottled salad dressing is smooth and ice cream is creamy.

Without emulsifiers, our favorite products wouldn’t taste right or have the appealing texture that keeps us going back for more. However, new research suggests these chemicals may be creating a whole host of health problems. 

A new study, published Wednesday in the journal Nature, finds evidence that these chemicals in food can alter the gut bacteria, or microbiome, potentially causing intestinal inflammation which makes a person more likely to develop inflammatory bowel disease, metabolic syndrome and significant weight gain.”

Are you eating this substance that lines food industry pockets, linked to weight gain, inflammation and digestive problems? Find out, right here on Food Babe TV:

Watch Now (originally aired in Oct. 2013):

Cellulose (a.k.a. Wood Pulp) 101

  • Cellulose can be called by these different names on the ingredients label: Carboxymethyl cellulose, Microcrystalline Cellulose, or MCC, and Cellulose Gum.
  • Cellulose is much cheaper to obtain from wood, than real food ingredients and is manipulated in a laboratory to form different structures (liquid, powder, etc) depending upon the food product it is used in.
  • The most economical choice for cellulose comes from wood by-products, however cellulose can also come from vegetables, but will be listed on the label as such.
  • The cellulose wood pulp industry is at it’s all time high (up 8% from 2009-2011).
  • Humans cannot digest cellulose. It has no caloric value. The food industry tricks consumers who eat foods with a high cellulose content to feel full physically and psychologically without having consumed many calories.
  • According to the FDA: “In humans, virtually 100 percent of orally ingested cellulose can be recovered in the feces within four days, indicating that absorption does not occur.” This substance just passes through your body, while lining food industry pockets. Nice!
  • The FDA sets no limit on cellulose content in processed food, however sets a limit for meat products at 3.5%.
  • Cellulose can by used as a supplement to bulk up foods with fake fiber. Next time you see “added fiber” on the label, take a look at the ingredients, it usually contains cellulose.
  • The gelling action of cellulose when combined with water creates an emulsion, suspending ingredients, making processed food products creamier and thicker than they would be otherwise.
  • Cellulose can absorb water and is used as an “anti-caking” agent in shredded and grated cheeses, spice mixes, and powdered drink mixes.

Do You Eat Wood

Don’t let the food industry trick you with this cheap and harmful substance. Next time you see your family or friends eating the popular products discussed in this video – ask them:

“Do You Eat Wood?”

Remember to always check the ingredients list before buying anything at the grocery store – even organic products for cellulose and other emulsifiers like Polysorbate 80. Shred your own cheese, buy 100% maple syrup and forget fast food. Please spread the word and share this video… no one should be eating wood, saw dust or tree bark. Yuck! Till next time…



P.S. If you are concerned about food additives like these that could be wreaking havoc on your health, weight and gut – Please get a hold of my new #1 best selling book – The Food Babe Way. This book describes all the obesogens in our food supply and how to break free.

In my 2nd book, Feeding You Lies, I blow the lid off of the lies we’ve been fed about the food we eat – lies about its nutrient value, effects on our health, label information, and even the very science we base our food choices on. 

And, my first cookbook, Food Babe Kitchen, contains over 100 mouthwatering recipes from Baja Fish Tacos and Grapefruit Goddess Salad to Rainbow French Fries and an 8-Minute Candy Bar to show you how delicious and simple it is to eat healthy, easy, real food.

These books are available at bookstores everywhere.

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310 responses to “Are You Eating This Substance That Lines Food Industry Pockets & Destroys Your Metabolism?

  1. Everything Vani says is correct. Wood when sawed makes sawdust. It is bleached and otherwise processed to make it food safe. (I think I need to check the GRAS list, Generally Recognized as Safe by the government.) Chicory is a food/weed that grows in waste places, as by the side of the road. The root is toasted and ground to make a coffee extender in the South. Inulin is processed from chicory to make fiber for supplements and food. Licorice is a root just like a carrot or potato.

      1. I think the point is that wood is cheaper than something better like Chickory. That said, I’d much prefer some wood pulp to Polysorbate 80 or GMOs.

        Many of the “gums” like guar and xanthan gum are in this category also. They are sometimes contaminated with other things that are bad for the gut and some may be carcinogenic. Carageenan for example sometimes has “degraded carageenan” (even though it’s supposed to be ‘food grade’) which is inflammatory.

        How many of you eat things with it in them every day and have no idea your “irritable bowel syndrome” is actually more of a “self-poisoning syndrome”.

      2. Bob Loblaw-

        I appreciate your reply but I would like to hear from Karen Scribner, too.

        You and I agree on most things but a discussion on contamination should be separate from a discussion on the merits of an item. Avoiding something because of occasional contamination would be like avoiding eggs because one is occasionally bad.


  2. Just avoid processed food and you’ll be sweet – consuming organic and as local and pure as possible is always the best.

    Also! Talking about wood! Most (or alot of) the products on the supermarked shelves that is flavoured with VANILLA is actually flavoured with VANILLIN which is also a cellulose product. Yum?

    1. Um….how is vanillin a cellulose product? Synthetic, yes…but I made it in Organic Chemistry class in college. It is a synthetic Esther. It’s made using alcohols and other chemicals, but I’m not getting the cellulose connection?

      1. Wow, what a shame. You took Organic Chemistry so it amazes me you remember alcohols and wouldn’t at least guess that “wood alcohol” might be related. I mean I’m no chemist but that would be an obvious guess for me.

        Worse still, I’m amazed you wouldn’t then look it up; because a quick 30sec. search would tell you that Vanillin is mostly made from lignin or quaiacol; both of which being derived from wood pulp.

  3. Just avoid processed food and you’ll be sweet – consuming organic and as local and pure as possible is always the best.

    Also! Talking about wood! Most (or a lot of) the products on the supermarked shelves that are VANILLA flavoured are actually flavoured with VANILLIN which is also a cellulose product. Yum?

