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I homeschool and have a health ministry for friends, family, and health lovers world-wide. I'm totally into all-natural and avoid chemicals, food additives, etc. even in my cosmetics. I am working toward eating Vegan, Organic, and raw as much as possible (my family too). I'm married, and have two small kids and two grown step kids. Optimal Health - God's Way ".....and the fruit thereof shall be for meat (FOOD), and the leaf for MEDICINE." Ezekiel 47:12 KJV

Monday, October 19, 2009

Dangerous ingredient in store-bought almond milk (almost all of them) and most soy milk (including Silk and Greenwise) and many other processed products like ice cream, hot dogs, frostings, dressings, sour cream, chocolate milk, candy, toothpaste, etc.

Unfortunately, convenience always ends up costing us in the long run. We need to form a support group for those of us finding the desperate need to go back to the old-fashioned way (God's way) of doing things.

Carrageenan, a common food additive, is one of the ingredients in store-bought Almond milk (all brands, except Silk) and soy milk and some coconut milks, including Silk. It is known to cause inflammation and gastrointestinal issues and may promote growth of cancer tumors, and my kids and I all get stomach cramps from it. The FDA considers it safe! We need to start ditching the store-bought ones and go back to making it ourselves. Just make sure that the raw almonds (which are now all pasteurized actually) are from a good source and have not been pasteurized with chemicals.

3 Great Almond Milk recipes - Yum!:

By the way, I would consider using Carob instead of cocoa for the chocolate almond milk recipe. It may not be as yummy, but it is a healthier alternative.


What's wrong with Carrageenan:

Here's what Dr. Blaylock says about carrageenan (Health and Nutrition Secrets That Can Save Your Life; pg. 196):

Carrageenan is a rather new additive. It is a complex polysaccharide extract made from seaweed, and is used as a binding agent. Experimentally, carrageenan is used as an agent to induce intense inflammation in experimental animals. A recent study found that when carrageenan was injected in animals along with a cancer-causing chemical, tumors appeared more rapidly and in significantly higher numbers than in control animals injected with carcinogen alone. The same was seen when human breast cancers were implanted in animals along with carrageenan: the combination made the tumores grow faster and spread more widely than in control animals. As a result, carrageenan is classified as a tumor promotor.

A web search turned up the following information:

Review of Harmful Gastrointestinal Effects of Carrageenan in Animal Experiments
Joanne K. Tobacman
College of Medicine, University of Iowa, Iowa City, Iowa, USA

In this article I review the association between exposure to carrageenan and the occurrence of colonic ulcerations and gastrointestinal neoplasms in animal models. Although the International Agency for Research on Cancer in 1982 identified sufficient evidence for the carcinogenicity of degraded carrageenan in animals to regard it as posing a carcinogenic risk to humans, carrageenan is still used widely as a thickener, stabilizer, and texturizer in a variety of processed foods prevalent in the Western diet. I reviewed experimental data pertaining to carrageenan's effects with particular attention to the occurrence of ulcerations and neoplasms in association with exposure to carrageenan. In addition, I reviewed from established sources mechanisms for production of degraded carrageenan from undegraded or native carrageenan and data with regard to carrageenan intake. Review of these data demonstrated that exposure to undegraded as well as to degraded carrageenan was associated with the occurrence of intestinal ulcerations and neoplasms. This association may be attributed to contamination of undegraded carrageenan by components of low molecular weight, spontaneous metabolism of undegraded carrageenan by acid hydrolysis under conditions of normal digestion, or the interactions with intestinal bacteria. Although in 1972, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration considered restricting dietary carrageenan to an average molecular weight > 100,000, this resolution did not prevail, and no subsequent regulation has restricted use. Because of the acknowledged carcinogenic properties of degraded carrageenan in animal models and the cancer-promoting effects of undegraded carrageenan in experimental models, the widespread use of carrageenan in the Western diet should be reconsidered. Key words: carcinogenesis, carrageenan, carrageenase, diet, furcelleran (furcellaran) , hydrolysis, inflammatory bowel disease, nutrition, poligeenan, promoter, sulfated polysaccharide. Environ Health Perspect 109:983-994 (2001) . [Online 24 September 2001]

A bit on degraded and undegraded carrageenan from:

There are two types of carrageenan, undegraded (food-grade) and degraded (hydrolyzed with acid). Undegraded carrageenan has been used on a huge scale in food production worldwide since the 1930s, and its safety has been assured by the FDA Gras status.

