Type 2 Diabetes and Food Additives: What Can We Do?

‘A healthy diet’ is often a complex term, because as science progresses, research becomes more abundant, information becomes complex, and it’s difficult to navigate. On the flip side, food technology science also has extensive research behind it, offering choices in food processing. This has led to the existence of many preservatives and preservation methods in foods, sometimes benefiting consumers and sometimes benefiting food companies, creating gray areas in consumer health. These gray areas differ globally, influenced by local regulations. There is a similar situation with medications.

Exports being beyond the reach of local regulations, research that has been conducted has global application and acceptance, whether originating from small countries or from the United States. Thus, I will spotlight recent research on food additives that seem to be linked to type 2 diabetes.

Artificial Sweeteners (E951, E954, E955): Aspartame, saccharin, and sucralose are among the most commonly used artificial sweeteners found in ‘diet’ or sugar-free’ products. Although they may help manage weight and glycemic control calorically, they could potentially disrupt metabolic processes and contribute to insulin resistance – a precursor to type 2 diabetes. Moreover, some studies have ‘accused’ them of influencing cancer occurrence.

Preservatives (E211, E220, E223): Sodium benzoate, sulfites, and other preservatives are added to foods to prevent spoilage and extend shelf life. While considered safe in small quantities, their extensive intake may have adverse health effects. Besides other conditions, they may create insulin and oxidative stress-related issues – both implicated in the development of type 2 diabetes.

Emulsifiers and Stabilizers (E340, E331, E407): Emulsifiers like phosphates (E340) and sodium citrate (E331), along with stabilizers like carrageenan (E407), are usually found in processed foods. They may alter the gut microbiota composition, causing several problems. One of these is low-grade inflammation and metabolic disorders, which can correlate with type 2 diabetes. A recent 14-year study showed the following associations with the risk of type 2 diabetes:

  • Carrageenan (total and E407, 3% increased risk per 100 mg increase daily)
  • Potassium phosphates (E340, 15% increased risk per 500 mg increase daily)
  • Fatty acid mono- and diglycerides (E472e, 4% increased risk per 100 mg increase daily)
  • Sodium citrate (E331, 4% increased risk per 500 mg increase daily)
  • Guar gum (E412, 11% increased risk per 500 mg increase daily)
  • Arabic gum (E414, 3% increased risk per 1000 mg increase daily)
  • Xanthan gum (E415, 8% increased risk per 500 mg increase daily)

Flavor Enhancers (E621, E627, E631): Monosodium glutamate (MSG) and other flavor enhancers like disodium inosinate (E631) and disodium guanylate (E627) are often added to processed foods to enhance flavor. While their direct impact on the risk of type 2 diabetes is still under investigation, numerous questions remain regarding their long-term effects on metabolic health.

How can consumers utilize such information? They could seek and note the aforementioned additives to avoid them when shopping. However, as research continuously updates this information, it would be easier to simply consume as few processed foods containing additives and preservatives as possible. The trend in research seems to suggest that high/daily intake may pose some health problems. Consuming them occasionally may carry less risk.

* The above is not medical advice but mere suggestions for improving your diet. Before taking herbs, you should consult your doctor, especially those who have health issues, are pregnant, or are under the age of 6.

Evropi-Sofia Dalampira holds a PhD in Agricultural Economics, MSc in Botany-Biology and MSc in Horticulture & Viticulture.


Summer is the season of smoky BBQs, sweet corn on the cob and juicy watermelon slices.

Top Stories


A pregnant woman was driving in the HOV lane near Dallas.

General News

NEW YORK – Meropi Kyriacou, the new Principal of The Cathedral School in Manhattan, was honored as The National Herald’s Educator of the Year.


It’s Not as World-Famous as Ramen or Sushi. But the Humble Onigiri is Soul Food in Japan

TOKYO (AP) — The word “onigiri” became part of the Oxford English Dictionary this year, proof that the humble sticky-rice ball and mainstay of Japanese food has entered the global lexicon.

NEW JERSEY – The Hellenic Federation of New Jersey held its 11th Annual Awards Gala on June 23 at the Greek-owned catering hall The Graycliff.

LEIPZIG, Germany  — Italy substitute Mattia Zaccagni scored in the last minute of stoppage time for Italy to advance to the knockout stage of the European Championship after drawing Croatia 1-1 on Monday.

DUESSELDORF, Germany  — Spain changed almost its entire lineup and still kept up its victorious start to the European Championship with a 1-0 win over Albania, which was eliminated on Monday.

ATHENS, Greece  — Greece on Monday accused neighboring North Macedonia’s new center-right government of breaking a historic deal on the country’s name, warning that this could harm its hopes of one day joining the European Union.

Enter your email address to subscribe

Provide your email address to subscribe. For e.g. [email protected]

You may unsubscribe at any time using the link in our newsletter.