What’s the Deal with Carrageenan and Phytoestrogens?

Hi, guys! I heard back from Silk about carrageenan and phytoestrogens and just wanted to share their response. Hopefully, their answers will help clear up any questions you might have!

silk organic

Carrageenan

Like many other food companies, we use Food Grade Carrageenan as a thickener and stabilizer. But first things first, there are two very distinct types of carrageenan. Food Grade Carrageenan, and Degraded Carrageenan (also known as Poligeenan). In many cases, it seems that “carrageenan” is used synonymously for both the food-grade and degraded versions, which in truth, and as science has pointed out, act very differently in the body.

Food Grade Carrageenan (the one we use) has been used in food since the 1930’s. And since being introduced has been monitored and reviewed in both the U.S. and Europe, and consistently been found to be safe for use in food. Degraded Carrageenan (also known as Poligeenan) IS NOT allowed in food production, nor is it contained in the Food Grade version. In large doses, degraded carrageenan has been found to cause unfavorable health effects in animal studies. As stated earlier, that’s where it seems the confusion and misinformation on this topic is based.

Rest assured that as a company we’re always monitoring for and reviewing emerging research and science around all of our ingredients, and will continue to do so to ensure that we’re using the safest, highest-quality ingredients we can in our products.

Additional Info about Tobacman Research:

There are a number of reasons why the Tobacman (the study referenced in many anti-carrageenan materials) research is confusing.

To start, Tobacman is putting carrageenan directly on cells in test tubes. These studies use very high doses of an ingredient (not reasonable physiological doses) because they are looking at signal transduction pathways in the cells. This is common practice in cell culture studies because when you’re trying to figure out which part of a biochemical pathway a component may effect, most researchers ‘max out’ the system by using high concentrations. They need to use these unreasonable high doses to elicit a response. Also, and importantly, putting a compound directly onto cells does not take into account the effects of digestion and absorption. In other words, this is not how it reaches cells in human bodies.

From a scientific perspective, cell culture studies should be looked at from two perspectives – they are used to provide data on the effects of the compound at the molecular level and they provide directional data for future studies in an animal/human model where digestion/absorption/physiology are taken into account.

Lastly, Tobacman would need to follow through with animal and clinical studies (human) which are necessary to validate her findings. There is no proof that food grade carrageenan causes digestive issues, especially considering the many other studies that have found it to be completely safe for human consumption (with clinical studies to back up the research).
We absolutely respect anyone’s choice and opinion to avoid foods that utilize carrageenan as an ingredient, though and in that case would encourage you to try our Pure Almond products.

Phytoestrogens

Phytoestrogens, or plant estrogens are also known as isoflavones and don’t affect human estrogen levels. While the chemical structure of isoflavones is similar to estrogen, the two function very differently in the body in ways that can be demonstrated clinically.

Phytoestrogens have been studied for a number of health benefits including a potential role in supporting heart health, minimizing menopausal symptoms and reducing the risk of some forms of cancer. Not unexpectedly, both the American Institute of Cancer Research (AICR) and the American Cancer Society (ACS) have concluded that soyfoods are safe for breast cancer patients.

Claims that soy causes feminizing effects in men or boys are not supported by scientific evidence. In fact, a 2010 review published in the Fertility and Sterility journal examined data from more than 150 studies and found that neither isoflavones nor soyfoods affected testosterone or estrogen levels, sperm count or breast size in men.

Finally, there is no scientific evidence that soy is unsafe for pregnant women. In fact, fortified soymilk like Silk is a delicious and convenient source of many nutrients that are important in pregnancy, including calcium and high-quality protein.

This post is sponsored by Silk. The thoughts and opinions expressed are all my own. 

60 Comments

  1. So Tina are you going to use soymilk on a regular basis or is it going to be a weekly
    treat ? I think I’ll start with Silk chocolate again in small doses. Would love to hear how you’re going to personally incorporate soymilk into your diet.

