Carrageenan in Our Food

356 comments

In my post, Replacing Dairy Milk, a few of you commented that you avoid several brands of non-dairy milk because they contain an ingredient called carrageenan. This was the first time I had heard anything about this ingredient, or at least the first time I took any notice. I assumed that it was a safe ingredient, especially because it is found in some organic products. But as we know, just because something is allowed in our food does not mean it’s necessarily good for us. It’s frustrating as a consumer to believe we are buying quality ingredients only to find out they could be harmful to our health.

Anyway, I knew I had to look into this further. And I don’t like what I’m reading. In fact, I’m pretty ticked off.

At first blush, carrageenan sounds seemingly harmless – it’s derived from red seaweed and is used as a thickener, stabilizer, and/or emulsifier in many dairy (sour cream, yogurt, ice cream, etc), dairy alternatives (non-dairy milk, non-dairy cheese, etc), and deli meat products. As it turns out, research links carrageenan to gastrointestinal inflammation, lesions, and even colon cancer in animals. Individuals with Inflammatory Bowel Disease or other gastrointestinal disorders are cautioned to avoid this ingredient as it can make symptoms – and inflammation – even worse. As someone who has suffered from IBS for many years, I was shocked to find this information out. This was the first I had heard of it.

For a review of the research on carrageenan see this PDF document by Cornucopia.org. Please look into this ingredient and make your own informed opinion.

For a long and detailed list of carrageenan in many dairy and non-dairy food products (and safe products as well), please see this Cornucopia shopping guide – it’s extremely helpful. You might be surprised at many of the brands that contain this ingredient. I know I sure was.

I realize there is no conclusive evidence with regard to human consumption of this ingredient, but I’m not willing to take that risk when there are other options, especially because I have suffered from IBS on and off for half my life. I will no longer support President’s Choice Organic Almond Milk or Blue Diamond’s Almond Breeze – two of several brands that contain carrageenan. Instead, I’m going to purchase Whole Foods 365 organic almond milk which is one of the carrageenan-free brands or I will make my own milk at home (more on this in my next post). I’m anxious to see if I notice a difference.

For the complete list of carrageenan-free products, be sure to check out the shopping guide linked above.

As I mentioned in my intro post, we have a lot to learn from each other and this is a perfect example. I’m thankful for all of you sharing your experiences and knowledge in the comments. I’m learning too. I hope that by writing about this today, more awareness is brought to this ingredient. With other thickeners/emulsifiers readily available (such as organic guar gum and organic locust bean gum) there is no excuse for food businesses to continue to put carrageenan into our food at the potential risk of our health.

homemade almond milk-0031

I was already planning a post on homemade milk, but now it seems even more timely and appropriate. Easy, homemade milk coming on up. I think you’ll really like the ingredients list in this one.

Have you heard anything about carrageenan before? Do you avoid it on labels or will you in the future?

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{ 356 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Jennifer January 7, 2013

Thank you so much for posting this! I am not a great lable reader and I just “take it for granted” that something is good for me! I so appreciate your hard work with your blog and your willingness to inform! I think I will write letters to the companies that use this carrageenan just to let them know they could do better!

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2 Erica { EricaDHouse.com } January 8, 2013

What a great idea to write letters to the company! I will do the same and I think some may be willing to modify their products to keep their health conscious customers happy.

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3 Lia @ Sojourning January 8, 2013

Yah, that is a great idea. The more people who verbalize, the more likely they are to make changes. If it is unnecessary, then why not err on the side of caution and wholesomeness.

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4 Patricia January 14, 2013

Silk’s Pure Almond Milk DOES NOT contain carrageenan. It’s my favorite almond milk…very creamy and frothy YUM :) If you’re like me and don’t have the time to make your own, it’s a wonderful option.

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5 Donovan March 17, 2013

The problem with Silk is that they are owned by Dean Food’s — pretty much one of the biggest dairy companies in the world. So buying in buying Silk you’re still supporting the dairy industry.

Which is extremely frustrating as Silk and Blue Diamond’s Almond Breeze (which has carageenan) are pretty much the two brands available in my area. No Whole Foods around here unfortunately =(

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6 Audrey May 18, 2013

I see what you’re saying about them being owned by a dairy company, but by supporting their vegan products aren’t we telling them as consumers that those nondairy options are the products we would like to see on the shelves?

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7 cecilia July 17, 2013

I agree with you Audrey. If a greater portion of the population would make the transition over to non-dairy products that are totally healthy, the industry would follow-up with more and better options for us Vegans and informed consumers.
I have been struggling with diabetes, digestive issues and, just recently, lymphoma, for some time. I wish I had known the truth of carrageenan long ago, because I had been consuming many products that contain this ingredient. It was only by coincidence that I was talking to a Whole Foods worker regarding their Almond Milk, (which I had switched to about a year ago from Almond Breeze), that was not in stock because it was pulled back for reformulation, who told me about the carrageenan. I was in shock because I had put so much faith in the companies, who claimed their product was better than dairy milk, would use a potentially dangerous ingredient. I’ve known for years that dairy products were not all they claimed it was. In fact, it’s just the opposite. All people should be made aware of this and get the industry to own up to the truth.

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8 maggie January 23, 2014

does gellan gum, locust bean gum or allergens contain carageenan?
seems like read that it was hidden there?

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9 Christopher February 12, 2014

Silk is not owned by Dean Foods. They are owned by a company called WhiteWave, which also makes Horizon Organic Milk.

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10 Nicki April 2, 2014

I agree with Audrey.
I know that our diary industry has gone astray but I do support products that reflect what I want to eat. If people change what they allow in their food and what not, then maybe the industry will change too. At the same time we need to support human living conditions for the creatures that give us our daily food. That I do with letters and emails.

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11 Betty jean October 26, 2014

Btw checking for b12 in non dairy milks is another concideration. As almond brreze has none and silk has at least 50% of a daily requirement.
In moderation I personally don’t worry about carrageenan. But I do check nutritional additives (vitamins) which you don’t want to overdose on. And o of course you want to steer clear of gmo’s. Silk is a great non-gmo product , both their milk and frozen desserts. If ur store doesn’t carry, always ask management. It also won’t hurt to try contacting companies to order from, giving your situation.

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12 Emerald August 8, 2013

The Silk company is opposed to GMO labeling, though. They gave alot of money to support GMO labeling in CA.

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13 Emerald August 8, 2013

Sorry for the typo. They gave alot of money to OPPOSE GMO labeling in CA. What was I thinking.

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14 Yeretzade May 31, 2014

I happened to buy “Silk, pure coconut” milk last week and noticed that had this “carrageenan” thing in the ingredients label. Too bad, cause it has the “Non GMO project” logo :(

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15 Shelley March 22, 2015

The silk brand for the coconut milk has carrageenan in it.

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16 amanda May 6, 2013

SILK almond SUCKS!!!! completely unnatural texture. like instant pudding before it fully sets.way too thick for my comfort. if there is a whole foods near you I highly recommend their 365 store brand almond milk. Delicious. and its exponentially closer to milks real consistency!!

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17 Mystella April 8, 2014

Double check the research there are two types of carrageenan, degraded and undegraded. Most of the studies used degraded carrageenan, undegraded carrageenan is the substance used in food products. These substances are different in how the body reacts to them. I am not promoting avoiding or using products with this substnce but am advocating being informed.

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18 Pam Czernel April 20, 2014

Unfortunately, you only have part of the picture. While it is well established that degraded carrageenan is harmful, there have also been concerns with undegraded carrageenan dating back to the 70’s. There are several studies (including industry-funded studies) showing undegraded carrageenan linked with intestinal inflammation and colon cancer in animals. (When I took my cat off a cat food with carrageenan, his IBD cleared up! A little anecdotal evidence for ya…lol)

Further, studies are reporting that “safe” undegraded carrageenan can degrade in the gastrointestinal tract to become undegraded carrageenan…yikes.

On top of that, when the industry tested degraded carrageenan for the presence of undegraded carrageenan, every sample had at least some undegraded carrageenen in it. Some samples had as much as 25% undegraded carrageenan.

Eat it at your own risk…but it’s out of my diet. ;-)

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19 Pam Czernel April 20, 2014

Ah, geez…I got my degraded and undegraded’s mixed up half way through! LOL…typical me.

So, I meant to say…that undegraded (food-“safe”) becomes degraded (not food-safe) during digestion. And that when tested, samples of undegraded carrageenan have up to 25% degraded (harmful) carrageenan in them.

Whew…that was tough. ;-)

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20 Hutch August 2, 2014

http://www.drweil.com/drw/u/QAA401181/Is-Carrageenan-Safe.html
This link sites extensive research showing all forms of carrageenan as being harmful.

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21 Amanda @SpritualSweat January 7, 2013

I have never heard of this either! I drink coconut milk everyday. Thank you for sharing what you found. I am running to the fridge now to check ingredients :)

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22 Elizabeth January 7, 2013

That is a wonderful observation that you made- that we can learn so much from each other. I hadn’t ever heard of this ingredient either, and I have been living “clean” and vegan for long enough now that the surprises are few and far between. Thanks for the post, and thanks to everyone who commented and brought this into the light!

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23 Christine January 7, 2013

Ive never heard of it but I’m going downstairs to check my almond milk now! I can’t thank you enough for sharing this type of information in a way that is so easy to understand. Thank you and thank you to your readers!!!

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24 Tamara January 7, 2013

Just read this,checked my Almond milk in the fridge…it is “Silk True Almond” and it does not list Carrageenan as an ingredient and it is Non-GMO. We just purchased this brand this week, so glad we did…Just thought I would let everyone know!
Thank you for posting this Angela, you are changing how we think/eat/live on a daily basis :)

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25 Julie January 8, 2013

Unfortunately, Silk Soy Milk does have it as an ingredient even while labelling it organic. :(

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26 Cassandra January 10, 2013

The unfortunate thing about the organic bandwagon is that people assume that organic always means healthy. Carrageenan is a polysaccharide (same type of molecule as sugar) therefore if it was extracted without the use of chemicals, it is still organic.

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27 Janet August 19, 2013

Unfortunately it is extracted with chemical and that’s what makes it unsafe. I consumed a lot of it before I learned of the dangers it can cause n boy was I surprised n shocked not to mention upset since I was batteling caner at the time. So now I read the lable on everything. High Fructose Corn Syrup is anothser dangerous ingredient to avoid like the plague!!!

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28 Kristen January 8, 2013

The problem with Silk brand, if you’re an ethical vegan, is that it is owned by Dean foods, Americas largest dairy supplier. They also forked over a lot of money to oppose bill 37 regarding GMO labeling. It really sucks :(

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29 Mary January 8, 2013

You’re right. I was so upset when I found this out and don’t buy Silk brand anymore! So ironic their parent company gave money to ban Prop 37 considering the label on their products says “Say no to GMO!” How hypocritical! Here’s a great resource to find out what organic brands are owned by larger, unethical corporations.

http://www.cornucopia.org/who-owns-organic/

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30 Maria January 10, 2013

I am allergic to soy (as well as a number of other things) and my options seem VERY limited. I have recently been drinking the Almond Breeze brand (which contains carrageenan), and was going to switch back to Silk. I am a vegan for ethical reasons though, and don’t want to support a company like theirs. Do you have any suggestions/other options?

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31 Maryea {Happy Healthy Mama} January 18, 2013

Make your own almond milk! Super easy and much cheaper, too. :-)

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32 Trisha Lee May 30, 2013

Some Hemp beverages have no carrageenan, but their unsweetened variety does have carrageenan. Perhaps with communication, we can get them to take out the carrageenan.

I hate that Silk and Horizon sold out to Dean Foods and that this Dean Foods company donated a lot of money to Monsanto to stop Labeling of Genetically Engineered Foods in California.

Yesterday, I called Almond Breeze (almond and coconut) and ask if they have Genetically Engineered ingredients, and they said YES THEY DO HAVE GMO’S IN Almond Breeze.

Silk Almond has the Non-GMO verified label, so this is something I don’t understand, but aside from politically boycotting, it does not have carrageenan (which my naturopathic doctor verified carrageenan does cause inflammation and worse.

If necessary, I can give up cereal and just go ride my bike down and get organic vege juice daily, instead of a couple times a week, to mix with my Ultra Clear Medical food and Vitamin D liquid drops, if these companies don’t stop being idiots.

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33 Carolyn January 7, 2013

Thank you for this post on carrageenan. I recently had heard that it wasn’t good for us but I didn’t know why. So thank you for filling me in on the details.

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34 Averie @ Averie Cooks January 7, 2013

Your homemade milk in the glass looks creamy, beautiful, and just sooooo good!

And all these things to think about and be mindful of. I better go have some chocolate and ponder it so I can wash it down with that milk of yours :)

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35 maggie January 23, 2014

yes I am a milk lover but I have a Dairy Farm has their own cows I buy milk there all the time. they just boil it. they have a ice cream store.
Make their own Ice Cream and sell farm fresh milk.

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36 Suzanne January 7, 2013

Thanks for this post! As someone who has tried almost every almond milk out there, I was also concerned about carrageenan, which is why I stopped buying Blue Diamond.

I recently discovered Trader Joe’s Unsweetened Vanilla Almond milk and fell in love. It was thick and creamy and delicious. But your post prompted you to look up the ingredients. I never looked at it, because I trusted that most of TJ’s products are natural. But I realize that ‘natural’ is a loose term, and you can never rely on that when buying products.

In my research, I discovered this online post: http://mymimamsa.com/2011/03/08/but-if-its-from-trader-joes-its-all-natural-right-2/

The ingredient list looks scary, with a whole bunch of scientific words that I don’t recognize.
But, I love this almond milk so much, so I’m a little torn. I also read a lot about xantham gum not being good for you. (I’m gluten sensitive, so I know it’s used as a binder).

What do you think about this ingredient list? Would you drink this almond milk? How do you feel about xantham gum? Thanks!

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37 Angela (Oh She Glows) January 9, 2013

Hey Suzanne, I haven’t looked into the other ingredients, but I would suggest doing your research if they are a concern. Best of luck!

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38 Jess January 7, 2013

I was pretty surprised to hear this about carageenan in food and it potentially causing intestinal distress. As someone with tummy issues, I will definitely take this into consideration. I buy Blue Diamond almond milk pretty regularly as it is easy to get coupons for it.

I know it’s not food related (although it is health and body related!), but carageenan isn’t all bad. For instance, it shows up as an ingredient in some personal lubricants because it has been shown in some studies to prevent the transmission of HPV. Sliquid makes a rather easily found carageenan lubricant called Sliquid Sea.

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39 Bill August 20, 2013

Carraggeenan is made from seaweed. All the seaweed is now radioactive, from the Fukushima disaster, and getting worse.

Do not eat anything out of the sea, forever.

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40 Stephanie Wilson January 7, 2013

Thank you for this timely, informative post! Carrageenan is also commonly called Irish moss or carrageenan moss. I have seen many raw dessert chefs/blogs using this species of red algae as a thickener/stabilizer without researching the health concerns beforehand. Thanks to posts like this, the general public will be informed and prompted to educate themselves concerning this ingredient. You are a gem! Thanks again!

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41 Sandy January 8, 2013

Carrageenan is not Irish moss. It is processed from it. I have done my own research and don’t see anything wrong with carrageenan.

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42 melissa January 10, 2013

I totally agree with you Sandy. I found this on Amazon under the reviews for a book entitled Artisanal Vegan Cheese by Miyoko Schinner and thought it was very profound:
“Regarding carrageenan. I do believe that you can find anything on the internet that villifies almost anything. I think it is strange to blame small amounts of carrageenan when studies are at best inconclusive, and when meat, dairy, sugar, processed food, and excess fats do a lot more to damage one’s health. If you believe the studies of a single individual (yes, there has been one person spearheading these negative studies), then substitute agar for carrageenan in my recipes. or you can use powdered Irish Moss (but I repeat, and see below, that carrageenan is simply processed Irish Moss). But take care to avoid many foods except homemade, because almost everything from soy and almond milk, to non-dairy yogurts and so many other “organic” foods contain it.

All the carrageenans (kappa, iota, lambda) are from slightly different species of red algae. According to the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization, kappa carrageenan can be extracted from either Irish Moss (chondrus crispus) or another red algae.
it is processed in the following way:
“Carrageenan is extracted from this seaweed in two ways. In native extraction, the seaweed is made into an aqueous solution, and the residue is filtered, leaving nearly pure carrageenan. The alkaline-modified method is less expensive and easier. The seaweed is mixed in an alkali solution, leaving a mixture of carrageenan and cellulose that can be sold as semirefined carrageenan.”

