Emulsifiers-Good or Bad?

dipat2005 Posts: 1,203 ✭✭✭✭

I read about a new emulsifier that is being added to food and hasn't been tested yet. I remember it started with a T. The problem is that I am very disorganized and although I wrote down the name I cannot find it.

Here is a website that talks about emulsifiers: https://www.healthyfood.com/advice/emulsifiers-friend-or-foe/

I have made my own mayonnaise and salad dressings before but found that salads are sometimes too much for my body. I would much rather eat greens and other things by themselves.

I am just concerned that while we look at other ingredients that we forgetting the lesser items that may be bothering our bodies without our knowledge.

Do any of you have concerns about such things? Are emulsifiers good or bad when they are added to our food?


  • Linda Bittle
    Linda Bittle Posts: 1,469 ✭✭✭✭✭

    I think they make a lot of foods more palatable. Texture in food is an important factor for me. However, I do very much prefer those that are as close to natural as possible.

    I don't recall ever having at least some processed foods that didn't contain lecithin or carrageenan as additives. (Ice cream!) I'm becoming more aware of food additives, though, and look for ice cream without the carrageenan.

    I'm blessed to have few problems with my digestion, and have no food allergies that I am aware of. And I think it is a really good thing to eliminate as much artificial stuff in my diet as possible.

    An interesting side note: I have recently completely retired from my job in the hospital food service department. You would be astounded (or perhaps not) to see how much prepackaged, high salt, high fat food is served in a hospital. I was eating, for free, 3 meals a day from the tray line after all the patients were fed. My blood pressure and weight went up and my legs swelled up. Eventually, my ankles and feet were so painful that I couldn't handle it any longer. I've been cooking at home since December 3rd, and my feet feel almost normal!

  • Torey
    Torey Posts: 5,395 admin

    This is a link to a pretty extensive list of emulsifiers commonly used in the food industry. Most are just chemical names. I don't see one that starts with T, though.

    The best way to avoid emulsifiers in food is to avoid packaged, processed foods. Especially processed foods with chemical names as part of the ingredients. Phosphates are particularly nasty. Propylene glycol (aka polyethylene glycol) is the main active ingredient in laxatives such as Restoralax, Clearlax, Lax-a-day, etc. I make sure I look for that one on labels.:)

    I like ice cream and chocolate just as much as the next person (maybe more). I hope to find a source of milk soon so that I can go back to homemade ice cream. But the carrageenan that is in ice cream is one of the least offensive emulsifiers on the list. It is made from seaweed not a beaker in a lab.

    When I make a salad dressing that I want to prevent from separating, I use a bit of mustard. It still separates a bit but only after standing for several hours.

  • Tave
    Tave Posts: 951 ✭✭✭✭✭

    I didn't know that about mustard. Though I've practically quit using salad dressing because fresh basil, oregano, nasturtium flowers, and other herbs, along with lettuce and dandelion leaves, don't need much more than oil and vinegar.

  • dipat2005
    dipat2005 Posts: 1,203 ✭✭✭✭

    @torey I didn't know about the mustard either. Do you use the dry mustard for that? Thank you for the mustard idea and the list of emulsifiers.

  • Monek Marie
    Monek Marie Posts: 3,535 ✭✭✭✭✭

    I try to stay away from anything added to foods. The more natural ther better, and saying that - its pretty difficult in todays world. I just cut out certain foods a step at a time and try to work with neighbors and friends to make better natural meals.

  • dipat2005
    dipat2005 Posts: 1,203 ✭✭✭✭

    @Monek Marie I am trying to be better about not eat pre-packaged processed foods. I will get better as time goes by. I have really tried to clean up my eating and making things from scratch more.

  • Torey
    Torey Posts: 5,395 admin

    @dipat3005 I usually use a Dijon or stoneground type of mustard when making dressings. I've never tried the dry mustard but it is a good thought. I will report back after I have made my next dressing. It will certainly increase the heat factor.

  • Monek Marie
    Monek Marie Posts: 3,535 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Its too easy at times to want to eat prepackaged when short on time. I am trying to find mixes I can make up ahead and use when I am short on time without all those extra added chemicals

  • Michelle D
    Michelle D Posts: 1,356 ✭✭✭✭✭

    I came across this article a week or two ago. It explains damage of specific emulsifiers on the body.

    Ubiquitous Food Additive Alters Human Microbiota and Intestinal Environment - Georgia State University News - Faculty, Institute for Biomedical Sciences, Press Releases, Research, University Research


  • LaurieLovesLearning
    LaurieLovesLearning Posts: 7,210 admin
    edited December 2021

    This might be just a repeat of the study that @Michelle D posted, but here, more has been mentioned on the subject. It is in milks, ice creams, breads, sausage (I would like to know what types or if it is in the saltpeter or something), & other food products.

    It is interesting to me that it is in foods that people are told to avoid due to gluten, dairy, processed meats (or some just say "meat"), etc. Generalizing about a food or anything else is easy. Looking at specific reasons instead of throwing everything out over a generalization takes thought & work.

    I am thinking that it is most likely not the natural food that is the issue, but the product that substitutes for real food. I wonder then, if you eat the substitute long enough, may it be that there is enough damage done that you might not possibly be able to digest the real food either, maybe without repair work, or maybe at all? It's something to consider.

    Another link that mentions a few more foods it is in & other uses pharmaceutical, etc., and that it can be listed as "dietary fiber":

    And one more, indicating mustard & ketchups, etc.:


  • Torey
    Torey Posts: 5,395 admin

    You just had me going through all my mustards, @LaurieLovesLearning. 😀

    There was only one I got rid of. It was one my daughter had brought into the house. All of my other mustards were OK, but I tend to buy craft mustards. There is a local company that makes very good mustards, with several flavours and heat levels.

    Cellulose is simply another term for refined sawdust, as is indicated by the fact that it is produced in a sawmill. Its a main ingredient in many of the "added fiber" foods that are being promoted as healthy for our digestion. I prefer to get my fibre in the form of real food.