Carrageenan – Seaweed? Really?
Never heard of carrageenan? Chances are you eat it on a regular basis without even being aware of it. This food ingredient has uses that are plentiful and so diverse that it is actually quite an amazing substance. Apart from being used as a vegan alternative to gelatin, it is an ingredient that prevents food from spoiling too quickly which does help in curbing waste. Food thrown out is money down the drain. The cost of food what it is and rising every day, one can ill-afford to lose in that way too.
The additive is a natural in its source. Harvested and extracted from a particular red seaweed by boiling in a broth that is non-acidic, it is then passed through a filtration system and ground into a fine powder which is the additive used in many foods today. Seaweed is known to have a profound number of health and wellness benefits and carrageenan is just another notch on its belt.
Despite the numerous amounts of misinformation on the internet and in books, carrageenan is safe to consume. The confusion stems from the low grade carrageenan which is called poligeenan. Poligeenan is often still referred to as degraded carrageenan and confused with the completely food safe version we are referring to. Poligeenan is treated with a harsh acid solution which makes is less than inviting and not good for you at all.
As confusing as it all sounds it is good to ask the question. Knowing what you put into your mouth and into your body in vital to staying healthy and preventing illness and even death. There is some fear by consumers that poligeenan could become mixed with carrageenan during the processing phase but put your mind at ease. That possibility is one that is unfounded. The processes for both are completely different – carrageenan uses non-acidic, gentle solutions and poligeenan uses a very harsh acidic solution. The chances of the two becoming mixed together are zero.
Yes, it is wise to be conscious of the ingredients and additives placed in foods today and we all know the labels aren’t always in a language any normal person can understand. It is safe to say that you can continue to enjoy your favorite foods, even with carrageenan you didn’t know was there. You are at no risk from consuming this additive. You will be shocked to hear that your favorite chocolate milk contains this additive to prevent separation, the additive is often used to retain the moisture in meat that is already cooked and many deserts contain it to ensure that they set. You have been eating it for years and you’re none the worse for it. Don’t believe everything you read online or in magazine. Information is best obtained direct from a reliable source. Science and scientific study reveal so much more of the truth than the rumor mill out there. Make sound, educated choices and you will guarantee your own health and well-being.