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43 Teresa February 28, 2013

I have to agree with Jen’s statements regarding her mom. I am 49 yrs old and have been treated for rheumatoid arthritis since I was 17. Two years ago, I gave up milk and ice cream, and began drinking Silk almond milk. Magically my RA disappeared! No longer on any meds of any kind! Last year I had some ice cream made with whole milk….became very sick; headache and could not stay out of the bathroom! Also, another time I bought another brand of almond milk that contained carrageenan (unknowingly!) inflammation started right up!
So for me, carrageenan is definitely a problem!

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44 Sheleana January 8, 2013

Irish moss and Carrageenan are very different in how they are processed. Irish moss is a healthy food safe for most people without negative side effects, the research was done on carrageenan (super processed) in packaged food products, not on the actual whole food irish moss that you can buy and soak to use in recipes at home.

Here’s an interesting article written by Elaina Love that helps break down the differences between the two ingredients and why you may want to re-consider being so concerned about using a sea weed in its natural form: http://elainalove.com/2012/10/13/the-buzz-about-irish-moss/

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45 Jenn January 18, 2013

I can tell you with certainty that carageenan makes my Mom sick. For YEARS we could not figure it out. She could have cows milk, but not cream, some processed foods, not others. Heck, its even in wheat tortillas wraps. She also stopped buying certain toothpastes since discovering it was in them. Since we figured out what it was that was making her sick, she has been SO much better. Instead of feeling ill almost daily, she rarely feels sick. No doubt it was the carageenan!

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46 Jamie January 7, 2013

Wow I had no idea! Thank you so much for sharing–I will certainly be giving more thought to the future of my usual weekly almond breeze purchase. Thank you so much for sharing the facts with your readers, AND for publicly declaring your boycott of carrageenan-containing almond milk. Hopefully almond breeze, etc. will take notice and make changes!

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47 Carol January 7, 2013

Quite a subject, Angela. I recently learned of the carrageenan conundrum from Susan Powers at Rawmazing.com. She did a lot of research on carrageenan because she used Irish Moss in many of her raw recipes. Needless to say, she is no longer using it. I pitched the remaining half package I had in my fridge, into the garbage can. I used to use packaged non-dairy milks, (with unsweetened almond and almond-coconut being my faves) but once I began making my own nut and seed milks, there was no turning back to store-bought for me. :)

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48 Emma January 8, 2013

Carol, I read rawmazing’s post too but from what I’ve been led to believe there’s a difference in the effects on the body of carageenan and unprocessed irish moss:

“There have been health concerns with the food additive “carrageenan gum” which is derived from Irish moss. This additive is found in ice creams, syrups, sauces, and many commercially packaged, highly processed foods. It is not the same as consuming pure Irish moss. Yes, carrageenan gum does come from Irish moss. But carageenan is heated and concentrated Irish Moss that is then highly processed into chemical form. Carageenan has lost the nutritional value of Irish Moss and makes it a health hazard.”
Pure irish moss actually has a soothing effect on the mucous membranes of the digestive system rather than an irritant effect!

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49 Sharla January 7, 2013

Wow! I can’t wait to see your post on making nut milk. I’m starting to think growing/making my own everything is going to be the only way to go!

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50 Jessica January 7, 2013

Thanks for bringing our attention to this! I’m currently working on healing my gut by eliminating a variety of food sensitivities and will be careful about what almond milk I consume!

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51 Allison @ Decadent Philistines Save the World January 7, 2013

Thank you for posting on this; as I try to make better choices for my family and myself, I have run into many an ingredient, and this one had me snowed for a while. I had a colleague tell me about it, and I started reading into it; I was as worried as you clearly are. My father passed away from colon cancer, so I try to watch myself. Additionally, I read that it can have detrimental effects on kids, so I am increasingly careful about what I let my daughter eat. I have found West Soy brand soy milk to have a few items that are carageenan-free, and I buy them for when I need a non-dairy milk product, and I am careful about the dairy that I buy. I read EVERY label that I come into contact with, and I do my best to follow Michael Pollan’s advice as to the number of ingredients in items (5 or fewer) and the pronounce-ability of those ingredients. I have a degree in English, and I am quite good with sight reading, so if I can’t read it, you better believe it’s not going in my cart.

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52 Larissa Quinn January 7, 2013

I’ve just looked at the ingredients on the soy ilk I use and have googled all the numbers. Carrageenan, or Irish moss is also listed as vegetable gum 407. And it’s in my soy milk. Australian brand Vitasoy “soy milky” lite. Guess what I won’t be having anymore… Thank you for the heads up.
I’ve made my own almond milk before but found I’d get a sore tummy after drinking it. Any advise?

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53 Angela (Oh She Glows) January 8, 2013

Hey Larissa, Did you soak your almonds overnight and rinse before using? This makes them much easier to digest.

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54 Larissa Quinn January 8, 2013

Hi Angela, yes I did. Peeled them etc. maybe I need to water it way down for myself and wean on to it slowly?!
There may be something else at play, calcium. I may have an intolerance to it and almonds are high in it? Had a virus as a baby, and been allergic to casein ever since, only since being completely milk free have I noticed changes after eating high calcium foods…something for me to look into. Sorry to go into it here!!! Love your blog, it really helps down here where saying you are Veagn is as good and saying you are unaustralian!

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55 Sara April 28, 2013

I spent several hundred dollars to have my blood analyzed for food allergies and sensitivies. I reacted strongly to both almonds and walnuts – ie highly allergic. I used to consume both because they are so healthy. Now, I use only coconut milk and hemp milk as alternatives to milk. It is hard to find coconut milk, though, that does not contain carrageenan unless it is canned.

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56 Tammy January 8, 2013

Chef AJ showed a real quick way to make almond milk. 1 cup of water + 1 Tsp raw, unroasted almond butter ( larger amount 3 cups water + 1 Tbsp almond butter) Blend 15-20 seconds and enjoy. No straining! You can sweeten w date syrup or dates or maple syrup or whatever. I have also done it w roasted almond butter cuz that’s what I get at Costco but it still tastes good to me.

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57 Angela (Oh She Glows) January 9, 2013

I read about this method in Ani Phyo’s books and I tried 3 cups water to 1 tbsp almond butter (with sweetener) and I really didn’t like it at all. I was so hoping I would! I didn’t find it compared to homemade almond milk. It might be good in a pinch though if I run out and I need something for a recipe.

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58 Angela (Oh She Glows) January 9, 2013

oops I meant to say I tried 1/2 tbsp AB and 1 cup water and 1/2 tbsp maple syrup – as I figured that would have a similar calorie profile as 1 cup regular sweetened almond milk. It was really watery to me though.

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59 Kate September 5, 2015

Have you tried quinoa milk? There’s a recipe for making it on Foodbabe.com. High protein and maybe won’t cause you problems.

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60 Amy Johnson January 7, 2013

I had heard about this via “Food Babe” – she did a review about real food at Starbucks – she was surprised this ingredient is in their Organic Soy milk (bye bye latte’s for me – sad face) – I haven’t found a great replacement for at home, making it seems so time consuming (work full time, 2 kids and hubby) so have been using water for alot of my cooking/ recipes – sometimes with success, sometimes not.

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61 Cosmo January 7, 2013

Carageenan totally kills my stomach. I used to use vitasoy milk like 6-7 years ago and then they added carageenan, almond breeze chocolate didn’t have carageenan though I wouldn’t be surprised if it does now. There used to be a lot more choices before Silk became so popular now they all want the same consistancy. I like the whole foods brand almond milk a lot. The unsweetened vanilla is like yummy not sugary marshmallows. I think that the Trader Joes new brand of Almond milk is safe. Also Silk Pure Almond doesn’t list carageenan. I really like pacific organic oat milk for cooking with but I usually use the much cheaper Trader Joe’s Organic Unsweetened Soymilk.

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62 Ivy January 8, 2013

What a shock! I never knew. Thanks for the info!

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63 Alyssa January 8, 2013

Vitasoy makes an Oat and Quinoa beverage that doesn’t have carageenan. Its not organic but its made from Non-GMO ingredients. I have been using it in my Vega smoothies lately and it tastes great!

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64 Mary January 8, 2013

Didn’t even notice that ingredient on the side of my milk carton. Usually if something is labeled vegan I dont even glance at the ingreidents list unless I’m comparing products. I’m surprised Trader Joe’s uses carrageenan in their products. Will have to try and find another almond milk brand or switch back to rice milk. Thanks so much for the info.

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65 Lauren January 8, 2013

I feel the same about stevia. People blindly use this product because of all its marketing saying it’s “natural”, but there are plenty of natural things in this world that are very bad for us – e.g. tobacco.

According to my research stevia has links to cancer and infertility, I can’t believe people would rather put it into their bodies over a little honey or raw sugar.

Thank you for such an informative post, your blog is fantastic.

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66 Niki January 8, 2013

That is terrible! Thanks to your readers (and you!) for pointing this out. I’ll be reading labels and adjusting my future purchases accordingly.

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67 Kacey January 8, 2013

This is an issue I’ve known about for awhile and I’m kind of on the fence about. I mean, it seems pretty obvious that carrageenan is likely pretty darn bad. That said, the only brands of soy milk I have available to me, Sunrich and Silk, both have it, and I’m not about to stop buying soy milk. I guess my thoughts on it right now are that I personally haven’t had a bad reaction to it (yet), and if it causes cancer, well, it seems like basically everything causes cancer these days. That said, I’d be thrilled if they stopped using it! But it’s probably not what I’m going to use my purchasing power to fight for right now. (Although if my local stores started carrying a carrageenan-free soy milk and I didn’t hate it, I’d probably switch to that.)

Sorry for the super long comment! I guess it took a while for me to sort out my thoughts haha.

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68 Angela (Oh She Glows) January 8, 2013

Thanks for sharing Kacey, I know what you’re saying. It’s something everyone will have to decide for themselves ultimately and whether you feel like something could be off. Since I’ve had so many digestive issues over the years, I’m erring on the side of caution with this one and anxious to see if I notice any changes by removing it. And yes, the less strange ingredients the better in my opinion.

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69 jo @ including cake January 8, 2013

Really interesting post, I love how you’ve created a real community feel with everyone pitching in with their thoughts and findings. This is especially interesting to me at the moment as I am currently studying the T. Colin Campbell Plant Based Nutrition course which is questioning so many of my previously held ideas on plant based health.

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70 Melissa January 8, 2013

Great post. A while ago I started reading the labels on soy and almond milk, and also read the Cornucopia reports. So – I am committed to only making my own almond and soy milk now. It’s easy, it tastes better, and it is way cheaper. Even using Italian unpasteurized organic (whew!) almonds!

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71 Joanna January 8, 2013

Hello,
I am slightly concerned that a bit of internet research has led so many people to dismiss carregeenan. The evidence behind the safety of carregeenan is huge, and it is used very widely as a thickener in lots of foods and medications. As a medical researcher, I assure you, you would struggle to use any clinical gels, lotions, and syrups that didn’t have carregeenan in some form as a binder. In fact, it was recently being tested as a potential vaginal product to reduce the transmission of HIV (although other gels are proving more effective). Of course some people will have bad reactions to carregeenan, and some people will be allergic to it (like with anything), and there are probably some better formulations of carregeenan and some that are worse and have dangerous additives (again, like with any substance that originates with a natural ingredient and then is formulated with different components) BUT I don’t think this warrants outright panic over it.

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72 Ariel January 8, 2013

Thank you, I was thinking this myself.

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73 Tanya @ playful and hungry January 8, 2013

It’s the dose that makes the poison!
Thanks for your comment, that was exactly what I was thinking.
Think critical and don’t get obsessed about every single ingredient!

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74 Kate January 8, 2013

I agree. I’m a med student with my nose buried in books about illness pathology 24/7, so I’m always skeptical when someone says this-or-that can cause this-or-that. Correlation does not equal causation, everyone’s body is different, and the scientific research behind a claim has to be air-tight for me to believe it. I’m currently browsing the internet for opinions on carrageenan and I’m not the least bit impressed or swayed.

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75 Becca January 10, 2013

Agreed! Everything can become “evil” with a little Internet surfing.

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76 Kate January 13, 2013

I’m a few days late but have to chime in to agree with this thread. I’m a medical researcher as well, and this strikes me as unsubstantiated hype. I’ve really only briefly looked into carrageenan, but so far I don’t see any solid evidence that consuming carrageenan is harmful. Sure, researchers can induce inflammation by injecting carrageenan into rats– but it’s a HUGE leap to say that a carrageenan when eaten will cause inflammation in humans. Injection of high dose of a chemical into a rat body is so so so different than a human eating a small bit of a chemical.

Sure, if you have inflammatory conditions like celiac/IBS, it’s not going to kill you to try to cut a potentially inflammatory ingredient from your diet. There’s (probably) no proof that dietary carrageenan will or will not effect the cells lining your stomach.

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77 Abs June 26, 2013

For those of us with digestive issues and autoimmune disorders that we’ve been dealing with for 20+ years, YES, it does mean a small amount of panic. We aren’t just on some trend bandwagon, we don’t drink milk and have limited options. We are very careful to only buy products without carageenan or any extra ingredients that may cause inflammation or send us to the bathroom in the middle of a meeting and ruin our entire day by causing bloody constipation or diarrhea. Its like dodging bullets all day long to check labels and ask what is in every single thing we want to eat. If I want an apple, I don’t need it coated in sugar, oil, or wax. I want to eat a damn apple. We don’t need all these extra ingredients so corporations can make a profit. Their extra ingredients and hidden toxins are why most of us have become ill in the first place! Until you have a health issue, don’t claim that others are blowing things out of proportion. There is ONE brand out there without carageenan, in fact, I just went to Whole Foods tonite and my local store was out of ALL of the 365 Almond Milk and said they weren’t getting more in til August (its still June??!). So, I just spent $24.00 on raw almonds so I can make enough milk for the week. I dare you to start spending $24.00 for a container of $2.49 almond milk. You have no idea how some of us have to live.

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78 Kathy March 11, 2015

If it helps, I replaced my Silk soy milk with Silk almond milk because it doesn’t have carrageenan, at least not in Canada.

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79 Willis November 23, 2013

I suppose a lot of what I eat creates a problem for a few. Then those people shouldn’t eat it. But so many of the “natural living” sites promote over-reaction. The amount of carregeenan I consume in a week is very small, pretty much like everyone else. So if it can be determined by good science that the stuff adversely affects you, don’t eat it or use it. Otherwise let’s not be promoting some level of hysteria out there.

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80 Kathy March 11, 2015

I was very surprised to hear that carraggenen is used in medications. I used to drink soy milk to take my medications until I learned that it is supposed to decrease the efficacy of the medications. I had my pharmacist look into this and she said that medications should be taken at least an hour apart from it. I’m concerned about how many other people use a form of milk with carrageenan to take their medications.

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81 Michelle January 8, 2013

Oh no :( Vegan cheeses also contain that ingredient :(

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82 Livvie January 8, 2013

I agree with Joanna.

I think it’ is more that some people have issues with it, and like a lot of stuff it gets blown out of “well it is BAD!” just like a lot of people will say “Soy is bad for you because X-Y-Z” (which isn’t the case unless you are allergic, or eating funky stuff”or “Agave Nectar is bad for you”(which I personally don’t think is true unlesss you are eating it by the gallon-full).

People have been saying the same things about Brown Rice Syrup (being bad/deadly,etc), and people were like “Stop eating brown rice! don’t eat brown rice syrup,or brown rice flour!,etc”. I honestly feel unless you are super duper sensitive, than it shouldn’t be a problem right? (I mean a general “you” not just Angela “

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83 Angela @ Eat Spin Run Repeat January 8, 2013

I’m really glad you brought this up Ange. I’ve known about carrageenan for a while and figured that because it was derived from a seaweed, it must be pretty harmless (as you did). I didn’t know about the links to various diseases though. It’s amazing how many seemingly ‘whole food’ products contain extra ingredients like thickeners and stabilizers, and I think it just goes to show that home made and completely unprocessed is best. Not always practical from a time perspective, but when it’s your health we’re talking about, I think that’s a pretty important thing to spend time on!

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84 Emily (Edible Psychology) January 8, 2013

Wow – I had never heard of this either. How annoying that it doesn’t get more press. Thanks for helping to raise awareness.

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85 Danica January 8, 2013

Wow…I use presidents choice almond milk as well. Thank you for finding an alternative that does not have this ingredient in it. I suffer from IBS as well and drink this every morning in my nutritional drink.

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86 Ashleyy January 8, 2013

:(
As a person just recently switching to vegetarian and hoping to incorporate vegan things as well…the considerations are endless and overwhelming!

I have never used/drank much milk anyway, but I have been buying almond breeze lately. I will check my superstore for other options and be careful of other stuff I buy that might have it…just one more thing to remember as I try to be more diligent with the label-checking!

