Emulsifier in food

Emulsifier in food

Emulsifiers made from plant, animal and synthetic sources commonly are added to processed foods such as mayonnaise, ice cream and baked goods to create a smooth texture, prevent separation and extend shelf life. A food emulsifier, also called an emulgent, is a surface-active agent that acts as a border between two immiscible liquids such as oil and water, allowing them to be blended into stable emulsions.

Emulsifiers also reduce stickiness, control crystallization and prevent separation. Emulsifiers create two types of emulsions: either droplets of oil dispersed in water or droplets of water dispersed in oil. Within the emulsion, there is a continuous and dispersed phase. In an oil-in-water emulsion, the continuous phase is the water and the dispersed phase is the oil; conversely, in a water-in-oil emulsion, the oil is the continuous phase. Emulsions also can be made by applying mechanical force from a blender or homogenizer, which breaks down the dispersed phase into tiny droplets that become suspended in the continuous phase.

Low-fat spreads, ice cream, margarine, salad dressings and many other creamy sauces are kept in stable emulsions with the addition of emulsifiers. These additives also are widely used in other foods such as peanut butter and chocolate. Commonly used emulsifiers in modern food production include mustard, soy and egg lecithin, mono- and diglycerides, polysorbates, carrageenan, guar gum and canola oil.

Lecithin in egg yolks is one of the most powerful and oldest forms of an animal-derived emulsifier used to stabilize oil in water emulsions, for example, in mayonnaise and hollandaise sauce.

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Safety of emulsifiers is carefully regulated and tested by the U. Food and Drug Administration. Additives are never given permanent approval. The FDA continually reviews the safety of approved additives, based on the best scientific knowledge, to determine if approvals should be modified or withdrawn. Earlier inthe FDA reviewed and confirmed the safety of carrageenan, an emulsifier whose safety has been questioned.

Most concerns about food additives target synthetic ingredients that are added to foods. Published peer-reviewed intervention studies involving emulsifiers are limited to animals. A mouse study published in Nature found that two common synthetic emulsifiers, carboxymethylcellulose CMC or polysorbate 80 P80triggered weight gain and low-grade symptoms of inflammation and metabolic syndrome after 12 weeks. A follow-up study by Gewirtz, a professor of biomedical sciences at Georgia State University, and his colleagues, published in Cancer Research, suggested the changes in gut bacteria from emulsifiers could trigger bowel cancer.

A small clinical trial currently is underway to evaluate the role of CMC in humans. In response to questions about the safety of some emulsifiers, a team of FDA scientists conducted a review of seven emulsifiers commonly used in food, including CMC and P80, to determine whether these ingredients pose any risk to human health. Their findings, published inconfirmed that emulsifiers remained safe at the estimated exposure levels.

Food additives, including emulsifiers, play an important role in our food supply. Consumers who are concerned about these ingredients are encouraged to read labels and consume more minimally processed foods.

emulsifier in food

Kathleen Zelman.Nature is good at making emulsions, and the classic example is milk, where a complex mixture of fat droplets are suspended in an aqueous solution. Emulsifiers are the chemicals that make emulsions happen. Nature uses proteins and phospholipids, and many emulsifiers used in modern food production are based on these natural substances. An emulsifier is a molecule in which one end likes to be in an oily environment and the other in a water environment.

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To make an oil-in-water emulsion, such as mayonnaise, droplets of oil molecules are surrounded by the oil-loving end of the emulsifier molecules. This leaves the water-loving ends on the outside of the droplet, and so they sit happily in water, giving a homogeneous liquid rather than an unappealing mixture of water and oily droplets.

Ice cream is another food that would not exist were it not for emulsifiers. It is both a foam and an emulsion, and its texture results from the ice crystals and unfrozen water it contains.

The emulsifiers that are used commercially come from both natural and synthetic sources. They include:. Lecithins E are mixtures of phospholipids such as phosphatidyl choline and phosphatidylethanolamine, and are usually extracted from sources such as egg yolk and soybeans. The precise composition of the phospholipids depends on the source. Uses include salad dressings, baked goods and chocolate.

Esters of monoglycerides of fatty acids Ea-f are made from natural fatty acids, glycerol and an organic acid such as acetic, citric, lactic or tartaric. The fatty acids are usually from a vegetable source, though animal fats can be used.