  2. I have worked in science communications at two major research organizations and I appreciate Silk’s efforts to translate scientific jargon and reasoning- they are correct about the “maxing out” thing. Honestly, I feel like people should just take it with a grain of salt and move on. Will a little Carrageenan and even Poligeenan kill you? No, and I’m sure Silk would be all over it if more conclusive research comes out. The nice thing about health-minded companies is that it’s in their best interests to keep their products healthy bc they know that their consumer base is knowledgeable about this stuff.

    Also I’m SO GLAD to finally see the stuff about estrogens. Could Silk send along the research papers/ press releases from the organizations that they are referring to? I could probably find the statements online but I’m just curious

    1. @Zoe: @Zoe: Unfortunately most people suffering Ciliacs disease will have the same symptoms in their gut from ingesting even the safe form of Carrageenan as they do from ingesting gluten. Those individuals are not lying about their pain!!!! No one has the right to judge how another people feels just because the majority does not feel that way.

      There are two types of carrageenan. The first is degraded, or low molecular weight, and is the type which has been shown to cause inflammation in animals and human cells. It is not used in food products and products for human consumption. The second type is undegraded, or high molecular weight, and is the type which is added to foods and beauty products. There is an widespread belief that undegraded carrageenan is safe, and according to the Stonyfield farms website:

      The scientific literature overwhelmingly concludes that undegraded carrageenan is safe to eat. Based on this independent review of the literature, along with the Board’s recommendation to continue to allow it in organic production, we feel that carrageenan continues to be a safe ingredient to use.

      What we don’t have any information about is whether or not our bodies convert some of the undegraded (“safe”) form to degraded (“unsafe”) form after we have eaten it. There are a few small studies from the 1970s which show that this chemical change occurs in the intestinal tract of rats and guinea pigs.

      The European Union has banned the use of carrageenan in infant formulas due to concerns about safety in this population. I just checked the website of the major U.S. formula makers and it is still present in most ready-to-feed formulas commercially available in the U.S.

      Dr. Weil, M.D., one of the nation’s leaders in integrative health, spoke out against carrageenan in October 2012 (see link), stating, “I recommend avoiding regular consumption of foods containing carrageenan. This is especially important advice for persons with inflammatory bowel disease.”

  3. Thanks for sharing this….I have to say though, I’m still a little hesitant about buying products that contain carrageenan…I think that having products that contain it (and soy products) may be okay in moderation, something to consume once in a while, but I don’t think I like the idea of having either of them regularly.

  4. Love that they got right back to you about this. There’s nothing better than a company being transparent about issues like these. I’ve used Silk for a long time now and they’re pretty much the only brand I use. I like that I can still feel confident in picking their products up off the shelves.

  5. I find it weird they would go to the trouble of writing up why it is safe, but not link to any studies that can back that claim up.
    Either way, Silk is delicious and I will continue to drink it!

  6. I think it is best to listen to one’s own body. If I eat a full serving of something with carageenan, it rips up my stomach. Do I put almond milk (with carageenan) in my coffee every day because it tastes good? yes- a few tablespoons and I am fine. To each her own 🙂

  7. Thank you for being proactive about this, Tina. This information is SO important for almond (and soy) milk drinkers like me who have been concerned! The topic is swimming with misinformation and distrust, and it’s nice to see it discussed openly and clearly.

  8. I personally don’t care about the caregeenan. It’s just seaweed extract. Strange. And isn’t in anything I eat bc I stick to a mostly paleo diet. So occasionally when I dive head first into a pint of Ben and Jerry’s, that’s where it’ll be

    I’m still not convinced about soy. I think it contributes to the high levels of omega 6s that are just not good in our bodies. Soy is in EVERYTHING else. soybean oil is in most mayos and other random things. Industrial seed oils are horrible! Why bother drinking it? Soy lecithin is used as an emulsifier in most chocolates and candies and those silly spray oils. Ugh! Also. Just bc it’s USDA certified organic does not mean that the soy use by silk isn’t GMo. There is too much genetic pollution to be sure and USDA fails epically at keeping monitoring the segregation of those products in manufacturing and out in the fields. Better to just avoid soy (unless you are pre or during menopause. If you afe over 50 you can beneift from soy) and eat real food Just my 5 cents :-p

  9. I’m loving reading about things that may or may not affect my body. I love that I am bering more informative in what goes in my body. Thanks for this article.