Best to be informed, though! Thanks Angela, I LOVE your blog!

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87 Johanna January 8, 2013

A customer at Trader Joe’s where I’ve been working for 9 years told me about carrageenan years ago, so, like you, I did the research. What was most interesting was that now I had an answer if someone once again told me that they couldn’t figure out why they were still having digestion issues drinking a milk alternative. Nothing is suppose to be consumed in excess, and I really don’t think a little carrageenan is going to hurt me, although I would like to still avoid it now if I can. There was a back and forth for a while on Amazon.com about the Artesian Vegan Cheese book’s recipes often calling for carrageenan. I still bought the book, and will try to substitute carrageenan with agar powder like we all figured we would do. We could all move on to the subject of agave being all that it claims, particularly now that it’s being used about as much as saccharine was back in the day in “diet” foods.

buenas suerte!

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88 Lesley January 8, 2013

Thank you for writing about this! I had no idea! I’m vegan and I have IBS. I’m definitely going to start checking my labels more closely.

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89 Danica @ It's Progression January 8, 2013

I’ve never heard of this before so I’m really glad you posted about it! I sometimes buy Almond Breeze milk but definitely won’t be anymore…I have a hard time finding organic almond milk here, do you know if Trader Joe’s unsweetened almond milk is okay?

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90 Angela (Oh She Glows) January 8, 2013

I think I remember it saying TJ’s was fine, but double check the shopping list I linked to just to be sure.

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91 Danica @ It's Progression January 9, 2013

perfect, thank you!

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92 Kate January 8, 2013

I believe the refrigerated version is fine.

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93 Dr. Harris J. Bixler ScD January 8, 2013

SO MUCH FOR THE MYTHS CONSIDER THE FACTS ON CARRAGEENAN FOR A CHANGE

Q. What is Carrageenan??
A. Carrageenan is a naturally-occurring seaweed extract. It is widely used in foods and non-foods to improve texture and stability. Common uses include meat and poultry, dairy products, canned pet food, cosmetics and toothpaste.
Q. Why the controversy?
A. Self-appointed consumer watchdogs have produced numerous web pages filled with words condemning carrageenan as an unsafe food additive for human consumption. However, in 70+ years of carrageenan being used in processed foods, not a single substantiated claim of an acute or chronic disease has been reported as arising from carrageenan consumption. On a more science-based footing, food regulatory agencies in the US, the EU, and in the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization/World Health Organization (FAO/WHO) repeatedly review and continue to approve carrageenan as a safe food additive.
Q. What has led up to this misrepresentation of the safety of an important food stabilizer, gelling agent and thickener?
A. It clearly has to be attributed to the research of Dr. Joanne Tobacman, an Associate Prof at the University of Illinois in Chicago. She and a group of molecular biologists have accused carrageenan of being a potential inflammatory agent as a conclusion from laboratory experiments with cells of the digestive tract. It requires a lot of unproven assumptions to even suggest that consumption of carrageenan in the human diet causes inflammatory diseases of the digestive tract. The objectivity of the Chicago research is also flawed by the fact that Dr Tobacman has tried to have carrageenan declared an unsafe food additive on weak technical arguments that she broadcast widely a decade before the University of Chicago research began.
Q. What brings poligeenan into a discussion of carrageenan?
A. Poligeenan (“degraded carrageenan” in pre-1988 scientific and regulatory publications) is a possible carcinogen to humans; carrageenan is not. The only relationship between carrageenan and poligeenan is that the former is the starting material to make the latter. Poligeenan is not a component of carrageenan and cannot be produced in the digestive tract from carrageenan-containing foods.
Q. What are the differences between poligeenan and carrageenan?
A. The production process for poligeenan requires treating carrageenan with strong acid at high temp (about that of boiling water) for 6 hours or more. These severe processing conditions convert the long chains of carrageenan to much shorter ones: ten to one hundred times shorter. In scientific terms the molecular weight of poligeenan is 10,000 to 20,000; whereas that of carrageenan is 200,000 to 800,000. Concern has been raised about the amount of material in carrageenan with molecular weight less than 50,000. The actual amount (well under 1%) cannot even be detected accurately with current technology. Certainly it presents no threat to human health.
Q. What is the importance of these molecular weight differences?
A. Poligeenan contains a fraction of material low enough in molecular weight that it can penetrate the walls of the digestive tract and enter the blood stream. The molecular weight of carrageenan is high enough that this penetration is impossible. Animal feeding studies starting in the 1960s have demonstrated that once the low molecular weight fraction of poligeenan enters the blood stream in large enough amounts, pre-cancerous lesions begin to form. These lesions are not observed in animals fed with a food containing carrageenan.
Q. Does carrageenan get absorbed in the digestive track?
A. Carrageenan passes through the digestive system intact, much like food fiber. In fact, carrageenan is a combination of soluble and insoluble nutritional fiber, though its use level in foods is so low as not to be a significant source of fiber in the diet.
Summary
Carrageenan has been proven completely safe for consumption. Poligeenan is not a component of carrageenan.
Closing Remarks
The consumer watchdogs with their blogs and websites would do far more service to consumers by researching their sources and present only what can be substantiated by good science. Unfortunately we are in an era of media frenzy that rewards controversy.
Additional information available:
On June 11th, 2008, Dr. Joanne Tobacman petitioned the FDA to revoke the current regulations permitting use of carrageenan as a food additive.
On June 11th, 2012 the FDA denied her petition, categorically addressing and ultimately dismissing all of her claims; their rebuttal supported by the results of several in-depth, scientific studies. If you would like to read the full petition and FDA response, they can be accessed at http://www.regulations.gov/#!searchResults;rpp=25;po=0;s=FDA-2008-P-0347

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94 Rachel January 8, 2013

Is this the same Harris J. (‘Pete’) Bixler (Treasurer) that works for the International Seaweed Association? … Suspect

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95 Grass Fed Mama January 8, 2013

A government source? LOL

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96 Lynn January 11, 2013

If the FDA dismissed Dr. Tobacman’s petition, then I KNOW the good Doctor was right! I worked in a health food store for a number of years and have done much research – as much as possible anyway on this topic. It is true she (Dr. Tobacman) petitioned the FDA and was denied. I cannot base this post on trust that the FDA is watching out for all Americans. The FDA is a farce – therefore, this girl has eliminated carageenan completely out her diet.

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97 Angela (Oh She Glows) April 8, 2013

Hi Dr. Harris J. Bixler, I just saw that you are trying to repost this entire comment under a different name (“Debbie” but with exact same IP address) at the top of this comments section – why do you feel the need to post your comment twice? Could it be because you work for the seaweed association? http://www.isaseaweed.org/council.php I’ve noticed that you have posted this exact comment on several blogs talking about carrageenan. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion (as are you) I just ask that you don’t spam my comments section. Thank you, Angela

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98 debbie April 8, 2013

My apologies for the duplication. Dr. Bixler is the author of the Q&A. I did not realize his paper had already been posted here. I did not intent for it to be spam. You are correct, everyone is entitled to his or her opinion, I’m just trying to get the facts on carrageenan out to the public. There is so much on the web regurgitating misinformation about carrageenan, I have no doubt that there are people with legitimate allergies to carrageenan just as there are people with allergies to peanuts, latex, and countless other things, my point is that carrageenan that is used in food products is not carcinogenic, if I believed it was I would avoid it myself.
Again, apologies for the duplication and thank you for the opportunity to post my opinion.

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99 DJ June 3, 2013

Well I was going to ignore this post on the evils of carrageenan, but now that Debbie aka (Dr. Harris J. Bixler ScD) has clearly informed me of carrageenan’s inability to withstand high temperatures; I am concerned. During the winters months i was warming my “milk” up on the stove. If carrageenan can’t withstand boiling point temperatures & strong acid for more then six hours before there molecules begin to pull together and tighten, to produce this new chemical poligeenan; then how can the FDA know for certain someone won’t try to produce a new recipe in this same way? Maybe not as strong of an acid or as long to boil it for six hours. Still, I think it’s a weak base to stand on with the possibilities that can arise. Even if you need a strong acid and to boil the carrageenan for six hours, can’t the molecules still tighten slightly with a weaker acid and a lower boiling point? That in turn would still cause the carrageenan to become a slow “killer’, and or still make it a carcinogen?
*”Poligeenan (“degraded carrageenan” in pre-1988 scientific and regulatory publications) is a possible carcinogen to humans”.
I think for now I will not be heating my carrageenan type “milks”, and be on the look out for a “milk” type product that doesn’t contain a potential threat to my body.

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100 Melissa March 6, 2014

Debbie works for Ingredient Solutions Inc., the world’s largest independent carrageenan supplier, FYI. She’s admitted it when she’s called out on it in other blogs. In one, she wrote, “Yes, I am associated with Ingredients Solutions, Inc., and I am proud to be a part of the ISI family. Being part of ISI I am in a unique position to see first hand that carrageenan is a safe ingredient that actually provides manufacturers with options to reduce the sodium and fat content in their products which in turn makes them healthier to consumers. It is also used in many vegan applications as well as providing kosher options. I know there are a lot of studies that put carrageenan in a bad light but what most people don’t understand is that those studies are not performed in a way that would replicate carrageenan in the human diet. So yes, I work for the World’s Largest Independent Supplier of Carrageenan and I eat foods every day that contain carrageenan.”

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101 Annaliese February 21, 2014

Wow! I just wanted to say that I was browsing your recipes, and fumbled upon this topic, and that reply from “Dr Bixler”…As a researching food scientist and teaching assistant in confectionary sciences at an accredited university in the US, and having multiple career experiences relating to Quality and Regulatory Operations and food manufacturing under my belt, I have learned one thing about food additives: they are typically used to make the lives of the manufacturing company easier, usually involve making the food “pretty” (like not separating), and come from cheap sources. It is truly up to the consumer to be aware and savvy-so good for you for being attentive to that ingredient deck; it is powerful, and you must never stop reading it! The horrible thing, though, is that some regulations actually permit the use of “processing aids”, like silicone (yes, the fake-boob material), and not label the, in the ingredient deck.

Carageenan comes in several forms (for example, kappa carageenan); it is classified as a food “hydrocolloid”. This category of molecules is huge-and they are widely used (for example, xanthan gum, guar gum, carboxyl methyl cellulose), and come from a myriad of sources-all of which are not equal.

Carageenan has sulfur-containing reactive or functional groups. This sulfur content is what triggers inflammatory factions in many people (myself included). The same could be said for the cruciferous and brassica veggies we love (broccoli anyone?), but the difference is the level of refinement (natural form vs. un-natural form)

Carageenan is used in chocolate milks and other products that benefit from suspending particulates while on the shelf. However, carageenan exhibits a property known as “shear thinning”. What happens is when you suddenly pour the suspension, the viscosity decreases, easing the pour. Once in the vessel, the liquid re-gains the normal viscosity, which suspends the particles (like cocoa solids!). Indeed, I was personally ashamed and alarmed when a local dairy (I am from Wisconsin, so it means a lot to me, even if I don’t drink milk!!) started to use carageenan in their chocolate milk. What has this world come to?

If you’d like to know more, I have countless UNBIASED resources. Keep up the good work, and keep being an educated consumer-our world needs more of us!!

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102 Kcalla May 29, 2015

Thank you. Very helpful and well written. It is always good to get information from various sources

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103 Sandra April 10, 2016

i was looking into carageenan, and stumbled over here. If you have any unbiased resources, I would really love to check them out (currently in university so my tuition allows me access to scientific journals/databases and what not). So far, i have basically read what you have said in regards to carageenan showing harmful results in its degraded form (poligeenan?). I’m still confused as to how much or significant of a role it plays in our bodies though, but I would like to learn more for sure.

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104 Melanie January 8, 2013

It’s interesting that use isn’t even brand specific. When you look at the chart, one brand with multiple products – some use it, some don’t.

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105 Angela (Oh She Glows) January 9, 2013

I noticed this too…I wonder why they do this? If one way works, you’d think they’d use it in all of them. Or perhaps, some of the brands are making the change gradually. It might be worth asking!

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106 Heidi Cullinan January 8, 2013

I’m sick to my stomach–pardon the pun–reading this. My flax milk, I see, is full of it, and it makes me wonder if this is why my lip keeps swelling and I still have occasional intestinal issues. Time to switch to soy, extra estrogen be damned.

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107 Penni January 8, 2013

Hi Angela,
Although I share the wonderfulness & creativity of your posts daily with my readers at both Raw Food Rehab & Upgrade Your Plate, I’ve not been a good blogger friend in that I never leave you comments. Today seems like the perfect time to let you know that I deeply appreciate all that you do and posts like this are really important to share. I am a life-long IBS sufferer, and have never looked into carrageenan, other than to know it was a seaweed – I mean how bad could that be, right? Well, thanks for your research and now I know what to look for and what not to buy for me and my family.

Keep up the amazing work….
Love & respect,
Penni Shelton

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108 Angela (Oh She Glows) January 8, 2013

Thank you Penni, I appreciate it! I hope you find relief for your symptoms too

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109 Nettie January 8, 2013

Hi Angela,

I love your blog. I’ve hope you don’t mind that I am a former vegan/veg but I still adore your blog. I found out approx 6 months ago about carrageenan. Please don’t cringe when I tell you this, I also found out that my diet/lifestyle was contributing to my health problems. I had bloodwork that showed I have intestinal permeability, so not only was that additive contributing to my inflammation and pain, but grains and legumes as well. I still am veg at heart, but I know from trial and error that I was never sicker. I am reading you posts on becoming vegan with interest as well, because I don’t know where I went wrong. Has anyone else had this experience? Can it be that vegan does not work for everyone? Trust me, I am not in the Paleo bacon camp, but for the moment I had to add lean animal protein with tons of veggies/fruit, limited nuts and seeds as this also causes inflammation. I am finally pain free and not to be TMI, use the bathroom normally. P.S. Awesome almond milk demo on youtube for milk made with ice, water, and soaked dates and nuts. Best I found. Thank you.

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110 Angela (Oh She Glows) January 9, 2013

I personally don’t think there is a one size fits all approach to food/diet when it comes to anyone. We each have to figure it out for ourselves. I’m sorry that you had problems with grains and legumes, but at least now you are aware of it and can make appropriate changes to feel better.

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111 Andi January 10, 2013

Nettie, how did you find out about your intestinal permeability? I think I may have that issue as well, but when I asked, my doctor said there’s no test for it.
I’m glad you found out what food makes you feel best.

And Angela, thanks for bringing up the subject of carrageenan. I’d heard of it, and always felt slightly discomfited, but just thought it was a moss or seaweed. It seems Sharla may be right – growing/making everything yourself seems the only way to guarantee a safe food product!

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112 Heather Dyck-Niivila January 8, 2013

I was just recently diagnosed with IBS after my c- section. It sucks. I’m not 100% positive as to that being what I have, but I’ve been vegan for ….nearly 13 yrs, and am trying to watch ingredients. I had heard that carageenan may not be good, but didn’t realize it directly related to gut problems. I am going to buy a different milk as well, and see if it helps. Thank you so much. Nice to know I’m not alone.

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113 ellen January 8, 2013

Thanks for posting this as a follow-up to yesterday’s post! Blue Diamond Almond was favorite until I couldn’t have carrageenan anymore. I have to eat a low-iodine diet for my thyroid which is hard as a mostly-vegan to get enough protein without soy.

I tried the rice milk in my coffee today – fail! I might just have to learn to drink it black or have tea instead.

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114 Kate January 8, 2013

I can’t do nut – and especially rice – milk in coffee. It’s too watery and gets gritty. Honestly, when I ditched conventional milk I learned to love coffee black! If you really do want something in it, though, I’d recommend a coconut creamer.

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115 Ashley @ My Food 'N' Fitness Diaries January 8, 2013

This is so interesting! Thank you so much for sharing this info with us as I had no idea. It’s too bad that so many of our dairy (and non-dairy!) products include this ingredient. I will definitely be on the lookout now!

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116 Erica {Coffee & Quinoa} January 8, 2013

I was just reading something else about carrageenan lately, can’t remember where. I’m so disappointed to learn that Almond Breeze, my go-to brand, uses it. I’ll buy Whole Foods 365 Organic from now on! Thanks for posting the shopping guide so we can make informed decisions!

