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 Post subject: Carrageenan concerns...
PostPosted: Sat May 04, 2013 3:02 pm 
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I have only seen this mentioned in a couple of posts about vegan cheese but I only learned relatively recently about carrageenan as an additive in many organic and vegan foods. I have loved Earth Balance unsweetened soy milk and was so disappointed to see carrageenan as an ingredient so I switched to WestSoy which is one of the few that is carrageenan-free and then noticed that it is NOT calcium fortified.

Is anyone else aware or concerned about carrageenan? I have soy milk every day and have been for the past several years-I also have some stomach issues which may be carrageenan related. Mostly I am so disappointed that companies I have trusted are using carrageenan and all the nondairy milks I looked at were not calcium fortified if they were carrageenan-free.

Here is a recent article from the Chicago Tribune but the Cornucopia Institute and WebMD, etc all have info about the potential issues surrounding carrageenan as a food additive.

http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2013 ... ive-safety

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 Post subject: Re: Carrageenan concerns...
PostPosted: Sat May 04, 2013 3:21 pm 
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heh, carrageenan has been a bugbear of mine for a while. my *biggest* gripe to it being in milks is that they use less soy/almond/whatever and use carrageenan to thicken it so it's not so watery. blargh. just make a higher quality product! (sidebar, I buy the Pacific/plain/unsweetened soy milk. just soy and water. my calcium is fine, yo). none of the soy milk I ever had when I lived in Australia had either calcium nor carrageenan. I may/may not have brought a crate of it back last time I went ;)

as for health concerns, I consider it to be like MSG. it's not *good* for you, and I do my best to avoid it, but sometimes I let it slide. it's not often, but sometimes it's easier.

honestly I'd just supplement calcium via pillz if it's a big concern for you

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 Post subject: Re: Carrageenan concerns...
PostPosted: Sat May 04, 2013 4:01 pm 
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I make my own almond milk and throw in calcium supplements.

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 Post subject: Re: Carrageenan concerns...
PostPosted: Sun Jun 09, 2013 4:27 am 
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Whole Foods is out of unsweetened almond milk, so I got one with carrageenan. I can't tell if I should be concerned or not. It's Califia Farms brand and is OK, but wouldn't be my first pick. Does anyone know more? I've read a bit, but it's all like oh, perfectly safe OR this will cause inflammation and ulcerative colitis like symptoms.

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 Post subject: Re: Carrageenan concerns...
PostPosted: Sun Jun 09, 2013 5:09 am 
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ndpittman wrote:
I've read a bit, but it's all like oh, perfectly safe OR this will cause inflammation and ulcerative colitis like symptoms.


It seems to me that it's just like anything else- some people can get stomach troubles, but others are fine. I get pretty terrible migraines from foods with a lot of MSG, so I try to avoid it in excess, but that doesn't mean I think it's inherently bad and everyone needs to view it as a danger to them. I think it's easy for people to think that they need to be concerned about additives that they don't understand (and fair enough), but carrageenan is really just seaweed extract and nothing terrifying. For what it's worth, I use it to make cheeses and I haven't had any issues with those or anything else that may contain the stuff.

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 Post subject: Re: Carrageenan concerns...
PostPosted: Mon Jun 10, 2013 9:07 am 
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Yeah, it definitely seems like some people get stomach issues from it, some don't. I personally don't see it as a concern. Like some people have major issues with peanuts, various nuts, soy, and a variety of other foods. That doesn't mean that I should stop eating those things if I don't have those issues. If you get stomach aches from soy milk, then possibly try making your own soy milk and see if you have the same problem. If not, it might be the carrageenan. If soy, it might just be the soy.

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 Post subject: Re: Carrageenan concerns...
PostPosted: Mon Jun 10, 2013 10:24 am 
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I don't know if it gives me trouble or not, but I feel victim to the fear mongering. I also think that pretty much everything ever gives me squealy guts/gas.

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 Post subject: Re: Carrageenan concerns...
PostPosted: Mon Jun 10, 2013 10:36 am 
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Yeah, I agree, there appears to be a lot of fear mongering lately. I think it seems really stressful for those that are trying to avoid every little thing to have the perfect diet. People do have some real health concerns but some health concerns of some people aren't the same of others.