  4. This is very bad nutritional advice couched with reactionary sensationalism.

    Cellulose is a naturally occurring insoluble fiber, . You need this in your diet. It is in all fruits and vegetables and is the one of the biggest reasons they help control appetite and weight gain. The cellulose (insoluble fiber) absorbs water, slows gastric emptying, promotes healthy probiotic population in the intestines, and causes you to feel fuller longer. It is indigestible, by humans, and therefore does not contribute to weight gain. Cellulose and other insoluble fibers are the reason you are encouraged to eat whole grains instead of refined grains. Insoluble fibers, like cellulose, are also reported to help lower cholesterol.

    Whether the cellulose comes from trees, carrots, or licorice (as commentor Wim Ten Brink noted) is not in itself cause for alarm. Whether the ingredients being put in the food are pure and do not contain byproducts of an industrial process is the real concern. Eating wood is in itself neither harmful nor reason to be alarmed. You are far better off with cellulose in your diet than without.

    1. Do you work for the food industry? Do you think eating bleached wood is good for you? The problem doesn’t lie in cellulose itself – rather the food manufacturers stuffing processed food with wood filler instead of real food.

      1. Don´t you think it is still a better idea to use cellulose instead of pretoleum to do capsules for suplements ?

      2. Why do they have to come in capsules? How about powdered form?
        Such stupidity and deception by companies. Kind of like antihistamine pills that are dyed pink, pretty to look at but what
        are the consequences for those taking pretty pink pills that react to these stinking dyes??
        And talking about what’s in this famous allery relief pill? corn starch, D&C red #27 aluminum lake, dicalcium phosphate glycol, magnesium stearate, MICROCRYSTALLINE CELLULOSE,
        talc, titanium dioxide and it goes on and on…….

      3. I don’t care about eating wood, it’s just a big stem. If it’s bleached, I care a lot about the bleach… but not about the plant material itself.
        It is my understanding that polysorbate-80 and carboxymethylcellulose are the chemical emulsifiers that harmed intestinal mucosa of mice in the study published in Nature. Not wood fibers.
        Also, the way you are describing its use, and why it’s in the best interest of food manufacturers to use cellulose, it sounds more like a filler than an emulsifier. Emulsifiers bind things that normally don’t bind… what is the tree pulp binding? How is tree pulp or cellulose destroying anyone’s metabolism (either theoretically or otherwise?)
        I try to avoid highly processed foods, but if I really want some fig newtons and don’t want to make my own, I’d still buy organic newtons with cellulose in the ingredient list. I’d pass on the non-organic newtons with polysorbate-80.

    2. They are pointing to cellulose made from wood not fruits and vegetables as being bad for you. As the article states if the cellulose came from vegetables it would be labelled as such, they are not saying fruit and vegetables with cellulose or even derived from them are bad, just when it comes from wood, wood isn’t one of our dietary needs.

      1. Can our bodies tell the difference between cellulose from wood and cellulose from veggies? If not, then why does it matter? Most of us don’t have any trouble getting in enough calories and are in fact struggling with eating too many. Yeah, the processed food industry is making a profit and I hate supporting them, but I have a gluten intolerant super-picky eater son who eats little more than bread and pasta and I haven’t found a homemade option that he’ll eat. Most gluten-free breads do contain cellulose. I’m just not sure why I should care that much.

        FWIW, since I don’t eat grains myself, and I miss some of my favorite ethnic foods without the noodles and rice, I do eat shiritaki at times. The noodles and “rice” are made of konjac root flour which is almost entirely indigestible. It is actually a traditional food even though it has little nutritive value, either macro or micro. It’s simply the ingredient that makes my Vietnamese Chicken with chili and lemongrass, Italian meatballs and Chinese soup satisfying. It provides a sensation of fullness and makes my meal feel more authentic.

        So I guess the bottom line is that the value I get from the ingredient matters more to me than preventing the industry from reaping any profit. I loathe the industry in general, but it’s not like the cellulose jumps from the tree into my plate. They do have to harvest, process and package it, so there is some cost involved in the process, and it serves a few valuable (IMO) functions at times. If the only real issue is that it’s non-nutritive and the industry profits, I’m going to keep buying it. We don’t eat any other processed foods so our intake is pretty limited anyway.

    3. Your comment sounds like something a paid corporate troll would say.
      Funny how when we eat clean, pure food our b.s. detectors get very accurate.

      1. I’m not a “paid corporate troll” nor do I work for the food industry. I am actually a chef. I am also literate and take an interest in knowing how my body functions and what is and is not part of a healthy diet.

        Cellulose and other insoluble fibers are part of a healthy diet. They are good for you. Eating wood is not bad for you. If you use arrowroot starch as a thickener then you are using wood. The fact that you are consuming cellulose from trees is in no way a cause for alarm or concern. Cellulose from wood is now, and has been since before the first human stood erect, a natural and healthy part of the human diet. I don’t know how much clearer I can be, but let me try this again… YOU NEED INSOLUBLE FIBERS!!! Other commenters have made educated and sound arguments for including cellulose, and even wood, in your diet. You should take heed to what they say.

        As I said above the only thing worthy of concern is whether the ingredients in your food contain harmful byproducts of an industrial process. Although, I doubt you could identify processing of food ingredients that is acceptable from that which is not. Do you eat tapioca? If you eat tapioca you are consuming a product that in its natural unprocessed woody state is poisonous. The processing of cassava into tapioca predates the industrial revolution. So, is that processing bad? Do you eat bagels; they are soaked in an alkaline bath. How about that “naturally cured” with celery salt meat you get at Whole Foods. They put celery salt in there instead of nitrates to stop the growth of botulism. However, celery salts contain nitrates and perform the same function. They just don’t tell their customers this because the whole foods demographic is uncomfortable with “sodium nitrate”, but will happily stuff themselves with celery salt. The fact is that the celery salt, unless it is organic, will contain residues of fertilizer and pesticides which a purified sodium nitrate will not. I get tired of people equating processing with badness with no understanding of what that process may be.