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117 RachaelRei January 8, 2013

Wow, I have Good Karma Unsweetened Flax Milk, Earth Balance Soy Nog, and Califia Farms ‘Pure’ Vanilla Almond Milk in my fridge, all three have carrageenan!!! :-O

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118 BJ Lee January 8, 2013

What a coincidence! I was just discovering the bad news about carrageenan a couple days ago. I got tipped off by one of the comments re Artisan Vegan Cheese. My husband and I were horrified because we’d been feeding our vegan toddler about 16oz of almond and coconut milk everyday! We were doing just soy milk (Eden foods–best brand) but I didn’t want her to eat too much soy so I switched up the milks. Anyway, it takes more time and effort, but I’ll be making her homemade almond milk from now on. Thanks for the post!

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119 Michelle January 8, 2013

Carrageenan is nasty stuff. I learned about it when I used to work in restaurant wholesale food sales. Think of it as super starchy glue. It is used in 99% of lunch,meat. Basically they grind up all the meat, use the carrageenan to hold everything together in a nice shape and then bake it. Went mostly vegan after hearing about it 5 years ago. It amazes me how restaurants don’t even question that this stuff is in the food just to make it look more appetizing or let them use inferior quality products

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120 Erin January 8, 2013

Thank you for such an informational post! I had never heard of carrageenan, either. I’ve never suffered from IBS or digestive issues, so I struggle with whether or not to avoid it completely.

As a new vegan, I find it overwhelming at times to make the right decisions. Not only do I need to figure out if the food or an ingredient in the food is derived from an animal (sourcing sugar?! I read the other day that a lot of figs have dead wasp larva in them?!) and now, THIS.

BUT, I thank you so much for the information you so eloquently outlined above. Knowledge is power, and now I can make an informed decision.

I look forward to your homemade nut milk posts! Might I request some sort of nut or coconut creamer recipe? I have yet to find a good creamer alternative. Regular almond or soy milk is just too thin. I’d love a thick, creamy homemade version.

Thank you again!!!

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121 Kate January 8, 2013

You are amazing! I love when you let us know about important topics and admit that there are things that you didn’t/don’t know – it’s so refreshing compared to some other bloggers :) I’m glad to see that my Almond milk is fine, but I used to drink 8th continent soymilk and I’ll be sure to avoid it from now on.

Again – thank you!

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122 Anne January 8, 2013

I CANNOT wait to see how to make Almond Milk myself.. I am so thrilled you will post the how-to! Gosh I am in love with your blog! :)

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123 Shannan January 8, 2013

Wow. I had no idea this even existed! I will be taking a more in depth look at this list to make sure and stay away from these products. My digestive system can be pretty touchy and I have a high risk of having IBS after getting my gallbladder removed a few months ago. I scanned the list quickly to make sure the Almond Milk I use is safe-it is! Phew. Thanks for posting about this. I look forward to hearing more information and learning from everyone else!

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124 Kate January 8, 2013

Well, looks like I’ll go back to making my own! It’s so easy & I get the almond flour from it. Will be easier too as I remember seeing I can make nut milks in my juicer….

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125 Rachael January 8, 2013

THANK YOU FOR THIS POST!

I was slightly sad to see your post on switching to vegan milks, purely based on the fact that the majority available DO contain carageenan and other iffy ingredients. I totally agree that making your own homemade almond milk is the best choice if you are going to drink almond milk!

After reading It Starts With Food and going paleo I have stopped purchasing almond milk and now only add a little canned, full fat coconut milk to my coffee in the morning! Otherwise I drink water, tea, and occasionally kombucha for the digestive enzymes!

Thanks again Angela!

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126 val January 8, 2013

This ingredient surfaced in the in the mainstream in 1991 in McDonald’s McLean burger. Low sales resulted in the burger being taken off the menu. I don’t recall if gastro-distress was a contributing factor…but I bet it was. Thanks for calling our attention to its many uses Angela!

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127 Michele Sparrow January 8, 2013

In 2004 I had the Elisa Act allergy test done where they tested my blood against 400 different food items, Carrageenan being one of them. Quite a few foods came up that were quite random: corn, red grapes, sucanat, sea bass and a number of others. However, my strongest reaction was to Carrageenan. At the time, amazingly almost 10 years ago, I was drinking soy chais from Starbucks every day and would always have a flare up (in the form of a rash and slight abdominal pain) but figured it was the soy. Once I discovered the allergies and I took Carrageenan out of my diet, I couldn’t believe how much better I felt. I had been eating it in many “health” foods as well. Fast forward to 2013 and I now am a Certified Nutrition Consultant because discovering those allergies made me realize the hidden truth to seemingly healthy ingredients in our foods and not only did I want to educate myself but help others as well. Glad you found out the truth! :-)

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128 Geosomin January 8, 2013

I had no idea. Thank you.

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129 megan January 8, 2013

Angela,
My boyfriend and I recently switched from Almond Breeze and other sources of Carrageenan to using our own home made milk. It’s a simple and yummy shift. I just have to say I love your website, the recipes, and the fact that you take the time to share information like this. Your website has helped me become a better cook and make the switch to Whole food / vegan easy.

Many Thanks,
Megan

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130 Kate January 8, 2013

This is an interesting read. I struggle, sometimes, with becoming too obsessive about the “purity” of my diet because I don’t think that’s healthy either – but something like this is an easy switch to make and I’d rather support a company doing its’ due diligence. Thank you for sharing what you learned!

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131 Lissy January 8, 2013

I feel like such a jerk because I never comment usually, but posts like this make me feel so frustrated. I know it’s not your fault, you just want your readers to be informed, but I feel like between all the healthy eating/living blogs I read, there’s absolutely nothing I can put in my body that won’t kill me. Brown rice, stevia, sunscreen…
I guess it’s good to stay away from things that can potentially cause tummy troubles if that’s something you have a problem with, but considering I take birth control pills, nasal spray for my allergies and work in an office without windows, I don’t think my almond milk is doing a whole lot of damage in comparison.
Just one more thing to worry about I guess.

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132 Kate January 8, 2013

I hear you. It’s frustrating and a challenge not to become completely obsessive, but what irritates me even more is what some of these companies get away with. They’re clearly not looking out for your best interest, so you’ve got to do what you can for yourself. You can’t be “perfect” all the time, but you can at least be educated.

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133 Lauren Deck January 8, 2013

I make my own almond milk for the kids with my vitamix. It is SUPER easy. My all time favorite nut milk for me is cashew milk in my coffee. It is so creamy Plus you don’t have to strain cashew milk! :) Good luck, and thank you for all you do!

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134 Stephanie January 8, 2013

Truly disappointing and disheartening. Especially when a lot of the good versions of these products are not readily available where I am. Thanks for posting about this and thanks to your readers for bringing it to our attention!

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135 Michelle January 8, 2013

A friend had tipped me off on the dangers of carageenan a few months ago. Since then I’ve been making a very simple almond milk with my Vitamix. It costs 70 cents for 32 oz. Can’t wait to see your recipe for milk!

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136 Miriam January 8, 2013

Michelle, where do you buy your almonds? I find them so expensive!

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137 Michelle January 8, 2013

I buy a 3lb bag at Costco for about $12.75. I only use 1/2 cup almonds in the milk and it makes about 48 ounces of milk. Between the almond milk and making Angela’s awesome Kitchen Sink Nut Butter, the almonds never go to waste!

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138 Michelle January 8, 2013

I incorrectly put 32 ounces in my initial post. But 1/2 cup almonds actually makes a little more than 48 ounces for me.

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139 Miriam January 8, 2013

Thanks!

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140 Melissa January 9, 2013

Not to add yet another “watch out” item to the list, but be aware that all US almonds are pasteurized, and non-organic can be treated with propylene oxide. They do not have to disclose the pasteurization method. I buy true raw european almonds in bulk online. It’s more expensive than Costco for sure (about $11/lb), but at least you know what you’re getting. :)

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141 Michelle January 9, 2013

Thanks for the info Melissa. I’m learning something new everyday. Can you tell where you buy them online?

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142 Melissa January 9, 2013

Sure, I buy them from Living Nutz (livingnutz.com). They have the cheapest I’ve found so far!

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143 Julia January 8, 2013

I am so happy you posted on carrageenan. I like you had just found out about it. I noticed it in a whole chicken I was going to buy and was unsure of what it was and why it would be in a full chicken. I looked it up and was unsure if it was safe or unsafe at first. Then found it in a few other items I got and yesterday when I went to the store and was getting my Blue Diamond almond milk and couldn’t believe my eyes! Such a disappointment to find that out. I am so glad you posted this! And will be using the shopping guide now!! Thanks so much.

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144 Miriam January 8, 2013

I’m so glad to read this. Carrangeenan confuses me (and I can’t spell it!). I was never a milk drinker, but several months ago I got an ice cream machine and I started using Almond Milk, cocoa and honey to make a relatively healthy frozen treat. But I soon realized the Almond Milk was giving me terrible stomach cramps. When I googled it, I came across the carrrangeenan connection. I switched to coconut dream which did not give me stomach cramps, but then I realized it also had carrangeenan. So either it has less, or it was the almonds giving me the stomach ache, not the carrangeenan. I plan to make my own almond milk so I can figure it out. I was so happy to see this post!

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145 Jessica January 8, 2013

I love that you did this post!! I just did a review of non-dairy yogurts where I mentioned carrageenan as a reason I would NOT be repurchasing the So Delicious brand because of it’s use of carrageenan. Spreading the word about this is extremely helpful to educating the public. I’m sure you’ve encouraged many more people to read labels now :) Good job!

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146 Grass Fed Mama January 8, 2013

I suffer from chronic gastritis and IBS, when I learned of carrageenan and its inflammation potential, I stopped consuming anything with carrageenan as an ingredient. My guts have felt much better as a result. Just because an ingredient is from nature doesn’t mean the laboratory and chemical manipulation of it won’t cause problems in humans. From my experience, the avoidance of most chemical additives is best, no matter their origin.

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147 Diane January 8, 2013

Making homemade almond milk (or cashew milk, or a mix of both) is so ridiculously simple that I stopped buying nut milk LONG ago. I make my own about twice a week (takes about 3 min).

It’s raw, it’s simple, organic, and fresh. Love it.

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148 Tricia January 8, 2013

I heard about carrageenan about six months ago. It was in the coconut milk I was drinking. I stopped drinking it and switched to 365 Almondmilk because it is pretty much the only non dairy milk I can find locally that does have carrageenan. It was hard to stop drinking coconut but I noticed a huge decrease in my “gas” issues once I stopped.

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149 Sarah Garstka January 8, 2013

I have done some research about this in the past. This is actually one of the reasons why I support Silk Pure Almond over Almond Breeze. (I apologize for not mentioning that fact when I commented yesterday!) Silk uses locust bean gum as it’s thickening agent, which I feel better, but not amazing, about. I am not blessed enough to have a Whole Foods in my area [I need to move… :)]. I am excited about the idea of making my own almond milk at home, but I don’t know how easy it will be to do it every single week (we go through a lot of almond milk around here…) In an ideal world, we would be able to go to the grocery store without having to worry about ingredients like carrageenan or be bombarded with health claims and garbage!

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150 Jess January 8, 2013

Yesterday, I was reading through some of the comments on your “Replacing Diary Milk” post and was shocked to read about carrageenan. I thought I need to research that ingredient. Thank you so much for providing links and feedback. I drink Silk Unsweetened Almond Milk and honestly did not even consider GMO or carrageenan on my almond milk. I always attempt to buy Non-GMO products but for some reason I got into a ritual with my almond milk and didn’t stop to think about it. Thank you so much for bringing this information to the table to wake me up on items I buy while in zombie mode! :)

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151 Angela (Oh She Glows) January 8, 2013

You aren’t the only one, I too was very lax with ingredients – as long as I didnt see animal products and especially if it was organic, I assumed it was fine. I will be looking into ingredients much more in the future. This is yet another reminder for me to rely on foods in their natural state whenever possible.

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152 Mary January 8, 2013

Thanks for the FYI. I’ve been drinking almond mild for a few months now to rid myself of the caseine in milk. I had colon cancer, I’m a year out, and I’m really angry about this! Will look forward to your recipe for homemade almond milk. Love your site and visit it often. You really need to be on the cooking channel, they really need a vegan program!

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153 Angela (Oh She Glows) January 8, 2013

Mary, I just heard last week the cooking channel has a new vegan show now! Unfortunately I dont think we get TCC in our house, but that is super exciting news regardless.

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154 Monica January 8, 2013

I drink Unsweetened Almond Breeze like water :( I guess it’s time to try making homemade dairy-free milk. Can you add tips on how to make the process more affordable, or compare the costs with purchasing other dairy-free milk beverages? Thanks, Angela!

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155 Belinda January 8, 2013

I have never really heard of this before. I’m shocked that it’s even put in juices. I will be more aware of all of the “little things” that I am feeding my children from now on. Thank you Angela.

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156 Jess January 8, 2013

Hi, Angela,
Thanks for your wonderful site. I too am a vegan with IBS, and I was disturbed to read in your post that there’s a connection between carageenan and IBS. When I clicked on the site you linked (http://www.drweil.com/drw/u/QAA401181/Is-Carrageenan-Safe.html) to review the research, though, I noticed an important difference: Dr. Weil makes a connection between carageenan and Irritable Bowel DISEASE (IBD) not Irritable Bowel SYNDROME (IBS). IBD is the umbrella name for Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis; IBS is a collection of gastrointestinal symptoms without evidence of disease. IBD can be life-threatening and is far more serious than IBS, which tends to be uncomfortable but not dangerous. I’ll experiment to see whether removing carageenan from my diet helps my IBS, but it’s important to recognize that that’s not what Dr. Weil’s page suggests.
Thanks again for all your good work,
Jess

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157 Angela (Oh She Glows) January 8, 2013

Hi Jess, it appears I confused the other research summaries I was reading with his article. Thanks for pointing that out, I’ll clarify this in my post. Also to clarify further, Dr. Weil recommends “avoiding regular consumption of foods containing carrageenan” which he says is “especially important advice for persons with inflammatory bowel disease.” So he’s not just making this recommendation for those with IBD. Goodluck, I hope you find relief.

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158 Monica January 8, 2013

I just bought a half gallon of Blue Diamond Almond milk too.

Thanks for sharing the info!

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159 Lauren January 8, 2013

Thank you!! I buy Almond Breeze, but will be switching. No point setting myself up for something like IBS.

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160 Isabelle January 8, 2013

First of all happy new year to you Angela :-)

Thank you for this information.
I found out about carrageenan when my daughter was tested for food intolerances at the Naturopath over 2 years ago. It has always showed “red”, although I do use the PC almond milk and carrageenan or not, it has never made any difference to her.
I would love to avoid it (the same way I would love to avoid the awful palm oil we found everywhere), but being non dairy in this house (not by choice), it is very complicated to find products that don’t have this or that… You avoid one, you find the other etc..
To be honest, I am way more concerned about the palm oil than about the carrageenan.

I love the PC almond milk, and I know you did to (because we talked about it), so if you find something easy to get and which tastes as nice, please let us know…
Isa

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161 Angela (Oh She Glows) January 8, 2013

Hi Isabelle, Please see the shopping guide I linked to in my post. It lists all the brands that have it and that do not. You will see there are quite a few on the safe list. Goodluck and Happy new Year to you as well!

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162 Isabelle January 8, 2013

Thanks Angela, I was just looking at it and writing the names down.
Back on the whole “search/find/try/approve the milk” galore then…
Hopefully, we can find one we like and is easy to get..

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163 Angela (Oh She Glows) January 8, 2013

I hope so too! Goodluck

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164 Laura K January 8, 2013

I had recently found out about the dangers of carrageenan as well and stop purchasing anything with it in the ingredients. It wasn’t hard since most of our food is already made from scratch. I also did some research into how our bodies use palm oil and don’t like what I am reading there as well so that was the next thing to go. Thank you for trying to inform us all on potentially harmful ingredients in our food.

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165 Sarah January 8, 2013

I’d heard whisperings about this a few weeks ago but being new to veganism I decided to ignore it until I was more comfortable with what choices I was making. I’ve checked my Almond milk and my Oat and they both don’t contain it (Ecomil and Oatly if you’re in the UK!).
I had a raw chocolate mousse as a treat (it was fearfully expensive and tiny) a few weeks ago with Irish Moss in but it wasn’t the processed kind and gave me no problems. I think I’ll have to do a bit more research, but at the moment it doesn’t seem like it will be much of a problem for me to avoid eating it.

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166 Alex @ Raw Recovery January 8, 2013

THANK YOU for bringing this to my attention. I had heard of it before, but I didn’t pay that much attention to it. I was diagnosed with IBS when I was in the third grade, and I’ve struggled with gastro issues my whole life. Blue Diamond is a brand I purchase frequently, so I’m grateful you brought this to light. Eden Soy was my favorite, until my closest whole foods decided to stop carrying it, which breaks my heart. Anyway, thanks, Angela!

