3

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Carrageenan - What the F?

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created January 30, 2013 at 6:51 PM

Carrageenan. It's in almost every single brand of rice, soy, almond and non-diary milk that I find. What is it, is it safe, are there any side effects that you've had and do you think it's something that needs to/should be avoided? Any recommendations on brands without the stuff that I could find in Ottawa, Canada, or alternatively order online?

Thx L

6864d23c49952605b2a97d6256af804d

(726)

on March 29, 2013
at 04:42 PM

See the post from Charlotte Vallaeys above.

5b9a25a1a676397a25579dfad59e1d7b

(2318)

on March 12, 2013
at 05:30 PM

everything seems to be linked to cancer...yikes!

5b9a25a1a676397a25579dfad59e1d7b

(2318)

on March 12, 2013
at 05:29 PM

Hmm seaweed... I had no idea. Thanks!

5b9a25a1a676397a25579dfad59e1d7b

(2318)

on March 12, 2013
at 05:29 PM

I drink almond milk 4-6 times a week in my smoothies after a work out -- I find it's less expensive for me to buy almond milk then buy bags of whole almonds to make my own so I'm looking for a good alternative. Right now I use Silk Unsweetend Almond Milk since its the one that I've found to have the least number of ingredients and no carrageenan...

194d8e8140425057fe06202e1e5822a7

(3979)

on January 31, 2013
at 02:19 PM

where did you copy and paste this from?

1398eff69b192c35de5e0dbaad59052a

(2024)

on January 31, 2013
at 07:45 AM

s (And yeah, it’s not exactly a neutral link, but it all goes to pubmed): http://www.functionalps.com/blog/2011/11/11/carrageenan-inflammation-cancer-immunity/

1398eff69b192c35de5e0dbaad59052a

(2024)

on January 31, 2013
at 07:45 AM

Carrageenan has been known for many years to increase inflammation in the body, particularly in the gut. In fact, it is often used to induce inflammation in animal studies to test anti-inflammatory drugs and substances. In addition, degraded carrageenan is listed as a possible human carcinogen based on the fact that it gives rats colon cancer; even if it starts life as non-degraded, it can still be broken down and degraded in the gastrointestinal tract. Actually it does a lot more stuff too that isn’t so great. Here is a list someone compiled of the research. Take a look, pretty scary headline

1398eff69b192c35de5e0dbaad59052a

(2024)

on January 31, 2013
at 07:44 AM

It's in cream too and other dairy products. My favorite local brand started putting it in there and I wrote to them. They gave me coupons and downplayed it. I wrote back this and never heard back:

4bd4e2fe6a095663f80c69656936e487

(744)

on January 30, 2013
at 08:16 PM

I don't think so. Following his advice fixed all my health issues after trying a bunch of other things.

6498694060d879a7960b35913539b75f

(1307)

on January 30, 2013
at 07:38 PM

Why are you drinking those kinds of products anyway?

6498694060d879a7960b35913539b75f

(1307)

on January 30, 2013
at 07:37 PM

So Ray Peat is like a stopped clock?

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9 Answers

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4
Ebb10603524dd22621c1155dd7ddf106

(19150)

on January 30, 2013
at 07:03 PM

http://lmgtfy.com/?q=carrageenan

It's basically highly processed seaweed product. Seaweed tends to be very healthy, but like most highly processed things, I suggest avoiding carrageenan.

5b9a25a1a676397a25579dfad59e1d7b

(2318)

on March 12, 2013
at 05:29 PM

Hmm seaweed... I had no idea. Thanks!

1
99f293b211ecc44d50f6cdd382d9b03b

on January 31, 2013
at 06:05 PM

The defense of carrageenan above by Debbie is a verbatim response by Dr. Harris Bixler, who is a director of Marinalg International, the trade lobby group for the corporations that manufacture carrageenan. Scientists have used food-grade carrageenan in the diet of laboratory animals and found adverse effects on the gastrointestinal system. More recent studies, funded by the National Institutes of Health, have identified the biological mechanisms by which food-grade carrageenan causes gastrointestinal inflammation, a precursor to more serious diseases. More information about carrageenan and its harmful effects on the gastrointestinal system is available on The Cornucopia Institute website.

1
3491e51730101b18724dc57c86601173

(8395)

on January 30, 2013
at 08:54 PM

You can make your own coconut milk, too. Soy is a legume, almost universally GMO in the United States--to be avoided if you're following a Paleo template.

I recently found frozen coconut milk at a local Asian Market. 100% coconut milk, no additives, but one downside is that it is packed in a plastic bag. Tastes WONDERFUL, much better than the boxed or canned stuff.

