When people start getting serious about their fitness, they often start to opt for well-marketed “scientifically designed” food substitutes instead of actual food. They drop simple fish and chicken, for example, in favor of protein drinks and bars.

We've written before about one set of problems that causes, as breaking food down and then reassembling it from its constituent components leaves out all kinds of important micro-nutrients.

But problems exist in the opposite direction, too. A number of ‘harmless’ additives used in those reassembled food products are increasingly turning out to be not so harmless after all.

A study recently published in the journal Nature, for example, demonstrated that two widely-used emulsifiers (carboxymethylcellulose and polysorbate-80) threw off the gut microbiome in mice, sufficient to cause inflammation, colitis, obesity, and metabolic syndrome.

As the researchers conclude, “the broad use of emulsifying agents might be contributing to an increased societal incidence of obesity/metabolic syndrome and other chronic inflammatory diseases.”

The solution? Eat real food instead of food products. It’s the simple, healthy choice.