A synthentically made chemical compound that’s often used as a thickener or emulsifier in foods like bread, ice cream or meat alternatives. Creating methylcellulose involves heating cellulose with a chemical solution and treating it with methyl chloride, a colorless and odorless compound. This creates a gel texture that melts as it cools, resulting in the binding ingredient. Also commonly found in over-the-counter laxatives.
Methyl cellulose,hydroxypropylmethylcellulose,HPMC,Hydroxypropyl methyl cellulose
Health Impact
Methylcellulose isn’t digestible because we don't have the necessary enzyme for digesting it - cellulase. Although cellulose is still an essential part of our diet because it binds with water to move waste through our bodies, methylcellulose is not organic or recognizable to your immune system. Although the FDA has approved methylcellulose for consumption, it’s probably best to be limit consumption. Your body isn’t used to highly processed foods and compounds, so a high intake can easily lead to unwanted inflammation as your body tries to fight off the unrecognized nutrients. In general, gums and other thickeners like this can be hard to digest and may cause digestive issues or damage to the gut.
Impact of dietary fibers [methyl cellulose, chitosan, and pectin] on digestion of lipids under simulated gastrointestinal conditions
Safety assessment of hydroxypropyl methylcellulose as a food ingredient
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