New Delhi: A new study has warned that consuming too many chocolates and chewing gums regularly may be harmful for the intestines.
A common food addictive found in both gums and chocolates can mitigate the ability of small intestine cells.
"Titanium oxide is a common food additive and people have been eating a lot of it for a long time, but we were interested in some of the subtle effects, and we think people should know about them," said Gretchen Mahler, a professor at the Binghamton University in the US.
"There has been previous work on how titanium oxide nanoparticles affects microvilli, but we are looking at much lower concentrations," Mahler said.
"We also extended previous work to show that these nanoparticles alter intestinal function," she said.
Titanium dioxide is generally recognised as safe by the US Food and Drug Administration and ingestion is nearly unavoidable.
The compound is an inert and insoluble material that is commonly used for white pigmentation in paints, paper and plastics.
It is also an active ingredient in mineral-based sunscreens for pigmentation to block ultraviolet light
However, it can enter the digestive system through toothpastes, as titanium dioxide is used to create abrasion needed for cleaning.
The oxide is also used in some chocolate to give it a smooth texture; in donuts to provide colour; and in skimmed milks for a brighter, more opaque appearance which makes the milk more palatable.
(With PTI inputs)