If you’ve ever purchase almond, soy, and/or coconut milk at your local grocery store, you may have noticed a common ingredient called Carrageenan on the carton. There is a lot of confusion recently on the news of this little known ingredient, so this article gives you the skinny about Carrageenan. According to Google, Carrageenan is: “a family of linear sulfated polysaccharides that are extracted from red edible seaweeds. They are widely used in the food industry, for their gelling, thickening, and stabilizing properties.”
If Carrageenan is apparently made from natural plants such as seaweed, kelp and nori, then what is the hype about the ingredient? Carrageenan not only has NO nutritional value but it has been used as a thickener and emulsifier to improve and preserver the overall texture of ice cream, yogurt, creamers and other processed foods such as Nesquik Chocolate Milk. In addition, although the ingredient is derived from a natural source, Carrageenan is actually destructive to the digestive system, triggering an immune response similar to the invasive pathogen, Salmonella.
This is known to have caused vomiting, nausea, diarrhea, cramps, headaches and much more. Even worse is that “carrageenan predictably causes inflammation, which can lead to ulcerations and bleeding,” explains veteran Carrageenan researcher Joanne Tobacman, MD, associate professor of clinical medicine at the University of Illinois School of Medicine in Chicago. In other words, you are going to have an incredibly bad time with your stomach with intestinal irritation, colon ulcers and intestinal permeability. Not good. The best thing one can do for their nutrition and their stomachs is to be on the lookout with food that contains this ingredient.
In addition, you can also sign the Carrageenan Petition to the FDA to stop this ingredient in your food supply. Lastly, for those who drink almond milk and other milk alternatives with Carrageenan, it has been highly recommended to make your own almond milk instead.