I also recommend avoiding brands of soy milk that contain the thickening agent carrageenan, a seaweed derivative, which I believe may be harmful, especially to the intestinal tract. If you are watching your weight, look for low-fat products.
Andrew Weil, M.D.

Interestingly, over the last five years, scientists have begun to explore the possible anti-inflammatory actions of St. John's wort. In a recent study, researchers decided to test St. John's wort on an animal model of acute inflammation. They injected carrageenan, an inflammatory substance, into the lung cavity of mice. This caused an acute inflammatory response characterized by fluid accumulation in the pleural cavity and a build up of various markers of inflammation. All these markers of inflammation were attenuated by St. John's wort. In addition, the carrageenan triggered increased production of nuclear factor-kappaB (NF-kappaB), an inflammatory substance, in the lung. St. John's wort significantly inhibited NF-kappaB. The researchers concluded that St. John's wort extract potently reduces the development of acute inflammation.15



Food-junk and some mystery ailments: Fatigue, Alzheimer's, Colitis, Immunodeficiency.

Carrageenan enters even the intact, uninflamed gut, and damages both chemical defenses and immunological defenses. When it has produced inflammatory bowel damage, the amount absorbed will be greater, as will the absorption of bacterial endotoxin. Carra-geenan and endotoxin synergize in many ways, including their effects on nitric oxide, prostaglandins, toxic free radicals, and the defensive enzyme systems.

Years ago, I noticed that Oregon was one of the few states that still had real whipping cream and cottage cheese without additives, so I have been trustingly using cream in my coffee every day. Last week, I noticed that my cream listed carrageenan in its ingredients. Over the years, I have avoided carrageenan-containing foods such as apple cider, hot dogs, most ice creams and prepared sauces and jellies, because they caused me to have serious allergic symptoms. Carrageenan has been found to cause colitis and anaphylaxis in humans, but it is often present in baby “formulas” and a wide range of milk products, with the result that many people have come to believe that it was the milk-product that was responsible for their allergic symptoms. Because the regulators claim that it is a safe natural substance, it is very likely that it sometimes appears in foods that don’t list it on the label, for example when it is part of another ingredient.

In the 1940s, carrageenan, a polysaccharide made from a type of seaweed, was recognized as a dangerous allergen. Since then it has become a standard laboratory material to use to produce in-flammatory tumors (granulomas), immunodeficiency, arthritis, and other in-flammations. It has also become an increasingly common material in the food industry.

http://raypeat.com/articles/nutrition/carrageenan.shtml full article

Mulberry extract supplements ameliorate the inflammation-related hematological parameters in carrageenan-induced arthritic rats.
Author: Kim,-A-J; Park,-S
Citation: J-Med-Food. 2006 Fall; 9(3): 431-5

Mulberry fruit (Morus Lhou Koidz.), a rich source of the major anthocyanin, cyanidin 3-glucoside (C3G), has traditionally been used for the treatment of inflammatory conditions including rheumatic arthritis. In this study, we evaluated the efficacy of orally administrated methanolic mulberry fruit extract (ME) in carrageenan-induced arthritic rats, based on previously observed in vitro antioxidant and anti-inflammatory activities. A significant attenuation of hind paw inflammation characterized by fluid accumulation, uric acid production, and rheumatoid factors induced by carrageenan was observed following the intake of both ME (50 mg/kg of body weight) and C3G (10 mg/kg of body weight). Moreover, alterations in hematological parameters such as serum triglyceride, high-density lipoprotein-cholesterol, and atherogenic index following carrageenan administration were partially reversed by the administration of ME. It is concluded that dietary mulberry fruit extracts elicited protection against carrageenan-induced inflammation.