        So you eat wood cellulose, so what. Last time I checked raw lumber is not sprayed with pesticides or fertilized. I live in the northern midwest and our lumber forests are some of the most unspoiled land around. It’s where locavores, mushroom hunters, and nature lovers go to get away from the influence of modern industry. So they cut the trees down, make lumber, and produce pulp. What else do you know about the process? Do they bleach it? If they do what is the effect of bleaching and what are the byproducts? Sodium Hypochlorite breaks down into sodium chloride and water, it leaves no harmful residues. (Sodium Hypochlorite is bleach and sodium chloride is table salt). We use lye, alkalis, acids, bleaches, hydroxides, and nitrates to produce the same foods by the same methods that have been in use for millennia. I use these chemicals myself when making my locally sourced meats, breads, and pickled vegetables. Educate yourself about a process before speaking about it being an unnatural industrial abomination.

        People that automatically assume that an intelligent sounding argument must be scripted betray their own lack of knowledge. You ask am I a paid corporate troll, well I ask you are you an uneducated internet buffoon?

      2. Omnivor, so you’re ok with the bleached wood fibers in food I take it. Cellulose from Arrow Root is different than a TREE! Especially a Bleached and chemically treated one. Cheaper to buy a bottle of bleach and head for the woods to chow down if it’s so good for you. There are healthy ways of obtaining Cellulose and the insoluble fiber than eating Bleached and chemically treated Wood.

    4. Does eating cellulose, (though it may not act like a fiber and be digested) help clear out the colon like other fibrous plants would? We do need all kinds of fiber in our diet. I do believe that some of this is sensationalism…. I agree with omnivore

      1. I also agree with Omnivore, knowing where stuff comes from it WONDERFUL and I really appreciate someone like Vani, taking the time to do this research for us.

        But wood is not a bad thing, for instance, I have no shame of eating tons of cinnamon. I mean, if it is not a poisonous plant, I will not have problems with it.

        Thank you food babe!

    5. Hi Omnivore — I would like to chat with you because I like what you contribute in this thread. Would you check out my blog and communicate with me, please? is my blog. And I have a product website, too:

    6. Omnivore you should get your own blog and all your fans can follow you there and eat wood.

    7. You have said a mouthful. Have you considered, however, that just because you CAN make something, doesn’t mean that you should. Just because a product exists on the market(referring to your other comment including arrowroot,etc..) doesn’t validate it as a good or healthy product. Again, just because you CAN make something doesn’t mean you should. There are better ways to do most things if we search for solutions. We should not take the position of, well it’s not harmful so…. Is that really the gauge we want for ourselves. We are not a waste disposal site that the industry should use to dispose of excess byproducts they have created. Or should we think of ourselves with more concern and love for our bodies, our products and the future of foods.

    8. “Cellulose and other insoluble fibers are the reason you are encouraged to eat whole grains ” NOT true. I’m not your mother to tell you more. Research. Learn. Think.

      1. Cellulose, aka insoluble plant fibers, are indeed one of the benefits of eating whole grains. Along with complex carbs, vitamins, minerals…

    9. I eat bamboo shoots all the time. They are delicious. I guess they are full of wood pulp, right??

    10. My supplements contain cellulose.
      Pure Encapsulations boasts about it since it replaces harmful excipients.
      Veggy Caps are also made from cellulose

  5. Hi there, just came across your blog from a facebook post by Food Inc. This is enlightening for me, I never even thought about what cellulose was until now. I read through every comment in order to help myself pain a full picute. So this is what I’m picking up. Cons – not actually food, no nutritional value, does not absorb, may contain chemicals from the processing, tricks me into thinking I have more real food in my food. Pros – makes food look nice (filled up, not stuck together, etc.), makes people full without extra calories/fat so perhaps helps obesity (yet other foods with nutrition can do this better). So it sounds like it doesn’t hurt me, but more importantly it doesn’t help me so in the end, I think I should avoid it. Thanks!

  6. Holy geez,
    every post and video I’m watching is freaking blowing my mind. I thought I was pretty good about picking my food, but this blog is schooling me.

  7. This video does not say why or if wood pulp is bad for you. That would be the reason to care. Eating wood pulp sounds less disgusting to me then eating flesh.

    1. Certain substances, like whole grains and wood are not good for the delicate lining of the gut wall. THe health of the gut is basically the health of the whole body.
      If you have heard of leaky gut and gut dysbiosis that is what things like wood, that are harsh and undigestible with poor nutritive value, cause…….just sayin’

      1. Im sorry, but can you please provide links that house scientific studies linking wood pulp to leaky stomach? Or are you grasping at straws?

  8. This video misses the mark totally we all know companies cut costs whenever they can it becomes a problem when it causes negative health effects. This site won’t last too long with video’s like this.

    1. And another paid corporate troll!
      Seriously, the tone of your comments, especially “eating wood pulp is less disgusting than eating flesh” and “this site won’t last long with videos like that”, makes it obvious to those of us with discernment that you are a shill. Attempting to align yourself with vegetarians to make it look like you belong isn’t working! We are on to you!!!!

  9. I like the video. Even if you don’t agree with it…Would you really eat something that has sawdust or wood pulp as part of an ingredient list? I wouldn’t. If wood pulp is not bad for you, why not just call it that on the label? Why, because it is not a matter of whether is it bad…it’s about selling cheap product and making money. Who does that benefit?

    1. I think that’s an unreasonable argument. My chocolate chips don’t show, “ground, roasted cacao seed and fat” as ingredients. My cream doesn’t read, “skimmed cow’s milk fat”. My pintos (when I used to eat them) don’t read “dried legume seeds”. My lard doesn’t read “rendered pork fat”. Cornstarch doesn’t read “purified extract of ground corn cobs”. Agave doesn’t read, “Highly processed agave sap.” My maple syrup does read, “Dried maple tree sap”.

      Cellulose is no different.

      1. That’s because 99 percent of people know what cream, lard, and cornstarch are! Cellulose is different because the majority of the population have no idea what cellulose is and find is repulsing that it is wood. Your argument is an unreasonable, your comparing something that is natural to eat with something that is not. Cellulose is not added to food to benefit the human being, it is added to benefit big corporates.