  10. Unless you are a scientist who has researched all this and used your own specialized knowledge to evaluate this information, it is extremely irresponsible to post stuff like this here.

    FACT 1: You got this information from somewhere, but you’re not telling us where. You certainly just didn’t think all this up yourself, so to act as though you just woke up one day and decided to share your information on how safe these things are is incredibly dishonest and problematic.

    FACT 2: Consider the source. Based on your current activities, I’m thinking a lot of this information was supplied by Silk. Even the silliest of my silly students could point out the inherent conflict of interests here. This means you cannot use this information and should look for an unbiased source. Certainly, you are not blind to this. If you are, stop reading altogether. It’s doing you more harm than good unless you’re able to successfully evaluate credibility.

    FACT 3: Obviously this is a controversial issue, or someone would not have urged you to create a post about it. When there is conflicting research about, it is irresponsible to act as though things are facts. For example, you state as fact that phytoestrogens do not affect estrogen levels, when this summary of the issue from an actual university claims otherwise. http://envirocancer.cornell.edu/factsheet/diet/fs1.phyto.cfm Obviously, if I were actually going to write an article or post on this, I would dig into more scholarly sources before making any claims!

    Please be responsible. You are in a position of influence, and while I would hope your readers would be able to look at this and see how biased and unqualified you are in offering these opinions, you can never be sure.

      1. @Katie: Oh come on, the fact here is that phytoestrogens do pose a problem as the study cited will explain. To say they are harmless is biased by SILK which promotes soy products.

    1. @Denise: Despite the fact that I’m not really on board with the soy + carragenan, Tina CLEARLY states that these are SILK’S ANSWERS. Tina simply relayed their response; read carefully before you comment Denise.

  11. Thanks for posting about this…I’ve actually done quite a bit of research into this myself. It’s always interesting to learn more about what’s hidden in our food and what things it can cause. I’m being definitely more cautious with carrageenan and phytoestrogens.

  12. I guess I still don’t understand the need to use it in their products. Almond Breeze tastes and has a similar texture and it is not found in their products. I don’t freak out about stuff like this but I do get annoyed that companies feel the need to place unnecessary chemicals in our food, especially when they make it without for other countries!!!

      1. @Lisa: Oh, I didn’t know that! Good to know!

        I’m still uncertain about soy. I think the most pure forms of soy are fine in moderation (tofu, tempeh, edamame) and the “milk” is when you drift away from pure, normal soy.
        It’s funny too because leading health people have different opinions on it (Dr. Andrew Weil and Dr. Oz consume soy) whereas tons of others (Dr. Andrew Junger, and well a lot of others) would stay away from it. So its not a clearcut issue.
        But Silk also offers coconut and almond milks, so its not all soy I guess.

        Recently I saw flax milk. Now things are just getting weird. 🙂

        1. @D: I’ve actually tried flaxmilk and (shockingly) love it! I used to be only a fan of unsweetened vanilla almond milk (Silk brand of course!), but now I change things up with unsweetened vanilla flaxmilk too. It’s a little nuttier/earthier than almond milk.

  13. As a scientist I can confirm that cell culture analysis can not give you sufficient information about carrageenan. I was wondering if there are any papers beeing published on the effects of carrageenan on animal models and which doses were involved there, because this is where you can get a better picture on its kinnetics?

    1. @Jelena@FabLifePhD: here’s one! http://www.cornucopia.org/2012/06/eminent-scientist-addresses-impact-of-carrageenan-in-food/
      I stay away from food that has to be proven to be safe. Tina – have you considered following the undiet by Meghan Telpner to help with your inflammation? I found out about her book from your blog and from there actually signed up for her class. Thanks for that 🙂 Hopefully you can find a way to steer clear of heavy drugs. They don’t sound too fun.

