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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. The form is easy to fill out and you will need the following information:
        Book Retailer & Order Confirmation Number
        I received mine via e-mail in the PDF format before I received the book.

    1. I also ordered the book from Amazon and did NOT get the shopping guide! I was looking forward to that as much as the book!

    2. I purchased your book on Amazon the day before the National release. Every person on earth that is able to read should own it.
      I would love the shopping guide, how can I get it, please.

      1. Unfortunately after you fill out the form you get this message : this link will only be available until 2/20/2015.

  1. This is not new news to me but it may be for some people. Cellulose is the basic structure of plant cell walls… and is the most abundant organic compound on Earth.

    1. Carolyn – Did you read the study reported in Nature? Naturally occurring cellulose and added manufactured kinds are two different things.

      1. Well then you shouldn’t go on at the end about eating sawdust or tree bark. Because that is exactly what you are implying.

      2. Can you share this Nature article? In what way are they different? I thought cellulose was a polymer of glucose. I also thought names of chemicals referred to their chemical structures. How can there be two different types of cellulose with the same name?

      3. Hari,
        I am a big fan and pre-ordered your book and received it.
        YOU ARE DOING A FANTASTIC JOB. My family Supports your work.

        Can you please Help me understand?
        I buy the highest quality and most expensive supplements on the market.
        I am looking on the back label under…
        ▶ ” Other Ingredient”: Vegetable Cellulose
        ▶ ” Other Ingredient”:Cellulose
        ▶” Other Ingredient”:Cellulose Capsule contains no animal products
        ▶ ” Other Ingredient”: Plant Cellulose
        Which one is the bad one?
        Pls. advise,
        Greetings from,
        Los Angeles, CA, USA

    2. Wow Carolyn. I just read Food Babe’s response to your comment and if I were you I would feel like a moron right now.

      1. Bacon, anyone hiding behind a false name putting people down is a moron. I appreciate Carolyn’s point and FB’s response. We are all learning. Well, most of us.

    3. Carolyn, I agree with you that not all cellulose is bad. We are referring to the naturally occurring cellulose. Does anyone eat celery? If so, I bet most do not realize it is composed mostly of cellulose; which is, as you stated, the basic structure of plant cell walls. Humans cannot digest it but it does pass through us.

      1. Yes! I believe that plant based cellulose is good! Whats sad is that celery made the list of EWG’s dirty dozen again this year. Infuriating it is!

        I’ve read that a lot of the top name brand companies use sawdust as filler in ground coffee. Thanks ALOT! BIG FOOD! Bunch of jerks!

      2. Carolyn, Yes, I’ve found wood splinters in coffee grounds b4…. so I guess it’s better to grind your own. No telling what else is in there besides woodchips… probably ground roaches and rat poo.!!!

    4. Carolyn, I was thinking the same thing and understand what you were saying. People will be confused and it is good to point out there is a difference so they do not make bad choices. I work with wood chemistry and see the variation in names and assumptions people make.

    5. Thank you, I was thinking the same thing: cellulose makes up the structure of all plant walls.

      The real question is: how do we tell if the cellulose in each product is wood-pulp-manufactured, or derived from what would otherwise be waste from parts of plants we eat?

      1. I don’t feel like Food Babe (FB) was trying to be misleading, as some of the comments imply. FB actually said there is cellulose that occurs naturally.

        “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.”

        I hope that helps answer your question as to how we would tell the difference on the label.

    6. She did say “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.” So I don’t think she was being misleading about cellulose. I think, by her statement, she was saying not all cellulose is bad and to read ingredients to see which form of cellulose is in it.

      1. I am confused. We are looking at Nutrigold Vitamin C Gold (Veggie Capsules) and the ingredients are Full-spectrum NutriBerry(tm) blend (organic amla, organic wild bilberry, organic wild lingonberry, organic black currant, organic aronia, organic wild blueberry, organic pomegranate, organic concord grape, organic red raspberry, organic sour cherry, organic wild elderberry, organic wild cranberry, and organic black raspberry), vegetarian capsule (non-GMO plant cellulose). But the ingredient that we are in question about is the capsule. The capsule is “vegetarian capsule(non-GMO plant cellulose). Is that “vegetarian capsule (non-GMO plant cellulose) safe? Can someone tell us?

