If you are a regular food-label-reader like me, then you may have heard of carrageenan before. It’s in nut milks, yogurts, prepackaged meals, and deli meats – just to name a few things. It is often found in dairy alternatives (sour cream, yogurt, cheese), as it is used as a thickening agent.
Now that we know what it is, it’s important to ask the question “is it safe?”. I don’t know about you guys, but I want to know that what I’m putting in my body is safe for consumption and won’t produce any side effects. Of course, for the most part I like to keep my food as whole and natural as possible. But also, as a person who is sensitive to different foods and additives, I think it is especially important to be aware of what I’m putting in my body.
Carrageenan has no nutritional value, but is used to improve the taste and texture of many different foods. Although the science isn’t definitive, here are the conditions that carrageenan has been linked to:
- Ulcerative Colitis
- Suppressed Immune System
- Insulin Resistance
- Gastrointestinal Distress
It is important to note that some of these conditions are not affected by dietary carrageenan, and studies have only shown a relationship with some of these conditions when taken in large quantities or intravenously. However, some people have self-reported relief of gastrointestinal symptoms after removing carrageenan containing products from their diet.
My take? It’s best to avoid it when you can. A little every now and then shouldn’t hurt you. If it does, it’s best to quit it. On a positive note, avoiding it just might just encourage you to make some of these items from scratch. I made a video a while back on how to make your own Cashew Creamer – check it out!
If you want more info, check out this Shopping List by the Cornucopia Institute. It provides an excellent list of foods containing vs. alternatives not containing carrageenan.
Thanks for reading!