  14. Thanks for sharing this response. It cleared up some confusion I had regarding these questionable ingredients. Although, most things in moderation will remain harmless.

  15. I don’t normally comment as I don’t have a personal blog however I am a long time health nut and vegan. I have followed your journey for many years and it has always given me lots to think about. While this info is from Silk you did acknowledge this directly at the start yet I am SURE you knew you would still take heat for this. I appreciate what you do and while I don’t always agree we all have the same goal- to be healthier and happier. I honor your bravery in posting this as well as in all of your readers comments in supporting or challenging it. Instead of letting our differences divide us, why not unify around that? Happiness after all is the number one ingredient in good health…can’t we all just get along??

  16. The thing is, at the end of the day we all have different goals, health concerns, and ideals for our families. You have to take the information that is given and do what you think is best. And always look at where the information is coming from and how it impacts you and your family. There is a lot of information out there about so many things. Look at how much information has changed about dietary recommendations, vitamins, fat, and low fat! I appreciate Silk’s response and you posting it. It gives us more information that we can choose to use in away that is best for each us and reflect on all the opinions posted here!

  17. Tina,

    Thank you for posting and sharing this information and research you have acquired. Where and how did you first hear about carrageenan? Where and how do you get information about possibly harmful ingredients in different foods? I would like to be more informed about what I am eating. Thanks for some direction.

    p.s. I love reading your blog! 🙂

  18. So… You couldn’t pay me to touch anything soy related with a ten foot pole.

    That said, non-organic almonds have TONS of pesticides on them due to the growth process. Does the company use organic almonds?

    1. @LL: To answer your question, it looks like Silk does not use organic almonds:

      INGREDIENTS: Almondmilk (Filtered Water, Almonds), Cane Sugar, Sea Salt, Locust Bean Gum, Sunflower Lecithin, Gellan Gum.

      VITAMINS & MINERALS: Calcium Carbonate, Vitamin E Acetate, Zinc Gluconate, Vitamin A Palmitate, Riboflavin (B2), Vitamin B12, Vitamin D2.

      1. @LT: I asked them once and they claimed to use all organic ingredients and non GMO. But big corps often lie. We nee proof.
        On the positive note, at least the almond milk does not contain carrageenan.

  19. Hmmm, it’s unclear to me where this discussion started (in the comments section of another post?) but I think, like most things in life, you should always get your information from multiple sources, and take the perspectives of each with a grain of salt. Yes, Silk wants to put out the “best” side of their products, but that doesn’t make it *wrong* per say.. just incomplete. One should rely on themselves to build the complete picture. Just like I wouldn’t get angry at a car company for reporting the “best” MPG a car can get (I would research what actual consumers get), I’m not going to be surprised at Silk’s answer. If I wanted more information on a product I’m going to buy, that’s my obligation to find out, not the company’s.

  20. I have crohn’s and asked my GI about Carrageenan and he told me to avoid it. I’m lactose intolerant and find it in so much stuff and it’s not easy to avoid it but I’m reading everything closely now. My GI did say there’s a doctor currently running tests on its efforts on humans, I’m interested to see what they find.

    1. @jen: also trader joe’s almond milk has no Carrageenan as well. So I buy silk when I can’t make the trip to trader joes since there 45 mins away from me.

  21. Thank you for getting this cleared up. It is crazy how skeptic of food additives society is becoming and with out the proper information to make informed decisions, good food is being passed up.

  22. My 3rd GI taught me how to determine if food-additives might be my IBS triggers, after I told him the only pattern I could detect from my numerous rule-out diets was that commercial foods mostly caused my IBS episodes. I followed his instructions, and he was right, it was food additives, especially carrageenan (but also nitrates and Annatto ”• a natural food!)