    7. People please learn to read:

      ” •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.”

      1. More like, please learn basic reading comprehension skills! Most people lack the critical comprehension skill of inferring while reading. Sadly since it wasn’t spelled out, all these folks are tripping over what she obviously already pointed out

  2. It was a shock of what’s in food. One thing is missing in the video is that there are no closed Captioned (CC) for the deaf or hearing impaired for we are not able to hear words but can rad captions. Hopenyounwill include CC sooner for us deaf people to learn.

    1. Sounds like a good idea or having someone signing what she is saying. I see more and more of that on news programs these days.

      While I am not deaf, my dearly departed husband was blind. Thanks to cable TV, he was able to get a narrative description of what was going on in scenes other than just the sounds and words for most TV shows.

    2. I have a severe hearing loss and rely on captioning. Consequently I watch very few videos or movies. CC is so helpful for many of us.

  3. Hello,
    Please ask Costco about their organic olive oil? I am so in hopes it’s actually olive oil and not a blend… Thank you and cheers to a successful book signing.

    1. One way to test for fake or real olive oil. Look at the liquid, take note of what it looks like, then put the bottle in the refrigerater for the night. Next day, take it out and look at it. If it turned mostly to all solid, it’s the good stuff. Didn’t change any, still a liquid? Bad stuff, watered down. Buy only organic, and hope it’s an honest organic company! Educate yourself on which organic companies are in bed with Monsanto!

      1. I keep my extra food in garage- during the winter when it gets chilly, the costco oil solidifies . Hope this helps.

      2. Look for EVOO that’s cold pressed and made in California! This stuff is the REAL DEAL! If it’s shipped from overseas, it can be questionable. This is because there’s not enough oversight for quality (inspections) when a product comes into the US from overseas… especially China.. Their products seem to have a green light on all the time!

        The same applies to honey! Buy locally!

    2. I read an olive oil rating article in a reputable source. Costco was good. However, I personally do not buy oil products (oils, nut butters) in plastic containers. The oil will carry contaminates out of the plastics and into the food for you to eat.

      1. It’s baffling to me why any food is packaged in plastic. I see people giving their babies baby food in plastic containers. Yikes! They’re being exposed at such a young age. Scary.

  4. I preordered my book from amazon also and have the same question about the shopping guide. Can someone let us know how to get one.
    Thank You.

  5. Isn’t maple syrup just liquid wood pulp ? They both comes from trees. I’m just being a little sarcastic… I get it. 🙂 All good…keep doing what you do …Just finished your book! Great job!! 🙂

  6. Hi Vani, is there a way to tell on the ingredients list if a cellulose is ok food based or wood pulp based?

  7. I purchased my book at Target prior to the Best Sellers Report — how do I get my free shoppers guide according to your e-mail?

  8. Hi Vani,
    Organic cheese also has cellulose gum. I thought Anything that is certified organic, doesn’t use artificial ingredients?? So we should buy the block of cheese and shred it?? I always buy the organic valley cheeses. So, that’s bad???
    Keep up the good work

    1. I think the added cellulose stops the shredded pieces from clumping together. I’ve been buying grated cheese for years since it was so much easier to use. Think I will go back to grating my own. More time consuming, but healthier.

    2. Cellulose isn’t artificial. Wood, plants, bacteria–wherever you get it from, it’s a natural source. Organic mostly means the product was grown only using certain approved chemical or biological pesticides and fertilizers (like copper sulfate or Bt toxin, for example)

  9. HELP! After watching this video, I opened up my package containing Turmeric tablets I just purchased (to fight inflammation) and the last ingredient is “coating (modified cellulose). Does this mean even VITAMINS & Supplements aren’t safe?