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167 Marya@parttimehealthnut.com January 8, 2013

I, too, was excited about making some artisanal vegan cheese and it calls for carrageenan powder. I discovered the research about it when I was trying to find a source to buy some. I ended up making the recipe and leaving it out.

The process of trying to determine which research to believe on a food product makes my head spin. Sponsored research is paid for and published by the food manufacturer. Needless to say, negative findings are frequently buried, while those touting health claims are attached to advertising campaigns.

When research appears to be contradictory, like you, I opt to avoid “products” and make my own at home, ensuring a reliable foods source.

You may be interested in Marion Nestle’s (no relation to the chocolate) work. I frequently visit her blog FoodPolitics.com to try and get the real scoop on our food system. (Unfortunately, I don’t see anything about carrageenan there but it’s still a good resource for health foodies).

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168 kim January 8, 2013

Hi Angela,
Check out Food Babe’s site. That is where I first learned of the possibly dangers of consuming
carrageenan. Thank you for the Cornicupia link – so helpful!

Kim

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169 Andi January 8, 2013

Thanks so much for the post, Angela! I was really excited to see the title today. I’ve been trying to avoid products with carrageenan in it for some time now, but the evidence I had found wasn’t nearly as good as what you’ve provided here. I will definitely be more diligent about avoiding these products now.

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170 Sharon January 8, 2013

Ever since I learned how to make my own Cashew Milk ( http://sharonvincello.wordpress.com/2013/01/02/how-to-make-your-own-cashew-milk/ ) I stopped buying milk (non-dairy milk) from the store. Not only is it quick an inexpensive – I know exactly what I’m drinking … safe for myself and my family.

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171 Kaila @healthyhelperblog! January 8, 2013

Can’t wait for the homemade milk recipe! Almond’s my favorite!

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172 Ali @ WHOLEistically Fit January 8, 2013

This is such an interesting topic and I have enjoyed reading everyone’s comments and input on the matter. I personally get overwhelmed by this sort of thing. It seems to me that almost everything these days has this sort of controversy around it – what one person deems healthy another deems unhealthy or dangerous. It’s the same with GMOs. Maybe I’m wrong (and I hope I am) but I’m guessing that someone could probably find a “bad” ingredient in some of the non-carrageenan products as well. It’s hard not to just throw up your hands in defeat. I guess what I try to do is stay informed, but at the end of the day I just live the healthiest life I can (according to my definition of the word) with the knowledge I have and try not to stress too much about all of this stuff.

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173 kellie eggers January 8, 2013

I started making my own nut milk and am amazed at how easy it is and see no reason to purchase it. walnut milk i especially love! I prefer as much self sufficiency as possible.

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174 Stacy January 8, 2013

Thank you for sharing! I am always interested to hear potential side effects of food ingredients. I will certainly read more about this. Knowledge is power.

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175 Jenny | Floppycats.com January 8, 2013

Thank you for posting this! I have been watching for this ingredient in cat food and just noticed that it’s in the soy organic milk from Costco – just noticed this yesterday before reading your blog today. So I won’t be buying it anymore.

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176 Kate January 8, 2013

Thank you for posting this! I am an avid label reader as well, and have heard snipets about carrageenan but never knew specifics. I also have a 16 month old daughter and want to raise her as free of nasty food additives as possible!

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177 kellie eggers January 8, 2013

to sweeten i pulse it with a couple of dates and it knocks my socks off!!! Also I LOVE your blog to the max and panic when I think about not having it! Appreciate you honesty when talking about the additives in store bought milks. This whole thing is such a journey and we’re all on it!

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178 Kristen January 8, 2013

How enlightening! I had seen this ingredient on the labels, and it always had a description that made it sound harmless….I expect more from these companies who are making ‘healthier’ products. Thank you for the time and research you put into it, as a fellow IBS girl this is beneficial info!

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179 Barbara January 8, 2013

While being new to the Vegan world, I find it really strange that vegan’s indulge in these processed foods. I know sometimes we struggle with finding alternatives to what we’re used to, but isn’t consuming “vegan” type processed foods still eating processed foods – I realize the main thing is to stay away from eating meat and meat products, but I find staying away from processed foods being a plus as well for my own health (while sometimes daunting, I must admit). Ultra runner, Scott Jurek, in his book Eat and Run, has a great recipe for rice milk – cook some rice and blend it with water til it’s the thickness you desire -you can add whatever flavorings or sweetness you want to it for your own use and you know exactly what’s in it. That’s what I’ve been using when there’s a need. Also using raw cashews whipped with purified water (you’ll need a high powered blender for this) can be used many ways and flavored many ways for that rich delectable creamy filler that’s sometimes needed. Like I said, I’m new here. I really love this post and thanks so much for all your great recipes!

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180 Amber @ Slim Pickin's Kitchen January 8, 2013

I’m glad you posted this b/c I was wondering about that ingredient. I never really did any research (which I should have), but I started avoiding milks that had that ingredient in it b/c I didn’t know what it was! Can’t wait to read your homemade milk recipe!!!

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181 Ann Marie January 8, 2013

Learning so much from the comments. I’m on the edge of my seat waiting for your almond milk recipe!

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182 maureen January 8, 2013

My brother works in research at a cancer hospital and this was something he and I discussed a while ago.. this was his response to Carageenan. (he avoids when he can, but is not extreme with avoiding it)

Carageenan was used in the lab to disable/block a specific type of immune white blood cell called macrophages. These cells are part of an “innate immune system”. The cells can basically gobble up foreign debree/etc. from our bodies. They also have the important function of stimulating the rest of the “adaptive” immune system such as Tcells (can kill foreign cells) and B cells (produce antibodies). When the macrophages gobble up foreign bodies/cells/debree/proteins they can express it on their surface basically telling other cells in the immune system to look for more foreign invaders. The macrophages also produce cytokines (like hormones) that tell help stimulate/control other cells.

What does all this mean? Enough carageenan in the blood can down regulate the function of macrophages thereby resulting in decreased immunity> Could possibly be good for people with autoimmunity but not for people with cancer. (I have not researched this but am speculating). For mice typical intravenous dose of 0.6 mg/ml for 3 to 4 days is enough to knock out the macrophages for at least a month. Not sure if carageenan can make it through the digestive track or how much one would have to eat to get an affect. May more likely have an affect on local gut macrophages.

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183 Dannii @ Hungry Healthy Happy January 8, 2013

You are an inspiration for helping everyone to lead healthier lives :)

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184 Stacy L. January 8, 2013

I had NEVER heard of this before! Thank you so much for posting and for everyone who shared this knowledge in the earlier post. The PDF version you provided is excellent. I have a copy printed for the almond milk brands that I plan to carry in my wallet when grocery shopping.

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185 Katie January 8, 2013

I don’t usually leave comments, but I read your blog consistently. I am so thankful that you posted this, along with the links to the research and shopping list. I just went through my pantry and refrigerator and found out that my kids are getting a dose of carrageenan with their breakfast, lunch and dinner! YIKES!!! I understand all things in moderation, but you really opened my eyes to how much they are getting. Thank you!

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186 Brandi January 8, 2013

Hi Angela! Great informative post for your readers! I’ve been making my own homemade almond milk too! I make vanilla and chocolate. It is soooo good and I can feel good about the ingredients. I love your blog and really enjoy it. :)
I don’t know if you’ve made chocolate, but here is my recipe :)
http://thehealthyflavor.com/2012/10/22/homemade-almond-milk/

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187 Katie @ The Almost Vegan January 8, 2013

I have never read of this before. Thank you so much for sharing. A majority of the time I made my own almond milk anyway. It is so easy!! And the sugar level is way lower! This definitely gives me extra motivation to keep that up! I have a whole bottle of Blue Diamond in the fridge right now I’m considering pitching!

Here is my go to almond milk recipe: http://thealmostvegan.com/homemade-almond-milk-and-cookies! Can’t wait to read yours! You always put such an awesome twist on your recipes!!

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188 Jesse (OutToLunchCreations) January 8, 2013

What a wonderful follow up post! Thank you so much for taking the time to look up this information and sharing it with everyone. I learned about Carrageenan a while ago but I haven’t committed to completely avoiding, after reading this I think I’ll try going off it and see how it affects my digestion.

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189 Kate January 8, 2013

Angela, thank you for this thoughtful post and allowing all of us to stop and think about what we’re consuming on a routine basis. I have been drinking Blue Diamond unsweetened almond milk for about a year, usually a little in my coffee and smoothies. I’m willing to switch to the Whole Foods brand to avoid any ingredient that might be questionable, but I was just wondering about the ingredients in the WF brand too!

Ingredients: organic almond milk, tricalcium phosphate, sea salt,potassium citrate, Gellan gum, sunflower lecithin, Santayana gum, vitamin A palmitate, ergo calciferol (vitamin D2), DL-Alpha tocopherolacetate (vitamin E)

Are all of these weird-sounding ingredients really OK? I know the best alternative would be making our own almond milk, which I might try out! But, in the busier times, it would be great to have a store-bought option. Or, perhaps if I’m only having a little of it, neither the Blue Diamond nor the 365 brand will really hurt too much.
I’d love your, or anyone else’s, opinions on the ingredients above!

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190 Ysa January 8, 2013

Dear Angela,
thank you so much for your research on that! I´m too very concerned about Carrageenan. In a recent lecture I attended about food ingredients the speaker recommended just not to buy anything with stuff in it you normally wouldn`t find in your kitchen…
Unfortunately that´s easier said than done, isn´t it?

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191 Kirsty January 8, 2013

Hi Angela … a big fan of your blog! Thanks so much for posting this when you found out, I didn’t know about this one either!!! I do make my own Almond or Rice milk now and love it but I use to buy and will be letting others know about this too. I am not sure if this ingredient is in Australian products but I will be doing some research to find out. I also agree with another post about writing to the companies involved … imagine if we all wrote, maybe they’d be forced into action! We should do this about GMO’s too. People power …. thanks again, Kirsty

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192 Erin January 8, 2013

Sigh, another thing to avoid, with two toddlers and a full-time job sometimes it feels like feeding my family well is another full-time in itself! Of course I want to do what is best for my family. I always mean to make my own nut milks anyways, so much cheaper, I guess this is more motivation to take the time to do it. I’ve been mulling over this subject ever since I got “Artisan Vegan Cheese” for Christmas and have been deciding whether to order carrageenan powder as a thickener as recommended. I just wish that nutritional information wasn’t so confusing, you always have to be on your guard, you can’t trust anyone with a buck in the game to have your best interest in mind.

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193 allison January 8, 2013

i’ll stick with Silk despite the political views…their product tastes good and I don’t get an upset stomach from almond milk as I do from dairy…i don’t have time to make my own almond milk right now…5 kids…2 adults….all 7 of us in sports….just not happening. I barely have time for laundry and washing the dishes! Thank you for your post Ang…it’s always good to learn about our ingredients.

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194 Mary January 8, 2013

Sorry to see that Trader Joe’s Almond Smooth clearly shows Carrageenan on the side panel of ingredients. It also has a lot of other stuff. The other thing to take into account on most of the almond milks that claim to be “fortified” with calcium and D vitamins, they are synthetic substances, especially the vitamin D. Vitamin D is actually not a vitamin, but a hormone that we absorbe through our skin from the sun. No other way and no where else can you get the “real deal”. Vitamin D tablets/capsule are a different substance (cholecalciferol) and, unless you have been tested and know you are deficient….I’d advise against taking it. So, unless I can find an almond milk that is “just” almond milk, I will be making my own.

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195 Joy January 8, 2013

Yikes!!! I gave up milk about 8 months ago and have been living off a mix of Soy and Almond milk. I live overseas (Germany) and have a limited selection of brands here to choose from. I just went in to my pantry and noticed all of my Soy and Almond milks have carrageenan or another name for it which might be algae Lithothamnium clacareum??? Google says it is red algae so I’m assuming they are the same thing. So now I’m irritated and not sure what I can do to feed my family. I move back to the States this summer so then I will have multiple brands to shop around for but living here in Germany selections are very limited and buying raw almonds in bulk is a non player. Any suggestions are greatly appreciated. Thank you!

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196 Maria January 8, 2013

Hi Angela! I’ve been following your blog for awhile now, but I never realized that you suffer from IBS. I’ve just recently realized that the problems I’ve been having are due to IBS. I’ve been struggling a lot with figuring out what foods cause problems, so thanks for the heads up on carrageenan!

I’d be curious to hear if you had any suggestions for what snacks you’ve found to be good, and if you have any remedies for when an IBS flare-up occurs.

Thanks for the wonderful blog!

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197 Angela (Oh She Glows) January 8, 2013

Hi Maria, My IBS has always been on the side of really bad stomach pains, cramps and indigestion. It seems to be highly linked to stress and anxiety for me, and I do notice that I get more pains when I am stressed out or anxious. High fat foods also seem to trigger it too. It’s very hard to figure out though. I think there are a lot of books and websites out there now on IBS so I would suggest reading up on it. All the best to you!

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198 ANGE January 8, 2013

Many of the cheeses in the Artisan Vegan Cheese book use this ingredient so I did some investigating of my own. There are two types of Carageenan depending on how it is processed. The food grade stuff though doesn’t cause these symptoms it is the cosmetic grade stuff that does if it is eaten. At least that is what I read. I’m no expert. But I still think I’ll be buying some powdered food grade Carageenan to make some of the vegan cheese recipes. It is particularly important for the cheese than can melt.

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199 Christine January 8, 2013

Thank you so much for this post. It was quick and easy to read. I have been meaning to post a similar article to my blog site (www.rootedinnutrition.com). I will gladly link your post to my twitter and other social media. Thanks!

Christine

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200 Tracey January 8, 2013

I found out about this ingredient from Food babe. Do you read her blog? Here’s the post here:
http://foodbabe.com/2012/05/22/watch-out-for-this-carcinogen-in-your-organic-food/

Since then I have been diligent in buying milk that is free of this ingredient. I’m a big fan of Trader Joe’s Vanilla unsweetened almond milk. But the refrigerated TJ almond milk is the only one that is free from it. The shelf stable ones have carrageenan in it. So, I avoid it at all costs. Thanks for the info! Always good to learn together here!!!

P.S. We absolutely LOVE your overnight oats. My kids beg for it…in fact, we just got back from the grocery store so I could pick up ripe bananas just for making oats tonight :)
Thanks for a great kid-friendly recipe! It get’s 2 thumbs up from my 5 and 3 year olds!

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201 michele January 8, 2013

I’ve also heard/read somewhere that the vitamin D2 added to these milks is also not good for us.

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202 Sarah B January 8, 2013

Vitamin D isn’t ADDED to milk. It is a byproduct of the pasteurization process:

“Vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol) is produced by ultraviolet irradiation (UV) of its precursor 7-dehydrocholesterol. This molecule occurs naturally in the skin of animals and in milk. Vitamin D3 can be made by exposure of the skin to UV, or by exposing milk directly to UV (one commercial method).”

As for non-dairy milk, I don’t know how good the synthesized D is for us. Just get a bit of sun each day and let your body produce it’s own.

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203 Janina Locascio January 8, 2013

Super interesting… thanks for sharing this. I think most people who suffer from irregular bowel movements share the same frustration over trying to figure out what the actual cause is and why it’s not going away! Trying to deal with IBS, or any other digestive issue, can feel like the biggest headache at times. It’s like a cycle of trying to record food intake and digestive functioning for a few days, thinking OK maybe I found the culprit -I’ll cut that out…. and then only to come a few days later that the same problems are back.

I’m so glad that you shared this and will just give those struggling from this problem greater hope for a solution! Thanks :)

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204 Kim January 8, 2013

Good to be informed but I really do hope that we all relax about food a bit more. Up until a few months ago I became so obsessive about eating ‘healthy and ethically’ that I was terrified of food. The world will never be perfect – when I realised that my whole life changed. I love your blog Angela but I just hope we have not started mass obsessiveness of food.

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205 Steph January 8, 2013

As someone who also suffers from IBS, I took out dairy and noticed a huge difference in the way I felt. I make tea with almond milk each morning, but still felt ‘off.’ I started wondering if the almond milk had something to do with it. IT DID! I now make my almond milk at home….and hazelnut milk….and cashew milk. It’s so easy, so fresh, and nothing weird in it to worry about. Adding dates and vanilla beans is glorious! :) Looking forward to your next post. Thanks Ang!

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206 Christine January 8, 2013

Funnily enough, I just made some almond milk on the weekend. First time in awhile. It was really pretty easy. Sure would be nice to replace all packaged goods, vegan or otherwise with homemade :). It would be nice to know what the people who decide which ingredients go into a product, are thinking?

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207 Sarah B January 8, 2013

I knew about carageenan as a thickening agent before, but not as a possible inflammatory agent. I won’t avoid it entirely until I see more 3rd party evaluations, but I do think I can choose products without it, given equal choice (not a large price or quality difference).