    But it was so weird at that time that only a few others on the internet complained of carrageenan, some sensitivities like mine, others were allergic reactions. So I did more research and discovered that carrageenan is used to purposely induce painful inflammation in lab animals by injecting into their tissues (not feeding it to them), in order to test their various anti-inflammatory concoctions.

    Well that’s exactly the symptoms I suffered in my gut about 20’ish minutes after eating food with carrageenan, always in the exact same spot too. Meanwhile, my GP ‘disappeared’ from his multi-partner practice, so I had to begin a new relationship with another partner, who concentrated on HBP & insulin resistance first. But now that those are under control, I told her I suspect my IBS might be Leaky Gut, explaining pain+inflammation, in exact same spot for 5’ish years, after eating carrageenan (then had to explain to her how I was able to narrow down my triggers). She actually listened, and instructed me to stop all sugar, grains (especially gluten), starches, and alcohol because a recent seminar taught her these things contribute to Leaky Gut, but avoiding them allows gut lining to heal over extended time. I was hoping she’d order a Mannitol/Lactulose test to confirm Leaky Gut, but she seems against labs unless completely necessary (I’m insured, so it’s not like they’d turn down a gut-related test after 5 years of complaints and claims). But we’ll see how the almost-keto diet works to close the alleged leaks in my gut (I’m removing nightshades for about 6 weeks also, cuz the internet said so LOL).

    Back-story over. I don’t know if carrageenan actually causes, contributes colon cancer in somewhat healthy people, so I’m not against carrageenan entirely, since such a large percentage tolerates it well. But not everyone tolerates it, so why do some food companies put carrageenan in ALL their products? For a while, big-business chicken was injecting carrageenan into all their mainstream-grocery boneless chicken, but recently started coming out with no-additive chicken again ”• I’m guessing public backlash.

    Pacific Foods adds carrageenan to “SOME” of their non-dairy milks, but not all. Pacific Foods will get my $ for leaving me with some options, and Silk can kiss my $ bye-bye forever for being so obstinate and not making 1 or 2 ND-Milks without carrageenan.

    1. @Shreela: It seems foods for humans is a one size fits all. Simply because they provide for the majority for profits and gains. As usual, its more about that than it is about health and well being.

  23. I would encourage you to learn more about the ingredient carrageenan and the scientific literature that points to harm. The Cornucopia Institute has analyzed the vast body of scientific research: http://www.cornucopia.org/carrageenan-2013/

    The company that owns Silk has a clear incentive to mislead its customers regarding the scientific literature on carrageenan’s safety, and their response is filled with false and misleading claims. For example, they responded that Dr. Joanne Tobacman’s research applies high doses of carrageenan directly to cells, which ignores dozens of studies which used doses of food-grade carrageenan (representative of what an average consumers would ingest) in the diet and drinking water of laboratory animals, and found higher rates of gastrointestinal lesions and ulcerations. Several studies using laboratory animals (by scientists other than Dr. Tobacman) concluded that food-grade carrageenan acts as a colon tumor promoter, based on higher rates of colon cancer in the animals given carrageenan in the diet.

    It is also important to note that there is a clear divide in the scientific community in terms of the safety of carrageenan. Studies by scientists without an affiliation to the carrageenan industry have repeatedly found harmful effects from food-grade carrageenan. Many of the recently published studies pointing to harm were funded in part by the National Institutes of Health, the Broad Medical Foundation, the American Diabetes Association and other non-corporate sources. The only scientists and studies that defend the safety of carrageenan are affiliated, funded or commissioned by the carrageenan industry or by food companies that use carrageenan.

    When a Chicago Tribune reporter asked the carrageenan trade lobby group for studies that were not funded or commissioned by the industry and that did not find harmful effects from consuming food-grade carrageenan, they were unable to present even a single study. See the full story at http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2013-03-18/health/ct-met-carrageenan-0318-20130318_1_doubts-surface-fda-scientists-u-s-food.

