Q. What is Carrageenan and is it something we should avoid if possible?


Carrageenans are a family of linear sulfated polysaccharides that are extracted from red seaweeds. Carrageenan is used as a thickening agent and is used in Silk milk, ice creams, and in dough to add thickness and increase viscosity. Some people cannot tolerate it and it will cause gastrointestinal spasm and distress. As a whole it has not been condemned by any health group or agency, but there is enough concern on its toxic effect on some people’s GI tract, that it might be best not to eat it in large quantities and avoid eating it in foods you use regularly such as milk or ice cream. But this is not a wholesale condemnation of it nor do I think it is harmful in modest quantities.

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