I read a lot of newsletters and I am always on the lookout for ingredients that cause our bodies harm so I can avoid them and share that insight with you. Last week I received a newsletter from Autumn at PaleoValley and was shocked to hear this ingredient was horrible for us. What is it you ask? Manufactured Citric Acid (MCA). There is natural citric acid which is actually made from lemons and limes and is relatively harmless…but manufactured citric acid is not harmless and is in everything. When I learned citric acid was made from BLACK MOLD, I was shocked! I personally just got through a mold issue in my body causing bloating and discomfort for months. Black mold is no joke and it makes me angry the food industry would use this ingredient that causes all sorts of issues in our bodies.
Top 10 Issues Manufactured Citric Acid causes:
- Breathing problems
- Joint pain
- Skin rash
- Mood disorders
- High cholesterol
- Leaky gut
- Irritable bowel syndrome
Let’s take a look at how manufactured citric acid is (MCA) made?
First, we know it is not made from citrus but from Aspergillus niger which is BLACK MOLD! And…when it is encapsulated it is rolled in partially hydrogenated oil. This is trans fat which has a molecular structure closer to plastic than food and is the one fat you do not want to eat! Trans fat impairs the body’s ability to synthesize LDL (bad cholesterol) therefore leading to an increase of the body’s level of LDLs. We want low LDLs and high HDLs ( good cholesterol). High levels of LDLs block arteries which leads to high blood pressure and heart problems.
According to NCBI, “Approximately 99% of the world’s production of MCA is carried out using the fungus Aspergillus niger since 1919. Aspergillus niger is a known allergen. The FDA placed MCA under the category of GRAS without any research to substantiate this claim. In 2016, 2.3 million tons of MCA were produced, predominantly in China, and approximately 70% is used as a food or beverage additive.”The FDA approves ingredients all the time that are not only unsafe but cause harm to our gut and organs which leads to disease. They label these as GRAS (Generally recognized as safe). GRAS ingredients have not been researched or tested.
According to the FDA, “the use of a food substance may be GRAS either through scientific procedures or, for a substance used in food before 1958.”Are you kidding me? If it was used before 1958 then it is safe? And to add insult to injury, literally, the FDA says “determination that an ingredient is GRAS can be made by qualified experts outside of government”. Who are these experts? Sometimes these experts work for the company seeking GRAS approval and do very little to prove it is safe.
Where is citric acid found?
It is found in everything! It is used as a “natural” preservative and found in common foods such as:
Children’s drinks – Gerber’s is loaded with citric acid
Beer and Wine
Everything in moderation is usually the rule for most harmful ingredients. Remember the 80/20 post? Your body can absorb 20% of harmful ingredients you eat as long as you eat healthy 80% of the time. But if you eat citric acid all day every day because it is hidden in foods you thought were safe, it could be causing you loads of harm.
According to NCBI several other ingredients are also derived from black mold. “Despite its contribution to pathogenesis, A. niger is widely used in the food industry for the production of citric acid and gluconic acid, and many enzymes such as a-amylase, amyloglucosidase, cellulases, lactase, invertase, pectinases, and acid proteases.”
How do you know if the citric acid in your food is natural or manufactured?
In this day and age most likely the citric acid in your food is manufactured. Unless it is a company you trust, I would assume it is manufactured or go the extra mile and e-mail the company and ask them. In my experience, those companies with nothing to hide will respond immediately. Take the label reading challenge and let me know how many times you saw citric acid on a label or one of the mentioned ingredients above, on anything in your fridge or cabinet. It may shock you. Even those organic foods may contain manufactured citric acid.