Common Ingredient in Low-Fat and Non-Dairy Milk Could be Harmful

carrageenan in milk

Carrageenan – a seaweed ingredient common in low-fat and non-dairy milks – might not be as healthy as it sounds.

Most folks see a seaweed on the ingredients list and assume that it’s healthy. After all, some seaweeds are super nutritious and even make a delicious, healthy snack, right?

A release from the Cornucopia Institute explains that carrageenen is linked to intestinal inflammation and that the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer classified the additive as a β€œpossible human carcinogen.” Cornucopia Institute also reports that:

Individuals suffering from chronic gastrointestinal symptoms have reported that their symptoms disappeared when they cut carrageenan out of their diets.

Companies use carrageenan as a thickener and stabilizer. It gives non-dairy and low fat dairy products a pleasant, creamy texture and keeps them from separating.

Not all low-fat and non-dairy milk products contain carrageenan, and Cornucopia Institute is maintaining a list of organic products that do and do not contain this additive. Is your favorite milk on the list? If not, a quick read through the ingredients on the packaging will tell you whether it contains carrageenan.

Image Credit: Carrageenan in Milk photo via Shutterstock

Written by Becky Striepe

3 Comments

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  1. Carageenan is a repeating subunit polysaccharide which can stimulate the immune system when injected into tissues. That can irritate and cause some inflammation.
    When eaten, a totally different process is at work and it is beneficial for those with intestinal problems. Uptake into the body depends on processing by bacteria in the gut and transport through a rigorous filtration system which does not set off inflammation.
    Carageenan extract is found in many oral medicines and has been for many, many years. It is also a traditional dessert in Ireland and a food for patients post gasterointestinal surgery.

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