Anti-Diabetes Food Additive Waiting in the Wings

Hard to believe there's a new chemical waiting in the wings food manufacturers can add to their high-fat, high-risk concoctions that may cut one's risk of diabetes. The compound in question, HPMC, was discovered by U.S. Department of Agriculture chemists to slow down the consumption of fat.

Hamsters that were fed comparable American fast-food diets laced with HPMC (a form of soluble cellulose already being used in some foods and drugs to provide texture) developed a resistance to insulin over four weeks. Other animals that were fed an insoluble fiber typically found in high-fat, fast foods showed no signs of any insulin resistance, however.

How HPMC works: Researchers believe it slows down the absorption of fats, preventing high fat levels from overwhelming the digestive system. It also seems to control the way in which fat is transported to the body's adipose tissue. An estimated 5 grams of HPMC in foods is all researchers believe it would take to have a positive impact on one's health.

When I read about this research, one thing came to mind immediately: Olestra, the fake-fat associated with so many awful side effects:

  • Decreased absorption and blood levels of fat soluble nutrients such as vitamin E and carotenoids.
  • Significant increases in GI symptoms, including diarrhea, loose stools, and more severe GI effects.
  • Increased risk of dehydration due to greater water loss through diarrhea.

Nonsense like this is why, when I consult with new patients, one of my primary goals is to guide them away from eating processed foods to an optimized diet based on their body's unique nutritional type. Ideally, 50 percent to 90 percent of the human diet should consist of uncooked or raw food.

BBC News March 16, 2005

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