  24. I would like to add this more detailed comment rather than the one I previously posted:
    I would encourage you to learn more about the ingredient carrageenan and the scientific literature that points to harm. The Cornucopia Institute has analyzed the vast body of scientific research: http://www.cornucopia.org/carrageenan-2013/

    The company that owns Silk has a clear incentive to mislead its customers regarding the scientific literature on carrageenan’s safety, and their response is filled with false and misleading claims.

    For example, they responded that Dr. Joanne Tobacman’s research applies high doses of carrageenan directly to cells, which ignores dozens of studies which used doses of food-grade carrageenan (representative of what an average consumers would ingest) in the diet and drinking water of laboratory animals, and found higher rates of gastrointestinal lesions and ulcerations. Several studies using laboratory animals (by scientists other than Dr. Tobacman) concluded that food-grade carrageenan acts as a colon tumor promoter, based on higher rates of colon cancer in the animals given carrageenan in the diet.
    It is also important to note that there is a clear divide in the scientific community in terms of the safety of carrageenan. Studies by scientists without an affiliation to the carrageenan industry have repeatedly found harmful effects from food-grade carrageenan. Many of the recently published studies pointing to harm were funded in part by the National Institutes of Health, the Broad Medical Foundation, the American Diabetes Association and other non-corporate sources. The only scientists and studies that defend the safety of carrageenan are affiliated, funded or commissioned by the carrageenan industry or by food companies that use carrageenan.
    When a Chicago Tribune reporter asked the carrageenan trade lobby group for studies that were not funded or commissioned by the industry and that did not find harmful effects from consuming food-grade carrageenan, they were unable to present even a single study. See the full story at http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2013-03-18/health/ct-met-carrageenan-0318-20130318_1_doubts-surface-fda-scientists-u-s-food.
    White Wave Foods also wrote that degraded carrageenan “IS NOT” contained in food-grade carrageenan, which is not the case. When carrageenan manufacturers were told by the European Union to ensure that levels of degraded carrageenan in food-grade carrageenan be limited to less than 5%, they tested their products. Their results showed that levels of degraded carrageenan as high as 25% in some of their samples. They concluded that keeping levels of degraded carrageenan below 5% would not be feasible.
    It is also deeply troubling that White Wave would ignore dozens of laboratory animal studies using food-grade carrageenan that point to serious harm (lesions, ulcers, tumors) and then state that “Dr. Tobacman would need to follow through with animal and clinical (human) studies.” Animal studies have been performed, and when funders do not include food companies, the findings consistently point to harm. But more troubling is White Wave’s encouragement of human testing. What they are suggesting is deeply unethical — there is a reason why we test on lab animals, not people. Yet White Wave suggests that they will continue to include this ingredient – despite the scientific evidence pointing to harm – until food companies have subjected real people to intentional exposure, and measured the rates of gastrointestinal lesions and tumors. Despite the troubling ethical implications of testing toxins on humans, scientists are in fact doing so, as we speak. Medical researchers are recruiting patients with a serious gastrointestinal disease, who are in remission, and asking if they would willingly ingest a daily dose of carrageenan – risking the recurrence of painful and debilitating symptoms. Not surprisingly, they are having trouble finding volunteers who would sign up as human guinea pigs.
    For now, we know that laboratory animals experience gastrointestinal harm when they ingest even low doses of carrageenan, and we know from Dr. Tobacman’s cell studies which biological pathways are involved in causing this inflammation. We also know, from the industry’s own test results, that degraded carrageenan (a List 2B carcinogen) does occur in food-grade carrageenan.

    1. @Melody Morrell:
      Melody brought out some very good points about always evaluating scientific research critically.

      Until there is “sufficient” research to definitively prove or disprove carageenan’s harmful effects in human cells, I personally, in the absence of more definitive data, choose to avoid any food or food additive that may produce harmful effects, and I recommend that other consumers do the same, and only buy products from companies that also follow this same logic.