Note: some health-brand toothpastes use carageenan to help keep it more like a paste than a runny mess, so be aware of that. I avoid fluoride, so unless I switch to little kid toothpaste, I must stick with the carageenan stuff or attempt to brush with straight baking soda….

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208 Sarah January 8, 2013

I also buy the unsweetened whole foods brand of almond milk as its the ONLY one I’ve found without carrageans!

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209 Kimberly Andresen-Reed January 8, 2013

Well, that does it for me. I’m going to soak some almonds for almond milk as soon as I get home.

It’s somewhat tiresome switching from brand to brand anyway, isn’t it? I switched from Silk to Almond Breeze due to the GMO issue, and there aren’t any other brands available locally to me.

When it comes down to stuff like this, it may harm you or it may not, but why risk it really? It’s just an excuse for me to make more of my own foods, and an excuse to buy more mason jars, which is a win, win, right?

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210 Amanda January 8, 2013

You should write to PC. They are a great company and Canadian at that. They deserve to at least hear what you have to say!

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211 Naomi Casiro (Health Here Help There) January 8, 2013

Wow this has caused quite a stir! I have to say I agree with Angela when she encourages everyone to do the research and make an educated decision for yourself. Personally I avoid the stuff when I can and make homemade milk when time permits. One ingredient which I have been questioning lately which has come up in many recipes is Xanthan gum. I am back and forth on whether or not to use it given the mixed things I have read about it in my research and was wondering out of curiosity if you (Angela) or anyone else has any insights or has looked into it as well?

Cheers to a life of balance, and a lovely focus on healthy living :)

Naomi

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212 Angela (Oh She Glows) January 9, 2013

Hi Naomi, I don’t personally use x-gum in my recipes and haven’t looked into it yet. I do think it is in some non-dairy products though (and of course gluten free) so it’s worth looking into if you are concerned about it.

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213 Ariel January 8, 2013

Maybe I’m just at the odd of the spectrum here. . . but why is everyone so obsessed with milk substitutes at all? Why not just stop drinking milk? That’s basically what my husband and I did. We have some organic whole milk our son drinks (perhaps 1/2 a cup of) most days, and I keep a milk alternative on hand, that I use very periodically for recipes. Wouldn’t this solve most of the problems – just eat natural, whole, unprocessed foods and avoid substitutes – period.

I guess. . . this is a question to the vegan community. If you are stopping all consumption of animal products, why do you all try so hard to find substitutes? I’m not even vegan and it was easy to eliminate milk consumption (drink/recipes) – you just do it and in a couple months it’s a thing of the past. For instance, two weeks is all it takes to acquire a taste for black coffee for many people. . .

I’m actually really curious why someone who is a vegan is substituting animal foods, particularly in the long term. Isn’t that kind of, well, philosophically inconsistent?

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214 Sandra January 9, 2013

I think calling it a ‘milk substitute’as a blanket statement is inaccurate. I enjoy drinking water, juice, coffee (although I don’t mind it black I prefer it with a little ‘toning’ down, preferably with almond milk but sometimes with a dash of vanilla extract), wine and sometimes a nutty, healthy beverage. It’s great to add to smoothies – sometimes I use water and sometimes I use almond milk. I’m not vegan, but I’m not a fan of milk. In my opinion – ‘milk substitute’ NO! A tasty healthy beverage YES!

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215 Elizabeth January 10, 2013

You actually raise an interesting point, though it doesn’t have much to do with what you intended. You write “milk,” and are referencing cow’s milk (which, of course, is what we have been conditioned to associate with the word ‘milk’). However, the word has begun to adopt a secondary association- one that includes plant-based non-dairy milks, such as almond and coconut- the homemade versions of which are natural, whole, unprocessed and free of additives. Your viewpoint is relative to your lifestyle- you probably drank cow’s milk for much of your life, and so that is your milk. My son has never had cow’s milk, just almond/hemp milk, so his ‘milk’ is your ‘substitution.’ Interesting stuff!

Also, the vegan lifestyle generally focuses on what is gained by maintaining a healthier lifestyle- I don’t think many vegans think of nut milks as ‘substitutions,’ rather considering them another nutrient-dense addition to their diet. Eliminating additive-free, homemade milks altogether would deprive people of a wonderful source of vitamins and minerals, without much gain.

Finally, one of the biggest benefits of going vegan is the positive effect on the planet and the animals we share it with. By not consuming animal products, vegans spare millions of animals the pain and suffering often inflicted on them by factory farms and slaughterhouses. A person who follows a vegan lifestyle for this reason alone may very well seek out substitutes for those products that they have stopped consuming because their choice to stop has little or nothing to do with taste preferences or health. The good news is that most often, the “substitutes” vegans seek out are healthier than their less-ethical counterpoints.

I suppose it really comes down to your personal perspective- what you see as a substitution, we see as a nutritionally-dense addition to our diet. If I developed a nut allergy and had to stop drinking almond milk, I wouldn’t think of an alternative milk as a substitution. It would just be another kind of milk, another choice. That’s really what it’s all about- having choices :)

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216 Alicia January 10, 2013

Hi Ariel!

For me, as a vegan, I don’t look for “milk substitutes.” I don’t miss the taste of regular milk at all. I did not have much difficulty giving up milk or really any other animal products.

I am most interested in trying different foods and flavors. I think hemp, soy, almond, hazelnut “milks” are a great way to get to some key nutrients and spice up your meal plan.

For many of us however, food is often very tied to our emotions and traditions. We each have a different relationship with food. Depending on that relationship, it may be more or less difficult to eliminate certain foods.

Also, for some people a substitute may be very helpful in switching to a vegan lifestyle. If milk was a staple source of calcium or protein for a certain individual, a milk substitute is any easy-go-to drink to ween off of milk. There are milk substitutes made for people who are lactose intolerant as well so they don’t just target vegans.

It terms of being philosophically inconsistent, people decide to adopt a vegan lifestyle for different reasons so it depends on the person. I think calling it a milk substitute is misleading as Sandra said below. It also depends on the person. If you’re being vegan 100% for health, you may really be looking for that substitute that tastes similar to milk. As I stated before though, I love drinking soy, almond, coconut “milk” because I think it’s fun to be adventurous with my palette :)

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217 Ariel January 14, 2013

These are interesting. Thanks for responding. I suppose the discussion of additives to foods sparked some additional questions in my mind – to which there obviously isn’t a single or simple answer.

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218 Jenn Stevens January 8, 2013

I actually read about this last week on FoodBabe and was shocked! Went and looked at my unsweetened, original Almond Breeze & there it was in the ingredient list!! Started making my own the next day! I’m so thankful you’re bringing attention to this on your blog so more people are aware. Thank you!

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219 Jillian January 8, 2013

Thanks for posting this! I follow the Specific Carbohydrate Diet as closely as I can, and it is often a choice of the lesser of two evils when it comes to non-dairy milk (carrageneen and xantham gum). I’m not really sure which is worse from an IBD standpoint.
I wish people would compromise on the “milk” texture.

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220 Jennifer Chung January 8, 2013

Thanks so much Angela for posting this. After reading this I went to buy some snacks for my daughter and low and behold it had this product in it. If I didn’t read this article I would of just purchased it.

Again thanks for posting this. Love reading your blog :)

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221 Kris January 9, 2013

That is crazy!!! I had no idea. Great post!

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222 Amelia January 9, 2013

Angela-
I wanted to thank you for bringing this information to light for me. I’m a junior in high school and freshman year I had to go through a colonoscopy and found out I was suffering from a chronic inflammatory disease. After going vegan for ethical/environmental reasons, I’ve also gained many of the health benefits but after reading this, I am wholly pissed off and upset to look in my fridge and realize why even nondairy milk has been making me feel more irritable than usual. These things just make me speculate what weird ingredients like this contributed to my developing this disease in the first place and make me feel the need to speak out for a whole foods based lifestyle even more. Thanks for the PSA!

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223 a farmer in the dell January 9, 2013

Angela, I just wanted to say thank you for these posts. They are SO helpful. I am looking forward to your homemade almond milk recipe!

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224 Meghan January 9, 2013

My mom is highly sensitive to MSG and has avoided carrageenan for years because they are akin in many way (haven’t done my research here to explain the chemistry) but have not heard about relation to IBS. Good to know!

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225 Lauren Mac January 9, 2013

Hi Angela, I’m a little dissapointed about this post. I am a non-vegan, but I love your blog for its generally common sense approach to diet in general. You seem really switched on about food and food myths in general, so i found this topic suprising. The pdf link that you gave is full of links to articles ranging from the late 1960’s through the 1980’s, and in general were methodologically flawed studies. The body cannot convert undegraded carrageenen to degraded carrageenen. Searching pubmed or cochraine for evidence will confirm the lack of evidence for danger from carrageenen. I saw another user mention susan poster, who is well known as one of the greatest quacks in the nutrition world. I feel like you usually avoid fear-mongering topics and this seems to be an example of one…

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226 Stephen@HappyHeart January 9, 2013

Great insightful post! I’ve never heard of it either and I’m not even sure if it is used at all in Ireland but I’ll definitely be watching out for it in future!

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227 Grace January 9, 2013

Thanks so much for this post. I really had no idea and our house drinks a lot of almond milk.

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228 Melissa January 9, 2013

Hi Angela, I have never commented before but I check your amazing site daily and have tried a lot of your recipes. I enjoy the Natura unsweetened soy milk. It is GMO free and doesn’t list any carrageenan. I use a splash in my morning tea and I use it in oatmeal and baking. I have been making your sweet potato oatmeal breakfast casserole every week for the last two months, I am in love. Thank you for all your hard work and yummy recipes!

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229 Miranda @ The Pinterest Project January 9, 2013

I was JUST coming here to see if you’d written anything about carrageenan. What a timely post. This ingredient has ticked me off for a long time. I’ll be following up on this post and the comments. Thank you!

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230 Miranda @ The Pinterest Project January 9, 2013

Also, not sure if this has been posted already but it might help – http://www.cornucopia.org/2012/05/shopping-guide-to-avoiding-organic-foods-with-carrageenan/

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231 Andrea @ Vegvacious January 9, 2013

Wow! This is completely new to me as well….AND boo to Almond Breeze – I was a big supporter, but I will be looking elsewhere now.

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232 barb January 9, 2013

Holy smokers! I live on Liberty yogurt, so will email and ask liberte yogurt if they have carageenan in their products, as its not on this list. I also drink So Delicious coconut milk, so that’s going out the window now too. Poop! My local Whole Foods carries a lot of local brands not on this list, so i wonder about the sour cream now too. I guess I will have to email them all and find out.
Thanks for such great info. Amazing all the stuff they never tell you.

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233 Liz January 9, 2013

THANK YOU. I drink Almond Breeze regularly and also suffer from IBS. I’m making the switch to WF.

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234 Lara January 9, 2013

Hi Angela!
Thank you very much for publishing this article. I am a huge label-reader and always know what’s inside my food, but I know that none of my friends do. They don’t care anyway what they eat, but I hope if people like my friends come across an article as yours, they might start to think about all these small numbers at the end of the ingredient list.

However I do not want to blame my friends for their behaviour, I want to blame the governments and the food industry (no matter in which industrialized nation you live). It’s their JOB to lead their people to a healthy lifestyle! For example, in Gemrany, carrageenan is said to be safe even though it caused inflammation and ulcers in the bowels of rats, guinea pigs and rabbits.
I’m glad to see people who have a great influence on many people (like you) talking about harmful ingredients in our food. In my view, taking action, writing articles, and buying the “right” food items can be the first step to a more consumer-friendly choice of product in our grocery stores.
Thanks again and best wishes from Germany, Lara

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235 Katie Fucito January 9, 2013

My father has thyroid cancer and has to follow a low-iodine diet before he receives his iodine radiation treatment. One of the things on the list of the many things he cannot eat is carrageenan (along with all other sea-things). I’m doing some cooking to help him out and I knew that carrageenan was in a lot of common products because I am an obsessive label-reader. I always knew carrageenan was there but thought that since it was derived from seaweed that it was healthy and safe to consume! Thanks for bringing this to everyone’s attention, Angela.

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236 Violet January 9, 2013

Yup, I looked into carageenan a couple of years ago and didn’t like what I learned. Also discovered that compared to products that don’t use it as an ingredient, I dislike the taste/texture. I have written to manufacturers asking that they reconsider using this additive, but have had no satisfactory response. I choose to buy products without it. Having said this, I put almond milk on the shopping list I gave to my husband the other day and he came home with a variety that includes it. I am using it up, but it confirms that I don’t like it. Maybe we can all work together to make change happen…

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237 Jamie January 9, 2013

I also was interested in this topic and did some of my own research.
I came across this website: http://www.drweil.com/drw/u/QAA401181/Is-Carrageenan-Safe.html

So then I went and did a pubmed search of the researcher talked about in the article Dr. Tobacman. I was able to find many articles noting the potential harms found to human cells (intestinal and other), that are recently published (last 3 years to present).

Since I can’t post the full articles, here are a few titles.

Exposure to common food additive carrageenan leads to reduced sulfatase activity and increase in sulfated glycosaminoglycans in human epithelial cells
Biochimie (June 2012), 94 (6), pg. 1309-1316
Bo Yang; Sumit Bhattacharyya; Robert Linhardt; Joanne Tobacman

Carrageenan Induces Cell Cycle Arrest in Human Intestinal Epithelial Cells in Vitro
Sumit Bhattacharyya, Alip Borthakur, Pradeep K. Dudeja, and Joanne K. Tobacman*

Definitely interesting.

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238 Stephanie January 9, 2013

Blah knew this and still buy the PC organic variety which contains carrageenan. The additional problem is that some may not have carrageenan, but most without it have added sugar. I’ve made my own almond milk before and need to just keep making it again. Thx for the post on this – got my butt in gear :).

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239 K January 9, 2013

I try to avoid carrageenan.
I make my own or buy silk true almond in unsweetened vanilla

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240 Carrie January 9, 2013

Wow, I never even knew about this! I just drink vitamin D milk with the red top. I know some friends of mine can’t drink it though because they are lactose intolerant – so they have alternative milks to drink.

Interesting information! Thanks for sharing.

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241 Kaleena's Kaleidoscope January 9, 2013

I’m so glad you brought this up! I was just discussing this discovery over Christmas, mostly in regards to almond milk. I’d noticed that the dairy companies lately have been advertising that milk is better because it’s “just pure milk” and doesn’t contain any additives like non-dairy milk products. Confused, I pulled out my almond milk contained and lo and behold, it has like 5 ingredients! So frustrating, since here I thought I was making the healthier choice. Just goes to show that you should always read labels. Sigh.

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242 barb January 9, 2013

Good news! I emailed Liberty and they don’t use carageenan in any on their dairy products. This is probably a Canadian product. Yay for us!

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243 Leigh January 9, 2013

I have heard of it and I am very upset. I had changed to the Whole Foods Almond milk, and now I have my allergy testing back, I am allergic to all dairy and almonds and hemp. I have been using the so delicious Coconut creamer but it does have this in it. I have not been able to find anything else. I have made cashew cream, tried coconut milk. But they are not the same, they react strangely in the coffee. My morning coffee is one of my joys and I am sad. I haven been continuing to use the So Delicious, but I feel concerned everytime I use it. Also can any of you answer this for me. I don’t think the So Delicious creamer tastes like coconut, yet when I try to use coconut milk, my coffee definitely tastes like coconut. I don’t really want that.

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244 Diana January 9, 2013

I use Silk, Pure Almond…. looks like no carrageenan, but there is “Locust Bean Gum, Gellan Gum”— http://www.wegmans.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/ProductDisplay?productId=688309&storeId=10052&langId=-1

I’ve seen these “gum” ingredients before— are these also bad news???

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245 Diana January 9, 2013

Oh just read your response to Naomi Casiro’s similar question. Looks like I will have to do some research.

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246 Dayna January 9, 2013

Woah! Thank you so much for this! I had absolutely no idea what carageenan was, and now I am enlightened! I feel like, as with most things, carageenan is probably fine in moderation (for those without digestive/IBS problems)… although, I’m going to try and start buying the carageenan-free almond milk as soon as my current carton is done with!

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247 Sophia January 9, 2013

there is only one brand of soy milk that I’ve been able to find without carrageenan (Westsoy – and only the unsweetened one)…but even that is getting harder and harder to find. All of the rice milks/flax milks I’ve seen all have it too. My husband has stomach reactions to seaweed (which includes carrageenan) and nuts (so no almond milk for us). hopefully more brands will start backing away from this additive.