Products that use them include ice cream, cakes and crisps.

What are emulsifiers (in food)?

Mono- and diglycerides of fatty acids E are semi-synthetic emulsifiers made from glycerol and natural fatty acids, which can be from either plant or animal sources.

They are used in products like breads, cakes and margarines.As if you needed more reasons to avoid processed foods, another study has come out showing yet another way they damage your health. In particular, two types of emulsifiers—chemicals that are used to improve the consistency of processed foods—have now been linked to inflammation, and a number of inflammatory diseases.

Luckily, in this case, avoiding the issue is simple, easy, and better for you in every way. Indeed, food dyes—while often called harmless—have been shown to increase hyperactivity, aggravate asthma, and in certain cases cause cancer. If you wonder why ADHD has been on the rise throughout the western world, the answer might just be the pleasing palette of colors in your cereal, amongst other things.

The preservatives that keep food fresh have also been linked to cancer. These appear to cause gastric cancers, along with damaging your heart.

The list of damage caused by all the dangerous food additives in prepared foods is long. But it just got a bit longer. A recent study found that rats fed two emulsifiers—cellulose gum, and polysorbate 80—developed bowel syndromes like colitis.

Some had pre-existing conditions worsen. The rats gained weight, had their metabolisms change, and developed widespread inflammation. Part of the cause was what these emulsifiers did to gut microbiomes. They depressed anti-inflammatory bacteria and promoted bacteria that increased inflammation. Bear in mind, these two emulsifiers are in a whole host of products. They keep salad dressings creamy and prevent ice cream from getting soupy too quickly.

They bulk up foods and keep sauces smooth. To be sure, inflammation in small doses can be beneficial. For instance, inflammation delivers large numbers of white blood cells to the site of a wound. But, since these emulsifiers are in nearly every prepared food, their bad side effects can be difficult to avoid. That means eating lots of whole foods—produce that is recognizable. A stalk of broccoli that looks like broccoli is safe.

I usually give my patients an easy, foolproof method to avoid processed foods. If it comes in a box, avoid it. You should avoid most things that come in bags, too. Anything pre-packaged, pre-made, or instant is going to contain all sorts of harmful additives. The best one out there, by far, is curcumin.

But if you stick with whole foods as much as you can, and you take a supplement like curcumin every day, you can avoid all the negative side effects. Read More about Newport Natural Health. At Newport Natural Health we provide health tips, advice, articles and natural health supplements. Our natural supplements are cutting-edge and formulated by a practicing medical doctor to help with a variety of health conditions.

Visit Health Store. Emulsifiers are dangerous food additives January 6, Updated: August 16, Did You Enjoy This Article? Sign up to get FREE access to more health tips, latest research, and exclusive offers to help you reach your health and wellness goals! Welcome to Newport Natural Health. What Is Newport Natural Health? Sign up now for the Newport Natural Health Newsletter and start living your most healthy and abundant life!

What do you want to learn about?Ever tried to make a simple dressing of olive oil and balsamic vinegar?


Wondered how food manufacturers are able to do this? Emulsifiers stabilize emulsions, so in order to understand an emulsifier, we should first introduce an emulsion. An emulsion is an example of a dispersion, it is a mixture of two umiscible liquids.

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In an emulsion one of the two liquids will be the continuous phase and the other liquid will float around that continuous phase in separate droplets. In food the most common example of an emulsion is that of water e.

You can mix them by hand, but once you leave it alone they will split again. In order to store emulsions for longer, thus extend their shelf life, an emulsion will have to be stabilized. There are several ways an emulsion can be stabilized:. The term emulsifier is used in various ways. There are different types of components again that can sit onto this surface.

Amphipilic means that the molecule has both hydrophobic as well as hydrophilic properties. In other words, part of the molecule love to sit in water, whereas other parts do not. Those hydrophobic parts instead prefer sitting in an oil for instance.

Emulsion can also be stabilized by non-amphilic components though. This is a relatively new area with the field of emulsifier research and amongst others looks into using particles to stabilizing an emulsion. The way they stabilize emulsions is also focussed on preventing the particles floating in the continuous phase to merge together. We will not focus on this type of emulsifier, an interesting, but advanced level, article on the topic can be found here.

