The additives—and specifically CMC and P80—cause inflammation in our gut that impacts on the brain, causing behavioural problems, say researchers at Georgia State University in the US.
In tests on laboratory mice, the researchers found that those exposed to emulsifiers were less able to cope with simple skill tests and were more anxious.
Although it's difficult to state categorically that the mice results would also be seen in people, the researchers reckon that it's reasonable to link emulsifiers to problems of anxiety and anti-social behaviour. They are just two of many conditions that are linked to inflammation, such as heart disease, arthritis and diabetes. This suggests that all inflammatory diseases could be linked to the consumption of emulsifiers that affect the gut-brain connection. The answer? Don't eat food with preservatives, the researchers conclude.