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Bread preservative linked to obesity, diabetes

helga04

My study about the effects of propionate bread preservative (280-283) on children’s behaviour was published in a medical journal in 2002.

Now a joint study between researchers in Israel and the United States has found that propionate plays a role in the metabolic process that could potentially contribute to the increase in obesity and diabetes. The Institute of Endocrinology at Sheba Medical Center is recognized as one of the top 10 hospitals worldwide by Newsweek.

I am not surprised. In my study, we found what we were looking for - irritability, restlessness, short attention span and sleep disturbance in children. But there were also reports from adults and children about “cravings” and “addiction” to preserved bread and many more: 

• migraine and headaches • gastrointestinal symptoms such as stomach aches, irritable bowel, diarrhoea • urinary urgency • eczema and other itchy rashes •  depression, fatigue, foggy brain • speech delay  • impairment of memory and concentration • tachycardia (fast heart beat) or arrhythmia • seizures • muscle pain

In the latest study, when researchers gave mice the same amount of propionate as is used in food, the mice gained weight and developed a resistance to insulin.

When they gave propionate to 14 healthy adults in a double-blind placebo-controlled study, those with the propionate showed higher levels of certain hormones, including glucagon, which works to raise the concentration of glucose in the bloodstream.

“The dramatic increase in the incidence of obesity and diabetes over the past 50 years cannot be attributed to genetic changes, and involves contributing environmental and dietary factors,” said lead author Dr. Amir Tirosh, director of the Institute of Endocrinology at Sheba Medical Center.

“One such factor that warrants attention is the extensive use of chemicals in the processing, preservation and packaging of foods. We are exposed to hundreds of these chemicals on a daily basis, and most have never been tested for their long-term metabolic effects.”

How to avoid propionate bread preservative

- avoid E280-283 (propionic acid, propionates)
- avoid “cultured dextrose”, whey, wheat or rice
- avoid “fermented wheat” wheat flour or rice
- don’t trust a label that says “all natural, no artificial preservatives” read the ingredient list

See more on our Propionate factsheet 

Reader stories

“My ex-husband … would often eat foods he was 'addicted to' (bread with 282 was his major addiction) “– from story [1231]

“I was diagnosed with chronic fatigue … I decided to try preservative free bread and GUESS WHAT? I don't have chronic fatigue after all - it was all due to that stupid preservative …” - from story [1164]

“We gave up 282 preservatives in bread…  within a week my wife [aged 56] was free of urinary incontinence” – from story [338]

“When I eat bread, it makes the rhythm of my heart go absolutely crazy. It misses one beat in four and makes me feel quite unwell … [with]  a 24 hour heart monito … 35 minutes after I ate four slices of bread, the graph went wild …" - from story [197]

"I used to get very moody, stressed out and anxious …  I also had an ongoing rash on my body, a feeling of ants crawling over my skin, was very tired and couldn't get up in the morning … After three days [without preserved bread]  I felt really different, better than I have for 6 or 7 years … I used to be a school teacher. If the kids in my class were feeling like I was, I can understand why they behaved the way they did" – from story [207]

"The introduction of preservative 282 in purchased bread coincided with a decline in our 8 year old daughter’s abilities. Her bread intake increased … she was unable to concentrate for more than about one minute at a time …  we returned to using our bread maker after not having used it for nearly two years.  After about ten days [on preservative-free bread], we had a different child … She finished in 10 minutes what she previously couldn’t finish in 4 hours …" - from story [329]

More info

Tirosh A et al, The short-chain fatty acid propionate increases glucagon and FABP4 production, impairing insulin action in mice and humans. Sci Transl Med. 2019 Apr 24;11(489) - the Institute of Endocrinology at Sheba Medical Center is recognized as one of the top 10 hospitals worldwide by Newsweek. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/31019023

Our bread preservative factsheet

Blog - Caution: “cultured dextrose”

Dengate, S. and A. Ruben (2002). "Controlled trial of cumulative behavioural effects of a common bread preservative." J Paediatr Child Health 38(4): 373-6. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12173999   download full text