Amphiphilic molecules have parts of them that prefer to sit in the water phase hydrophilic and parts that prefer to sit in the fatty phase hydrophobic. In an emulsion the molecules will arrange there hydrophibic sides into the fat and their hydrophilic sides in the water. See below for a simplified illustration.

Proteins are large complex molecules built up of a long chain of amino acids. Each amino acid has a side chain and this side chain can be hydrophilic or hydrophobic. Through all these different amino acids proteins will have sections which are hydrophobic and sections which are more hydrophilic. In order for proteins to properly be surface active they will have to unfold partly. Some of this can occur spontaneously, but it can also be help along, for example by whipping proteins which is done when making an egg white foam.

Since these proteins are quite large and bulky, their bulkiness helps stabilize an emulsion. They form some sort of a layer around the particles which makes it harder for like particles to find each other. Surfactants work in the same way as emulsifiers, they sit in both phases, but they have a very different structure.

Whereas proteins are generally very large molecules, surfactants tend to be very small.

emulsifier in food

They are similar to the emulsifiers in the image above. They have a very hydrophilic head and hydrophobic tail. There are a lot of different emulsifiers which are used in food.

We will focus on just a few here to give you some examples:.An emulsion is a mixture of two or more liquids that are normally immiscible unmixable or unblendable. Emulsions are part of a more general class of two-phase systems of matter called colloids. Although the terms colloid and emulsion are sometimes used interchangeably, emulsion should be used when both phases, dispersed and continuous, are liquids. In an emulsion, one liquid the dispersed phase is dispersed in the other the continuous phase.

Examples of emulsions include vinaigretteshomogenized milkand some cutting fluids for metal working. Two liquids can form different types of emulsions. As an example, oil and water can form, first, an oil-in-water emulsion, wherein the oil is the dispersed phase, and water is the continuous phase. Lipoproteinsused by all complex living organisms, are one example of this.

Second, they can form a water-in-oil emulsion, wherein water is the dispersed phase and oil is the continuous phase. Multiple emulsions are also possible, including a "water-in-oil-in-water" emulsion and an "oil-in-water-in-oil" emulsion.

Emulsions, being liquids, do not exhibit a static internal structure. The term "emulsion" is also used to refer to the photo-sensitive side of photographic film. Such a photographic emulsion consists of silver halide colloidal particles dispersed in a gelatin matrix. Nuclear emulsions are similar to photographic emulsions, except that they are used in particle physics to detect high-energy elementary particles.

Note 1 : The definition is based on the definition in ref. Emulsions contain both a dispersed and a continuous phase, with the boundary between the phases called the "interface". Emulsions appear white when all light is scattered equally. This phenomenon is easily observable when comparing skimmed milkwhich contains little fat, to creamwhich contains a much higher concentration of milk fat. One example would be a mixture of water and oil. Because of many undesirable side-effects caused by surfactants, their presence is disadvantageous or prohibitive in many applications.

In addition, the stability of a microemulsion is often easily compromised by dilution, by heating, or by changing pH levels. Common emulsions are inherently unstable and, thus, do not tend to form spontaneously. Over time, emulsions tend to revert to the stable state of the phases comprising the emulsion.

An example of this is seen in the separation of the oil and vinegar components of vinaigrettean unstable emulsion that will quickly separate unless shaken almost continuously. Whether an emulsion of oil and water turns into a "water-in-oil" emulsion or an "oil-in-water" emulsion depends on the volume fraction of both phases and the type of emulsifier surfactant see Emulsifierbelow present.

Emulsifiers and emulsifying particles tend to promote dispersion of the phase in which they do not dissolve very well. For example, proteins dissolve better in water than in oil, and so tend to form oil-in-water emulsions that is, they promote the dispersion of oil droplets throughout a continuous phase of water. The geometric structure of an emulsion mixture of two lyophobic liquids with a large concentration of the secondary component is fractal: Emulsion particles unavoidably form dynamic inhomogeneous structures on small length scale.

The geometry of these structures is fractal. The size of elementary irregularities is governed by a universal function which depends on the volume content of the components.

