If wood pulp isn’t your definition of fiber, give up these foods

Did you see the news earlier in the week about the cheese company that got in trouble claiming their parmesan products were 100 percent parmesan when they were not?

According to the publicized reports, Castle Cheese Inc., produced and marketed several brands of 100% Parmesan cheese that were anything but. They actually contained a mixture of Swiss, mozzarella, white cheddar and… cellulose — also known as wood pulp.

What? You don’t like a little wood pulp with your pasta?

If not for a disgruntled former employee of a cheese company who turned whistleblower about an adulterated product, many Americans would have never learned that it is in fact, not at all uncommon to find wood pulp in your food — especially processed foods.

It only made the news because this company got caught using more of it than they should to skimp out on providing a quality product that costs more to manufacture. We can only speculate how many other food manufacturers are doing the same thing — because wood pulp makes up much more of the foods in the American standard diet that you might imagine…

It’s the reason your store-bought grated cheese doesn’t clump, your favorite brand of soft and chewy chocolate chip cookies don’t get hard, and the bread you grab from the market shelf stays soft and fluffy for weeks. It’s also why most ice cream is creamy.

You’ll find it in the foods of many fast food chains where it’s used as a binding agent in buns, tortillas, pancakes and so on. And as with most food additives, there’s a problem…

Wood pulp is indigestible

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration classifies it as “fiber” and says it is safe to eat in some cases. That’s why they gave it the all-clear for use in the food industry.

However, cellulose is an indigestible fiber starch, and if large amounts are digested, the additive can result in “dietary bulk, reducing the nutritional value of such foodstuffs and possibly exerting a laxative effect.”

That’s appetizing isn’t it? No thanks, FDA — I prefer to get my fiber from fruits and veggies… not lumber.

But that’s not all you should be concerned about…

A study last year, published in the journal Nature, found evidence that these chemicals in food can alter the gut bacteria, or microbiome, potentially causing intestinal inflammation which makes a person more likely to develop inflammatory bowel disease, metabolic syndrome and significant weight gain.

These are the signature health problems of today’s America. And the researchers saw them develop in mice in the lab after giving them doses equivalent to the amount used in nearly all processed foods.

The gut bacteria in these mice were so changed that they were able to infiltrate the lining of the intestines (this can lead to leaky gut). They also saw increased food consumption, obesity, hypoglycemia and insulin resistance.

Wood pulp is just one processed food additive in a sea of many — about 3,000 actually. Many of these chemicals are linked to various cancers, heart disease, diabetes and a wide range of health problems.

I’m convinced, as are many experts, that most people suffering with unexplained headaches, bowel troubles or allergy-like symptoms, can blame it on these problematic additives found in processed foods.

What can you do?

A couple of things. You can become a label reader or you can choose the foods that don’t require a label. I would suggest the latter.

Whole and natural foods like fresh organic meats, fruits and vegetables do not require a label because they are without added ingredients. If you eat a whole food diet, you will be a lot healthier and won’t have to worry about what you are putting in your body. It’s one of the reasons I follow a paleo-styled diet.

Before I went on the paleo diet, my digestive system never did its job without complaint. Constipation, diarrhea, stomach pains and bloating were near-constant companions. It’s amazing how much better you can feel when you give up certain foods, including ones no one but the FDA would ever consider a food. Can’t say I miss the wood pulp one bit.

Margaret Cantwell

By Margaret Cantwell

Margaret Cantwell began her paleo diet in 2010 in an effort to lose weight. Since then, the diet has been instrumental in helping her overcome a number of other health problems. Thanks to the benefits she has enjoyed from her paleo diet and lifestyle, she dedicates her time as Editor of Easy Health Digest™, researching and writing about a broad range of health and wellness topics, including diet, exercise, nutrition and supplementation, so that readers can also be empowered to experience their best health possible.