Two failsafe wraps: MEB Foods Khobz Wholemeal Pita (Coles https://shop.coles.com.au/a/a-national/product/meb-khobz-wholemeal-500g- ) and Nana Premium Lebanese Bread White (Woolworths https://www.woolworths.com.au/shop/productdetails/650860/nana-premium-lebanese-bread-white) and of course the Mountain Bread range is all free of preservatives (Coles and Woolworths http://www.mountainbread.com.au/)

 

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Food intolerance

Some of the many symptoms of food intolerance that can be helped by diet:

Airways: Asthma, Stuffy blocked or runny nose/ nasal polyps, Frequent nose bleeds, Catarrh, chronic throat-clearing, Sinusitis, Frequent ear infections, Frequent tonsillitis, Frequent colds and flu, symptoms of Samter's Triad, hayfever, allergic rhinitis Skin: Eczema, Urticaria (hives), Cradlecap, Other skin rashes, Angioedema (swollen lips, eyes, tongue), Geographic tongue, Pruritis (itching), Rosaceae, Allergic shiners (dark circles under eyes), Pallor (pale skin), Flushing, Excessive sweating, Body odour, Sore vagina in children, Alopecia (patchy baldness) Digestive system: Irritable bowel symptoms (IBS), Recurrent mouth ulcers, Indigestion, Nausea, Bad breath, Vomiting, Diarrhea, Stomach ache, Bloating, Reflux in babies, adults, Constipation, Colic in babies, adults, Sluggish bowel syndrome (feeling of "more to come"), Encopresis, Soiling (sneaky poos), Dairy intolerance, Gluten and wheat intolerance, Eating disorders (ed), anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, binge eating disorder (BED)  Bladder: Bedwetting, Daytime incontinence, Urinary urgency, Recurrent inflammation (cystitis) Skeletal: Growing pains, Gout, Arthritis, joint pain, arthralgia Eyes: Nystagmus (involuntary movement), Blurred vision Muscles: Low muscle tone, Myalgia (muscle pain), Tics (involuntary movement), Tremor, Leg 'jiggling', Heart: Rapid heart beat, Heart palpitations, Cardiac arrhythmias, Pseudo heart attack (feeling of impending doom, chest pressure, pain down arm), Tachycardia (fast heart beat), Angina-type pain, HHT Central nervous system: Headaches or migraines, unexplained tiredness, Chronic fatigue, Feeling 'hung-over', Confusion, Dizziness, Agitation, Tinnitus (noises in ear), HyperacusisAuditory sensory processing disorder (ASPD), Paraesthesia (pins and needles), Dysaesthesia (numbness), Hypoglycemia, Salicylate-induced hypoglycemia, Epileptic seizures, Fits, Sensory symptoms of multiple sclerosis, Scents and perfume sensitivity, Symptoms of lupus Anxiety: Panic attacks, Depression, Obsessive ruminations (repetitively focusing on bad feelings and experiences from the past), Self harm, Suicidal thoughts, actions, teeth grinding (bruxism) Impaired memory: Vague or forgetful, Unable to concentrate, Won't persevere, Unmotivated, Disorganised, Easily distracted, Difficulty reading and writing Speech: Loud voice (no volume control), Speech hard to understand, Speech delay, Selective mutism, Stuttering, Repetitive noises, Talks too much (empty chatter) Coordination: Poor handwriting, Poor coordination, Frequent accidents, Vertigo Sleep: Difficulty falling asleep, Restless legs syndrome (RLS), Persistent night waking, Insomnia, Nightmares/night terrors/sleepwalking, Sleepless babies, Sleep apnoea Mood: Brain snaps, Mood swings, Premenstrual tension, Grizzly or unhappy, Cries easily or often, Irritable, Uncooperative Oppositional defiance: ODD, Loses temper, Argumentative, Refuses requests, Defies rules, Deliberately annoys others, Blames others for own mistakes, Touchy, easily annoyed, Angry, resentful Other behaviour: ADHD, ADD, Autism, Aspergers, Inattentive, easily bored, unmotivated, 'Unable to entertain himself', Restless, fidgety or overactive, Head banging, Hyperactivity, Fights with siblings, Difficulty making friends, Destructive, aggressive, Unreasonable, Tantrums, Demanding, never satisfied, Disruptive, Discipline is ineffective, Pervasive Development Disorder

