The Usage of Carrageenan

What is Carrageenan_812351

Is carrageenan consumable? Is it safe? Won’t it result in intestinal or digestive problems? If you want to address these issues and have your questions answered, read on about carrageenan and its basic function in food industry. You learn more about the substance and you get informed in every aspect.


Food Processing Industry

Today’s foods contain so many stuffs – some of them are even weird. Processed foods, especially, have amazing stuffs in order to improve their texture and feel. After all, you can’t really expect the processed foods you buy to always look fresh. For instance, you may buy a chocolate biscuits with cheese fillings in it. But do you know the long process for the biscuits to get into your house? After being processed, they have to be transported to the main warehouse, and then transported again to the supplier. They still have to sit for days (even weeks) before customers like you decide to buy them. Get the idea?


That’s why most processed foods use additive. Of course, they try to find as natural additives as possible, including the carrageenan. So, what is carrageenan, actually? It is a natural extract from a certain species of seaweed that is used in food processing industry.

The Usage

Basically, most processed foods use the so called gums, which are similar to corn starch and gelatin for chemical additive (and yet it is totally safe). Their main function in the food industry is:

  • As emulsifier. They help the liquids staying mixed and not separated
  • As thickener. If you consume pancake syrup, marshmallow, ice cream, etc, you know what I mean
  • As stabilizer. It prevents ice or sugar from being crystallized
  • To change the texture. When a gum is added to the foods, it will make the foods chewier or thicker

If you want to find more information about the substance, feel free to browse around as there are many sources that you can find.


Is carrageenan bad or safe to eat?

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What is carrageenan

Carrageenan is a compound extracted from red seaweed. It is usually added to improve the texture and mouth feel of foods. Widely, it is used as an additive in foods that began in the 1930s in chocolate milk, but now, it is also found in yogurt, ice cream, almond milk, deli meats, soy milk and meal replacement shakes.

Is it bad when eating carrageenan?

Some of different group and scientists have been trying to get FDA for decades. they want to ban a carrageenan using in foods as It has potential damage and it can cause to the digestive tract. moreover, there is an argument that has been reignited with a consumer report and petition by the advocacy and food policy research group cornucopia entitled “How a natural food additive is making us sick” and then from study by Dr. Joanne Tobacman, M.D. a professor at university of Illinois in Chicago explained that degraded carrageenan causes gastrointestinal inflammation and all forms of carrageenan are capable causing inflammation. but the carrageenan that has been added to foods is degraded carrageenan whereas, undegraded carrageenan is not used for foods.

How can we know that carrageenan safe?

There is no data in human that shows a carrageenan can damage the health, but there are animal and data that do suggest it as it caused damage to your gut and exacerbate inflammatory bowel disease such as Crohn’s disease. And some people remove it from their diet. Besides, common food that contains toxic ingredients companies like StonyField and Organic valley have removed a carrageenan from their products while others like white Wave Foods which owns Silk and horizon Organic don’t see a risk from a carrageenan and don’t have plans to reformulate their products with a different thickener. However, this is just an individual decision. you can consume carrageenan if you have no sensitive with it and if you think you have sensitive with carrageenan, just remove it from your food lists



Is Carrageenan Bad?


Many people believe that there are some food ingredients that are not suitable to consume though it is often and widely used in food products since a long time ago. Carrageenan is one of it. There are many people that argue Carrageenan is actually inedible.

Though there are a lot of people who brings out theories about whether Carrageenan is bad or not, it has not been proven that the food-grade Carrageenan is harmful to you to consume. In fact, there is some misconception about the food-grade Carrageenan. A lot of people mistook it for degraded Carrageenan, which in fact, is not edible by the fact that it is processed particularly for industrial or factory products that are absolutely not for consumption.

What is the Difference between Food-Grade and Degraded Carrageenan?

There is indeed a difference between the two types of Carrageenan. In which one is edible and the other is not. The edible one is called food grade Carrageenan. It is made through a set of process to get rid of the bacteria and harmful substances to only leaving the extract that is suitable and beneficial to consume. The edible Carrageenan is in fact very good for a healthy diet. In another hand, the inedible one is called degraded Carrageenan. The degraded Carrageenan is specially made through the process to only enough for safe usage, but not edible. It is usually used in products like gel air freshener, shampoo, makeup products, and many more.

Though one of the both types of Carrageenan is inedible, it is definitely safe to use. It is one of the natural ingredients and does not contain harmful chemical or any other harmful substances. So, you do not have to worry when you see Carrageenan in one of the ingredients in your daily product.