Since I can't seem to find BPA free canned stuff with no additives for a decent price anyway, I am going to put up with the plastic bag part. I'm hoping that the freezing reduces the transfer of any estrogen-like compounds to the coconut milk.

1
A2c38be4c54c91a15071f82f14cac0b3

(12682)

on January 30, 2013
at 08:48 PM

There are a lot of studies on animals using doses of carrageenan way above what you'd ever consume in such drinks that suggest it is not safe. Obviously these are suspect, but there are studies using more reasonable doses of undegraded carrageenan that support the idea that it can have unhealthy effects on gut health:

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/1357233

I make my own almond milk, which tastes way better, costs less, and has no carrageenan.

1398eff69b192c35de5e0dbaad59052a

(2024)

on January 31, 2013
at 07:44 AM

It's in cream too and other dairy products. My favorite local brand started putting it in there and I wrote to them. They gave me coupons and downplayed it. I wrote back this and never heard back:

1398eff69b192c35de5e0dbaad59052a

(2024)

on January 31, 2013
at 07:45 AM

s (And yeah, it’s not exactly a neutral link, but it all goes to pubmed): http://www.functionalps.com/blog/2011/11/11/carrageenan-inflammation-cancer-immunity/

1398eff69b192c35de5e0dbaad59052a

(2024)

on January 31, 2013
at 07:45 AM

Carrageenan has been known for many years to increase inflammation in the body, particularly in the gut. In fact, it is often used to induce inflammation in animal studies to test anti-inflammatory drugs and substances. In addition, degraded carrageenan is listed as a possible human carcinogen based on the fact that it gives rats colon cancer; even if it starts life as non-degraded, it can still be broken down and degraded in the gastrointestinal tract. Actually it does a lot more stuff too that isn’t so great. Here is a list someone compiled of the research. Take a look, pretty scary headline

1
7bf306ada57db47547e9da39a415edf6

(11214)

on January 30, 2013
at 07:08 PM

Ray Peat doesn't like it. He's right about some stuff. I avoid it. I think avoiding it helps avoid weird gastrointestinal symptoms that I don't want even if it wouldn't kill me.

1
4bd4e2fe6a095663f80c69656936e487

(744)

on January 30, 2013
at 07:08 PM

The degraded form is very bad, and it could cause cancer. There is wide agreement on that.

The carrageenan in food is not degraded, but according to Ray Peat, if you have the wrong type of bacteria in the gut, it could degrade it and give you cancer.

Link

6498694060d879a7960b35913539b75f

(1307)

on January 30, 2013
at 07:37 PM

So Ray Peat is like a stopped clock?

4bd4e2fe6a095663f80c69656936e487

(744)

on January 30, 2013
at 08:16 PM

I don't think so. Following his advice fixed all my health issues after trying a bunch of other things.

5b9a25a1a676397a25579dfad59e1d7b

(2318)

on March 12, 2013
at 05:30 PM

everything seems to be linked to cancer...yikes!