      2. James,

        “Cellulose is not added to food to benefit the human being, it is added to benefit big corporates [sic].”

        This is a pretty arrogant assertion to make. I purchase cellulose powder to use as an ingredient in bread-making. I use it ON PURPOSE because it provides me with properties I can’t get anywhere else. Last time I checked, I’m a human being. ~pinches arm~ Yup, pretty sure I’m human. While it’s true that processed food companies are all about profits, I challenge you to show me any company that isn’t. People go into business to make money. The organic farmer isn’t giving his food away, he’s selling it… for PROFIT. (I’ll bet you even have a job, that PAYS YOU.) Now it would be awesome if I could get the same properties from a whole food, or if I had the equipment and facilities to extract the cellulose here at home, but I don’t– so I’m pretty grateful that it’s available to me. And since I don’t live in a fantasy utopia where I believe things should come to me for free, I’m quite happy to pay a company to provide me with cellulose powder, as they did the work, and they have a right to be paid for it.

        My gummy bears don’t read “extracted flesh scrap collagen” either. And trust me, most people do NOT know that their Jell-O and gummy candy comes from butchery scraps.

        The label reads “cellulose” because it IS cellulose. The boogeyman isn’t real.

  10. I don’t see the point of this video at all. If it explained that the chemicals from processing it were toxic, then there might be some substance here, but all this says is, “Wood is yucky!” I guess that works if your target audience is 5 year olds. Cellulose itself is an organic compound with a specific molecular composition, so cellulose from wood pulp is no different from cellulose from a fruit or vegetable. They’re all plants. So tell me why I should be concerned that it comes from a tree and not a fruit, or tell me why the process involved makes it something to be avoided, but don’t insult me by saying, “Eww gross! Don’t eat wood!”

  11. Today I went to buy some vitamins and thought I should read the label. Ended up leaving Walgreens as every single jar I looked at had cellulose in it. Yuck.

    What Ive been hoping to find from you are some alternatives for Trick or Treaters. If it were the olden days I’d make yummy healthy cookies but I can’t blame parents for not trusting industrial professionally wrapped candy. There’s no way I can afford to hand out the good stuff I find in the health food store. I’ve been leaning towards getting spider rings or something but hate plastics as well. Help I am so sad.

  12. If the wood is organic, I’d rather eat wood than beaver butt glands. I think the issue is that “they”, CAN feed us anything they want, it doesn’t have to be healthy and can even cause cancer, and “they” don’t have to let the consumer know what they’re eating. And, our government doesn’t really care.

  13. Wow! I can’t believe some these comments. Would your grandparents prepare soup with cellulose? I don’t think so!. I just came back from a trip to South American; all the food there was fresh and organic, But here our food is highly processed….why? Adding cellulose is just another cheap way for big companies to add additional “fillers” which helps them make more of a profit. Trust me, cellulose is not added for your fiber. It’s just a cheap product companies use to increase profits. Again, would your grandparents prepare food with cellulose from wood? I don’t think so!

    Big corporates think the general pubic is stupid. Let god, we have people like food Babe to uncover their lies. Today, most Americans are not eating real food, we’re eating food like products. We need to go back to eating real food.

    1. James,

      First, what is a “corporate”? My grandmother (born in 1898) cooked with cornstarch and tapioca. BOTH are purified extracts from a plant. Were she alive today (she lived to 97!), I see no reason why she wouldn’t use cellulose. When my diabetic mom needed low glycemic foods, it was almost impossible to thicken a sauce or gravy without significantly raising the glycemic load. Having the ability to make sauces and stews that were safe and healthy for her would have made her meals so much more enjoyable. The idea that adding a tablespoon of cellulose to a big pot of nutrient-dense bone-broth based stew does anything to significantly “fill” it, isn’t well thought-out at all.

      I choose not to eat sugar. It’d be great if we could simply substitute a natural sweetener like stevia for it, but sugar adds volume and texture to a recipe too. Enter cellulose. Wonderful treats for my family without refined sugar!

      Unfortunately, some of the general public IS stupid, and they fall prey to alarmist articles such as this one.

    2. yay James, a simple truth. if it comes from the ground wipe it on your shirt and eat it raw. if it has been processed by the food industry don’t eat it.

      1. oops meant that reply for James. anyway it’s says more about you than those you speak of when you call ppl stupid.

    3. Actually, if the soup contains any vegetables whatsoever or pretty much anything that doesn’t come from an animal, it has cellulose. Cellulose is just the type of sugar that plants use, like humans use glucose. Cellulose has no nutritional value because our bodies don’t have the enzymes to digest it, but that does not mean that it isn’t good for you. In fact, cellulose is fantastic for you. It increases mucus production in the digestive system, which serves as a lubricant and in turn promotes digestive regularity. Additionally, fiber (although scientists are not yet sure why) lowers cholesterol levels. Actually, the companies that use it as an anti-caking agent use it for just that, and honestly, it’s a pretty natural and chemical free way to do it. Other companies DO at add it to increase fiber content as that is a big selling point for many consumers. Yeah, the food industry has some pretty bad stuff out there, but cellulose is certainly not part of that.

  14. 15 Food Companies that Serve You ‘Wood’

    The recent class-action lawsuit brought against Taco Bell raised questions about the quality of food many Americans eat each day.

    Chief among those concerns is the use of cellulose (wood pulp), an extender whose use in a roster of food products, from crackers and ice creams to puddings and baked goods, is now being exposed. What you’re actually paying for – and consuming – may be surprising.

    Cellulose is virgin wood pulp that has been processed and manufactured to different lengths for functionality, though use of it and its variant forms (cellulose gum, powdered cellulose, microcrystalline cellulose, etc.) is deemed safe for human consumption, according to the FDA, which regulates most food industry products. The government agency sets no limit on the amount of cellulose that can be used in food products meant for human consumption.

    [Note: Humans are unable to digest cellulose since we lack the appropriate enzymes to break it down. This is a food adulterant and another example of the wholly corrupt nature of the federal agency responsible for food safety but continues to prove itself more concerned with corporate profit. ~Ed]

    The USDA, which regulates meats, has set a limit of 3.5% on the use of cellulose, since fiber in meat products cannot be recognized nutritionally.

