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Do you need MORE fiber in your diet? Disturbing!

Nutrition-wise blog:

Is cellulose the latest food additive?

Wood pulp (cellulose) makes ice cream creamier, at least according to a recent newspaper article that's created quite a buzz. I thought I'd provide a bit of background on that surprising claim and give you something to chew on.

The wood pulp the article refers to is cellulose. Cellulose is the basic building block of the cell walls of all plants and is considered a complex carbohydrate. Various forms of cellulose are generally recognized as safe (GRAS) food substances according to the Food and Drug Administration.

Small cellulose particles impart a smooth consistency, mouthfeel and stickiness to products such as salad dressings, barbecue sauces and, yes, ice cream. Longer fiber lengths provide structure and a firmer texture to baked goods. Cellulose also helps capture and retain moisture and keeps products from seeming dry.

We're seeing more foods with added fiber, such as cellulose, because most people aren't eating enough foods that are naturally high in fiber — namely vegetables, fruits and whole grains. Manufacturers are also adding cellulose because it means they can use less fat and sugar without losing the desired mouthfeel or moistness. The rising cost of flour, sugar and oil may be another reason for this trend.

How do you feel about the idea of eating cellulose? It may be GRAS, but wouldn't you rather eat fresh fruits and vegetables to get the fiber and the other essential nutrients, vitamins and minerals they provide?


Who's putting wood in your food?

These 10 big restaurant chains and food companies are just some of those that add cellulose to their products. And it may actually be good for you. Let's hope so.

By TheStreet

Are you getting what you pay for on your plate? A recent lawsuit against Taco Bell raised questions about the quality of food that Americans eat.

Chief among the general concerns is the use of cellulose (read: wood pulp), an additive used in everything from crackers and ice creams to puddings and baked goods. Cellulose is virgin wood pulp that's processed into cellulose gum, powdered cellulose and other materials. It's also used in plastics, detergents, pet litter and asphalt.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration considers cellulose safe for human consumption and sets no limit on the amount that can be used in food products. The Department of Agriculture, which regulates meats, has set a content limit of 3.5% on the use of cellulose.

Cellulose adds fiber to food, helping people who don't get the recommended daily intake of fiber in their diets. It also extends the shelf life of processed foods. Plus, cellulose's water-absorbing properties can mimic fat, allowing consumers to reduce their fat intake. Perhaps most important to food processors is that cellulose is a relatively cheap ingredient.

TheStreet has rounded up a list of popular foods that use cellulose. It's not an exhaustive list, so consumers should read food labels carefully.

by on Jan. 20, 2013 at 6:30 PM
Replies (21-30):
by Captain Underpants on Jan. 21, 2013 at 10:19 AM

Actually, cellulose is in nearly every plant you consume.

Quoting LntLckrsCmQut:

We get real fiber from real foods. Cellulose is only a concern when you eat processed foods and foods with a bunch of added shit.

by on Jan. 21, 2013 at 10:22 AM
They put beaver ass gland flavouring in food, ie: vanilla ice cream and legally label it as "natural."

Posted on the NEW CafeMom Mobile
by on Jan. 21, 2013 at 10:23 AM

Quoting frogbender:

Actually, cellulose is in nearly every plant you consume.

Quoting LntLckrsCmQut:

We get real fiber from real foods. Cellulose is only a concern when you eat processed foods and foods with a bunch of added shit.

In one of the articles I posted one of the companies purchase wood pulp variety cellulose for it's thickening and filling ability, as well as its fiber content, because of how cost efficient it is. This isn't exactly an article about all cellulose, but moreso the kind that's man made.

by on Jan. 21, 2013 at 10:25 AM
1 mom liked this

Organic Valley uses powdered cellulose made from wood pulp in its shredded-cheese products. The company would prefer not to use a synthetic ingredient, but cellulose is bland, white and repels moisture, making it the favored choice over products such as potato starch, says Tripp Hughes, director of product marketing for Organic Valley.

at least it's natural

by on Jan. 21, 2013 at 10:27 AM

Quoting frogbender:

I appreciate the link and I get what you're contributing. How do you feel about the manufactured cellulose that is broken down wood pulp?

by Captain Underpants on Jan. 21, 2013 at 10:29 AM

This is a much less alarmist article that explains much better the differences in how cellulose is used in foods, and how the only reason that it may be bad for you is by you not getting all of the nutrition you need, as it is used in replacing some of the good fats in certain foods.