  25. Thanks Melody. I think you have hit the nail right on the head.
    Seems no truly independent studdies have been done – just those funded by interested parties.
    No surprises though. Many industries, eg the dairy industry, pay very heavily to cover up the dangers of their foodstuffs. (wow!!!! opened a can of worms now – how can dairy be dangerous? Too much research to put here – but look into it, and AROUND the dairy funded research)
    I am taking what you say as the truth in this long discussion.
    Thanks

  26. HELP! HELP!
    TYPING IN CAPS CAUSE I AM SO ANGRY ….yes ….nightmare finding any milk(apart from regular cow’s milk) or creamers for coffee or drinks without carrageenan.
    CAN ANYONE CONFIRM IF
    .02% carrageenan per 8oz. OF ANY MILK IS SAFE TO CONSUME?
    CAN ANYONE SUGGEST COCONUT, RICE OR ALMOND OR HEMP MILK MINUSSSSS THE ADDED INGREDIENT CARRAGEENAN?
    Is Soy Bad for consumption?
    Whole Bean Soy is not the same as soy protein, so therefore is Whole Bean Soy fit for consumption?
    Is non-fat or fat free milk safe to consume?
    Is Organic Milk safe to consume?
    Help!!!

  27. Unfortunately most people suffering Ciliacs disease will have the same symptoms in their gut from ingesting even the safe form of Carrageenan as they do from ingesting gluten. Those individuals are not lying about their pain!!!! No one has the right to judge how another people feels just because the majority does not feel that way.

    There are two types of carrageenan. The first is degraded, or low molecular weight, and is the type which has been shown to cause inflammation in animals and human cells. It is not used in food products and products for human consumption. The second type is undegraded, or high molecular weight, and is the type which is added to foods and beauty products. There is an widespread belief that undegraded carrageenan is safe, and according to the Stonyfield farms website:

    The scientific literature overwhelmingly concludes that undegraded carrageenan is safe to eat. Based on this independent review of the literature, along with the Board’s recommendation to continue to allow it in organic production, and claim that carrageenan continues to be a safe ingredient to use.

    What we don’t have is any information about whether or not our bodies convert some of the undegraded (“safe”) form to degraded (“unsafe”) form after we have eaten it. There are a few small studies from the 1970s which show that this chemical change occurs in the intestinal tract of rats and guinea pigs.

    The European Union has banned the use of carrageenan in infant formulas due to concerns about safety in this population. I just checked the website of the major U.S. formula makers and it is still present in most ready-to-feed formulas commercially available in the U.S.

    Dr. Weil, M.D., one of the nation’s leaders in integrative health, spoke out against carrageenan in October 2012 (see link), stating, “I recommend avoiding regular consumption of foods containing carrageenan. This is especially important advice for persons with inflammatory bowel disease.”

  28. Silk Coconut Milk, White Wave Foods Company
    Parent company (19.9% ownership) donated $253,950 to No on Prop 37 Campaign, GMO Labeling
    I find this highly suspect and will not purchase products containing GMO or that donated money to defeat a proposition that would let the consumer know what is actually in their product

  29. Whole Foods has been pulling out carrageenan from their 365 brand non-dairy and I believe also their dairy milks. Pacific has unfortunately been going in the opposite direction and have added it to just about all their hemp milks and other milks. Several months back there was this new almond coconut milk at Whole Foods – the manager told me no one was buying it due to the carrageenan. I react to carrageenan, as others noted, as if I have ingested gluten. Same with brown kombu seaweed in a can of beans. Watch out for the latest brown seaweed emulsifier under the name calcium alginate or other alginate or alginic acid. Was sick for months until I realized two major gluten free manufacturers that had removed red seaweed carrageenan from products were adding alginates. In contacting the companies they did not get the impact of these seaweeds and seaweed products to many with celiac disease, non celiac gluten sensitivity, IBS and IBD. I not only get gastro symptoms but my full array of other system issues. My brother and his wife get terrible muscle cramps from carrageenan.

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