What is Carrageenan?
Carrageenan is a common food additive that is extracted from a red seaweed, Chondrus crispus. It is a polysaccharide derived from red seaweed and it has molecular qualities similar to plastic. Carrageenan, which has no nutritional value, is used as a thickener and emulsifier to improve the texture of ice cream, yogurt, cottage cheese, soy milk and other processed foods. It is also used in toothpaste, beer, and gummy/jelly based products.
What are the Risks of Carrageenan?
All forms of carrageenan are capable of causing inflammation, specifically gastrointestinal inflammation… chronic inflammation is a root cause of many serious diseases including heart disease, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases, and cancer.
Carrageenan is used in animal experiments to predictably cause inflammation, which allows pharmaceutical scientists to test the effectiveness of new anti-inflammatory drugs. In a report Cornucopia released, there is indication that scientists have raised concern about carrageenan’s safety for decades. These concerns are based on their research linking the common food additive to gastrointestinal disease in laboratory animals, including colon tumors.
One physician-scientist, Joanne Tobacman, has published 18 peer-reviewed papers on the biological effects of carrageenan. Her conclusions are that carrageenan causes inflammation and that it can do so at the levels consumed in the human diet.
Inflammation is not complicated — it is simply your body’s natural defense to a foreign invader such as a bacteria, toxin or virus. The cycle of inflammation is perfect in how it protects your body from these bacterial and viral invaders. However, if we chronically expose the body to injury by toxins or foods the human body was never designed to process, a condition occurs called chronic inflammation. Without inflammation being present in the body, there is no way that cholesterol would accumulate in the wall of the blood vessel and cause heart disease and strokes. Without inflammation, cholesterol would move freely throughout the body as nature intended. It is inflammation that causes cholesterol to become trapped. (Source)
How to Avoid Carrageenan
Read labels. It is important to remember that just because a product is organic, does not mean it is good for you. When you read the labels of organic milk boxes, for example, you will find many of them contain carrageenan. One product I was surprised to find carrageenan in, was the Zico brand of chocolate coconut water. You are better off drinking non-flavored coconut water, the only ingredient is 100% natural coconut water. One great way to protect yourself and your family is by looking at Cornucopia’s Carrageenan Shopping Guide.
The Cornucopia Institute, one of the organic industry’s most important watchdogs, has put together a petition demanding that the FDA remove carrageenan from the food supply. Click HERE to sign the petition, and please share this with your friends. For more information, Cornucopia’s comprehensive report on carrageenan is a good source. Please read your labels. “Even the American Cancer Society admits that more than two thirds of cancers can be prevented with lifestyle modification, and this includes diet.” ~Natural Society
“By eliminating inflammatory foods and adding essential nutrients from fresh unprocessed food, you will reverse years of damage in your arteries and throughout your body from consuming the typical American diet.” – Dr. Dwight Lundell
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~ “When you know better, you do better.” – Maya Angelou