(WellnessPursuits.com) – Many of us know to avoid hydrogenated oils, high fructose corn syrup and MSG, but those aren’t the only common food additives you might want to avoid. Research indicates that carrageenan can do some major damage to your body, from disrupting your digestive system to increasing pain and inflammation.
Carrageenan: The Basics
Carrageenan is a natural additive derived from red seaweed, also known as Irish moss. It is added to foods to preserve their shelf life and to thicken or emulsify them. You can often find carrageenan in ice cream, soups and non-dairy milk due to its thickening properties.
Carrageenan also appears in many vegan cheese substitutes, as well as puddings, yogurt and butter. Due to its role as a food preservative, you can even find this seaweed in deli meat, infant formula and protein supplements. Many people feel confident choosing products with carrageenan because it’s viewed as a natural ingredient, but this common additive could make you sick.
The Effects of Carrageenan Consumption
The effects of carrageenan consumption can range from mild gastrointestinal discomfort to an increased risk for colon cancer. Here are some other issues you may experience after ingesting this common additive:
- Stomach bloating
- Irritable bowel syndrome flare-ups
- Food sensitivities or allergies
- Insulin resistance
You may notice many of these conditions have painful symptoms. That’s because carrageenan consumption can cause inflammation, which in turn results in pain or discomfort.
Carrageenan can also be difficult for people with diabetes and similar conditions because it can affect glucose regulation. However, there’s good news: eliminating this seaweed extract from your diet may help you reduce your risk of glucose intolerance, even if you have existing complications. In fact, a recent study found a decrease in insulin resistance for diabetic patients who followed a carrageenan-free diet for 12 weeks.
Although the FDA continues to deem Carrageenan safe as an additive to our dairy and processed foods despite studies that may show otherwise, many food manufacturers have taken it upon themselves to eliminate Carrageenan from their products.
We as consumers are in a position of power. We can choose what to buy. So, read the labels. Carrageenan will be listed if it’s there. It’s your choice. Try going Carrageenan free for a while and see if you notice any improvements in your digestion, etc. If you do, spread the word to your friends and family.
~Here’s to Your Healthy Pursuits!
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