Wednesday, January 21, 2015
Carrageenan, It's All Natural So What's The Big Deal?
I usually don’t blog so close together, they say it is a sign of being too pushy, but this is so important that if you don’t know about it I feel it an obligation to shout it from the roof tops as soon as I can. I even contacted a few friends directly in hopes that elimination this from their diets may help them with some health issues that they are facing now.
While researching for another blog I came across something I felt was worth investigating, Carrageenan.
Now I had seen this word listed on ingredients before, and had remembered vaguely that it was not good for us but couldn't remember why.
As someone who has read labels for years I thought I was doing pretty well, until this.
Label reading is only as good as the knowledge you have of what you are reading and Carrageenan is listed but what the heck is it really?
Carrageenan or Irish Moss as they are starting to call it, comes from Red Seaweed and is all natural, the government has deemed it safe as recent as 2012 so this ingredient in conventional as well as organic foods is safe... right?
Well, lots of things are natural but still not safe for us to eat, Carrageenan is one of them.
The main purpose Carrageenan is used is for thickening, or stabilizing the foods we purchase. Think dairy products that can separate, soy and almond milk are also products that this can be found in.
It is often used in frozen and cooked chicken to keep it juicy and tender.
It can also be found as a binder in deli meats.
It is also listed in many of our pet foods.
There are two kinds of Carrageenan, food grade or "Undegraded" which the government has deemed safe for human consumption and "Degraded" which is not for human consumption.
So what's the big deal, just eat the food grade and you will be fine would be the simple thought. The answer is more complex however, because once the food grade Carrageenan hits your stomach the acid in your stomach takes over and scientists are concerned that the acid is turning the Carrageenan into degraded, the bad kind, when it gets to your digestive system.
At that point the bad or degraded Carrageenan has become A CARCINOGEN, A CANCER CAUSING SUBSTANCE!
This is showing up in humans as the following: gastrointestinal inflammation, intestinal lesions, abdominal bloating, spastic colon, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), ulcerative colitis, malignant tumors, as well as low grade inflammation, which can go on undetected for years causing all sorts of problems. It can also show up as an immune response in the body which has similar effects of salmonella.
Tests on humans generally show nothing out of the ordinary yet, it in lab rats when Carrageenan is added to their diet they have developed colon cancer.
Studies on Carrageenan have been going on since the 1960's and the findings are shown over and over to be problematic, however major manufacturers have and continue to lobby the government and fight hard to keep this substance in our food system.
Some manufacturers are now removing this from their products and replacing it with things like guar gum, which has been found not to put rats in danger of getting cancer, and others are simply putting the words "Shake well" on their products so if their items do separate it can be controlled by the consumer. Others, even some organic companies, are not willing to remove this from their list of ingredients.
What is the answer?
Really know what you are reading on those labels and then you must make the decision for yourself.
Studies have shown many people have shown great improvement in their overall health by removing Carrageenan from their diet.
I just found a few things in my own house with Carrageenan in it like the holistic cat food we buy, as well as my husbands all time favorite Nesquik which our kids and grandkids have enjoyed as well, it makes me angry that I have been uninformed and not involved enough. This stuff is out of my house permanently!
We need to make good choices, I have always said you are only responsible for what you know and now you know this too.
Stay Healthy my friends!
For more information on this please visit www.cornucopia.org for a complete report as well as a scorecard/ shopping list of items that are conventional as well as organic with Carrigeenan as an ingredient.