    “As commodity prices continue to rally and the cost of imported materials impacts earnings, we expect to see increasing use of surrogate products within food items. Cellulose is certainly in higher demand and we expect this to continue,” Michael A. Yoshikami, chief investment strategist at YCMNet Advisors, told TheStreet.

    Manufacturers use cellulose in food as an extender, providing structure and reducing breakage, said Dan Inman, director of research and development at J. Rettenmaier USA, a company that supplies “organic” cellulose fibers for use in a variety of processed foods and meats meant for human and pet consumption, as well as for plastics, cleaning detergents, welding electrodes, pet litter, automotive brake pads, glue and reinforcing compounds, construction materials, roof coating, asphalt and even emulsion paints, among many other products.

    Cellulose adds fiber to the food, which is good for people who do not get the recommended daily intake of fiber in their diets, Inman said [lied]. It also extends the shelf life of processed foods. Plus, cellulose’s water-absorbing properties can mimic fat, he said, allowing consumers to reduce their fat intake.

    Perhaps most important to food processors is that cellulose is cheaper, he added, because “the fiber and water combination is less expensive than most other ingredients in the [food] product.”

    Indeed, food producers save as much as 30% in ingredient costs by opting for cellulose as a filler or binder in processed foods, according to a source close to the processed food industry who spoke with TheStreet on the condition of anonymity.

    Inman said that in his 30 years in the food science business, he’s seen “an amazing leap in terms of the applications of cellulose fiber and what you can do with it.” He said powdered cellulose has a bad reputation but that more of his customers are converting from things like oat or sugar cane fibers to cellulose because it is “snow white in color, bland and easy to work with.”

    Most surprising, said Inman, is that he’s been able to remove as much as 50% of the fat from some cookies, biscuits, cakes and brownies by replacing it with powdered cellulose – but still end up with a very similar product in terms of taste and appearance.

    “We’re only limited by our own imagination,” Inman told TheStreet. “I would never have dreamed I could successfully put 18% fiber in a loaf of bread two years ago.”

    He said cellulose is common in processed foods, often labeled as reduced-fat or high-fiber – products like breads, pancakes, crackers, pizza crusts, muffins, scrambled eggs, mashed potato mixes, and even cheesecake. Inman himself keeps a box of Wheat Thins Fiber Selects crackers, manufactured by Kraft Foods Nabisco brand, at his desk, and snacks on them daily, clearly unmoved by the use of wood pulp in its ingredients.

    “Most consumers would be shocked to find these types of filler products are used as substitutes for items that they believe are more pure,” Yoshikami said. “We would expect increased disclosure to follow increased use of cellulose and other filler products as the practice increases in frequency.”

    To that end, TheStreet rounded up a list of popular foods that use cellulose. It’s by no means an exhaustive list, and we suggest consumers read food labels carefully.

    Peaches & Crème Parfait
    Apples & Crème Parfait

    Fiber One Ready-To-Eat Muffins – Used in:

    Grilled Chicken Salad, Chicken Club Salad with Crispy Chicken, Meaty Breakfast Burrito, Hearty Breakfast Bowl

    Cheese, Pepper Jack, Shredded – Used in:

    Chicken Fajita Pita, Southwest Chicken Salad with Grilled Chicken, Meaty Breakfast Burrito

    Honey Mustard Dipping Sauce
    Ice Cream Shake Mix
    Log Cabin Syrup
    Mini Funnel Cake
    Mozzarella Cheese Sticks (also in Sampler Trio)
    Smoothie Base: (Mango, Strawberry, Strawberry Banana)
    Tortilla, Flour – Used in:

    Chorizo Sausage Burrito, Steak & Egg Burrito, Meaty Breakfast Burrito

    White Cheese Sauce – Used in Breakfast Bowl

    MorningStar Farms Chik’n Nuggets
    MorningStar Farms Chik Patties Original
    MorningStar Farms Buffalo Wings Veggie Wings
    Eggo Nutri-Grain Blueberry waffles
    Eggo Strawberry Waffles
    Eggo Blueberry Waffles
    Cinnabon Pancakes Original
    Cinnabon Pancakes Caramel
    Cinnabon Snack Bars Original
    Cinnabon Snack Bars Baked Cinnamon Apple

    KFC Cornbread Muffin
    Apple Turnover
    Honey Mustard BBQ Sauce
    Lil’ Bucket Strawberry Short Cake Parfait
    Lil’ Bucket Lemon Crème Parfait
    Lil’ Bucket Chocolate Crème Parfait
    Oreo Cookies and Crème Pie Slice
    Reese’s Peanut Butter Pie Slice
    Popcorn Chicken
    Strawberry Cream Cheese Pie Slice

    Wheat Thins Fiber Selects
    Frozen Bagel-Fuls
    Macaroni & Cheese Thick ‘n Creamy
    Kraft Macaroni & Cheese Three Cheese W/mini-shell Pasta

    Fish Filet Patty
    Premium Caesar Salad
    Chipotle BBQ Snack Wrap
    Premium Southwest Salad with Grilled Chicken
    Southern Style Chicken Biscuit
    Strawberry Sundae
    Natural Swiss Cheese – Used in:

    McRib, Quarter Pounder with Cheese, Angus Mushroom & Swiss, Premium Grilled Chicken Club Sandwich, Premium Crispy Chicken Club Sandwich, Angus Mushroom & Swiss Snack Wrap

    Shredded Cheddar/Jack Cheese – Used in:

    Ranch Snack Wrap (Crispy and Grilled), Honey Mustard Snack Wrap (Crispy and Grilled), Chipotle BBQ Snack Wrap (Crispy and Grilled), Premium Southwest Salad with Grilled Chicken, Premium Southwest Salad with/without Crispy/Grilled Chicken, Premium Bacon Ranch Salad with/without Crispy/Grilled Chicken, McSkillet Burrito with Sausage

