Not too long ago I caught a few of my Facebook Friends passing this infographic around with vehement fervour. I was a little surprised to see it but never someone to pass up an opportunity to learn a little, I decided to get stuck in researching what these ingredients are and if there was any credibility to the subtle inference that vegan foods could somehow be toxic. Let’s get stuck in.
Lets start at the top then shall we? Titanium dioxide is a naturally occurring mineral. Commonly referred to as E171 on packaging, it can be extracted from two minerals known as Rutile and Anatase. It’s used in sunscreen and toothpaste too; best known for it’s white pigmentation.
There has been some evidence linking it to Cancer and IBS; France has sought to ban it from food altogether and finally did in January 2020. Tests have been performed on animals, mostly rats, and have demonstrated some worrying findings.
You can find a brief description of the test and findings here: https://allshapes.net/toulouse-researchers-show-that-titanium-dioxide-e171-is-a-toxic-additive-that-is-transmitted-to-the-fetus/
Methylcellulose, commonly displayed as E461 on packaging. It is used in laxatives to bulk your stool and make it easier to pass and as such, isn’t actually a laxative itself. If you have IBS, it can cause some side effects so is definitely one to watch if you do.
It’s used in food as a thickener or emulsifier (it stops foods separating and having to be mixed constantly). It’s use in Vegan Meat Foods is to simulate the texture of meat.
Propylene Glycol, commonly abbreviated as PG, is used in food dressings, cake mixes, popcorn, fast food and many dairy products and yes, it is also used in E-Cigarettes.
It’s stable when consumed orally and will break down naturally within the human body. It’s not not exclusively for vaping however.
Ferric Phosphate is used to fortify foods like breads and cereals, specifically as an Iron Supplement. It was banned within the EU as a food additive in 2007 so it’s rare you’ll find it in anything you buy these days. Slug pesticide is a concentrated form of Ferric Phosphate and as such, would be toxic to most creatures, human or not.
Magnesium Carbonate, commonly known as E504, in it’s simplest form, is a synthetic salt, obtained from the mineral Magnesite. Normally used to stop common sundry items like flour, salt and spices from clumping. Also ideal to stop powder extinguishers clumping too!
It’s most common use is in Antacids and Laxatives. There is some evidence to suggest that too much of this mineral can become toxic but very rare when consuming a balanced diet. It’s probably one to watch if you regularly use Antacids. I found this article very helpful when researching Magnesium Carbonate: 34 Uses of Magnesium Carbonate – Science Struck
So there you have it. There’s a murky element of truth to some of these claims but it’s most certainly not as black and white as it initially seems to be. Ultimately, if you’re consuming a healthy, balanced and well thought out diet and you are mindful of what you put into your body, none of these compounds should worry you too much.
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