    1. From what I know almost all pills are bound together with a cellulose derivative. It is for binding, but I am not sure if they can use starch to do the same, or what their alternatives are for that. This is why I get so annoyed with “organic” loopholes or at least have to be really suspicious. hopefully the small amounts will not be too detrimental.

      1. thank you, kevin! i’m hoping you’re correct, and that the small amounts of modified cellulose shouldn’t overpower the benefits of the turmeric. have a great weekend!

      1. When purchasing Turmeric/curcumin supplements look for the ones that have pepper added.

  10. LOVE LOVE LOVE your book! I bought it at Costco yesterday, almost complete. How do I get the shopping guide. That sounds to me like a must have! Thanks you so much for all you do!

  11. Is that still in Kraft Mac and Cheese then too? Or is that a different type of cheese? Not that I eat that stuff anymore, but I used to. Now I make my own or make Annie’s instead. This just seems insane the the FDA can deem this stuff safe for people. They can’t leave the saw dust in the clear cut forests to decompose, they have to find away to make money off of it. Disgusting.

    Thanks once again Vani for bringing this to our attention so we can be on the lookout for it and avoid.

    1. Government is tied to the drug companies – hence no interference! This crap ruins our systems and then we need medicine…vicious circle!

  12. Great book Vani. I even educated a lady selling an organic item at Whole Foods about some things you brought out in your book. I was surprised to find that she didn’t know some of the things you teach us about. She does now….I have been feeling so much better physically and mentally and been loosing weight at the same time. I cleaned out the food pantry and the fridge and have gone organic. I am a different person now and feel so good and can’t wait for more information on how to feel and become a new creature by eating your way to success. Thanks so much and keep on keeping on. By the way, I gave the lady at Whole Foods your website and suggested she read your book. Best wishes Vani!!

  13. Hi Vani. A few other posts (Stacey) already asked this but could you please help us decipher how to differentiate food-grade cellulose with cellulose derived from wood pulp, especially in organic dairy? I specifically buy Horizon cheese for my three-year-old and the ingredient list includes “cellulose (not bleached with chlorine)”. Please advise… and many thanks!

  14. Thank you Vani for being a “voice”. A friend of mine gave me your book and I am really enjoying it! Great information. Bless you for the work you do.

  15. I have gotten your book-I haven’t started it yet but am looking forward to it. My question is, can I get a printed version of your grocery store guide? I am soo non-technical and have no idea how to download that guide. I read thru it and when I went to read thru it again, it was gone. I don’t have a computer to download it and would just love to take the written print with me shopping. I use an iPad and my phone to read all your articles! Thank you for all your hard work. It makes me sick how American companies don’t give a rats ass about American people!!! I thank God I found you!!!!!

  16. I use maple syrup all the time but it’s from a local sugar house that taps our trees to get the sap and lets you watch them make it so I know it’s okay

  17. Old eastern saying: – Why a camel don’t eat cotton? – He just don’t want it…

    If you don’t like something – just don’t eat it. That’s it! Is that simple? You bet! Problem solved!

    For millions years the humanity tasted and tested everything. And our food technique was polished by routine life each of us. Do we need to invent here something new? Are we all so arrogant or naive even think about it? As were some scientists half century ago proclaiming chemical revolution when artificial food will be a solution to all our troubles. Where those madmen? Where promised paradise?

    Look at the list of ingredients on the back of each package. If it’s looong and of microscopic size – trow it out. Chance of ingesting some one or other poison is too high. It is the echo of that hapless chemical revolution. Check your feelings – short and long terms. And if you feel bad after proved garbage – don’t keep it to yourself. Warn others about imminent danger. That a society and we the people are all about.

  18. so companies add fiber that most people arent getting enough of any way to make them feel fuller while eating less calories. doesnt seem like much of a strategy, i would think they would want us feeling less full so that we continue to buy and eat their products

  19. I ordered the book from Amazon and I am really enjoying it immensely. I tried to download the grocery list but it never connected on my computer. It just kept spinning on my computer and I was never able to download all of the guides that were supposed to be available after purchasing your book on Amazon. Thanks Vani for any info. on how to get thse guides. Jan B.

