Food additives that can cause weight gain

Preservatives are added to food to help preserve the foods freshness and prevent mold. A recent study shows that a short chain fatty acid  propionate which is used as a preservative has been shown to increase weight in mice. Let’s talk about food additives that can cause weight gain.

Could it be that what we are eating is actually making us fat? We know that diet and exercise is the most important for healthy well being. However, studies show that food additives do increase insulin resistance and therefore increases the risk of weight gain. We may be better off avoiding these food additives altogether.

Some people believe that there is no such thing as an endocrine disruptor, these additives may just change our metabolic profile. In either case. there is a risk of increased weight gain.

Obesity and  type 2 diabetes have reached epidemic levels. Nearly 40 percent of adults in the United States are classed as obese.

Eating a Western diet which is typical high in processed foods, sugar, and fat increases our risk of for obesity and type 2 diabetes.

food additives that can cause weight gain Propionate is a naturally occurring fatty acid it helps prevent mold and keeps food fresh. It is found in  bread and baked goods, dairy products and cheeses puddings. Is also found in processed meats and even canned fish and beer.

The study from Harvard also looked at humans. Half the participants ingested and the other half ingested to the placebo. As with the mice, the study participants experienced spikes of norepinephrine, glucagon, and FABP4. In addition,  increased blood insulin levels and reduced insulin sensitivity also occurred.

Cause and effect

According to Medical News Today,

“Dr. Tirosh acknowledges that the study’s limitations include that fact that he was unable to show cause and effect of propionate consumption on global obesity and type 2 diabetes”

The EPA has listed propionate as a safe pesticide.

Other food additives that may cause weight gain



Food additives that are commonly used to thicken and stabilize processed foods may disrupt the bacterial makeup of the gut, causing health problems, a new study in animals suggests.

Mono-oleoylglycerol (MOG)

Can increase insulin secretion

Sugar substitute

High fructose corn syrup

High fructose corn syrup is similar to that of sucrose, the low cost of products with high fructose corn syrup may encourage excessive intake.


Sodium benzoate is used as a preservative

Can decrease leptin release

Sodium sulfite is used as a preservative 

Can reduce leptin release. Leptin is known as the satiety hormone, it tells your body you have had enough food. 

endocrine disruptors that cause weight gain

Salt substitute

MSG monosodium  glutamate

May increase food consumption due to flavor enhancement but elevated caloric intake has not been shown to be sustained. 

Food packaging


BPA is found in some plastics. You can identify this on the bottle if it is recycled, it will have a #7  on it.

Higher urinary BA is associated with a larger waist circumference


Found in food packaging

Studies support some phthalates are associated with a larger waist circumference.

Perfluorinated compounds found in dairy, canned fish, peanut butter  and non stick pans.

Is thought to cause dysregulation of energy metabolism.



Organophosphates is used as a pesticide. It is sprayed on may of our fruits and vegetables including strawberries and blueberries

Prenatal exposure has been shown to increase metabolic dysfunction.


1)Amir Tirosh1,2,3,4,*,, Science Translational Medicine  24 Apr 2019:Vol. 11, Issue 489, eaav0120 DOI: 10.1126/scitranslmed.aav0120

2) Simmons AL, Schlezinger JJ, Corkey BE. What Are We Putting in Our Food That Is Making Us Fat? Food Additives, Contaminants, and Other Putative Contributors to Obesity. Curr Obes Rep. 2014;3(2):273–285. doi:10.1007/s13679-014-0094-y  

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