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Can Processed Foods Soon Be Harmless?

Any discussion of processed foods usually revolves around the negative effects of consuming them. However, a new study has found a specific human gut bacterial strain called Collinsella intestinalisthat is capable of completely reducing the drawbacks of eating processed foods.

Scientists from Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis discovered that Collinsella intestinalis breaks down the chemical fructoselysine into pieces that do not affect the host’s body. Fructoselysine is one of the chemicals that are formed during food processing. It is commonly found in numerous processed foods that we eat, such as pasta, chocolate, and cereals. In the study, mice were given samples of Collinsella intestinalis as well as processed foods to see how the human gut bacteria would interact with the fructoselysine.

The primary function of the human gut microbiomes is to “digest food otherwise indigestible by human enzymes and deliver nutrients and metabolites for the biological benefit of the host.”

Results from the study showed that mice with the Collinsella intestinalis in their system showed “an increase in the gut microbial communities’ ability to break down fructoselysine into harmless byproducts.” The fructoselysine was “metabolized more efficiently” in the presence of the Collinsella intestinalis.

One scientist from the study noted that “future studies are required before scientists will be able to identify specific capacities of individual microbes to clean up potentially deleterious chemicals produced during modern food manufacturing.”  Humans aren’t completely immune to processed foods just yet.

However, it is still promising that scientists have found that Collinsella intestinalis is in our foreseeable future in terms of being able to eat processed food without any negative effects. Processed foods are consumed by many people throughout the world, and with this recent study they may not be as harmful as people think.

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1 Comment

  1. kangyotype

    Very intriguing article, michaelchondria. The thought of eating processed foods without having to worry about the negative impacts is amazing. I found it very interesting that Collinsella intestinalis was able to break down fructoselysine into byproducts that are not harmful to us. But why is fructoselysine so bad for us to consume? It turns out that high-fructose corn syrup, which is found in many processed foods, can lead to insulin resistance, high triglycerides, high cholesterol, heart disease, and even cancer. Our metabolism can also be altered from eating too much of these addictive foods. These foods also provide no nutritious value and solely provide energy. It also doesn’t help that companies are continually making processed foods that are sweeter, saltier, and fattier than before in order to beat out the competition. Hopefully more research on Collinsella intestinalis is done for humans in the near future to combat this major health problem.

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