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248 alana January 9, 2013

Thanks for posting this! Just another reason to make things at home from whole foods :)

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249 Valerie January 9, 2013

Another awesome carrageenan free soy milk is Natura brand. It’s organic & Canadian!

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250 Angela (Oh She Glows) January 10, 2013

Oh I haven’t seen that one, thanks for the tip

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251 LeeAnn January 9, 2013

I discovered Better Than Milk (brand) soy milk powder (vegan, original flavor). After learning about carageenan here, I checked the ingredients — no carageenan. My original purpose for the soy milk powder was for making my own hot cocoa mix, but I discovered I really like the milk for every purpose, and now that’s all I buy. It mixes up quickly, a 736 gram canister makes 32 quarts, and I get a two-pack (at about US$12.50 a canister) delivered by Amazon on a regular basis. I mix it up as needed, and now I never run out of soy milk. It works really well for me.

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252 Annette Gorden January 9, 2013

Thank you for posting. I’ve shared this on my fitness fan page at http://www.facebook.com/annettegordenfitness.

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253 Celeste @ HealthfulMindBodyandSoul January 9, 2013

Thanks so much for this info. I have been drinking a lot of flax milk and it is on the list, I guess I will start buying Whole Foods 365 Almond milk or make my own nut milk.

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254 Natasha January 9, 2013

Hi Angela,

I love your blog – have been religiously reading it for the past few years! I’m having a vegan lunch party this weekend and need to use white truffle oil. I’ve mostly found risotto recipes, but since there will be a mix of different foods I would really like to make something that is more of an appetizer. Do you think a drizzle of truffle oil will go well with your delicious looking mushroom walnut pesto tart? Or any other suggestions?

Thanks!

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255 Angela (Oh She Glows) January 10, 2013

I’ve never had it before, but I cant see why it wouldnt work with the tart.

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256 Alicia January 10, 2013

Really appreciate you posting this information! Thank you for helping everyone stay informed. So disappointing to find out about those types of studies. I would rather be safe than sorry as well. Just switched out my soy milk for west soy brand.

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257 Vegan Radhika SArohia January 10, 2013

Oh gawd I’m an idiot, never heard of this stuff, I never know what is going on with anything
Thanks for the post, I think this stuff is in my vegan coffee creamer that I used to make vanilla lattes at home…haven’t checked the vegan milks I buy but I will look and see. I mostly shop at Trader Joe and Whole Foods for my groceries

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258 The Cookie Fairy January 10, 2013

That’s shocking news! I love Almond Breeze, it’s a shame they contain carrageenan. I wonder why? What’s the point of adding this ingredient? I notice Alpro Milk is nowhere on the list, so I will have to look into that myself. Thanks for this tip.

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259 debbysunshine@veganamericanprincess January 10, 2013

The Whole Foods 365 unsweetened vanilla almond milk has always been my first choice non-dairy milk and it is safe!

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260 Cassandra January 10, 2013

Thanks for sharing. Let me start by saying that I love you blog, and it shows that you put a lot of stime into your research. Unfortunately I have to disagree with the following statement:

“there is no excuse for food businesses to continue to put carrageenan into our food at the potential risk of our health”

From what I gather, carrageenan is a completely natural compound found in seaweed, as natural as gluten. I agree that people with sensitivities may be wise to avoid this, as they avoid gluten. Moreover an entire continent eats seaweed on a semi-regular basis so the food companies aren’t really doing anything wrong by using it as an emulsifier in milk desitned for adults.

You’ve listed some products available without this compound, it’s up to the consumer to decide if it’s safe for them to eat or not.

After doing my research I am personally not threatened by this compound, and I don’t feel like food companies are risking my health by using it.

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261 Shannon January 10, 2013

FYI- the Cornucopia list forgot to include Natur-a soy milk as not containing carageenan – it’s whatI switched to after reading Jillian Michaels’ book over the summer and learning about carageenan. It’s in SO MUCH STUFF! And I am so conflicted about it all because I am from PEI…which is the NUMBER ONE supplier in Canada of Irish Moss…where carageenan is extracted from!

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262 steven shelton August 31, 2014

Hey Shannon, are you a supplier? I wanted to bottle my own recipe of Irish Moss drink.

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263 Jayme January 10, 2013

The 365 brand of Almond milk is on sale right now at Whole Foods….3 for $5. I stocked up yesterday!

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264 NicT January 10, 2013

Just wanted to say thanks for bring this up. Put in the the “I had no idea” camp.
Definitely something to research further for myself.
Cheers

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265 Sara C January 10, 2013

Thank you SO much for posting this information. This IS concerning. I think you have just convinced me to start making my own Almond milk.

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266 Suzanne January 10, 2013

This has been a frustration of mine – ‘non-dairy’ products are often less healthy than their dairy alternative! I make my own almond milk but have recently bought some as it is tough to keep up with the demand with daily smoothies and my son going vegan as well. thanks for this post

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267 Moni @ {Meals Meals} January 10, 2013

Wow.thanks ANG. Very helpful!!

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268 Margaret January 10, 2013

Thanks for sharing, I’m sticking with my Silk Almond milk!

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269 Amy January 11, 2013

Hi Angela,

Just wanted to share an inquiry I had made to “Natura”, the company that makes the organic soy milk that I buy in bulk at Costco ($8.99 for 6 cartons is such a good deal!) I emailed them after reading your article to find out if there was carrageenan in their products…here’s the answer they gave me…

“Thanks for your interest in our products. All of the ingredients that are included in our products are written on the package. Rice and Soy Beverages do not contain any carrageenan. Our Almonds Beverages do have some carrageenan. The carrageenan that we are using is food grade. It’s been used for some years now. It’s like any other thickener… you might be intolerant to it, just like you might me intolerant to peanuts or milk. We chose the carrageenan because it’s the best thickener for an Almond Beverage. Yes there are others options…. but they do not offer the same quality of product. I hope this answers your question. Please do not hesitate to contact us again for any question or comment.”

A good honest answer, and I’m happy that this brand (found here: http://www.nutrisoya.com/boissonSoya.php) doesn’t have the carrageenan in their soy products! :)

-Amy

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270 vegangster January 11, 2013

someone above said they are following michael pollan’s advice? PHBLLLTT!!!

He touts the humane slaughter of animals. He seems to think that because one man, some joe shmoe who was in the movie food inc, who callously sits there slitting chickens’ throats with birds chirruping in the background, and who doesn’t have a battery farm that somehow this will be sustainable for the whole 7.5 billion of us. whatever…..

eating carageenan in your non animal products will NOT kill you. and you definitely will NOT be killing others by eating products with it….

enough me me me me me… when will everyone think about the hundreds of millions of other creatures killed per day???? it’s great to talk about food ideas that are not cruel, but please care about more than yourselves. thank you.

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271 vegangster January 11, 2013

P.S. thanks so much for figuring out an oatmilk recipe. that was always one of my favorites when i first gave up dairy years ago. :)

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272 Gena January 12, 2013

The studies cited are all compelling, and important–thought I’d also say that it’s hard to gauge from them what sort of dosage is necessary for an inflammatory response. In the animal studies, it’s likely that dosage was enormous (I have only reviewed one of the studies on PubMed, and in that case dosage was really high). I’m also curious about whether Irish moss, as opposed to processed carrageenan, has an inflammatory effect on the same scale. In any case, the most significant study on there for us is the one in the Lancet, which makes a good case, but I’d love to see more human trials.

For those who do want to purchase almond milk, the Silk Pure Almond line uses sunflower lecithin, which has no known side effects like this!

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273 steven shelton August 31, 2014

what were your findings regarding straight up Irish Moss vs processed carrageenan?

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274 Marissa January 12, 2013

I learned about the side effects of carrageenan several years ago when I was having digestive problems. I no longer purchase products (and very rarely consume anything) that contain carrageenan. I don’t know if it specifically affects me, but I’d rather steer clear of known digestive irritants and possible carcinogens. Always learning something new, right?!

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275 Meghan Telpner January 13, 2013

I too have been asked a lot about it and I do believe the evidence is startling in how carageenan- derived from red moss- can advance or bring on inflammation. This has caused a lot more confusion for people looking at non-dairy milks, as well as ice creams and a lot of raw desserts. We can’t mistake the red moss carageenan extract with the whole food that is Irish Moss. Two very different things!

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276 Becky B January 13, 2013

Thank you for this post. Like you, I have tummy problems and any advice on things I can do to prevent them is appreciated. I had never heard of this ingredient, but will definitely be watching out for it now!

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277 Marielle | Vega in Vianen January 15, 2013

I was never really concerned with E-numbers and the like because, firstly, I thought they must be healthy enough for you if they were classified as such, and because I also didn’t want to turn into a health-freak. Well, that last thing is sort of already happening, so when I was paying for my chia seeds at the till of a eco supermarket, I also bought a little booklet in which every E-number is enlisted. Again, I don’t want to become this person who can’t buy food at a ‘normal’ supermarket anymore (I don’t live in a big city, so it’s a struggle as it is), but I guess it’s good to at least have it with me when I go shopping for groceries. Anyway, this is what it said about E407 , a.k.a. carrageenan (I was wondering why so few foods and drinks didn’t have this thing you were all talking about! apparently, it’s often listed as E407 here…), roughly translated from Dutch:

– It could cause allergies (my my, I’m on tablets everyday for my allergies, interesting…)
– It could weaken our immune system
– It could, if we take large quantities, make sure that our bodies don’t absorb the essential stuff that we actually need.

In England, they don’t add it to infant milk. It is listed orange in the book, and not red, but the author (Corinne Gouget) did add that it might as well be categorized under red, since you really need to watch out with this stuff. Also that it is absolutely unnecessary to add it to anything…

What I am worrying about besides all the E-numbers that I apparently have to be careful with, is that I’m somehow feeling that I’m becoming less critical about all this. The panic takes over, so to say, and keeps me from delving into the subject to find out more. My partner notices this too, and since I’m a very critical thinker when it comes to other discussions, this worries me a little (and him!). Maybe it’s a side-effect of becoming food-conscious ;)

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278 cindy January 15, 2013

we drink the whole foods 365 almond milk. i may give my 14 month old daughter coconut milk but i have yet to find a carton kind without carrag. so i may give her canned, but then most of the cans have BPA in them. (native forest, i think is the brand that does not). and for luncheon meat, i found that the “hormel natural choice” meat doesn’t have it in it. sad that applegate does :(

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279 María January 17, 2013

I want to share with you that Dr, Ohirras probiotics also contain carrageen. Great article. Thanks

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280 Marisa Voorhees, The Food-Sensitive Foodie January 18, 2013

So glad you posted this! I’m gluten intolerant and dairy allergic and found I kept having food issues even when I was making everything myself in my decontaminated kitchen. Then my friend, who discovered a nightshade allergy last year, mentioned she was avoiding it so I did some digging and read over and over again that it is suggested that people with food allergies/intolerances/sensitivities avoid this ingredient. Yet it’s shocking the number of food alternatives that INCLUDE it. I appreciate you bringing all of the this great info together.

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281 Thomas Nichols January 18, 2013

Wow, never heard of it, but who’d have thought stuff from seaweed could be so bad for you. Dang, now I need to watch out for carrageenan in addition to 5 million other things…

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282 Jules January 19, 2013

Please be very careful and informed when buying organic. PLANET ORGANIC AND WHOLE FOODS buy the majority of their nuts from CHINA AND SOUTH AFRICA. Read the fine print after organic and find the origin. After doing some research I am sure you will be extreamly surprised at how these super markets have been taking advantage of us.

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283 Stephanie January 19, 2013

GASP! I heart my friendship 1% cottage cheese. So sad…thank you for the info and the shopping guide link. BUMMER

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284 Ashwini January 22, 2013

I emailed Blue Diamond about the carrageenan in their products and this was their response:

CARRAGEENAN INGREDIENT

What is Carrageenan?
The purpose of Carrageenan in Almond Breeze is used as an emulsifier and suspending agent. There is a very small amount used
– less than 0.2% by weight.

What are the principal categories of Carrageenan?
There are two different categories of Carrageenan:
1) “food grade Carrageenan” and
2) “degraded Carrageenan”. “Degraded Carrageenan”, also known as “poligeenan”, is chemically different than
“food grade Carrageenan” and is made using a different process.

They are not the same compounds and are used for different purposes. “Degraded Carrageenan” is used in no-food industrial application. “Food grade Carrageenan” is used in foods.

FOOD SAFETY
There have been numerous studies conducted and articles written discussing the safety of Carrageenan. Some studies have reported that Carrageenan may cause cancer. These reports have caused consumer concerns about the safety of Carrageenan in foods. It is important to note that the major studies linking Carrageenan with cancer used “degraded Carrageenan” and nor “food grade Carrageenan”.

The US FDA, the UN FAO/WHO Joint Expert Committee on Food Additives, and the European Commission’s Scientific Committee on Food, have all concluded that “food grade Carrageenan” is safe to use in foods. “Degraded Carrageenan” is not approved for use in foods.

BLUE DIAMOND’s POSITION:
We believe that the current available information supports the position that “food grade Carrageenan” is safe and appropriate for use in our food products. We only use high quality “food grade Carrageenan”. We do not used “degraded Carrageenan”.

Sincerely,

Pam Schiller
Assistant Consumer Advocate
BLUE DIAMOND GROWERS
(800) 987-2329; toll free
e-mail: customerservice@bdgrowers.com

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285 Anne @ eatcleaneatreal January 23, 2013

THANK YOU for this post. Im about to start a 50 day “whole foods” challenge and was debating on whether to allow almond milk. I was leaning towards “yes” and then I read your post. Scary stuff. And you are right, it is frustrating to see how many non-food items are added to our so-called “healthy” foods. Ive been scouring ingredient lists for the past week and am horrified. SO MANY ADDITIVES :( Im excited to try your alternative milk recipes. Didn’t you post an almond milk recipe once? THANKS!

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286 monica January 24, 2013

no reason to buy nut milk when it only takes minutes to make at home :o) i use a soyabella to make my milks, once made it throw it in the blender to mix a lil’ honey and cinnamon. the whole process takes 10 min plus another 5 to wash the my machines :o)

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287 leah jones January 25, 2013

I just found your blog, and I love it. I tried one of your pasta recipes, and it was delicious. Even though I made vegan avocado pizza (avocado as replacement for tomato sauce), I have never thought about using it as pasta sauce. Can’t wait to try. Now, back to milk, I use only brands without it, because I read several serious reports (don’t remember where) about that ingredient fueling cancer. Really, things that are not found in nature, should not be eaten. It is that simple. Soybeans are great in natural form, but soy milk, tofu, soy protein powders and similar products are all dangerous. Silk Almond milk is OK, and can be found in most supermarkets, but home made milk can be made to taste delicious.

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288 Wendy January 25, 2013

I find choosing the “right” foods oh so confusing. We’ve just started the switch to being vegan and were thrilled to find one of these brands had a creamer that tasted great in coffee. I’m now researching cashew coffee creams that I can make at home to avoid all of this stuff. There’s a big time commitment to eating healthy!

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289 Kim Bayne January 27, 2013

I found out about Carageenan..also hidden in our foods as additive 407 just before Christmas on a wonderful Blog called My Whole Food Life (http://mywholefoodlife.com/) and was horrified at how it has the potential to be carcinogenic yet is in so many everyday foods…people need to be educated about it so make their own informed choices…thanks for this post!

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290 Melina January 28, 2013

I could not find the Canadian organic soy milk brand “So Nice”on either list so I googled it and found this response from the company on their facebook page. I must say, based on their response, I am quite torn. What do you think?

“Upon consultation with our internal and external technical resources, our findings support our decision to use this ingredient as a stabilizer in our vitamin and mineral fortified products, like So Nice. Please allow us to elaborate.

Carrageenan is naturally occurring family of carbohydrates extracted from red seaweed. We specifically use non-degraded Kappa seaweed. It is used in our products to suspend calcium and vitamins, as they would settle at the bottom of containers without this additive.

The controversy on carrageenan is based on an article by a Dr. Tobacman who used degraded carrageenan in her studies (molecular weight of less than 30,000). Now, you should know that degraded carrageenan is not used by any suppliers in the food industry. There was a joint FAO/WHO food additive meeting in Rome in June 2001 at which carrageenan was reviewed by a panel of experts and classified as “ADI not Specified”, which is the safest classification. It can be difficult sifting through all the information on the Internet because some of it is contradictory but considering the findings of the FAO/WHO organizations, we chose to accept their position on the matter. Overall, the carrageenan sold as a food, drug, and cosmetic additive has been tested extensively, and regulatory authorities worldwide have uniformly found carrageenan to be essentially nontoxic and agreed that it may be used safely in food.