    Barbeque Sauce
    Sweet ‘N Sour Sauce
    Shredded Parmesan Cheese – Used in:

    Premium Caesar Salad with/without Crispy/Grilled Chicken

    Biscuit – Used to make:

    Bacon, Egg & Cheese Biscuit, Sausage Biscuit with Egg, Sausage Biscuit, Southern Style Chicken Biscuit, Big Breakfast with/without Hotcakes

    Vanilla Reduced Fat Ice Cream – Used in:

    Strawberry Sundae, Hot Caramel Sundae, Hot Fudge Sundae, McFlurry with M&M’S Candies, McFlurry with OREO Cookies, Chocolate Triple Thick Shake, Strawberry Triple Thick Shake, Vanilla Triple Thick Shake

    Sugar Free Vanilla Syrup, used in: Premium Roast Coffee, Espresso

    Hot Cocoa Mixes: Mini Marshmallows, Rich Milk Chocolate, Chocolate Mint, Chocolate Caramel

    Aunt Jemima Frozen Blueberry Pancakes
    Aunt Jemima Original Syrup
    Aunt Jemima Lite Syrup

    Parmesan Romano Cheese
    Taco Bean Sauce
    Shredded Cheddar (for Taco Pizza)
    Breadstick Seasoning – Used to make Cheese Breadsticks)
    WingStreet Bone-In (in the batter)
    Meatballs (for pasta products, sandwiches)
    White Pasta Sauce – Used for:

    PastaBakes Marinara, PastaBakes Meatball Marinara, PastaBakes Primavera, PastaBakes Chicken Primavera

    Alfredo Sauce – Used for:

    PastaBakes Marinara, PastaBakes Meatball Marinara, PastaBakes Primavera, PastaBakes Chicken Primavera

    Fat Free Ranch Dressing

    Jimmy Dean Frozen Breakfast Bowl (Sausage & Gravy)
    Jimmy Dean D-lights Turkey Sausage Breakfast Bowl
    Jimmy Dean D-lights Turkey Sausage Croissant
    Jimmy Dean Breakfast Entrée – Used in:

    (Scrambled Eggs with Bacon/Sausage and Cheese Diced Apples & Seasoned Hash)

    Ice Cream
    Sonic Blast
    Banana Split
    Ice Cream Cone

    Southwest Chicken
    Caramel Apple Empanada
    Corn Tortilla
    Enchilada Rice
    Nacho Chips
    Red Strips
    Strawberry Topping
    Zesty Dressing

    Vanilla Ice Cream Sandwich
    English Toffee Crunch Ice Cream Bar
    Giant Cookies & Cream Ice Cream Bar

    Asiago Cheese – Used in:

    Spicy Chicken Caesar Salad, Asiago Ranch Chicken Club, Caesar Side Salad

    Fat Free French Dressing – Used for:

    Apple Pecan Chicken Salad, Baja Salad, Spicy Chicken Caesar Salad, BLT Cobb Salad

    Blue Cheese Crumbles – Used in: Apple Pecan Chicken Salad, BLT Cobb Salad
    Cheddar Pepper Jack Cheese Blend, Shredded
    Chocolate Sauce
    Coffee Toffee Twisted Frosty (Chocolate, Vanilla)
    Frosty (Chocolate and Vanilla)
    Frosty Shake (Frosty-cino, Chocolate Fudge, Strawberry, Vanilla Bean)
    Milk, 1% Low Fat Chocolate Milk

    1. James,

      Those are some MAD copying and pasting skills!

      Instructions for eating well:

      1.) Eat whole, organic food.

      2.) If you want a low-glycemic or cereal grain-free thickener for your recipes, consider organic cellulose powder.

      3.) Stop worrying about whether or not someone ELSE profits and figure out what it’s worth to YOU.

      4.) Ignore fear mongers, even those with mad copying and pasting skills. 😉

      5.) Eat. Enjoy.

      1. Food Babe and Laurie,

        Your chemical background and lack of it is showing. Lignin, and the body’s inability to deal with it’s breakdown of the sugars is showing. Please investigate more and do readers more service. Storage of this is of mass import. Temperature variances, especially in excess of 86f., produces what?

      2. James,

        First, the person you responded to isn’t Food Babe.

        Second, if you have an argument to make, make it. Sending someone off to make your argument for you is lame.

    2. WOW what a list of food’s that I don’t eat!!! Except I have had the fish fillet, in the past. Thanks for the “mad copy paste” I’m glad you posted it. Don’t know why the dis. What’s the prob?

  15. I honestly don’t understand what all the fuss is about with wood fiber. Cinnamon is wood and it adds flavor and fiber to your diet and is good for you. Wood by itself does infact contain micronutrients that trees absorb from the earth when they grow. Pot ash which is used to help grow organic vegetables comes from burned trees and boosts nutrition in the vegetables.

  16. Cellulose is a major component of wood. Cellulose fibers in wood are bound in lignin, a complex polymer. Paper-making involves treating wood pulp with alkalis or bisulfites to disintegrate the lignin, and then pressing the pulp to matte the cellulose fibers together.

    Cellulose is found in large amounts in nearly all plants, and is potentially a major food source. Unfortunately, human beings lack the enzymes necessary to cleave the linkages between the sugars in cellulose. In fact, crystallite cellulose is added to some foods to reduce the caloric value.

    1. Precisely, James… Isn’t that awesome!

      The reason we care about it in whole food is because it traps the nutrition the food contains inside little cellulose pockets– and since we can’t digest it, we can’t absorb the nutrition. However, if we’re eating a nutrient dense food already and we want to add some cellulose for texture and fiber, Whoo Hoo! It even provides an excellent prebiotic sub-straight for the beneficial gut flora that CAN cleave the “linkages”. lol

  17. I buy 2 supplements from Dr. Fuhrman’s website. (Doctor who recommends the Eat to Live lifestyle) They both have cellulose as an ingredient. Is this bad?