0
E3d4b0f88dafb3e02959211f4f6ebc1d

on January 31, 2013
at 12:09 PM

SO MUCH FOR THE MYTHS CONSIDER THE FACTS ON CARRAGEENAN FOR A CHANGE Q. What is Carrageenan?? A. Carrageenan is a naturally-occurring seaweed extract. It is widely used in foods and non-foods to improve texture and stability. Common uses include meat and poultry, dairy products, canned pet food, cosmetics and toothpaste. Q. Why the controversy? A. Self-appointed consumer watchdogs have produced numerous web pages filled with words condemning carrageenan as an unsafe food additive for human consumption. However, in 70+ years of carrageenan being used in processed foods, not a single substantiated claim of an acute or chronic disease has been reported as arising from carrageenan consumption. On a more science-based footing, food regulatory agencies in the US, the EU, and in the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization/World Health Organization (FAO/WHO) repeatedly review and continue to approve carrageenan as a 1/18/13 Lunchables Exposed | My Whole Food Life mywholefoodlife.com/2013/01/11/lunchables-exposed/#comment-2554 6/7 safe food additive. Q. What has led up to this misrepresentation of the safety of an important food stabilizer, gelling agent and thickener? A. It clearly has to be attributed to the research of Dr. Joanne Tobacman, an Associate Prof at the University of Illinois in Chicago. She and a group of molecular biologists have accused carrageenan of being a potential inflammatory agent as a conclusion from laboratory experiments with cells of the digestive tract. It requires a lot of unproven assumptions to even suggest that consumption of carrageenan in the human diet causes inflammatory diseases of the digestive tract. The objectivity of the Chicago research is also flawed by the fact that Dr Tobacman has tried to have carrageenan declared an unsafe food additive on weak technical arguments that she broadcast widely a decade before the University of Chicago research began. Q. What brings poligeenan into a discussion of carrageenan? A. Poligeenan (“degraded carrageenan” in pre-1988 scientific and regulatory publications) is a possible carcinogen to humans; carrageenan is not. The only relationship between carrageenan and poligeenan is that the former is the starting material to make the latter. Poligeenan is not a component of carrageenan and cannot be produced in the digestive tract from carrageenan-containing foods. Q. What are the differences between poligeenan and carrageenan? A. The production process for poligeenan requires treating carrageenan with strong acid at high temp (about that of boiling water) for 6 hours or more. These severe processing conditions convert the long chains of carrageenan to much shorter ones: ten to one hundred times shorter. In scientific terms the molecular weight of poligeenan is 10,000 to 20,000; whereas that of carrageenan is 200,000 to 800,000. Concern has been raised about the amount of material in carrageenan with molecular weight less than 50,000. The actual amount (well under 1%) cannot even be detected accurately with current technology. Certainly it presents no threat to human health. Q. What is the importance of these molecular weight differences? A. Poligeenan contains a fraction of material low enough in molecular weight that it can penetrate the walls of the digestive tract and enter the blood stream. The molecular weight of carrageenan is high enough that this penetration is impossible. Animal feeding studies starting in the 1960s have demonstrated that once the low molecular weight fraction of poligeenan enters the blood stream in large enough amounts, pre-cancerous lesions begin to form. These lesions are not observed in animals fed with a food containing carrageenan. 1/18/13 Lunchables Exposed | My Whole Food Life mywholefoodlife.com/2013/01/11/lunchables-exposed/#comment-2554 7/7 Q. Does carrageenan get absorbed in the digestive track? A. Carrageenan passes through the digestive system intact, much like food fiber. In fact, carrageenan is a combination of soluble and insoluble nutritional fiber, though its use level in foods is so low as not to be a significant source of fiber in the diet. Summary Carrageenan has been proven completely safe for consumption. Poligeenan is not a component of carrageenan. Closing Remarks The consumer watchdogs with their blogs and websites would do far more service to consumers by researching their sources and present only what can be substantiated by good science. Unfortunately we are in an era of media frenzy that rewards controversy. Additional information available: On June 11th, 2008, Dr. Joanne Tobacman petitioned the FDA to revoke the current regulations permitting use of carrageenan as a food additive. On June 11th, 2012 the FDA denied her petition, categorically addressing and ultimately dismissing all of her claims; their rebuttal supported by the results of several in-depth, scientific studies. If you would like to read the full petition and FDA response, they can be accessed at http://www.regulations.gov/#!searchResults;rpp=25;po=0;s=FDA-2008-P-0347

194d8e8140425057fe06202e1e5822a7

(3979)

on January 31, 2013
at 02:19 PM

where did you copy and paste this from?

6864d23c49952605b2a97d6256af804d

(726)

on March 29, 2013
at 04:42 PM

See the post from Charlotte Vallaeys above.

0
E8625b8af639c7a1c66cf6987ee32dde

on January 30, 2013
at 07:50 PM

Easiest to make your own almond milk - and I think more delicious. By a nut bag (no puns please) off amazon. Soak your almonds in water over night. The next morning drain the almonds mix with filtered water in a 1c:3c water ratio - blend thoroughly - then strain into a container through the nut bag. Bonus because you also get a rough almond meal you can use in cooking. If you want chocolate almond milk simply add cocoa powder to taste. Same with Vanilla.

0
D2c2027f4456b61627d5241cc15be67c

(70)

on January 30, 2013
at 07:08 PM

It's derived from seaweed and they use it as a thickener in a lot of products. You should try to stay away from it as much as possible. It's been known to cause GI problems and ulcers.

Here is a quote from wiki: "The Joint FAO/WHO expert committee on food additives states that, "based on the information available, it is inadvisable to use carrageenan or processed eucheuma seaweed in infant formulas".[17] There is evidence from studies performed on rats, guinea pigs, and monkeys that indicates that degraded carrageenan (poligeenan) may cause ulcerations in the gastro-intestinal tract and gastro-intestinal cancer.[18]"

Bottom line, if you want to be super healthy and lower inflamation as much as possible, stay away from it if you can.

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