  20. Cool idea for T shirts. GOT WOOD
    Then some offensive products. Would be funny
    and get message across. People would have to ask

  21. I just want to say Thank You for an awesome book!! I bought three initially … And just ordered 7 more. I am so excited to give these to my friends.
    I am happy to report some food selections I have learned along the way and follow …however , so much more I did not know about!
    I have a head injury and processing what I read at times is still challenging . This book however is very easy to follow.
    If you are reading this and have not ordered your own copy, do so now . You will be so happy you did!

  22. Vani,

    Thanks for opening so many people’s eyes. I first heard you on Alex Jones’ show when you were going after Subway. Since then, I’ve tried to spread your truths to people I know. I found the article on the Pizza industry especially enlightening.
    Now, I make my OWN pizza at home with Organic Pizza Sauce.
    I was especially appalled that Papa John’s puts wood pulp in their cheese.
    I’ll never eat there again.
    I love hearing you on Alex Jones. He can’t have you on often enough! You should make it a weekly event.

    Cheers from Texas,

  23. I just ordered your book and I love reading your posts and blog- but I am wondering- how can someone with a very limited budget, living in a very small town with one grocery store, eat more organically? Especially in the winter? I’m struggling with this!
    Thanks for your hard work!

  24. What about soy lecithin? Isn’t that often used as an emulsifier as well? Other than the likelihood that it’s GMO soy, is it bad for other reasons?

  25. Hello FoodBabe. Thank you for your commitment. You have done so much. We need to wakeup and find out what we are eating.

  26. Widely used food emulsifiers promote Obesity, Metabolic Syndrome and Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD), which includes Crohn’s Disease and Ulcerative Colitis

    Emulsifiers, which are added to most processed foods to aid texture and extend shelf life, can alter the gut microbiota composition and localization to induce intestinal inflammation that promotes the development of inflammatory bowel disease and metabolic syndrome, new research shows.

    The research, published Feb. 25 in Nature, was led by Georgia State University Institute for Biomedical Sciences’ researchers Drs. Benoit Chassaing and Andrew T. Gewirtz, and included contributions from Emory University, Cornell University and Bar-Ilan University in Israel.

    Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), which includes Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis, afflicts millions of people and is often severe and debilitating. Metabolic syndrome is a group of very common obesity-related disorders that can lead to type-2 diabetes, cardiovascular and/or liver diseases. Incidence of IBD and metabolic syndrome has been markedly increasing since the mid-20th century.

    The term “gut microbiota” refers to the diverse population of 100 trillion bacteria that inhabit the intestinal tract. Gut microbiota are disturbed in IBD and metabolic syndrome. Chassaing and Gewirtz’s findings suggest emulsifiers might be partially responsible for this disturbance and the increased incidence of these diseases.
    “A key feature of these modern plagues is alteration of the gut microbiota in a manner that promotes inflammation,” says Gewirtz.

    “The dramatic increase in these diseases has occurred despite consistent human genetics, suggesting a pivotal role for an environmental factor,” says Chassaing. “Food interacts intimately with the microbiota so we considered what modern additions to the food supply might possibly make gut bacteria more pro-inflammatory.”

    Addition of emulsifiers to food seemed to fit the time frame and had been shown to promote bacterial translocation across epithelial cells. Chassaing and Gewirtz hypothesized that emulsifiers might affect the gut microbiota to promote these inflammatory diseases and designed experiments in mice to test this possibility.

    The team fed mice two very commonly used emulsifiers, polysorbate 80 and carboxymethylcellulsose, at doses seeking to model the broad consumption of the numerous emulsifiers that are incorporated into almost all processed foods. They observed that emulsifier consumption changed the species composition of the gut microbiota and did so in a manner that made it more pro-inflammatory. The altered microbiota had enhanced capacity to digest and infiltrate the dense mucus layer that lines the intestine, which is normally, largely devoid of bacteria. Alterations in bacterial species resulted in bacteria expressing more flagellin and lipopolysaccharide, which can activate pro-inflammatory gene expression by the immune system.

