Our heroic little fuzzy friends, mice, have taken another one for the team (our team, not theirs). Scientists recently fed mice a diet of emulsifiers commonly found in many of our processed foods. Turns out these emulsifiers may be emulsifying the mucus lining that protects our gut lining. This could be via direct action or by abetting pro-inflammatory gut microbiota. The emulsified mice had a more pro-inflammatory microbiome in their poop. This leads to more inflammation of our gut lining, and possibly contributes to health issues like inflammatory bowel disease (IBD).
This study provides further evidence that processed foods suck (to paraphrase Michael Pollan) and that we have to be careful how we screw with our gut microbiota. We may be getting closer to a cure for IBD, among other things. We’re on the verge of some big health breakthroughs. Meanwhile, let’s hope the mice don’t go Secret-of-NIMH on us.