In this article I am going to talk about cellulose, why it is found in dietary supplements and food products. I am going to share what really makes the most of the benefits and the negatives.
In the plant world, cellulose adds strength to cell walls. It is a carbohydrate and some animals can digest it, but humans cannot.
What this means is that it is a fiber. It is difficult for some people to understand how something we cannot digest can be so good for us. I’m sure you know that fiber is healthy, right?
It helps with weight loss by making you feel full, aids with digestion, lowers blood sugar, cholesterol, and more.
Still, most people don’t get enough fiber. WebMD recommends that adults eat about 30 grams a day. Some people estimate that the average person in the US eats 15 grams a day.
Adding cellulose to food increases the fiber content without changing the taste or flavor.
Another reason it is added is to add bulk to food, but not to increase calories. Of course, sometimes they add sugar to it and that’s different. When you see diet foods, they most likely contain cellulose.
Another great use is to thicken a liquid, like a sauce. For example, do you like watery spaghetti sauce? No and can be used to thicken spaghetti sauce as well as other sauces.
It can be used in ice cream to thicken it as well as in whipped cream.
At this point, you may be wondering why it is found in dietary supplements. It can be used to combine vitamins and increase the volume of some that are liquid. It can be used to facilitate swallowing. Of course, considering the size of some supplement pills, maybe they are adding too much cellulose, right?
It can also be used to protect nutrients in the same way that it protects plant cells. We have some crazy things floating in the air and when the air comes in contact with vitamins or herbal ingredients it can degrade their quality.
This is one of the reasons why liquid supplements are often not that good. Some companies market liquid supplements that are better for absorption.
According to consumer reports, this is not true and, based on various tests, absorption rates are the same for liquid supplements and pills.
Another downside to liquid supplements is that they cannot be enteric coated and many things are destroyed by stomach acid.
Let’s talk about the negatives. The biggest risk of consuming cellulose really comes down to eating too much.
The signs of this can be constipation, having a lot of gas, feeling bloated, being dehydrated because you absorb water and ironically you could have diarrhea and even weight gain.