    Such changes in bacteria triggered chronic colitis in mice genetically prone to this disorder, due to abnormal immune systems. In contrast, in mice with normal immune systems, emulsifiers induced low-grade or mild intestinal inflammation and metabolic syndrome, characterized by increased levels of food consumption, obesity, hyperglycemia and insulin resistance.

    The effects of emulsifier consumption were eliminated in germ-free mice, which lack a microbiota. Transplant of microbiota from emulsifiers-treated mice to germ-free mice was sufficient to transfer some parameters of low-grade inflammation and metabolic syndrome, indicating a central role for the microbiota in mediating the adverse effect of emulsifiers.

    The team is now testing additional emulsifiers and designing experiments to investigate how emulsifiers affect humans. If similar results are obtained, it would indicate a role for this class of food additive in driving the epidemic of obesity, its inter-related consequences and a range of diseases associated with chronic gut inflammation.

    While detailed mechanisms underlying the effect of emulsifiers on metabolism remain under study, the team points out that avoiding excess food consumption is of paramount importance.

    “We do not disagree with the commonly held assumption that over-eating is a central cause of obesity and metabolic syndrome,” Gewirtz says. “Rather, our findings reinforce the concept suggested by earlier work that low-grade inflammation resulting from an altered microbiota can be an underlying cause of excess eating.”

    The team notes that the results of their study suggest that current means of testing and approving food additives may not be adequate to prevent use of chemicals that promote diseases driven by low-grade inflammation and/or which will cause disease primarily in susceptible hosts.

    You Are What You Eat: Food Additive Emulsifier Inflames Mouse Gut And Causes Obesity

    Processed foods have changed the way we eat. Food can sit longer on shelves, but what does that mean for the stomach? In a new study published in the journal Nature, researchers from Georgia State University investigated how the widely used processed food additive emulsifiers played a role in the gut.

    Emulsifiers are added to most processed foods in order to extend shelf life and add texture to the foods. The research team decided to feed mice a couple of the most common emulsifiers on the market — polysorbate 80 and carboxymethylcellulose — at doses comparable to a human’s consumption of processed foods. They watched the emulsifier change the mice’s gut microbiota, which is an individual’s personal 100 trillion bacteria inside the intestinal tract. Not only did this increase their chance of developing obesity-related disorders, but also inflammatory bowel disease. It’s no coincidence both conditions have been increasing since the 1950s.

    “The dramatic increase in these diseases has occurred despite consistent human genetics, suggesting a pivotal role for an environmental factor,” the study’s coauthor Benoit Chassaing, a researcher from GSU’s Institute for Biomedical Sciences, said in a press release. “Food interacts intimately with the microbiota, so we considered what modern additions to the food supply might possibly make gut bacteria more pro-inflammatory.”

    The emulsifiers, which are groups of oil-and water-friendly molecules, help to hold food together. Mayonnaise without emulsifiers, for example, will separate from an oily top layer to a thicker white layer that rests on the bottom of the jar. Once the emulsifiers were digested by the mice, their blood-glucose levels went awry, inflamed their intestinal mucus layer, which left them with weight gain, specifically concentrated in the abdomen. The bacterial changed triggered chronic colitis from causing intestinal inflammation and metabolic syndrome, which includes obesity, hyperglycemia, and insulin resistance.

    Ultimately, microbiologists say you are what you eat. If your diet is smeared with margarine, mayonnaise, creamy sauces, candy, ice cream, and most other packaged and processed baked goods, you and your gut may be at risk.

    “We do not disagree with the commonly held assumption that over-eating is a central cause of obesity and metabolic syndrome,” the study’s coauthor Andrew T. Gewirtz, a researcher from GSU’s Institute for Biomedical Sciences, said in a press release. “Rather, our findings reinforce the concept suggested by earlier work that low-grade inflammation resulting from an altered microbiota can be an underlying cause of excess eating.”

