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The Truth About Carrageenan

“This food additive is nothing new” – A look at some “dodgy science” about carrageenan

If you’re a label reader, you may have seen carrageenan listed among the ingredients in your soy milk or yogurt. And if you’re a Web surfer, you may have read scary things about this common food additive.

Used to improve the texture of low-fat dairy products and other foods, carrageenan started making headlines several years ago when some consumer watchdog groups and bloggers called for its removal from our food supply.

They based their claims on research that seemed to link carrageenan to

health problems including chronic inflammation, insulin resistance (a precursor to diabetes) and gastrointestinal problems such as inflammatory bowel disease and ulcerative colitis.

The campaign against carrageenan is gaining traction. In 2013, Stonyfield Organic vowed to phase out its use. In the summer of 2014, WhiteWave Foods announced it would eliminate the additive from Horizon Milk and Silk nondairy drinks. The reason? Consumer demand, according to WhiteWave’s announcement. “Even though it is safe, our consumers have told us they want products without it.”

Should you be worried about the carrageenan lurking in the foods in your fridge? Probably not.

An ancient folk remedy

This food additive is nothing new. Extracted from red seaweed, carrageenan (also known as Irish moss) has been used around the world for centuries as a gelatin and a home remedy. “When you really look at the history, carrageenan was mostly used to cure coughs, colds and tummy upsets,” says says Kantha Shelke, PhD, CFS, a principal with the food science research firm Corvus Blue LLC and a spokesperson for the Institute of Food Technologists. “That’s one of the reasons why it’s an ingredient in infant formula.”

Read more from the source: SafeBee