There are so many food additives now, and it can be really hard to decipher what is harmless and what may be causing health issues in our bodies. Especially when they use scientific names that we have no idea what it even is. For example, “Ascorbic Acid” is just another name for vitamin C, so there’s nothing scary to see here… Unfortunately, that is usually not the case with all additives. Many of them are unhealthy or even harmful.
As a nutritionist, it really fires me up to see all of the harmful things that are added to our foods. What is even worse is that they are actually allowed by the FDA. It is my mission to educate others and reveal some of these secrets hidden in plain sight. Knowledge is power when it comes to food additives.
There are many simple swaps that we can make in our kitchens to improve our health. Download my free guide here!
This blog post is all about Carrageenan
Carrageenan is a thickener made from red seaweed. You love to eat seaweed with your sushi, so something that comes from something natural has to be harmless, yes? Actually, no… Carrageenan is actually very harmful to our health and should be something to avoid. Yet, it is commonly found in many foods in the grocery store. It is very common in dairy-alternative milk, such as almond milk, or in deli meat. But you can even find it in things like ice cream, dog food, and Costco’s beloved rotisserie chicken.
So what’s the big deal with Carrageenan? As I said above, it is extracted from red seaweed. To create “food grade” carrageenan, it is processed with a chemical compound called alkali. However, if you take the same red seaweed and process it with acid rather than alkali, you would create “degraded carrageenan” or poligeenan. Scientists use this substance to promote inflammation in lab animals to test out anti-inflammatory drugs. Let me say that again: it promotes inflammation!
One study even found that food-grade carrageenan can cause glucose intolerance and insulin resistance. The study was done on mice, and it states, “These effects may result from carrageenan-induced inflammation.” Inflammation can cause many issues in our bodies, and we should do our best to avoid foods that can lead to inflammation.
Take action to avoid this food additive
So what can you do? My biggest advice is to read your labels and choose companies that go without adding carrageenan into their products. As more information about the negative effects of carrageenan comes out, fewer companies are using it in their products, which is great! I am a big believer in voting with our dollars, so that is the best thing we can do to tell companies that we will not stand for inflammation-causing substances in our foods!
My values as a nutritionist is to lead women to eat real food. I don’t believe nutrition is complicated, but unfortunately, our society has made it feel like it is! I am here to take the confusion out and help you live a full, vibrant, and nourished life. Book a discovery call to learn more about working together.