Our gut microbiome influences digestion, nutrient absorption, vitamin synthesis, cardiovascular health, immune response, and mental health. And while lifestyle factors like sleep, exercise, fasting, and stress all cause changes to our microbiota, what we eat is by far the most influential and controllable lever we can pull in influencing our microbial health and, thus, our overall health.
Unfortunately, there is no check and balance in our food system to assess how food and food additives interact with our microbiome. Foods are generally regarded as safe (AKA–GRAS status) by the FDA based on their toxicity to us, not our microbiota. And while extensive research shows that the quantity and diversity of plant-based foods promote a healthy and robust microbiome, we are just beginning to understand the safety and impact that additives like emulsifiers in our alternative milks have on our microbes. Because so much is unknown, I turn to products that are taking a stance against using these unnecessary additives like MALK and their delicious plant-based milks.
Considering the popularity of plant-based living coinciding with an explosion in alternative food innovation, we have to ask: What implications do emulsifiers have on our health, and why do we need them?