    What’s worse are the new results from research out of the University of Michigan, which found processed foods are the most likely to trigger a food addiction and overeating. The brain reacts to processed food much like it reacts to hard drugs. The highly dense high-calorie processed foods do provide a substantial amount of energy, which is why the body craves them. However, there’s a point when it becomes too much, and now it even changes the way the gut reacts to food.

    Your Addiction To Processed Foods: How Pizza, Sugar, And Chocolate Can Act Just Like Hard Drugs

    Researchers at the University of Michigan have made a bold statement: All the pizza or ice cream cravings that keep coming back despite your feelings of guilt and depression might be a sign that you have a food addiction. And that food addiction isn’t something to laugh about in a self-deprecating way in front of your friends; it’s a real disease that is just as bad as drug addiction or alcoholism.

    The authors of the new study wanted to discover what foods were most likely to lead to food addiction, a disease that contributes to the widespread obesity epidemic in the U.S. In the past, studies have shown that foods high in sodium, sugar, or fat are likely to trigger food addiction and over-eating, due to the way they act on the brain’s reward system. But the University of Michigan researchers wanted to dig deeper and find what specific foods meet the criteria for “substance dependence.”

    They found that highly processed foods were more likely to have the same effect on the brain as hard drugs, compared to non-processed foods like wheat, fish, and other “boring” and “healthy” foods.

    Frankly speaking, the results of the study aren’t anything shocking to hear. In fact, most scientists have already pinpointed the link between processed foods filled with salt and fat and food addiction. A 2002 study found that food high in sugar and fats affected the brain just the way heroin, opium, or morphine did. Other brain imaging (PET scans) have shown that obese people, like drug addicts, have lower numbers of dopamine receptors, which means they’re more likely to crave foods that will boost their dopamine (carbs, sugars, fats). Our bodies are biologically wired to desire foods that are dense, caloric, and provide us with a lot of energy, but eating too much of these can send our brains into haywire and lead to addiction.

    In many ways, it’s common sense: You never want to binge-eat a mountain of broccoli or carrots. You want to stuff your face with a bag of potato chips or a pint of ice cream. The healthy stuff — things that aren’t processed, like salmon or brown rice — just don’t do that to your brain. Perhaps this is why the obesity epidemic has been so difficult to battle. The drivers behind obesity may be more psychological than physical. Addiction is a disease, and it impacts the psyche and emotions just as it does physicality.

    “The ‘just say no’ approach to drug addiction hasn’t fared very well,” Dr. Mark Hyman, a physician and author, writes on his blog. “It won’t work for our industrial food addiction either. Tell a cocaine or heroin addict or an alcoholic to ‘just say no’ after that first snort, shot, or drink. It’s not that simple. There are specific biological mechanisms that drive addictive behavior.”

    Hyman goes on to note that just like other addicts don’t choose to become addicted to heroin or cocaine, obese people don’t choose to be fat. Instead, “the behaviors arise out of primitive neurochemical reward centers in the brain that override normal willpower and overwhelm our ordinary biological signals that control hunger.”

    Who is to blame? Should we argue it’s the fast food nation’s fault, where McDonald’s reigns on nearly every corner and highway, where cheap, tasty junk food has been pushed into nearly every household? Or should we blame the individual for not being self-aware enough to avoid such bait? Maybe it’s the economy’s fault. Besides, it’s the low-income areas that are known as “food deserts.”

    Perhaps it’s a little bit of all these things, impacted by environmental factors and genetic predispositions, as well as the modern world’s penchant for sedentary lifestyles in front of screens. But at the end of the day, change stems from the individual. If you think you have a food addiction and it’s making your life difficult, reach out for help. You’re not alone.

    1. What about the Natamycin – mold inhibitor – that has been added to the shredded cheese (and some sliced cheese) for at least 5 years?

    2. Wow, Bill, I mean WOW! Thank you so much for posting all that. I’m so thankful to hear there is actually testing being done and will move on to human testing. I think we all already know what they will discover. Keep us posted or let us know how to follow. This is War. Knowledge is Power!