Some causes of food intolerance:

Food additives: Artificial colours: (food dyes, artificial colors) tartrazine 102 (E102, FD&C Yellow No.5), quinoline yellow 104 (E104), sunset yellow 110 (E110, FD&C Yellow No.6), azorubine, carmoisine 122 (E122), amaranth 123 (E123), ponceau, brilliant scarlet 124 (E124), erythrosine 127 (E127, FD&C Red No.3), allura red 129 (E129, FD&C Red No.40), indigotine, indigo carmine 132 (E132, FD&C Blue No.2), brilliant blue 133 (E133, FD&C Blue No.1), green S, food green, acid brilliant green 142 (E142), fast green FCF 143 (E143, FD&C Green No.3), brilliant black 151 (E151), brown, chocolate brown 155 (E155)  Natural colours: (colors) Annatto (annatto extracts, bixin, norbixin, 160b, E160b) Preservatives: Sorbates: (sorbic acid 200, E200, sodium sorbate 201, E201, potassium sorbate 202, E202, calcium sorbate 203, E203) Benzoates, hydroxybenzoates, parabens: (including benzoic acid 210, E210, sodium benzoate 211, E211, potassium benzoate 212, E212, calcium benzoate 213, E213, ethyl para-hydroxybenzoate 214, E214, sodium ethyl para-hydroxybenzoate 215, E215, propylparaben 216, E216, propyl 4 hydroxybenzoate 217, E217, methylparaben 218, E218) Sulfites, bisulfites, metabisulfites: (200-228, sulphites, sulphur dioxide, sulfur dioxide 220, E220, sodium sulphite 221, E221, sodium bisulphite 222, E222, sodium metabisulphite 223, E223, potassium metabisulphite 224, E224, potassium sulphite 225, E225, calcium sulphite 226, E226, calcium bisulfite 227, E227, potassium bisulphite 228, E228) Nitrates & nitrites: (249-252, potassium nitrite 249, E249, sodium nitrite 250, E250, sodium nitrate 251, E251, potassium nitrate 252, E252 Propionates: (bread preservative, mould inhibitor 280-283: propionic acid 280, E280, sodium propionate 281, E281, calcium propionate 282, E282, potassium propionate 283, E283, 'natural' preservatives in bread, cultured wheat, cultured dextrose, cultured whey) Synthetic antioxidants: Gallates 310, 311, 312 (E310, E311, E312), tBHQ 319, E319, BHA 320, E320, BHT 321, E321 Flavour enhancers: (flavor enhancers) glutamic acid and all glutamates, MSG monosodium glutamate 620-625, yeast extract, hydrolysed vegetable protein HVP, disodium guanylate 627 (E627, DSG, GMP), disodium inosinate 631 (E631, DSI, IMP), ribonucleotides 635 (E635, I&G, nucleotides)  Flavours: (flavors)  Natural food chemicals: Salicylates: salicylic acid, sodium salicylate, acetylsalicylic acid Biogenic amines: vasoactive amines (tyramine, phenylethylamine, histamine and others) Glutamates:  Natural foods: Dairy: milk, yoghurt, cheese, butter, lactose-free milks Wheat or Gluten: (wheat, rye, barley, oats) Soy: Sugar free sweeteners:Sugar free sweeteners: polyols, sorbitol, mannitol

On this website, failsafe refers to foods that are Free of Additives and Low in Salicylates, Amines and Flavour Enhancers. Note that copyright applies to the commercial use of the term "failsafe" in the food and health context so as to control inappropriate use by the food and health industries.