What is Carrageenan?
Carrageenan is a common food additive that is extracted from a red seaweed, Chondrus crispus, which is popularly called Irish moss. Carrageenan, which has no dietary value, has been used as a thickener and emulsifier to enhance the feel of ice cream, yogurt, cheese, soy milk, and other processed ingredients. Carrageenan is especially common in non-dairy kinds of milk such as almond milk and coconut milk.
There are three main commercial classes of Carrageenan:
– Kappa forms strong, rigid gels in the presence of potassium ions; it reacts with dairy proteins. It is sourced mainly from Kappaphycus alvarezii.
– Iota forms soft gels in the presence of calcium ions. It is produced mainly by Eucheuma denticulatum.
– Lambda does not gel and is used to thicken dairy products.
Is it bad for your health?
The use of carrageenan as a laxative is particularly interesting because it has been linked to various gastrointestinal (GI) conditions since the 1960s.
A few animal studies have linked carrageenan to ulcerations and cancers of the gastrointestinal tract. Greater worrisome, undegraded carrageenan – the kind that is widely used in foods – has been related to malignancies and different stomach issues.
Researchers and health advocates who insist that carrageenan is dangerous usually quote one of the many studies that supposed link the seaweed food additive to:
Large bowel ulceration, Ulcerative colitis, Fetal toxicity & birth defects, Colorectal cancer, Glucose intolerance and insulin resistance, Inflammation, Liver cancer, Immune suppression, Promoting the growth of abnormal colon glands.
Products with carrageenan may be labeled as “natural,” but limited studies show that carrageenan may promote or cause:
inflammation, bloating, irritable bowel syndrome, glucose intolerance, colon cancer, food allergies.
Where can you find Carrageenan?
-diary alternatives, such as vegan cheeses or nondairy desserts
So, Personally, before you buy a product from your local market, be sure that on your product it’s not written Carrageenan, because is very bad for your health.