• Carrageenan: In So Many Organic Food Products?

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    Many food manufacturers—even some makers of commercial organic foods—are adding “carrageenan” to foods like yogurt, chocolate, soymilk, and even ice cream to give the foods a thicker consistency and to make low-fat versions taste fuller. Derived from red seaweed, it's often added to beverages to keep their ingredients from separating; you'll find it in many nutritional shakes, milk products, and milk replacements. The ingredient even crops up in certain frozen dinners, soups, and commercial broth products. The problem: carrageenan could be causing inflammation, gut irritation, and even cancer.

    “The common food additive carrageenan (CGN) predictably induces intestinal inflammation in animal models.” — Bhattacharyya S, et al., 2013

    “During the past decade carrageenan has become much used experimentally mainly for its ability to induce an acute inflammation.” — Di Rosa M, 1972

    “Carrageenan is readily taken up by macrophages and stored in lysosomes, which subsequently swell and rupture, apparently resulting in cell death.” — Catanzaro PJ, Schwartz HJ, & Graham RC, 1971

    Independent research has suggested that carrageenan is a dangerous food additive. It’s extracted from seaweed and reportedly causes inflammation of the gut — although it is widely used in our food supply today, independent studies have shown it has no place in our food, but especially not in organic/natural products. It is a cheap emulsifier, and although alternatives like guar gum and carob bean gum do not have any of the same risks and side effects, carrageenan …

    Testified before the Organic Standards Board about the safety of this additive, but was unfortunately ignored. It amazes me that we have safe alternatives that can be used such guar gum and carob bean gum but they are not being utilized as they should be. Instead the carrageenan industry lobbied the USDA Organic Standards Board for its approval. So when purchasing your food, be sure to turn that package over and read your ingredients label. Chances are you may just find carrageenan listed. Yes even in organic and natural products.

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