What’s Lurking in Your Dairy Alternative?

IMG_1194

As you may know by now, I am conscious about the amount of dairy I consume. Since I have a weakness for good cheese (with my wine, of course!) and occasionally crave greek yogurt, I either eliminate or make trade-offs with other dairy products whenever I can. One switch that I’ve made is with milk – you can always count on finding almond milk in my fridge. In the past, I haven’t exactly been picky when it came to the brand. If I was at Trader Joe’s, I bought TJ’s brand; if I was at a supermarket, I bought whatever was on sale. Then, I learned about something called carrageenan.

Carrageenans are made from red edible seaweeds. They are used mainly in dairy and dairy alternative products for their gelling, thickening, and stabilizing abilities. It is widely used in beverages to keep ingredients from separating, as well as in low-fat versions of foods to help thicken the consistency.

Doesn’t sound so bad, right?

Think again.

Not only does carrageenan have no nutritional value, but it is also very hard on the digestive system, causing gut irritation, which could lead to ulcers and bleeding. Beyond that, carrageenan triggers an immune response in the body, which leads to inflammation. Chronic inflammation is the root cause of many diseases, like heart disease, Alzheimer’s, and cancer.

IMG_1199 IMG_1202

 If you want to avoid carrageenan, be sure to look closely at ingredient labels. Legally, carrageenan must appear on the label. The misleading part, however, is that the product can still be labeled “Natural” (because, technically, carrageenan is derived from a natural source – seaweed) and also “Organic” (organic foods ban GMOs, chemical pesticides, and toxic synthetic additives, but carrageenan is still allowed). This just goes to show how important it is to always read ingredient lists!

???????????????????????????????

Here is a shopping guide to help you find organic products without carrageenan. You can also click here to sign a petition to the FDA to ban carrageenan from our food supply.

PS – I just want to note that the Silk Almond Milk does NOT contain carrageenan.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s