In episode 106 of his video series, Dr. Larson discusses:

Do you really know what you are eating? There are so many things that go into foods, especially processed foods, that it is hard to know what the labels mean. And then some additives and chemicals aren’t even required to list. Even worse, some companies ignore the rules and don’t list the ingredients that are required.

So you never really know what you are eating. The US is much more lenient about the types of chemicals that you can put in foods when compared to other countries like in the EU or Australia. They have much tighter regulations about what you can add to food. So, often, you have to go outside of the US to find studies about common food additives that can be used in America.

A study out of the University of Sydney published in Frontiers of Nutrition just released findings concerning a common additive called titanium dioxide, which is a nanoparticle, or specifically titanium dioxide E171. Although if the additive is listed on the ingredients, it would likely just say titanium dioxide. Titanium dioxide is found in over 900 different consumer products.


Usually, you will find it in candies, frostings for cakes, sweets, toothpaste and even in mayonnaise. It is a whitening colorant. There is absolutely no nutritional value or purpose for it besides its whitening ability. What researchers found was that it has some pretty disturbing effects. Titanium dioxide can disrupt the composition of the gut microbiome, which is a central component of the overall health of the body. If it is imbalanced and unhealthy, the rest of the body will be too. This particular study found that titanium dioxide disrupts the composition, motility, and function of the microbiome and can affect your health.



A 2017 study, released in Scientific Reports, looked at the effects of titanium dioxide on animals. And what researchers found was that it increased the risk of colon cancer. Titanium dioxide created an inflammatory cascade leading to colon cancer in the animal subjects. Also because titanium dioxide can break down the integrity of the gut barrier, it can get outside of the gut and travel to other organ systems and cause disruption. It was initially thought that it remained in the gut and traveled through the GI system until it was disposed of. But we now know that titanium dioxide can breakdown the gut barrier and make its way into your body.

You need to read labels, or, better yet, eat things that don’t have labels like healthy animal proteins, fresh fruits, and vegetables, that aren’t processed. Hopefully, a company is labeling it, and although you can’t know 100% certain, make sure that you understand what you are eating and what it will do to your health. If you avoid things that can affect you negatively, then you are going to enjoy better health. If you do choose to consume titanium dioxide, then you are taking the risk that it might harm you.

This tiny little substance that is added just to make food look more appealing can have some serious consequences for your health. And it is only one of hundreds of additives and chemicals that we consume daily and might not know about. Know what you are eating to decrease your risk of disease by being a conscientious consumer and reading the labels.


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