There's wood in my food? Wood-derived ingredients common in processed food

Tuesday, October 04, 2011 by: PF Louis

Learn more:

(NaturalNews) Lately there have been rumors about sawdust used as fiber filling in processed foods. Well, not quite sawdust. The cellulose used in many foods is processed powder or pulp from virgin wood. It's becoming more common. Though not toxic, what good is it?

Wood cellulose explained

Since the virgin wood pulps and powders are not toxic, the FDA says it's okay to use in food. The food industry and FDA classify wood cellulose as fiber. The only limit on wood cellulose fillers is 3.5% in meat. All other foods have no limits for adding wood cellulose.

Obviously, profit is the food industry's main focus. Up to 30% savings are realized by using cellulose over other ingredients. After all, food ingredients are rising in cost. And usually cellulose adds to the shelf life.

The products using cellulose range from junk food outlets, to supermarket shelf foods, and even one known organic food item. The food industry and cellulose manufacturers publicize the health virtues of cellulose fiber. They promote "lower fat" and "high fiber" with their cellulose added foods.

The irony is that in some cases this rings true. Using cellulose to replace some bleached white flour and trans-fatty processed oils could actually be of some health benefit to the SAD (Standard American Diet) consumer.

But the premise of low or no fat dairy products made creamier with cellulose is based on health disinformation to begin with. We need good fats, and the processed food industry is responsible for eliminating good fats (too expensive) and substituting cheap toxic fats.

Wood cellulose is not toxic. But it's not food either. Our enzymes cannot digest cellulose. Yes, we all need to take in fiber. Dry legumes, whole grains, and most fresh plant foods contain fiber. Freshly baked whole grain breads from a trusted bakery contain natural fibers too. These are fibers that are part of actual whole foods.

Relying on packaged foods may lead to your getting more nutrition from licking the wrapping then eating the food. So stick to fresh produce, bulk items for beans and grains, and a reliable bakery.

Cellulose labels

Virgin wood pulp is cooked and chemically processed into a powder to separate the cellulose from the pulp. Minimal processing allows the powder to be classified as organic and can be used in USDA organic packaged foods or labeled with "containing organic ingredients." More chemically modified cellulose is used in junk or SAD foods.

Cellulose in the ingredients list is a giveaway. Another term used for wood cellulose is microcrystalline cellulose(MCC). Cellulose gel and cellulose gum are other descriptions of wood cellulose. A more technical term of carboxymethyl cellulose could appear on an ingredient list as well.

Some products using wood cellulose

Organic Valley uses minimally modified cellulose powder in their shredded cheeses. Kraft uses cellulose in their shredded cheese also. This keeps the shreds of cheese from lumping together.

General Mills (GM) is a devoted woody. They use wood cellulose in Log Cabin syrup, Ice Cream Shake Mix, Smoothie Base (Mango, Strawberry, and Strawberry Banana) Mozzarella Cheese Sticks, and Honey Mustard Dipping Sauce.

GM also uses cellulose in Fiber One Ready-to-Eat Muffins and their tortilla flour. Those items are used with Meaty Breakfast Burrito, Hearty Breakfast Bowl, and their fajita chicken and chicken salad products.

Kellogg's is another good woody. MorningStar chicken nuggets, patties, and veggie wings have their share of cellulose. So does Kellogg's family of Eggo waffles and Cinnabon pancakes and snack bars.

This was just a sampling. Read those labels. You may not be getting poisoned, but you're eating empty calories, albeit less.

Sources for this article include:

Learn more:
by on Jan. 21, 2013 at 10:36 AM
1 mom liked this

I'm talking about man made cellulose which is what the article is talking about.

Quoting frogbender:

Actually, cellulose is in nearly every plant you consume.

Quoting LntLckrsCmQut:

We get real fiber from real foods. Cellulose is only a concern when you eat processed foods and foods with a bunch of added shit.

by Platinum Member on Jan. 21, 2013 at 10:37 AM

No, we're not deficient in fiber, but we ARE deficient in magnesium.  Too much fiber in the diet can actually work against you as it inhibits absorbtion of vital nutrients by speeding up the transit time of digested food.

I used to buy Polonar All Fruit spreads instead of jams and jellies.  I stopped because they now put fiber in their fruit spreads.  Why in the heck do we need fiber in jelly?

by Silver Member on Jan. 21, 2013 at 10:41 AM
1 mom liked this

I have been on a whole foods diet for a few years, I googled all of the ingredients in a box of Hamburger Helper once and never looked back.  Cellulose has been in processed foods for as long as I can remember.  It was one of the less disturbing items in the ingredients list.

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