- It is a bulking agent that may add volume without calories to foods, so it is especially useful in many diet foods.
- It is also a main inactive component in many pills, including most vitamins, to give enough bulk to make a pill than can be swallowed with the very small amounts of active ingredients.
- It is an anti-caking agent that has the ability to thicken foods, prevent clumping and improve creaminess without affecting flavor.
I am not a beaver, so why is there wood in my burger? Many of you may have seen recent articles regarding the addition of wood pulp derived cellulose in your favorite fast food burger. Cellulose is a natural carbohydrate component of all plant cell walls including all fruits and vegetables, and yes, even wood. By definition, cellulose is organic—being composed of oxygen, hydrogen and carbon—that’s it. Many animals such as rabbits, beavers and ruminants like cows can digest cellulose and absorb the carbohydrates in it. However, humans are unable to do so. In humans, cellulose falls into the category of indigestible carbohydrates known as dietary fiber. So why is it in my food in the first place? Cellulose is used for a few reasons: