I am very glad to be following healthy living blogs, such as Rawmazing. Although I am not a raw foodist, I like to check out recipes and foods from all kinds of lifestyles – paleo, vegan, raw, etc. A recent post from Rawmazing piqued my attention and you should read it if you are interested because it deals with a common raw ingredient “irish moss” – although I have not used this ingredient before, I have come very close to buying it on more than one occasion. I am now happy I haven’t. Apparently, carrageenan is derived from irish moss and although the negative effects of it are lesser in irish moss, they are still there.
“It seems that carrageenan can cause inflammation (one of our greatest enemies) and intestinal distress. Even more alarming, when carrageenan is extracted from the irish moss, this form of carrageenan has been associated with human cancers.” – Susan
Let’s talk a bit more about carrageenan because this is an ingredient I had no idea about before reading Susan’s post. Although I read labels, some things on the labels I tend to skip over, simply because I assume they are fine – especially when it is included on an organic product! Wrong, so wrong.
Carrageenan is a seaweed-derived ingredient used to create a better texture in many low-fat dairy and dairy-alternative products. This includes commercial AND organic products. This additive helps keep different ingredients in suspension so they don’t separate, eliminating the need to shake the product before you consume it. It is often found in in things like chocolate milk, sour cream, creamers, yogurt, ice cream, and juices. (source) Carrageenan so reliably causes inflammation that scientists actually use it to induce inflammation in biological experiments. It has been used for 50 years and it continues to be used in food products.
“In a recent statement to the National Organic Standards Board, Dr. Tobacman explained that carrageenan itself and its breakdown product both create dangerous inflammation, a condition that serves as the backbone of more than 100 human diseases, including inflammatory bowel disease, rheumatoid arthritis, and arteriosclerosis. Inflammation also fuels other life-threatening diseases, including cancer.” (source)
Susan also included a list of products which do and do not contain this additive. I went through the list and I was very sad and disappointed to see some of the products I currently purchase on the list of items that do contain carrageenan. Some of these items include:
- Almond Breeze almond milk & almond-coconut milk (Blue Diamond)
- Cottage cheese from Trader Joe’s, Whole Foods, Friendship brand, Horizon
- Stonyfield Yogurt (caramel flavor)
- So Delicious almond milk
- Coconut Dream coconut milk
- Silk pure coconut milk
- So Delicious coconut milk
- Non-dairy frozen desserts: Almond Dream, Rice Dream, So Delicious (not all flavors)
- Rice Dream (unsweetened) rice milk (not the refrigerated one)
More conventional/natural products which contain carrageenan include:
- Enjoy Life ChocoBoom™ Ricemilk and Ricemilk Crunch (chocolate bar)
- Nestle Nesquik (figures, but I used to use this product a lot as a child)
- Nestle Coffeemate coffee creamer (except Natural-Bliss)
- Slim Fast (used to use this)
- Land O’ Lakes (sour cream and cottage cheese)
- Soy Dream frozen desserts
- So Delicious milk and almond yogurt
- Kozy Shack
- Ben and Jerry’s Ice Cream
- Coldstone Creamery Ice Cream
- Balance Bars (protein bars)
So yeah, needless to say I am VERY sad about this list – a lot of these products I have bought before or was a fan of currently. Remember that this is only a small list of things I personally sorted through, a bigger list can be found here. It makes me sad but I’m going to have to evaluate the products I buy and study the labels even more carefully. I don’t want colon cancer or any gastrointestinal issues to arise after all.
Kammie wants to know:
Have you ever bought any of the products I mentioned above?
Were you aware of what carrageenan was?
Let me know in the comments below!