  18. So which shredded cheese to get? I saw the ingredient in ORGANIC VALLEY shredded cheeses!

  19. My question is about the chemical process used to make the cellulose. Have there been any studies about the any residual chemicals in the cellulose from the process that makes its way into the food it is added to? Surely cellulose must be tested before being allowed as a food component. Another question is how do the mills safely dispose of the chemicals used in the process.

    It does not appear to me that cellulose from wood in and of itself does any harm to the person eating it. It serves a purpose that is demanded by consumers, to make their convenient, processed food either more palatable (eg creamier low fat ice cream, shredded cheese that doesn’t clump).

  20. Hey FoodBabe,

    Two things, one- I just got this email from a magazine and saw this in regard to cellulose. Playing it up that it is harmless, perhaps it is, but thought you might like to see this.
    Two- Thanks for the restaurant recommendations while in Charlotte, we went to Harvest Moon last week while in town for the Pearl Jam Concert. It was marvelous!!
    Thanks for your all your hard work and sharing it with others.

  21. The only product I see cellulose in is cheese and shreaded cheese. I’ve been in many a cheese plant and they use potato starch or cellulose and no i don’t think they are lining there pockets with cash Vani, I’d rather see the potato starch in the product as it probably costs about the same. There is no danger in consuming this small tiny amount in a package so why the red alert? Exposing the grape/apple juice labeling fraud in the grocery aisle should be priority #1.

  22. I have to agree with what Omnivore said about this article. Same thing about other articles appeared concerning Castoreum, and about Nitrates in cured meat. These things are not harmful.
    It’s just a sensationalistic and fear based way to do information, which is pretty common nowadays. I would not use this tone of communication to manipulate people as media have taught us and do every day too.
    Healthy living entails also a CLEAN WAY to COMMUNICATE without trying to emotionally manipulate people and push them to react on a instinct/survival mode to preserve their life.
    When you share thoughts is like inviting people to eat your food at your table. So please no adulterations there either if you really care!

  23. Question: I am on a lot of meds & see microcrystalline cellulose as an “inactive ingredient”. Obviously it’s not to make me feel full or give me fiber, etc. I know you are Food Babe not Drug Babe 🙂 but any idea why this is added? Right now I don’t have a choice & have to take them but I am working super hard on getting healthy (hence my following you!) thanks in advance.

  24. Defenders of corporate food stuff claim that our bodies can not tell the difference between Cellulose from wood pulp or carrots. They are wrong. The body rejects the modern diet with modern diseases.

    1. I agree. It sounds awesome – I don’t digest it but it makes me feel full? I’m failing to see the problem.

  25. Happy to say no I don’t. And all the foods you pointed out, I don’t eat those either. They are classic examples of over processed, chemical laden GMO tainted dreck. Eggo waffles, Aunt Jemimah syrup, Kraft cheese, god, if anyone eats that, and any of the other dreck pointed out, they are either insane, totally clueless, have a death wish, or don’t give a damn.
    I give a lot more than a damn, and I read the ingredients list. I see any cellulose listed, it goes back on the shelf.

  26. its a substance that goes right through the human body with no adverse effects. its also fiber which cleans the colon. what`s the difference between psyllium and cellulose? nothing.

  27. So wood is organic…. well, so it sh*t. Do you eat it?
    The industry has a lot of shills working for it here.
    Big bucks in play. Move along, nothing to see here.
    Welcome to Amerikkka

    1. Marcus, You nailed it.The tactic is to always attack the messenger. Anyone who goes against the mainstream propaganda is always an idiot,fool or a “conspiracy theorist”! We need more “Food Babes” in this world as opposed to “experts” who quite often have a nefarious agenda of their own!

  28. The big deal over using wood is that people, like myself, are highly allergic to certain woods. To compound things, I am also asthmatic.

    1. You’re not likely allergic to wood but rather allergic to wood pollens. You are not allergic to cellulose.

  29. Ever eat nuts? They come from trees. Guess what’s in them? FIBER!. If wood fiber is bad, I guess we have to stop eating nuts. I thought nuts were good for me. Fruit comes from trees too, so I guess no more fruit, unless you juice it.

  30. I read a lot of the comments …no time to read them all .
    It could be that as our food abominations go that adding cellulose isn’t one of the most important but it’s good to know as much as possible about them all …thank you food babe .
    Personally , I want food in my food and I want the production processes kept as simple , evident and natural as possible cuz corporate institutions thrive on complicating things and doing their dirty work while we are busy looking at some other horrendous distraction …I don’t think it’s likely as one person stated that ppl historically have added tree pulp to their diets intentionally in any substantial way .
    I dont need my food fluffed up to artificially make me feel full so I will stop eating , maybe some ppl do but they obviously have other problems to deal with as well.
    I want my food to have more nutrition in it to help me have the energy that I need to do more stuff like growing more organic veggies !

    Lastly , one thing that should be considered as a possible significant added toxic element to the pulp would be the petroleum lubricants used in the acquisition process .
    If a chain saw is used to downsize the trees and parts thereof …there is always petroleum chain lubricants that constantly ,mechanically flow onto the chains to keep them moving properly …all of which gets slung off the chain into the sawdust and onto the remaining pulp material …and eventually into the shredded cheese , i suppose !

  31. But the proteins identified in hemp are the similar form currently uncovered in the human physique.
    Moreover, it helps to stabilize your blood sugar level, which is a
    key factor if you intend to consume meal replacement shakes as part of your weight loss diet.

    Whey protein isolate is referred to as blends and are considered to be as low quality protein or inferior.

  32. actually it is dangerous. wood contains pine terps or terpentine and pulp is a cheap dangerous filler. just like creasote in insulin flor. in water and mercury in vaccines. dont be duped. and it is in almost ALL suppliments

  33. I am celiac, I worry about everything that goes in my mouth. I was told it was a.flour or a corn starch that went on shredded cheese. I am also corn intolerant, soy intolerant , lactose intolerant. I have to be very careful about anything I put in my mouth. I love the video. That’s the kind of stuff I need to know. Although I am on an all natural diet. No pre packaged foods. I still feed my husband it sickens me to see the crap the us shoves in their mouth. And the so called diet foods, I cringe every time I see someone buy that garbage. Thank you for the video.

