Sports Nutrition Experts since 1993

Focus on carboxymethyl cellulose or CMC

  • Health nutrition
  • whey

Nutrimuscle invites you to learn more about carboxymethyl cellulose, or CMC. Why is there carboxymethylcellulose in whey? Here are many details and information.

Is your protein hiding things from you?

When looking at the composition of a protein powder, it is interesting to start at the end of the ingredient list. At the very bottom are the substances with the most exotic names, and you may wonder why they are there.

As a general rule, the longer the list of additives, the more suspicious you should be.

Why is there carboxymethylcellulose in whey?

Protein powders such as whey are fairly insoluble in liquid (water or milk). If you shake them with a shaker, they start to foam up significantly.

Whey can be forced to dissolve in water without foaming by adding a synthetic gel (carboxymethylcellulose) and a surfactant (usually soy extract) that attracts water. The combination of surfactant and carboxymethylcellulose (CMC) results in a perfectly soluble whey.

The consumer has the impression that this whey is of very high quality, because it literally melts in water. This is all very well, but at what cost to the health of the user?

New findings on the dangers of carboxymethylcellulose

Disruption of the intestinal flora is implicated in many health problems such as obesity or metabolic disorders. For example, when extracts of intestinal flora from an obese person are given to a lean person, the latter will rapidly gain fat.

CMC in mice

Adding carboxymethylcellulose (CMC) to the diet of healthy mice induces a similar change in their intestinal flora. Appetite increases, the ability to extract and absorb calories from food increases. The activity of pro-inflammatory genes is also stimulated by CMC. This results in metabolic disorders, hyperglycaemia and obesity.

In mice with intestinal disorders, CMC aggravates the situation and leads to chronic colitis.

How does intestinal disruption occur?

A thick mucus that acts as a protective barrier separates the bacteria from the gut itself. The intestinal bacteria therefore have no access to the cells of the intestine. Carboxymethylcellulose (CMC), which acts as a detergent, provides this access to the bacteria. The bacteria attack the intestinal cells directly, causing chronic inflammation.

Another effect of CMC is to alter the composition of the intestinal flora by increasing the concentration of pathogenic and less healthy bacteria.

Researchers (1) believe that chronic inflammation of the digestive system causes people to overeat, which facilitates fat gain.

Limitations of the CMC study

It should be noted that the addition of carboxymethylcellulose (CMC) to food is perfectly acceptable as a food additive. It is also known as E466.

The advocates of CMC explain that this study only concerns high doses of CMC, which correspond to 150 g of CMC per day.

However, even if we do not consume as much CMC as in the study, we consume it throughout our lives.

Carboxymethylcellulose-enriched proteins

If your protein is "enriched" with carboxymethylcellulose (CMC), you will be consuming CMC every day, or even several times a day, for years. You will therefore be constantly exposed to CMC. This will be in addition to the CMC found in many processed foods.

As a matter of interest, low gluten products are often "enriched" with CMC, because the culinary effects of gluten in dishes or prepared foods need to be compensated for in some way. Winemakers also put it in wine...

Nutrimuscle's position on the addition of carboxymethylcellulose to proteins

Nutrimuscle has always refused to add carboxymethylcellulose (CMC) to its proteins, and more generally to all its food supplements. Nutrimuscle therefore guarantees the absence of CMC in its nutritional supplements.

As a result, Nutrimuscle's native whey products foam more than CMC-modified whey products, but the consumer does not take any unnecessary health risks.

Scientific references

(1) Chassaing B. Dietary emulsifiers impact the mouse gut microbiota promoting colitis and metabolic syndrome. Nature 2015 Published online 25 February 2015

Written on 12/6/2021 by Nutrimuscle Conseil
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