Saturday, October 11, 2014

Is Carrageenan Safe? The Additive In Non-Dairy Products

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Carrageenan. If you've ever bought non-dairy milk products such as Almond or Coconut milk, you've probably heard of this additive. If you haven’t heard of it, please be aware: this food additive is linked to mild gastrointestinal problems and even permanent damage to the digestive tract. It’s found in non-dairy products and some regular dairy products, along with many other processed foods on the market today.

Due to the booming rise of almond milk and other non-dairy milks, companies are using thick emulsifiers such as carrageenan to give their products a creamy, rich consistency. Even some organic or non-GMO companies include this additive in their products because of its unique emulsifying properties!

What is Carrageenan?
Carrageenan is a type of algae (seaweed) that has bulking and even laxative-like properties and has no nutritional value. It’s been thought to be safe in the past since it is food-derived. However, carrageenan does contain chemicals that develop during the processing of the algae and has been linked to a host of health issues as a result. Because of its bulking properties, it can cause severe bloating, gas, stomach pain, and even chronic DIGESTION problems.

Research has shown that exposure to carrageenan causes INFLAMMATION and that when we consume processed foods containing it, we ingest enough to cause inflammation in our bodies. She explained that all forms of carrageenan are capable of causing inflammation. This is bad news!  Chronic inflammation is a root cause of many serious diseases including HEART DISEASE, Alzheimer's, Parkinson's diseases and cancer.

What Food Items Have Carrageenan?
If you’re an avid non-dairy milk drinker or use non-dairy products like coffee creamer, cheese, sour cream, and ice cream, you could be consuming carrageenan and not even know it. Not all products contain the additive, but a large percentage of non-dairy products on the market today do. The additive may also found in cheese, cottage cheese, yogurt, ice cream, or KEFIR, so be sure to check the label on these foods if you choose to eat them.

Should You Stop Using Your Favorite Non-Dairy Milk Brands?
Carrageenan is used in most soy milks today, some almond milks, and many coconut milk products. Silk, one of the leading producers of nondairy milks announced that many of its products will be carrageenan-free within the next two years. So Delicious has also made this promise to it’s consumers and will be removing the additive from their ingredients.

If You've Been Drinking Non-Dairy Products for a While Now:
If you find out that your favorite non-dairy milk, ice cream, yogurt, etc. is made with carrageenan, I would suggest that you evaluate your DIGESTIVE HEALTH to see if you've had any problems. If you notice digestive problems and have eliminated other possible causes from your diet, it may be worth removing products containing the additive to see if things improve.

For several months I was buying So Delicious Non-dairy Coconut Creamer to add to my coffee, until I discovered this product contained the additive Carrageenan. After researching the harmful effects of this ingredient, I switched over to ORGANIC VALLEY dairy creamer which does NOT have carrageenan in any of their products.  Some of you may not be able to tolerate dairy products because of health issues or other reasons. I recommend that you read about what products are free from carrageenan and check out The Cornucopia Institute website dedicated to providing consumers with an updated list of what products do and don’t contain carrageenan.

TIP: Always read the labels on products you buy!  If you don't know what a certain ingredient is, then it most likely isn't healthy for you.

Intuitively Yours,
Laurel  ♥

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