A food additive called E282, is very common in many Western foods. It is used as an anti-mold agent. It is a type of short-chain fatty acid found naturally in the body as it is produced by bacteria in the gut. For this reason, it is commonly added to baked goods we eat every day, including bread.
That said, as natural and beneficial as E282 may sound in preserving the foods we love, there appears to be a significant downside to its use. New research shows that at the same time that this substance stops your bread from going moldy, it also changes the way sugar metabolism occurs in the body. Equally, it promotes insulin resistance. The research started by showing that E282 produces the effects in mice, but it expanded to illustrate the same problem in humans.
When considering the epidemic levels that obesity and type 2 diabetes have reached in the United States – as 40 percent of adults U.S. residents are obese and as of 2015, 9.4 percent of adults in the U.S. are living with diabetes – this type of effect may be highly problematic, to say the least.
The typical Western diet is very high in baked foods such as bread and other processed foods that typically contain E282. In fact, it can be quite difficult to avoid eating this preservative while eating many types of processed foods. Companies that make those food products add preservatives to make sure to keep their products fresh for a longer period of time.
Beyond baked foods like bread, this type of preservative can be found in many other types of products, such as breakfast cereals, sausage casings, sports drinks, processed cheeses and desserts made with eggs and/or dairy.
The recent research into this preservative were from the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health in Boston, Massachusetts. They worked with their colleagues from Sheba Medical Center in Ramat Gan, Israel. The team published the findings of their research on the effects of the preservative on mice and humans in the Science Translational Medicine journal.
The researchers had initially been seeking to examine the actions of FABP4 (fatty acid-binding protein 4), which researchers believe plays an important role in the metabolism of sugar and fat. In their background research, they came across a 1912 research paper regarding the impact of the preservative on dogs and how it raised glucose production.
This redirected the study to look at the connection between the preservative and FABP4. The team gave a E282 dose to healthy mice and humans. As was the case with the dogs in the 1912 study, the blood sugar levels rose in the mice and humans.