What is carrageenan and why you should stay away from it.

Some of you may or may not have heard of carrageenan. But if you haven’t it is something worth educating yourself on.

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Carrageenan: a substance extracted from red and purple seaweeds, consisting of a mixture of polysaccharides. It is used as a thickening or emulsifying agent in food products.

What is is used for: It is used as an additive to a lot of everyday products you probably eat. It is a thickener. In liquid products it basically makes products stay mixed and could easily be eliminated if the company just wrote on the package “SHAKE WELL.”

Why is is bad for you?: It is not digestible and has no nutritional value. Carrageenan is destructive to your digestive system. It triggers an immune response similar to that your body has been invaded by pathogens like salmonella. It can cause inflammation which can lead to ulcers and bleeding. Many people report reacting strongly to carrageenan with symptoms of skin rashes, digestive troubles and other health related issues.

While research may still be shakey on whether or not it is a carcinogen I have yet to see any research reporting its health benefits. So, I will continue to avoid it.

How you can avoid it: Read labels of everything you buy, especially nut milks. Companies like Almond Breeze still have it in their milks and a lot of store brand nut milks. Starbucks, Stoneyfield and Applegate are some other companies who have been reported having carrageenan in it. You can also read this list before your next grocery shop.

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