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Is Cellulose Powder Bad For You?



Short answer

Cellulose powder is considered to be healthy for human consumption. Although it does pose a few health concerns, most are not serious.



Long answer

Cellulose powder is a synthesized derivative of naturally occurring cellulose.  This white powder is used in food packaging for two purposes. It is seen in foods such as shredded cheese to keep it from coagulating in the bag and is used in food processing as a safe alternative to preservatives like sodium nitrite and propyl gallate.  

Cellulose powder is white in appearance and has no odor.  The base compound cellulose is the precursor to cellulose powder. Cellulose is the active ingredient in a green plants’ cell biology, prohibiting the cell wall from expanding too far during the process of absorbing water.  It is extracted from the fiber of trees and plants to safely synthesize into a powder form. 

There are other uses for cellulose powder as it concerns food, one of which is food preservation.  It is used in food processing in the following ways: emulsification, bulking agent, fat substitute, and allows potentially gummy foods, like cheese, the ability to be packaged without sticking together.  It is important to point out that as a bulking agent, in the body cellulose powder induces the sense of being full and contains zero calories. 

The medical industry is utilizing cellulose powder for anti-coagulation in pharmaceutical products.  Cellulose powder is also being tested in nasal sprays to be used as a safe substitute to the chemicals that are currently being used.   

As our supermarkets continue to be invaded by nasty chemicals, staying healthy by minimizing exposure to these chemicals is a goal for many people in the 21st century.  Due to the method by which cellulose powder is made, it is absent of harsh contaminants, both inorganic and organic alike.  Cellulose powder absorbs water in human bodies and is known as a calorie reducer.  Once in the body, cellulose powder acts as a cleansing agent for the colon and reduces body weight that is caused by water bloating.  Additionally, it is often recommended in a fiber regiment to help ease bowel movements.

As with anything, a harmless substance can become dangerous when abused.  Due to the rapid rate at which it absorbs water, exercise caution when using cellulose powder as a dietary supplement, as not to induce dehydration, diarrhea, allergic reactions or vitamin deficiencies. 

Possible short-term side effects

  • bloating
  • diarrhea

Possible long-term side effects

  • loss of appetite
  • nausea or vomiting
  • convulsions (seizures)
  • drowsiness
  • fatigue
  • mood change
  • drowsiness
  • muscle spasms


  • fiber supplement
  • calorie reducer
  • food preserver
  • emulsifier
  • fat substitute
  • anti-coagulant

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Written by DeeAnne Oldham | 02-17-2016

Written by DeeAnne Oldham
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