      1. Somebody called my LARGE [cut and paste] post a “MISHMASH of THEORIES”. All I can say is… I definitely would NOT call my post a “MISHMASH of THEORIES”.

        The first two articles discuss food emulsifiers and how they can alter the gut microbiota [IN MICE] and cause gut inflammation which can “promote Obesity, Metabolic Syndrome and Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD), which includes Crohn’s Disease and Ulcerative Colitis”. One article states “The team is now testing additional emulsifiers and designing experiments to investigate how emulsifiers affect humans.”

        The third and last article discusses the “Addiction To Processed Foods” which is basically unrelated to the first two articles [about food emulsifiers] but very interesting anyway. Keep in mind that food emulsifiers are added to processed foods, so in my opinion, all the articles [do] have a relationship which is why I lumped them all together.

        I’m NOT a scientist or medical doctor, so if you have any questions concerning the articles you will need to ask the authors of the articles (use the links below).

        Here are the links to the 3 articles…

        Article #1…
        Title of Article: Widely Used Food Additive Promotes Colitis, Obesity and Metabolic Syndrome, research shows
        Reference Link:

        Article #2…
        Title of Article: You Are What You Eat: Food Additive Emulsifier Inflames Mouse Gut And Causes Obesity
        Reference Link:

        Article #3…
        Title of Article: Your Addiction To Processed Foods: How Pizza, Sugar, And Chocolate Can Act Just Like Hard Drugs
        Reference Link:

    3. I know Bill, maybe that persons brain is mishmash already from eating all the crap in processed foods. Thank you so much for posting those links. It’s very valuable information! 🙂

  27. Vani, if YOU are not the best thing to hit the Internet and a Godsend to those who desire to eat food and not the long list of money making products the Globalist cabal are lining our grocery stores with than I’ll “eat my hat”. I know it’s tough to take all the abuse you frequently get but like our dear friend Alex points out, you only take flak when you’re over the target!!! You truly ARE a Babe!!!!

  28. Hi Vani,

    I have a question for you. I avoid cellulose in my food and have for a long time. But I recall some time ago pointing it out to my dad. His response was somewhere along the lines of – its just extra fibre. I had no come back for that because I don’t really know if there is any harm to it. Just to clarify – I don’t eat it cause I like myfood to be, you know, just food. But do you knowhow this would differ from say eating a celery stick which is also prettymuch undigestible fiber – obviously it has some nutritional value – but hopefully you understand where I am going with that. Or maybe I jsut answered my own question – it has no nutritional value. Hmmm. Curious what your thought are.


  29. I ordered your book and read it in two days. It is so informative! I never knew I was eating all the horrible things mentioned in your book . I am now on a mission to find health food stores and eat healthy. I am passing your message and the news in your book to friends and telling them to purchase the book for all the healthy, smart information and change their diets Now! I am a breast cancer survivor. . Know wonder I got cancer with the food we eat. And so unfair that other countries ban GMO’s and foods that we feed to American people. Outrageous! Thank you for the information.

  30. Eating Cellulose powders, or if not available, eating facial tissues, used to be an insane practice we learned from the modelling industry when posing at building competitions. What a paradox, the religion of healthy body building and contamination to reach the apex.
    Off topic but look at the bulging jawlines of the movieland male heart throbs. Saw one guy on the Oscar News who again looks like he did 30 years ago before the roids rounds to look like a massive beast. Their behaviour becomes as bizarre as their bodies. When we see the same with our female athletes you know their testosterone is through the roof.

    There are lots of vegetal sources of cellulose that are not fit for human consumption. Manufacturers do not always even know the sources.
    Thanks for publicizing this.

    1. You’re right, they don’t know the source. You can call them and bust down the doors, but they DON’T KNOW! Does anyone remember the old Charlton Heston movie, “Soilent Green” The populace was being fed a substance made by the Gov. and when Heston’s character discovers what it is he comes running into the room exclaiming “soilent green is people” ! I called a company to find out from where their aspirin was derived ( after hearing it could be derived from coal tar) They could not tell me what their aspirin was derived from !!!

