Carageenan: What It Is and Why We Don’t Use It

Reading food labels can be overwhelming and complicated.  One way to make it a lot easier is to just eat foods that come straight from the Earth. No reading labels, and no deciphering chemicals.

If you find yourself lacking time to always be cooking at home, and you have to buy some items at the store, like almond milk, be on the look out for carrageenan.

What is a carrageenan you might be asking? (Don’t worry, you don’t have to pronounce it and you don’t have to remember any of this, just know that you don’t want it in your system)

“Carrageenans or carrageenins are 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.”

Carrageenan is not digestible and has no nutritional value. It is often used because it thickens and emulsifies products and it is often found even in organic and “natural” products. (even sneakier!!)

Although it is derived from a natural source, it appears to be particularly destructive to the digestive system, triggering an immune response similar to what your body has when invaded by pathogens like Salmonella.

The result: “It predictably causes inflammation, which can lead to ulcerations and bleeding,” explains veteran researcher Joanne Tobacman, MD, associate professor of clinical medicine at the University of Illinois School of Medicine at Chicago.

She says the food ingredient irritates by activating an immune response that dials up inflammation. And we all know by now, that we are always trying to reduce inflammation, right??

Dr. Tobacman also told the board that in the past, drug investigators actually used carrageenan to cause inflammation in tissues in order to test the anti-inflammatory properties of new drugs. And she reported further that when laboratory mice are exposed to low concentrations of carrageenan for 18 days, they develop “profound” glucose intolerance and impaired insulin action, both of which can lead to diabetes.”

Most infant formulas contain carageenan, as well as most store-bought milk alternatives. Many creams, creamers and dairy products also contain this additive.

What do the almond mylks we make NOT contain??

You guessed it! Carageenan.  Or any other chemicals, fillers, preservatives or thickening agents.

If you don’t have access to our almond mylk or another locally made source you can make your own at home!  We will be posting a really simple almond mylk recipe for you very soon, stay tuned!

Rachael Todd, RYT, Cert. Positive Psychology, Licensed Health Coach

Owner, RKT Consulting, LLC

Miss Florida 2009

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