How to Live With A Carrageenan Sensitivity
By tracydo, eHow Member

That yummy frosting might contain carrageenan.
For the past few years I thought I was lactose intolerant, however even switching to soy milk didn’t seem to alleviate my problems. I was fine with Lactaid milk, unless I dumped in a bunch of Nestle’s Quick chocolate and then it was painful cramps and diarrhea time. Sometimes I would have ice cream and be fine, other times I would eat it and be chained to the bathroom afterwards. I began to suspect I had irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and did some research on Dr. Weil’s excellent website www.drweil.com. He recommended that IBS sufferers avoid foods or products that contain the additive carrageenan. Sure enough, I checked my soy milk, the ice cream I had eaten, Nestle’s Quick, and they all contain this thickener. If you suspect you might be sensitive or allergic to carrageenan, here are some tips:

Difficulty: Moderately Easy Instructions

Step 1
Tell Your Doctor – You might be allergic to carrageenan or you might be experiencing symptoms of other diseases like Celiac’s or Crohn’s. Your doctor should be able to test for the carrageenan allergy as well as rule out any other related dangers.

Step 2
Read Lables – If you aren’t already doing this, now is the time. Carrageenan is a popular thickener made from boiled down Irish moss (sometimes labeled as Irish Moss or Rock Moss) and can be found in a whole slew of products including toothpaste, frozen dinners (e.g. Weight Watchers Smart Ones), sour cream, frosting, dressings, ice cream (e.g. Ben & Jerry’s), chocolate milk, soy milk (e.g. Silk), lunch meats, soups, and candy. Keep a close watch on what you add to your shopping cart!

Step 3
Eat at Home More Often – The only way to really have control over what you have for dinner is to make it yourself. There are plenty of carrageenan free foods out there to choose from and you should be able to make all of your favorite dishes with little worry about contamination (as long as you check the labels!).

Step 4
Surf The Web – Many restaurants (especially chain ones like Panera) are aware that their customers have food allergies and are willing to list the ingredients for their meals. Scout out the ingredients on some of your favorite restaurant dishes and be prepared when you order. You can try asking the waiter/waitress if an item contains carrageenan but most of the time this is met with a blank stare (“cara-whatsa?”). You might try carrying around a card with the word carrageenan printed on it so the waitperson can take it back to the kitchen to check ingredients lists.

Step 5
Relax – Unlike giving up gluten, nuts, or soy… carrageenan is relatively easy to forgo. Try to focus on the positive. Sure, I miss ordering sour cream in restaurants or eating Ben & Jerry’s from the pint, but there are plenty of other choices (thank you Haagen-Daz!).



  1. I just bought Silk brand Almond milk and carrageenan is not listed as an ingredient.

    1. That's correct. I drink that one too now. I don't know why they put it in their soy and coconut milks though. I recently tried their coconut milk to see if I reacted differently and got stomach cramps. Oh well.

    2. Has anyone looked at Trader Joe's almond milk? I do not think I saw it in their ingredient list either. Does it go by another name?

  2. that's why I have only bought Silk's version for the last year

  3. What happens when you only drink almond milk in reasonable amounts? As with anything, to much of it is bad for you. Sure all of us should be drinking raw goat milk like they would have been in the bible, but that is not realistic for today. Just don't over do ANYTHING.

  4. The Eden Organic claim that undegraded carrageenan is safe is refuted by Dr. Tobacman via an email exchange:

    to Dr Tobacman

    Critic in early animal study claims stomach acids in human's dilutes effect of carrageenan.

    How does one respond to that without going to medical school?

    Also, got a call from aide to MN Cong. John Kline that he will investigate your last diabetes research with FDA.

    Tobacman, Joanne K. jkt@uic.edu
    Mar 3

    Mr. Anderson,

    Acid actually degrades carrageenan, thereby making more of the lower molecular weight forms of carrageenan which are more potent.

    I'm glad to hear about Mr. Kline's interest. Thank you.