This Common Chemical in Chocolate & Chewing Gum is Harming Your Health

NDTV Food  |  Updated: February 21, 2017 15:30 IST

This Common Chemical in Chocolate & Chewing Gum is Harming Your Health
  • Titanium Oxide is a common food additive, often used in chocolates
  • Food additives reduces ability of small intestine to absorb nutrients
  • You need to avoid foods rich in titanium oxide nanoparticles
There is no reason for chemicals to be present in our food but the truth is that they are. From additives and emulsifiers to synthetic colours and flavours, you can be never sure what packaged food is made of. For long, chemicals and additives have been a part of our packaged food and we've either not known or have been ignorant. But it is high time we start reading the back of the label and know what we are really eating. 

A treat for young ones, a gesture of love for the loved ones, a delight for the elder ones - who can resist that sweet, sweet pleasure? Kids, adults, men, women - everyone loves sweet treats. As sinful as dark chocolate gets while melting inside our mouth, same is the effect of food additives used for generating that delicious looking candy bar of yours. Chocolate is a processed food with candy, chewing gum and other sweet products. As per the name, processed food contains few additives in order to preserve them for a longer period of time. Titanium oxide has been used as a common additive in the processed food since a very long time. It is used in chocolates, chewing gums, candies, bread and a lot more products which are consumed on a daily basis. The harmful effect of this common food additive has now been finally revealed in a recent study.
A quick sugar dose can lighten your mood and it comes in so many options. But regardless of that, these chocolates, caramel sweets, flavoured gum and sour bombs have been rotting our teeth for a while now. While we are aware of their harmful side effects, it seems tough to give them up yet. Despite the enormous sugar content, there is another risk attached with munching candies and chewing gums. Along with tooth decay, chocolates and chewing gums may harm your intestine, suggests a new study. Titanium Oxide is a common food additive, often used in chocolates, chewing gums, breads, etc., which has been consumed by us for a long time now.

The study found that food additives were responsible for reduced ability of small intestine to absorb nutrients and block pathogens. Professor Gretchen Mahler Binghamton University, US said, "Titanium oxide is a common food additive and people have been eating a lot of it for a long time, but we were interested in some of the subtle effects, and we think people should know about them." The fact that food additives are harmful to our small intestine yet are being widely consumed on the daily basis should be known to all. "There has been previous work on how a titanium oxide nanoparticle affects microvilli, but we are looking at much lower concentrations. We also extended previous work to show that these nanoparticles alter intestinal function,” she said. 

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Titanium dioxide which is recognized safe by the US Food and Drug Administration and ingestion is nearly unavoidable due to its vast usage. The compound is an inert and insoluble material that used for white pigmentation in paints, paper and plastics. It often enters the digestive system through toothpastes, as titanium dioxide is used to create abrasion needed for cleaning teeth. Other uses of Titanium Oxide includes, in making chocolates to give it a smooth texture; in donuts to provide color; and in skimmed milks for a brighter, more opaque appearance which makes the milk more palatable. Previously a study had tested 89 common food products including gum, Twinkies, and mayonnaise and found that they all contained titanium dioxide. Mahler suggested, "To avoid foods rich in titanium oxide nanoparticles you should avoid processed foods, and especially candy. That is where you see a lot of nanoparticles."

CommentsIn order to prevent harm to your small intestine packaged food along with the candies should be avoided, as they are known to contain more food additive nanoparticles. There are a lot more food additives and preservatives being added to our packaged food, which is being consumed everyday. Not all of them contribute to a healthier body.

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