  31. I have been searching for a vegetarian vitamin D supplement and finally found one that also doesn’t include sugars or other nasty ingredients. Unfortunately, it does have cellulose in it. Is there a way for me to know what kind of cellulose? Or should I just avoid it altogether? Does anyone have suggestions for vegetarian vitamin D with minimal added ingredients including no cellulose? Thanks for the tips…

  32. It’s not wood, it’s cellulose. Whether it comes from wood pulp or celery, it’s the same thing; it’s like saying water from a grape is safe while water from a cactus isn’t. This is ridiculous.

  33. Hello Food babe,
    Thanks for all your hard work helping us be as healthy as we can. I have a question about this research and the assumption that what is a problem for the rats which were the test subjects in this study and the overlap to humans. Has there been any data or research linking this issue to humans or are we just making the assumption that if it is bad for rats it is bad for us? I did read the (free) section of the study and it did mention more research needs to be done to link it to humans. I try real hard to eat healthy by not eating foods that I know are harmful. Do I I now cross off the list everything that might be harmful? Is so that task becomes that much harder. HELP!!!!

  34. Over and over again we find the major companies in the food industry had REPEATEDLY lied, cheat and scammed their paying customers with their poisonous fake food garbage, and the customers still come back everyday and buy the same poisonous fake food garbage and consuming it over and over again! (Just like coming back into the arms of a repeating cheating partner over and over again.)
    These big food companies may take one harmful cheap ingredient out that the public complains enough about, but the next day they will replace with another cheap harmful ingredient that is worst or under a different natural sounding name they made up.
    When are people going to stop playing into the major food company’s scamming game and go to your local farmer’s market and farmers to buy real nutritious fresh food???? These farmers are proud of the food they produce and would share their love and sweat stories and food with you. Get out of the rat maze, if you don’t want to be a lab rat of the food industry!

  35. Cellulose… I am reading your book and came to the probiotics part. So I searched on this website for the brand you use… I think it’s 15 billion people, right? The ingredients were difficult to find but I found them and it contains cellulose. How would I know if this is wood cellulose, that I avoid on shredded cheeses or naturally occurring cellulose? Is this the brand you still use?

    1. I wonder this same thing. I can’t stand it how no one from the “team” has addressed this yet.

  36. At Costco I have been buying the Kirkland brand of milk in gallon containers. When I picked up one today, on side panel it said there is no difference in rBST and non-rBST.

    Will you please contact Costco and get them to sell the rBST again and delete the LIE about no difference??

    Thank you

  37. Hi! I purchased the book at a barnes and noble store a couple weeks ago. How do I get the food guide without a confirmation number from ordering it online? Thanks!

  38. Sorry, I am repeating – I am new to this site – not sure how to directly ask Food Babe a question – So, to Food Babe or anyone – What about the Natamycin – mold inhibitor – that has been added to the shredded cheese (and some sliced cheese) for at least 5 years? It might even be in some block cheeses.

    1. I’m curious about Natamycin as well. It’s the only questionable ingredient in a cheese wrap I’d like to purchase.

  39. Do you even know what cellulose is? It is a polysaccharide found in ANY plant matter because it’s what gives plants structure. All vegetables and fruit are made of cellulose. Also, we have bacteria in our gut biome that can break down cellulose for us.

  40. Hi Food Babe Team. Some people have wrote in about the concerns of cellulose in vitamins. I take Garden of Life vitamins and all of their capsules contain cellulose. Can someone PLEASE explain this? Thanks

  41. Hey lady! 🙂 Can you clarify, what is modified vegetable cellulose & is it a major issue if included in my olive leaf extract supplement? I think I understand that the modification is to make it more digestible. What is the purpose of this addition to the supplement?

    Also, wtf is wrong w/ supplement companies? You don’t have to answer that. Just incredibly frustrating.

    Thank you!

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