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What is carrageenan?



What is carrageenan?

 A natural food additive that is derived from red algae.


What is it in?

Foods (including organic foods) such as yogurt, soymilk, ice cream, and chocolate to make them thicker and creamier. It is also added to beverages to prevent their ingredients from separating.


Why should I care?

Though there have not been a lot of human studies performed, the results of animal studies suggest that carrageenan may have a detrimental effect on the digestive system by triggering an immune response that causes inflammation. This can trigger or exacerbate conditions such as ulcerative colitis, irritable bowel syndrome, and chronic diarrhea.


What is being done?

Though some animal research has been conducted, the next step is to determine what effects carrageenan has on the human body and if the amount found in foods is dangerous. Until then, it is mandatory to have carrageenan on the food label so consumers can choose for themselves if eating foods with this natural additive is worth the risk to them.


Information on carrageenan summarized from article.