The meals fear-mongers are at it again, and carrageenan is the most recent ingredient in their landscapes. Despite their absence of some scientific degrees or certification, some writers have managed to mobilize a whole “military” of readers to help remove another ingredient from your food source. This time it’s carrageenan. Dramatic claims are made about the “risks” of the naturally occurring food additive, however is that the war on carrageenan warranted by the body of scientific proof? Let us see how the claims pile up.
What is All the Fuss about Carrageenan?
Despite its demonstrated history for supplying desirable attributes in foods and its own organic sourcing, many activist groups and outspoken bloggers and individuals have made it their mission to eliminate carrageenan from food products. A lot of those who campaign against carrageenan completely dismiss its worth.
Carrageenan is a naturally happening ingredient that’s extracted from red seaweed and utilized to enhance the feel and palatability of several foods and drinks. Many commonly consumed beverages and foods include carrageenan, including chocolate milk, ice cream and other dairy products, salad dressings, almond and soy milk, baby formula, and some meat products.
Carrageenan is quite helpful in food production, since it can help to form dyes, thicken fluids, and also to stabilize foods. Adding carrageenan into foods can improve their feel and palatability. For instance, with no carrageenan, your ice cream will probably be a whole lot less creamy and yummy. That is a deal-breaker–I will stick with the carrageenan!
Claims of Link between Carrageenan and Adverse Health Effects Scientifically Unfounded
Several animal and human studies have contradicted claims that carrageenan is carcinogenic and shown its security. These studies found no connection between carrageenan intake and various health ailments, including digestive and cancer and reproductive disorders.
As an approved food additive, the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) has thoroughly assessed the research on carrageenan and reasoned that it’s safe for use in foods and drinks. The Food & Agriculture Organization of the United Nations/World Health Organization (FAO)/WHO Joint Expert Committee on Food Additives (JECFA) and other credible government, like the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), also have confirmed carrageenan’s security and that it isn’t cancer-causing.