  34. We are trying to get a diet going free of cellulose since we have some kind of organism, infection, that consumes it. We have stopped using and wearing cotton and other cellulose products and have much relief. Now the diet….? Is it possible.

  35. I have to laugh hysterically concerning all these comments that really do not mean very much to me except for that there are quite a few people with ridiculousness…Please take it for what it is…try not to eat wood pulp, you know wood pulp hiding behind the name of cellulose fibre…Please everyone get a grip on common sense or get a life…It takes 4 days to pass through your system so it is safe, but do you really want it in your food as an additive?

  36. You know I just want to have the choice to choose what I put in my body. Maybe everybody else doesn’t mind cellulose in their food but I do. I want pure whole food not synthetic crap and various weird stuff. I think if you don’t mind eating red dye and bleach and all that more power to you. As for me and my family we want control of what we put in our bodies.

  37. Cellulose can be called by these different names on the ingredients label: Carboxymethyl cellulose, Microcrystalline Cellulose, or MCC, and Cellulose Gum.

    You also forgot hydroxypropylmethyl cellulose. The exact cellulose type does not have to be noted. Only that it is cellulose. If a company lists it then it has done so on its own accord. If it is forced to do so I’d love to see the actual data to this.

    Cellulose is much cheaper to obtain from wood, than real food ingredients and is manipulated in a laboratory to form different structures (liquid, powder, etc) depending upon the food product it is used in.
    The most economical choice for cellulose comes from wood by-products, however cellulose can also come from vegetables, but will be listed on the label as such.

    Cellulose can come from a variety of sources not just wood which keep it within “cheap”. And it is not always labeled given there is no direct requirement for companies to list where the cellulose came from. IE since cellulose can come from bacteria. You will not read bacterial cellulose, over just cellulose. Misinformation is misinformation, and is a sign of poor reporting.

    The cellulose wood pulp industry is at it’s all time high (up 8% from 2009-2011).
    Humans cannot digest cellulose. It has no caloric value. The food industry tricks consumers who eat foods with a high cellulose content to feel full physically and psychologically without having consumed many calories.
    According to the FDA: “In humans, virtually 100 percent of orally ingested cellulose can be recovered in the feces within four days, indicating that absorption does not occur.” This substance just passes through your body, while lining food industry pockets. Nice!

    Proper reporting would have been to note which of the types this was studied upon. Which was methyl cellulose. Which was found to not be able to be processed. The other forms of cellulose make no claim to the lack of processing, which are also food additives. Proper inclusion would have been to state methyl in the report.

    1. Good observation! Methyl spirit is highly potent poison even in small quantities able to damage vision permanently, and lethal overall. How it’s become recommended by FDA for food – that’s the question.

  38. I can’t help but feel that this is being blow way out of proportion. Cellulose and insoluble fiber in general is an important part of a healthy diet, I can think of much worse things for them to be using quit frankly.

    Now can this be abused? Sure but I don’t think it’s as bad as some people here are making it out to be.

    There are far worse things being put in our food and our food being put into that deserve our focuse. Tons of chemicals and toxic packaging, lets focus on things that really matter instead of knit picking silly things that ultimately are harmless or perhaps even beneficial.

    There’s too many people with misguided views on health and wht is healthy that propagate fear about things that aren’t really bad for us. If everyone cries wolf about everything then no one will be taken seriously.

    All I’m saying is let’s pick our battles.

  39. Ruminants have been eating cellulose for as long as they’ve been on the planet and it hasn’t hurt them at all. In fact, if it weren’t for cellulose, cows would probably not have more than one stomach. There is very little practical difference between the cellulose in fruit and vegetables, and that in trees. Cellulose isn’t dangerous or a problem, but the chemicals used to process it are. That which our digestive tracts cannot break down justs passes on through, like all other fiber.

  40. Look at food babe looking fine in that pic! Bring it on type A personality . . I just hope she is not the annoying super bossy type A personality type… Keep on keeping on none the less!

  41. Please don’t ever trust the FDA, they work for business, Not us. If any of you remember, the FDA was paid by the tax payers, but the FDA and Corporations went to Congress to have them change the law. It is now the Corporation who pay the FDA. So don’t trust the FDA, no matter what they say or Congress when it comes to food or what they say is food.

  42. LOVE THE VIDEO!!! I stopped eating at Taco Bell about 18 years ago. Stopped Aunt Jemima “syrup” well before that, never really into Eggo’s or KRAFT products since I was a kid. In fact, since I do the grocery shopping for my family, it’s been at least 3 or more solid years of organics and non GMO’s for us. When I’m in the grocery store I only visit the organic sections and there are very few shoppers there. If you think about the size of a typical grocery store, this leaves a lot of isles unvisited. If I have to cruise down to the other end of the store, I see the majority of shopper’s in these other isles which makes me sad. I see parents buying junk for their children, older people that look like they’re sickly, etc. I sometimes want to grab the store intercom and announce how bad the junk is that they’re paying for and putting in their bodies. I am so proud that you have made it your goal to bring all of this non-sense to the surface. I bought your book and am loving it!

  43. I’m a bit late to this party, but really enjoyed some of the arguments pro and con for the wood type cellulose. Omnivore, I really enjoyed reading some of your comments.

    A bit off topic, but there was a reference to sodium nitrate in one of the posts. This I believe is used as a preservative for bacon. I am still a bit confused as to whether this is something I should be concerned about. I have read conflicting comments on this issue.
    Can anyone knowledgable on this issue weigh in on this?

  44. Hi Food Babe,

    There are so many comments. So if cellulose is in supplements, we still have to be concerned? Please let me know. Thank you

    1. Hi Food Babe,

      Sorry I forgot to mention this. We want to get some more Biotin, but this is one of the ingredients, “capsule is made of plant cellulose.” Is that a “No No”?

  45. Hi Food Babe,

    Sorry, I should have mentioned about this. We want to get some more Biotin, but look at this ingredient, capsule is made of plant cellulose. Is that a “No No”?

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