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 Post subject: Re: Carrageenan concerns...
PostPosted: Mon Jun 10, 2013 12:05 pm 
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i know it's a problem for people w/ celiacs disease because carageenan resembles the gluten protein enough that they process it like gluten (as in not)


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 Post subject: Re: Carrageenan concerns...
PostPosted: Mon Jun 10, 2013 12:17 pm 
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Not that I don't doubt you, but where did you read that carrageenan resembles gluten?

Although I didn't do a search on PubMed, this seems to be pretty solid blog article written by a doctor discussing relation of celiac and carrageenan. Other searches just resulted in people trying to avoid carrageenan.
http://www.thepatientceliac.com/2013/01 ... c-disease/

And Dr Weil, who I respect says he thinks we should avoid it. I think he is pretty level headed.
http://www.drweil.com/drw/u/QAA401181/I ... -Safe.html

But overall, it sounds like for the average person, some small consumption isn't an issue unless you experience pain.

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 Post subject: Re: Carrageenan concerns...
PostPosted: Mon Jun 10, 2013 5:20 pm 
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you know what, i just garnered that info from an ex-bf who had celiacs disease. he found out he had it while i was with him and he figured out that it was the carrageenan in our soy milk that was giving him problems. it was he who told me about "some article" he read about the carrageen resembling gluten. i just assumed it was true w/out checking my facts, sorry. oh, i've also known other people w/ celiacs who also had to avoid carrageenan. so i guess that's also why i thought it was true? but celiacs people are prone to a number of sensitivities outside of gluten so who knows.


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 Post subject: Re: Carrageenan concerns...
PostPosted: Mon Jun 10, 2013 5:32 pm 
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Bryanna Clark Grogan wrote a bit about it here: http://www.bryannaclarkgrogan.com/page/ ... .htm#64275

There is a degraded version (bad for you) and an undegraded version (not bad for you), and the degraded version isn't available or deemed fit for human consumption, but isn't really available for you to buy either (so I don't think you really need to worry about it).
Quote:
If you have heard claims that carrageenan is harmful to your health, be advised that there is no evidence of harm from the un-degraded product, which has been used for centuries in Ireland, Scotland and the Maritime Provinces of Canada, where it was considered (and still is) especially helpful for invalids or anyone with "a delicate digestion".
...
Several studies in the early 2000s suggested that a certain type of carrageenan — degraded carrageenan, which has been hydrolyed, or broken down by acid — could cause gastrointestinal problems, including cancers. The degraded type is not typically used in food. In fact, only the undegraded variety has been deemed safe for human consumption by the Joint Expert Committee on Food Additives (JECFA) and approved for use in foods by the Food and Drug Administration in the US." http://www.wisegeek.com/what-is-carrageenan.htm
...
As you will glean from these articles, what you want to avoid is degraded carrageenan (poligeenan), but that is not really available to the home consumer, anyway.

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 Post subject: Re: Carrageenan concerns...
PostPosted: Tue Jun 11, 2013 10:45 am 
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Yeah, I worry about carrageenan too. I drink a lot of coffee, and that coffee must have creamer in it. The only vegan creamers I know of that don't have carrageenan in are Organic Valley and MimicCreme. I don't like the MimicCreme coffee creamer, and it's hard to find anyway. Organic Valley Soy Creamer is pretty good and it's fairly easy for me to find, but it's expensive. Buying TJ's soy creamer or Silk creamer by the quart would be a lot cheaper, but I don't think all that carrageenan is good for me.


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 Post subject: Re: Carrageenan concerns...
PostPosted: Tue Jun 11, 2013 3:20 pm 
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I'm somewhat savvy to hype around nutrition/foods, and this one has certainly been getting a lot of buzz lately. The Organic Consumer's Association has a campaign to prevent it from being considered an organic ingredient, and they link to a PubMed abstract. Based on my quick reading, the author is assuming that the carageenan in the "western diet" is the degraded, or bad stuff. Bad meaning even causing cancer, not just digestive problems. Watching this space for more/better info!


