Carrageenan is an additive found in most organic foods. It is basically a naturally occurring food ingredient, derived from certain types of red seaweeds. The ingredient has been used or a very long time as a thickener or stabilizer for nutrients or ingredients in most foods and drinks. To help you understand it better, here are some of the commonly asked questions about Carrageenan foods:
What are Carrageenan foods?
These are the foods that contain this essential ingredient. You will find the ingredient in such beverages as protein shakes, soy and nut milk, chocolate milk and yogurts. They can also be found in deli meats, protein powders and prepared meals like frozen pizza, frozen burritos, infant formulas, popsicles and ice cream. Carrageenan foods have been around for over 100 years especially in Ireland where the ingredient was first used.
What benefits do Carrageenan foods offer?
Carrageenan can be used in place of sodium in lunch meat. Sodium is that ingredient that needs to be taken in moderation. This is because it increases blood pressure. It promotes fluid retention in the body, which creates a great burden to the heart. Too much sodium increases one’s risk of stroke, heart failure, kidney disease, steoporosis and also stomach cancer. That is why a safer alternative must be used.
Carrageenan can also take the place of fats, oils, and sugar in some of the sweet treats people enjoy so much. Fats, oils, and sugars are also not safe for your health when consumed in excess. With carrageenan in such treats, you can comfortably enjoy without worrying about side effects.
The ingredient can extend the shelf life of foods and beverages while at the same time protecting their nutritional value. This minimizes wastage in case of overproduction. Besides, the ingredient is naturally occurring and easily available. One can also make their carrageenan, saving you the cost of preparing some of your foods and beverages.
Are carrageenan foods safe?
Carrageenan is safe, that is why it has been approved by regulatory bodies for use in foods. It has been used for decades across the globe. There have been scientific researchers too, conducted just to prove its safety in foods.
Consumers have been told not to expect any dangers after using carrageenan foods. However, there are limited studies which have shown that the ingredient might cause certain side effects such as:
- Bowel syndrome