The American population faces a health crisis of epic proportions; with obesity rates hovering at 40% and 9.4% of the entire population afflicted with diabetes the situation human suffering will only worsen with time. Our diet, rich in sugar, fat and processed foods represents a considerable known risk factor.  Food additives such as an anti-mold agent may represent a major problem. Researchers from Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and colleagues from Sheba Medical Center, Israel have made an interesting finding with considerable implications. Conducting a study on the effect of a common food additive in products like bread and baked goods—the anti-mold agent known a propionate (also known as E282)— it leads to high blood sugar in mice and men.  The chemical is pervasive—in everything from dairy and egg-based desserts to breakfast cereals to bread products; not to mention processed cheese, sausage casings and even sporting drinks.

Medical News Today published a story on the topic spoke with one of the research team, Dr. Amir Tirosh of Tel-Aviv University’s Sackler Faculty of Medicine and director of the Institute of Endocrinology at Sheba Medical Center. He noted they had initially sought to “study the actions of fatty acid-binding protein 4 (FABP4)” which they thought might be a factor in sugar and fat metabolism.  He stated, “we incidentally came across an old scientific paper from 1912 demonstrating the administration of propionate to dogs resulting in increased glucose production.”

Medical News Today reported the team uncovered that propionate triggered the sympathetic nervous system, evidenced by levels of norepinephrine, and increasing amounts of glucagon and FABP4—both hormones. Consequently, the liver makes higher levels of glucose which leads to higher levels of insulin in the blood.

Lead Research/Investigator

Dr. Amir Tirosh of Tel-Aviv University’s Sackler Faculty of Medicine and director of the Institute of Endocrinology at Sheba Medical Center

Source: Sciencemag

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