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 Post subject: Re: Carrageenan concerns...
PostPosted: Wed Jun 12, 2013 11:43 am 
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I was kind of wondering how carrageenan is in organic foods. It's like I look at an ingredients list for say organic ice cream, and it says stuff like organic soy milk, organic cocoa, everything has organic in front of it, and then there's carrageenan, which is not organic I assume since it just says "carrageenan" and not "organic carrageenan".
I generally try to avoid buying stuff with it. I'm not sure I totally understand what it is, except that it's some sort of processed food additive, and I try to avoid those.


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 Post subject: Re: Carrageenan concerns...
PostPosted: Wed Jun 12, 2013 2:26 pm 
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Yeah, I find that ice cream and soy milk with carageenan make my stomach revolt. I'm really reeling with this whole no unsweetened organic 365 brand almond milk thing... Is it going to be a summer without yogurt and milk?!

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 Post subject: Re: Carrageenan concerns...
PostPosted: Wed Jun 12, 2013 2:45 pm 
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Alaina wrote:
I was kind of wondering how carrageenan is in organic foods. It's like I look at an ingredients list for say organic ice cream, and it says stuff like organic soy milk, organic cocoa, everything has organic in front of it, and then there's carrageenan, which is not organic I assume since it just says "carrageenan" and not "organic carrageenan".
I generally try to avoid buying stuff with it. I'm not sure I totally understand what it is, except that it's some sort of processed food additive, and I try to avoid those.


I think to label something as 'certified organic' they can have up to 5% of non-organic ingredients within the product, anymore then that and they wouldn't be allowed.

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 Post subject: Re: Carrageenan concerns...
PostPosted: Wed Jun 12, 2013 2:45 pm 
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ETA: simulpost!

Alaina wrote:
I was kind of wondering how carrageenan is in organic foods. It's like I look at an ingredients list for say organic ice cream, and it says stuff like organic soy milk, organic cocoa, everything has organic in front of it, and then there's carrageenan, which is not organic I assume since it just says "carrageenan" and not "organic carrageenan".
I generally try to avoid buying stuff with it. I'm not sure I totally understand what it is, except that it's some sort of processed food additive, and I try to avoid those.


There are some things that are allowed to be in USDA certified organic products. Carrageenan is one of them, but there is a lobby to change that now. From the USDA website:
Quote:
Organic multi-ingredient foods. The USDA organic seal verifies that the product has 95% or more certified organic content. If the label claims that it was made with specified organic ingredients, you can be sure that those specific ingredients are certified organic.


this page has more info: http://www.ams.usda.gov/AMSv1.0/NOPTopics

Interesting that the USDA notes that carageenan is often used instead of gelatin in v-gan products.


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 Post subject: Re: Carrageenan concerns...
PostPosted: Wed Jun 12, 2013 3:36 pm 
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Ah so that explains it. I usually don't buy organic foods that list non-organic ingredients. There has to be no other option or something I really like or can live with, like salt, baking soda.


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 Post subject: Re: Carrageenan concerns...
PostPosted: Wed Jun 12, 2013 3:36 pm 
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I wonder if there's anything more recent than the review linked above (2001 - practically ancient, and mostly relying on studies from the 70s and 80s and I don't have access to those studies so no idea if any of this is meaningful). Anyone know?

I don't generally trust Andrew Weil about anything, because he tends to be pretty quick to jump to conclusions about what you should eat/not eat/supplement with based on very limited research and with a big dose of guru-ism. (Maybe things have changed - I stopped listening to him like 10 years ago when this became apparent to me.)

It would be nice to know if there's anything legitimate behind this. If it's like MSG - some people are sensitive, then I won't worry. Like MSG, I seem to be able to eat carageenan regularly without any adverse effects.


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 Post subject: Re: Carrageenan concerns...
PostPosted: Wed Jun 12, 2013 4:44 pm 
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I don't listen to Dr Weil but generally, in searching for information about certain things, he generally tends to be level headed. It seems there just isn't a lot of recent research to show any issues but as I said previously, seems like something that if you aren't encountering issues/pain, then it probably is ok.

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 Post subject: Re: Carrageenan concerns...
PostPosted: Wed Jun 12, 2013 5:30 pm 
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Alaina wrote:
Ah so that explains it. I usually don't buy organic foods that list non-organic ingredients. There has to be no other option or something I really like or can live with, like salt, baking soda.


