Carrageenan…what is that?

By Cody Frank

This past week I was drinking chocolate almond milk and was surprised by the consistency. I was not drinking smooth almond milk but instead a texturized liquid. I scanned the ingredients/box wondering why it was weird tasting that night. Did I buy a expired box? I read the ingredient carneegan and I remember people talking about it before however I wasn’t sure exactly what it was. I decided to look into it.

Carneegan is a food additive used as a thickener and fat substitute in a variety of dairy and nondairy products. It has no nutritional value. An indigestible polysaccharide that derives from the natural source red algae. This additive is used to prevent products from separating or by giving it a more full consistency.

The problem: Carrageenan could be causing inflammation, gut irritation, and perhaps cancer. It seems to trigger an immune response that increases inflammation. This is destructive to your digestive system. In 1960, researchers began linking the ingredient to gastrointestinal diseases such as ulcerative colitis, intestinal lesions, and colon cancer. Today active research is happening through the National Institutes of Health to discover the effect this additive has on ulcerative colitis and other diseases.

How to limit your intake?

Shop for Caarrageenan-free products via this buying guide.

Sign the Carrageenan Petition to the FDA to enforce that you don’t want this ingredient popping up in every food chain.

Be on the look out for it on the labels in nutritional shakes, milk products, and milk replacements. The ingredient shows in certain frozen dinners, soups, and commercial broth products too. The organic foods program does not ban carrageenan, it is allowed to be used in their products.

Thank you to Prevention, Nutrition Facts, Chris Kesser, and the Cornucopia Institute for the above information.

Cover Photo via Empowered1

 

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