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The fractal dimension of these irregularities is 2. Emulsion stability refers to the ability of an emulsion to resist change in its properties over time. Flocculation occurs when there is an attractive force between the droplets, so they form flocs, like bunches of grapes. This process can be desired, if controlled in its extent, to tune physical properties of emulsions such as their flow behaviour.

Emulsions can also undergo creamingwhere the droplets rise to the top of the emulsion under the influence of buoyancyor under the influence of the centripetal force induced when a centrifuge is used. Sedimentation happens when the dispersed phase is denser than the continuous phase and the gravitational forces pull the denser globules towards the bottom of the emulsion. Similar to creaming, sedimentation follows Stoke's law. An appropriate "surface active agent" or " surfactant " can increase the kinetic stability of an emulsion so that the size of the droplets does not change significantly with time.

The stability of an emulsion, like a suspensioncan be studied in terms of zeta potentialwhich indicates the repulsion between droplets or particles. If the size and dispersion of droplets does not change over time, it is said to be stable.Find out what these ingredients are, and what they mean for your health. There are several emulsifiers in food: soy lecithin, carrageenan, mono- and diglycerides, acacia gum, carboxymethylcellulose and polysorbate 80—the list goes on.

So what are they anyway? And why are they in food? We have the answers on their use and what they do to your health. In the same way that mustard is used to prevent a homemade vinaigrette from separating, these ingredients help stabilize foods made with oil and water, which famously don't mix. Emulsifiers also help foods like cookies and crackers maintain a light, tender texture by keeping oil and water bound together so the fat is uniformly distributed.

These ingredients prevent ice crystals from forming in frozen foods like ice cream, as well. More: What Is It? While emulsifiers are used in small amounts, they're such a common ingredient in packaged foods that they tend to add up in most Americans' diets. Fortunately, research suggests that most of these emulsifiers are generally safe.

Acacia also appears to act as a prebioticfeeding the beneficial bacteria in the gut.

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A few of these additives, however, have gotten a bad rap. There are many emulsifiers in food, and they are not bad for your health. Most all are regarded as safe and some even have health benefits, like soy lecithin and guar gum. If you have a history of GI issues, you may want to avoid specific emulsifiers namely polysorbate 80, carboxymethylcellulose and carrageenan.

But otherwise, you don't need to worry. Clean-Eating Dinner Recipes. Julie Stewart September 12, Save Pin FB ellipsis More.

emulsifier in food

Image zoom. Close Share options. All rights reserved. Close View image.Food emulsifiers are chemical substances that help food ingredients, such as water and oil, to blend when mixing, forming an emulsion. Emulsifiers are also used as aerating agents to make desserts such as mousses and cakes -- and as crystallisation inhibitors, to avoid the formation of white patches on chocolates.

Common emulsifiers include lecithin, mono and diglycerides, glycerides, monoglyceride derivatives, and fatty acid derivatives. Extracted from vegetable oils such as soy and sunflower oil, lecithin has been used as a food emulsifiers since the s. The number In Canada, lecithin is the equivalent of L. Lecithin is used in a wide range of food products, including margarine, chocolate, breads and cakes, bubble gum, salad dressings and sauces.

Mono and diglycerides, as well as their purified form distilled monoglycerides, are the oldest and most common food emulsifiers. These emulsifiers are produced by mixing edible oils with glycerin, and widely used in bakery and dairy products, and margarine.

On the label of food products, mono and diglycerides correspond to the number In Europe, the number E identify these emulsifiers. The combination of monoglycerides with other substances produces emulsifiers with specialized function called monoglyceride derivatives.

For instance, ethoxylated monoglycerides are the result of the interaction between a monoglyceride and ethylene oxide. Other monoglyceride derivatives include acetoglycerides They are common cake emulsifiers, because they increase the aeration of the dough.

Polyglycerol esters PGEpropylene glycol esters PGMSstearoyl lactylates, sucrose esters, sorbitan esters and polysorbates are the most common food emulsifiers derived from fatty acids.

Stearoyl lactylates are used as dough strengtheners and conditioners in breads, while sorbitan and polysorbates are used for aeration in cakes and icings. Sucrose esters are also used in bubble gum, sauces, soups and canned liquid coffee.

By: Yasmin Zinni.