Carrageenan In Your Food: The Sad Truth

This may not be all that pleasant to read. Nonetheless, it is noteworthy to write about. I recently had an unexpected bout with gagging up a foam-like stomach fluid. This was a wake-up call for the sad truth about Carrageenan in your food. I did not exactly need to vomit, it was more like my digestive system was specifically rejecting the baked chicken skin I had just eaten. The rest of the meal was fine (white meat chicken, asparagus, and Brussels sprouts).

Why Is Carrageenan In Your Food?

Carrageenans or carrageenins are a family of linear sulfated polysaccharides that are extracted from red edible seaweeds. They are widely used in the food industry, for their gelling, thickening, and stabilizing properties. Their main application is in dairy and meat products, due to their strong binding to food proteins.

The sulfates in/on the chicken skin is most likely responsible. I am the only one to eat any chicken skin during that meal. I also am aware of some of the issues with carrageenan from previously researching other food additives and flavor enhancers.

So, now I think it is because I eat a whole food diet (for over 2 years now). My body wants to reject any foreign substance. Sometimes this creates an odd reaction. It was very strange, I can't say I really felt sick, but this bad reaction was happening within a few short minutes after finishing our meal.

This was like a scene from a zombie movie with foam drooling out of my mouth. It was very uncomfortable, and the only way I can describe it is like you might expect would happen if you swallowed an entire Alka-Selter tablet without any water. I was feeling quite bloated, and unable to stop the fizzing action in my stomach.

The Problems with Carrageenan

A worldwide trend in the rise of IBD seems to be consistent with the rise in the consumption of processed foods that contain gelling agents, including carrageenan. (23) Carrageenan has been shown to have detrimental effects in both animal experiments and human intestinal cell studies, which brings up the question: why are we still eating it? (45) Even anecdotal evidence has shown that removing carrageenan from the diet can help resolve gastrointestinal issues associated with inflammation.

Carrageenan Causes Inflammation

We believe from our research that inflammation is the cause of most ill health that will lead to other diseases later in life. So, the first thing we attempt to do is avoid any food, or other substance that may promote inflammation.

There are many sources out there say that carrageenan causes inflammation in the body. Our digestion system isn’t good at taking care of it. That is concerning. I think inflammation is a big problem in this country and that is leads to many health issues. Our bodies struggle to digest some of our modern foods. Why I haven’t done all the scientific research myself I am going to opt to avoid this ingredient in chicken.

How to Avoid Foods with Carrageenan

Carrageenan is in a host of processed food products.You can find it in diary products, ice cream, nut milks, nutritional drinks, meat products, frozen dinners, canned soups, and even pet foods. It's hard to say where you may find this added ingredient, and the list is long.

Always read ingredient lists carefully. Carrageenan may be present in the final product but not listed on the ingredients label when it is used as a “processing aid,” for example in cream. We recommend contacting the company directly if you would like to confirm whether carrageenan is in the final product.

Visit this link for a Shopper's Guide to Avoid Carrageenan.