There has been widespread about this for a few years now. Some people seem to think the common food ingredient is not safe, and even linked to cancer, while others are adamant it causes no harm to humans whatsoever. In a sea of conflicting information, you may well find yourself cast away from the truth.
As a starting point, lets set a little context around what carrageenan is and why it is used. It is a common food additive that is sourced naturally from red seaweed. It is produced through a boiling, filtering and milling process then packaged and sold. Its primary uses in food are as a stabilizer, texturizer and thickener. It is used for all sorts such as making foods last longer, to stopping ingredients from separating.
Despite its longstanding and widespread use, some believe that this ingredient, that is ultimately just seaweed is not safe and can cause cancer. This assumption has led to consumer confusion over whether of not we should be eating foods that contain this ingredient.
This dismay is the result of a particular scientific study that claims carrageenan can cause cancer when consumed by humans. However, the study does not certify the findings of this study. In fact, every governing body out there has independently ruled that the consumption of carrageenan in humans is not of concern. More can be found out about what carrageenan is.
There are a number of key reasons why this study is so widely dismissed by all approved health and food safety agencies and regulatory bodies.
To begin with, many of the studies actually don’t use carrageenan as we know it at all. Early studies were conducted with a substance called poligeenan, which used to go by the name of degraded carrageenan, easily explaining the understandable confusion. But it is really important at this point to under stand the poligeenan is never, ever used in the food industry because the way it is produced makes it unsafe. But remember, poligeenan is not carrageenan!
Another flaw in the research lies in how the carrageenan was administered to the animals that the study tested it on. In humans, carrageenan bindes tightly to proteins as it makes its way through the digestive system. But the study did not accurately emulate this, instead large amounts of the substance would sometimes be suspended in water, of even injected directly into the blood stream. Carrageenan never enters the bloodstream, it passes through the digestive system with zero impact. So no parallels can be drawn between the study and actual real life consumption of carrageenan. Why should you care about carrageenan? There really is nothing to worry about.