Salt and baking soda cannot be certified organic because they aren't grown, they aren't agricultural products - they are as inorganic as things could possibly be (in the biological sense of organic/inorganic). Similarly, you couldn't have "organic water." There are obviously better/worse ways environmentally to produce/collect these things, but that's a different issue.


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 Post subject: Re: Carrageenan concerns...
PostPosted: Fri Jul 26, 2013 7:08 am 
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OK ladies and gents I am the person who posted on The Patient Celiac site the POSSIBLE connection between gluten and carrageenan/seaweeds...POSSIBLE as in THEORY. I have been trying to confirm or disprove my theory with researchers for the past two years. My own physicians have tried to find definitive data on this but cannot. One researcher who is in the fight with FDA to remove carrageenan as an approved food additive was kind enough to mail me her scientific explanation of it's clear inflammatory action on the body-causing GI issues and arthritic symptoms, yet was unable to answer my question about amino acid sequence, nor could she refer me to anyone who could. One major celiac organization's director and nutritionist was very interested in my theory such that they conferred with their PhD researcher. (Many celiac sites and books are now citing carrageenan – yet not seaweed itself as an issue for these folks and gluten sensitive people as well.) His response to me was that seaweed - and there are thousands of species - "must have been tested" with this 5000 natural foodstuff database project (cannot find) comparing these foods' amino acid sequence to that of gluten – to identify those that have the toxic prolamines gliadins and glutenines; he however could not provide concrete evidence (I may contact him again and pursue this again.). He further noted that I must simply have a problem digesting complex polysaccharides – which might be true if I only had GI symptoms but I also have joint pain when I eat foods with either carrageenan or seaweed itself (a can of Eden beans with kombu/brown seaweed caused the same reaction).
The reason I am convinced that my theory is a valid one is that I only have issues with this triad of substances: gluten-carrageenan/seaweed-msg. I can partake of corn, rice, any fruit or vegetable, nuts, dairy (after I healed), and even oats – clean from wheat field to factory. I have had reactions with foods produced in factories that also handle wheat, local pizza places offering a GF pizza but for which wheat flour is flying around with the regular pizzas (many now use rice or potato flour to eliminate this), and despite experts claim that the distillation process clears the wheat/gluten – have reacted to scotch whiskey more than once so it is off the list. (Not a beer drinker, but there are some producers who run the beer through a distillation or gluten removal process that is not working as many celiac patients post reactions to these.)
Seaweed, like wheat, has an inner protein core – perhaps if just the outer part “leaves” are used there is no issue, but if the entire algae is used to make carrageenan or is mushed up as a preservative – then this inner core may contain the majority of the protein which MAY be gluten-like. I need to see amino acid sequences done on the supposedly 2-3 species of red seaweed used to produce carrageenan, as well as the brown seaweed used in canned goods, to show me that there is no gluten-like prolamine in these substances. Interestingly, one company that makes seaweed snacks from green seaweed has it tested for gluten – demonstrating that there is no gliadins – note there was not mention of the other toxic prolamines – the glutenines. I recently found research about the amino acids in the seaweeds – but unfortunately not the specific sequences. I will be contacting these researchers to see if they have this data or perhaps can point me to a researcher who does – perhaps even that AA sequence database to identify natural foods that may have gluten. Because my friends, if the seaweed species used in food production – especially those used to make carrageenan – are gluten-like, you will see how fast manufacturers will pull this stuff out of their products when they have to label these “contains gluten”. Fortunately, Whole Foods and others are getting it.


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 Post subject: Re: Carrageenan concerns...
PostPosted: Fri Jul 26, 2013 8:20 am 
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Ok?

I was just thinking this morning that I need more carrageenan in my diet which is odd since this thread popped up again.

I think we already concluded from this thread that if you are someone who seems sensitive to it, it would be wise to avoid it.

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 Post subject: Re: Carrageenan concerns...
PostPosted: Fri Jul 26, 2013 9:50 am 
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linanil wrote:
I was just thinking this morning that I need more carrageenan in my diet

sarcasm? or is there something I'm actually missing?

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