Titanium dioxide used for color, texture
I have a really sensitive stomach and from time to time have a flare-up. I recently ate a doughnut (OK - I am busted), and a day later, I had stomach issues. I went back and read the ingredient list and saw titanium dioxide in it. Can you please share some insight on what titanium dioxide is and if that could have been what caused my problem?
First, I applaud you for reading the label. That is a great habit to get into. Now, about the ingredient, titanium dioxide. It is a food additive, used as a whitening pigment, most commonly found in candies, chewing gum and sweets. The scary fact is that it is also used in laundry soaps, paper, paints, plastic cutlery and cosmetics and is one of the most popular ingredients in sunscreen. The FDA (Food and Drug Administration) currently classifies it as GRAS, Generally Regarded As Safe, and estimates most Americans eat up to a trillion nanoparticles of it daily.
According to Dr. Paul Westerhoff, PhD, PE, BCEE, Professor and Vice Provost for Academic Research Programming, Ira A Fulton Schools of Engineering at Arizona State University, titanium dioxide is actually used as a whitener, sometimes as a caking agent, and is used in some products to give them texture (and just as an FYI, titanium dioxide is used in doughnuts to provide color and texture). According to Dr. Westerhoff, children are exposed to more titanium dioxide than adults due to their diets.
Some research has associated consumption of titanium dioxide with bowel disorders, like irritable bowl and Crohn's disease, according to Dr. Michael Greger. Dr. Greger states researchers found evidence of micro and nanoparticles of titanium dioxide in 18 of 18 samples of diseased colon researched - either colon cancer or inflammatory bowel. Of the eighteen patients with active Crohn's, nine were kept on a regular diet and nine were placed on low micro/nanoparticle diets that resulted in a significant decrease in disease severity. By the end of the study, seven of the nine were in total remission.
In addition, The International Agency for Research on Cancer has classified it a class 2 carcinogen. A carcinogen is a substance that causes cellular malfunction, causing the cell to be cancerous and increasing the risk of developing cancer, according to the American Cancer Society,
Keep reading your food product labels. It can make a big difference in your health.
THOUGHT FOR THE WEEK: The secret to happiness is to make others believe they are the cause of it. - A. Batt
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Phylis B. Canion is a doctor of naturopathic medicine and is a certified nutritional consultant; email her at firstname.lastname@example.org. This column is for nutritional information only and is not intended to treat, diagnose or cure.