Carrageenan explained: the good & the bad

Anyone who has bought almonds from stores may have noticed an ingredient known as carrageenan. This food additive is why people make their own homemade almond. Nevertheless, there seems to be a great deal of confusion regarding this additive.


What Is Carrageenan?

According to credible websites, carrageenan emanates from sulfated polysaccharides that are found in red edible seaweeds. They are very popular in the food industry for its thickening properties.

Are There Any Problems?

Not really. Carrageenan, however, carries no nutritional value whatsoever. The only reason it is used is its thickening capability. At times, this may seem like a simple product derived from seaweeds. However, there is more to it. Research shows that it is quite destructive to the human digestive process. When ingested it triggers an immune response that can be likened to that experienced when your body is invaded by pathogens such as salmonella. This brings about irritation. These concerns were noted back in the day when researchers linked the ingredient to gastrointestinal disease in the experimental lab animals. This also brought about colon cancer, ulcerative colitis, and intestinal lesions. In humans, chronic inflammation is one of the causes of heart disease.

Two Forms Of Carrageenan

There is two forms carrageenan. First is the undegraded that is mainly used for food while the other is not. On the other hand, degraded carrageenan has another name, poligeenan. Looking closely at research, we see a close relationship between animal studies conducted using poligeenan instead of undegraded Carrageenan. Poligeenan on its own can bring about cancer when delivered in high concentrations. On the other hand, undegraded carrageenan accelerates the formation of cancer.

Products That Have Carrageenan

ZXCXZC A typical example is infant formulas. Moreover, dairy products may also contain carrageenan.

Are There Benefits Attached In Carrageenan?

This group of sulfated polysaccharides is primarily used in the food industry during the thickening process. Their ability to bind protein is phenomenal as they are helpful in dairy products. In addition, carrageenan is very popular in infant formulas. Carrageenan products are rich in oligosaccharides that are rich in antioxidant activity. This ability helps support cells from being damages from oxidation. Carrageenan also assists the digestive system in supporting bowel movements.


Despite being associated with many health risks, there exists insufficient evidence that it can pose harm when consumed. Although it is important to note that, too much of anything is not good. In addition, some people react negatively when confronted with symptoms such as skin rashes. On the other hand, there is lack of research that shows the health benefits of the undertaking. Nonetheless, it is worth mentioning that food preservation will not be made possible without this additive.…