For more information on carrageenan please follow this link (be sure to check the links to the sources cited here also): http://nutrition.about.com/od/foodadditives/f/What-Is-Carrageenan.htm“.

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291 Kate February 1, 2013

Hi Angela! First off, I love your blog and ingenious recipes. I’ve had more success with your recipes being a hit with my family than almost any other vegetarian/vegan blog (and they can be a tough crowd to please sometimes). Thank you for sharing this post and for your thoughtful research on carrageenan. It’s refreshing to see a food blogger who genuinely cares about what is going into their readers bodies and asks them to form their own decisions based on facts.

I’ve been a vegetarian for years, but even before that I constantly struggled with two things: animal rights and the quality of/ingredients in our food. I personally believe that many of the vegan substitutes (i.e. cheese, yogurts, milks) give consumers the idea that they are “healthy”, but they contain ingredients that I would never use if I made the product from scratch. Take almond milk for example. When I make it at home I use almonds and water. That’s all. Store bough almond milk often contains the following: almonds, water, calcium carbonate, tapioca or rice starch, sea salt, potassium citrate, carrageenan, sunflower lecithin, natural flavors and vitamins. Yes, some things are needed to preserve foods but knowing where my food has come from and what has gone into it is invaluable to me. What are your thoughts?

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292 ken February 4, 2013

I have tried to eliminate carrageenan from my diet for several years after reading this Ray Peat article.http://raypeat.com/articles/nutrition/carrageenan.shtml

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293 Amy Johnson February 5, 2013

I don’t have a Wal-mart “supercentre” in my hometown (just a regular Walmart), so I don’t have great access to it, BUT “Wholesome Goodness” organic non-dairy soy and almond milk does not contain this nasty stuff. I need to look into the other ingredients listed a bit more (some don’t seem familiar to me), but it tastes really good (the Vanilla soy is delicious as a latte!) :) Check it out!

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294 Caryn February 8, 2013

Thanks for this post! I went to a nutrition class sponsored by my local gym which included a “shopping trip” to the grocery store. It was a wonderful class with a lot of good information, and one thing she mentioned was how more and more companies are using carrageenan in their products as it makes it creamy and thicker and to watch for it… but when I questioned her further, she wasn’t quite sure what the problem with it was. So I did a search to find out more and ran across this post and your wonderful information. Great site and I can’t wait to try some of your delish-looking recipes!

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295 Melissa @ My Whole Food Life February 8, 2013

Thank you for writing this post! I am always saying that this stuff is bad. I just started making my own almond milk. It tastes great and I can control all the ingredients and sugar. If I don’t need that stuff to make my milk, why do they? If you are looking for store bought non dairy milk, you can look at Pacific. I get the oat milk for my daughter and it doesn’t contain carrageenan. Love your blog by the way. :)

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296 Meg February 11, 2013

It is great that carageenan is getting so much attention these days.
I thought I had my IBS figured out for the most part, but sometimes it would come roaring back with a vengance, usually after I switched brands of some dairy substitute. That was 5 yrs ago. My allergy doctor had heard about carageenan, and thought it might be the culprit, it seems to have been so. The problem is that it isn’t always listed as an ingredient. So I stick to the brands I know I can handle.

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297 Jessica February 15, 2013

Oh, no! Just bought some of TJ’s “Almond smooth nondairy beverage” and sure enough…it’s got it :(…..ahhh, and so does the coconut milk. Here’s to hoping my IBS doesn’t come back after 7 or so years….

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298 barb February 17, 2013
299 Pastor Kat February 24, 2013

I’m VERY pleased to have finally solved a long-time mystery. For some time I’ve been in the habit of having a small bowl of “reduced calorie” ice cream after dinner. EVERY night after having had any type of ice cream (at first I thought it was chocolate, and eliminated it-with no relief), within about 4-6 hours I’ve had mild to severe attacks of acid reflux. On a few occasions I’ve aspirated some of the bile, but have been able to cough (very painfully, by the way), and clear it. I began sleeping sitting up, which reduced the severity of the attacks, but didn’t stop them. I’d heard the story about Freeon having been used in ice cream, so I read the labels of several brands of ice cream, never finding reference to ANY chemical that works like Freeon. When I saw “Carrageensn” on my usual ice cream’s container, I read about it and was horrified about what it can cause. Since then I have completely stopped eating ice cream (and many foods that contain this wicked substance), and Voila! No more acid reflux attacks…period. THANK YOU FOR THIS INFO & THE WONDERFUL RELIEF IT HAS BROUGHT ABOUT!

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300 Chris March 1, 2013

So, someone just posted this link over at Herbivore’s fb post about getting in carageenan for folks that want to make vegan cheese. My response to that person is below. I thought you should see it as well. Here’s the link, my comment is below. http://on.fb.me/VjiBH8

So, it turns out the hardest part of being vegan is actually other vegans—vegans that hear one or two bits of information, don’t question the source, don’t do further research, and then repost said info over and over. Come on folks, it took me all of two minutes to do the research the author of Oh She Glows should have done before posting her irresponsible post that cites the Cornucopia Institute’s work on the topic. Did she bother to ask who Cornucopia is or did she just take that their name sounds nice so they must be nice, and honest, and without any financial motivations for turning folks off of vegan products. Did you, Monica, ask any of those questions before posting her link here?

Here’s what I found—in two freaking minutes. And, please let this be a lesson next time you see something suggesting an ingredient in a non-animal based product is problematic. ASK WHO BENEFITS FROM PROMOTING THAT INFO. I’m guessing more often than not, you won’t have to dig too deep before you find a dairy/meat industry connection or a Weston A. Price connection. Stop falling for this crap, vegans! You’re supposed to know—more than the average consumer that nothing is what it appears to be and that money—lots and lots of money—is typically pushing most everything you see on TV and read on the internet. The first time I became suspicious about the milk board using carageenan as their latest scare tactic was when I noticed the emphasis they were placing on it in their current round of idiotic anti non-dairy milk commercials. They’re intending to build steam around this and you’re helping them!

Below are bits and pieces from the bios of Cornucopia’s founders and Board of Directors. Enjoy, suckers!

Mark Kastel is co-founder of The Cornucopia Institute, a populist farm policy research group based in Wisconsin and acts as its Senior Farm Policy Analyst. He directs its Organic Integrity Project.

Mr. Kastel has played a key role in a number of cooperative ventures designed to empower farmers in the marketplace. His development work has focused on creating sustainable farmer-owned businesses with an emphasis on dairy production and marketing.

Kastel, who worked for agribusiness giants International Harvester, J.I. Case and FMC before making the paradigm shift to sustainable farming…

Will Fantle is co-founder of The Cornucopia Institute. He is also the organization’s Research Director.

Mr. Fantle has also worked as webmaster for the Wisconsin Stewardship Network, a coalition of the state’s hunting, fishing and environmental groups.

William Heart, Ashland, Wisconsin Mr. Hart is a hunter and fishermen…

Roger Featherstone, Tucson, Arizona (Treasurer)
Mr. Featherstone grew up on a small family dairy farm in southern Wisconsin that has been operated continuously by the Featherstone family since 1847.

Helen Kees, Durand, Wisconsin
Ms. Kees is an organic beef farmer and fresh-market vegetable producer. She grew up on a dairy farm near Durand, Wisconsin. A tussle with a neighbor’s pesticide overspray in the early 1990s opened her eyes to the health and environmental concerns associated with the use of agrichemicals. She later became the first certified organic beef farmer in the state of Wisconsin.

Amanda Love, also known as “The Barefoot Cook” is a Certified Healing Food Specialist, Natural Foods Chef, Nutrition Educator, Weston A. Price Foundation (WAPF) Conference Chef and recent recipient of the Weston A. Price Food Activist Award.

Dave Minar and his wife Florence live on the farm that Dave’s Grandfather bought 85 years ago. Dave is a third generation dairy farmer.

The farm was converted to a grass based dairy farm in the early 90’s, and a direct marketing meat business was started with grass fed and finished beef, pork, turkeys and chickens. This evolved into an on-farm creamery and retail store where extra value was added to the milk. Currently, Cedar Summit milk is distributed throughout the upper mid-west.

Kevin Engelbert is the owner/operator of Engelbert Farms, the first certified organic dairy farm in the US, certified since 1984. He farms about 1,800 acres with his wife Lisa and three sons, and produces organic milk, veal, beef, pork, pasture, hay, corn, soybeans, and vegetables. Kevin is a fifth generation dairy farmer in New York State…

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301 Jessica March 6, 2013

I just read this article and don’t have Tim to read through the comments so I don’t know if it’s been mentioned, but aside from containing carageenan, store bought non-dairy milks all (as far as I’ve seen) contain the synthetic form of Vitamix D, which is D2 as is not healthy. D3 is the one you want. Look into it for yourselves; I need to again so I’ll remember what’s bad about it.

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302 Karen March 11, 2013

What really saddens me is that the US allows this in baby formula…. Europe doesn’t

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303 Chris March 12, 2013

Hi Angela,

I’m just curious about why my comment never showed up? Do you think it’s okay that virtually everyone from the founders to the board members of The Cornucopia Institute are financially connected to dairy and meat farming and marketing? Do you think it’s okay that they obviously have a FINANCIAL interest in scaring people away from non-dairy products and yet you’re promoting their work here on your vegan blog? Do you think it would be fair to at least point out the conflict to your readers?

I’d love to hear why you censored my original comment and what you think about the issues I’ve raised here.

Thanks!

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304 Angela (Oh She Glows) March 12, 2013

Hi Chris, Absolutely no comments have been censored from the post. Take a closer look – your comment was approved the day you left it. Good grief.

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305 Chris March 12, 2013

Thanks Angela,

I saw it after I sent the last one. Unfortunately, there was no way to delete the comment. I’m sure it’s happened before and isn’t really that big of a deal—probably not worthy of so much “good grief”. What would be appreciated though is an answer to the other questions I’ve posed. Thanks.

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306 Kari @ bite-sized thoughts March 13, 2013

I wanted to stop by and say thank you again for this post. It has changed the way I buy non-dairy products and I have written to Almond Breeze in Australia to let them know I’ll no longer be buying their milks. I’ve also just done a post on the issue in relation to Australian products and have linked back to you; I hope that’s ok.

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307 heather March 24, 2013

i came to this page because i was looking into this very issue, but i wanted to let you know what i found out. there are 2 main kinds of carrageenan (with sub-classes) hydrolyzed & unhydrolyzed. the hydrolyzed carrageenan is the kind that produces these unwanted side effects that you discussed. but only the unhydrolyzed type is allowed by the FDA into food. even though i don’t trust the FDA, they did block this particular unsafe ingredient. so for me, i’m going to keep buying my almond breeze guilt-free. :)

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308 lynn hagerup March 25, 2013

One more reason we Must read ingredient list
Was made aware of this a few years back…have been making my own milks for quite some time. It is in many items!

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309 Yaron March 26, 2013

I also heard that carrageenan may increase the inflammation in certain cases of arthritis…
Thanks for backing up this info!

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310 Tom H. April 1, 2013

I believe there are at least 25 additives that like “Carrageenan” cause imflammation and cause a host of other problems. MSG is a nasty word to most consumers by todays standard. But you need to look up on the internet and learn how MSG is still out there under “New Names”. The food industry is literally getting away with slow murder because of the laws that now protect them. I was raised on Raw Milk. The only “Process” raw milk goes through is the straining of the cows milk prior to pouring the milk into a large stainless steel refridgerated tank. Thats right… “the ONLY process”. Absolutely nothing is added to it. The only problem is the state governments have outlawed raw milk in most states. Not all states. Interestingly enough is the fact that during the Pasteurization process, all but maybe 10 or more enzymes that is beneficial to us are destroyed by this process. The enzymes that we really do need are never consumed because of Pasteurization. Another fact of raw milk and the cream that settles to the top of a gallon jar is that the products made from this raw cream such as yogurt, butter, cheese …etc… all have a more longer shelf life simply because of those important enzymes. Basically, the aging process actually makes these products more healthier.
POINT : It is only my opinion…. but, our government wants us to die by attrition. Meaning we live, work, pay there taxes, and then die just before we retire. Look in your cupboards and refridgerators after looking up those “other names for MSG” and ask yourself why.

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311 Shannon April 8, 2013

Something to think about – this is from WiseGeek.com:
“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.”

According to WebMD, extremely high doses of carrageenan have been used as medicine (http://www.webmd.com/vitamins-supplements/ingredientmono-710-CARRAGEENAN.aspx?activeIngredientId=710&activeIngredientName=CARRAGEENAN)

Not trying to disagree, as I’m sure a lot of people could have sensitivities to it, I just thought other information should be out there. :)

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312 Sarah May 19, 2013

I just found your blog recently, and I’m thrilled about what I see! Loved the almond milk recipe, and looking forward to trying my hand at oat milk! I wanted to comment about IBS. I struggled with that for several years, eliminating things from my diet, and nothing seemed to make a difference or show any pattern (except stress). Then, an aquaintence said to try eliminating all BLACK pepper from my diet (which I liked a lot so–no surprise–ate on a regular basis) and surprise, surprise after a week or two all my symptoms completely went away! It was such a simple thing, but it is hard to avoid when eating out. I started getting lax about the pepper this year, without thinking about it, and eventually my symptoms returned. Again I became careful again, and the symptoms left. It could be worth a shot to try.

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313 Jon May 22, 2013

Sign this petition to remove carrageenan, and let the FDA know that it’s time to act in the interest of our health and safety. Carrageenan is a dangerous food additive, and should be removed from the list of allowed additives!

http://www.cornucopia.org/carrageenanfda/#petition

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314 Lorraine June 13, 2013

I’m beyond disgusted that most commercially available almond milks use carrageenan as an ingredient. I’ve researched the major brands and most include it as an igredient. I would wager a guess that most of the people buying almond milk are doing so as a substitute for dairy – either health or ethically motivated. If so, the addition of an unnecessary and possibly harmful ingredient makes no sense at all.

I’ve called the company where I was getting my almond milk and they could give me no good reason for adding it as an igredient. It spurred me into action using your recipe to make my own. It was SO easy – and superior to the boxed store bought brand.

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315 Donna June 17, 2013

I had read about carrageenan before, and have been checking labels and avoiding it. I have also switched to drinking coconut milk, which I like and know is healthy, or thought it was until today. I didn’t even think to check the label. I drink Silk Pure Coconut (non GMO verified.) So, after reading your blog, I checked my milk, and sure enough it has carrageenan in it. :( Bummed. We are pretty limited with brands in my small town, so there aren’t many options for me. I guess I really haven’t noticed any digestive issues yet, but probably will try to find some alternatives!

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316 Lisa June 18, 2013

Dear O.S.G.,

“IBS” is NOT an inflammatory condition. Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) includes ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s; but never irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). IBD is an autoimmune inflammatory condition. People with IBS have normal colonoscopies and lab work. However their nervous system has been re-wired, frequently due to continuous low level childhood stressors (such as living with a depressed or addicted parent), resulting in normal stimuli such as stretching of the colon wall, causing stimulation of the pain center of the brain, as well as the area in the brain that perceives unpleasant emotions. Research on this phenomenon assumes the continual bathing of the nerves in corticosteroid hormones released due to stress causes this abnormality in nerve pathways.

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317 Lisa June 18, 2013

PS:
1c raw almonds
4 c water
1/4 tsp salt
Blend until liquified. Strain if necessary.

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318 cb June 18, 2013

Just as a heads up though…vivisection is not a concrete test. As a vegan, I would expect that you don’t support animal torture since thats what researchers do and it is not conclusive unless of course you test on humans.

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319 Celeste June 18, 2013

I know it has it’s downfalls, but I too am a SILK Almond Milk drinker. Avoiding carageenan has been important to me (a LOT of cancer in my family, including my 13 yr old daughter who we lost to Osteosarcoma). Whole foods have become a priority to me, and since going plant based, I am now migraine free (after 8 years of daily migraines).

I would much rather support a different brand, and have considered making my own almond milk…. but the one thing that has me going back to SILK is that it has the vitamin B12.

I’d love to hear how others are getting their B12 when following a vegan diet….

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320 Alicia June 19, 2013

Hi Angela – I was wondering if you found any information on using the fresh irish moss instead of the carragenan – that is highly processed?

thank you for all you do and for sharing yourself, your journey and your joy!

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321 AJ June 19, 2013

Has anyone else notice that Trader Joe’s has removed the carageenan from their almond milk? I had stopped buying my favorite (Unsweetened Vanilla) and picked it up off the shelf to read over the ingredients the other day and the carageenan is GONE! I can’t find any articles about this change online but OH HAPPY DAY! I am thrilled :)

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322 Kat September 17, 2013

If Trader Joe’s removed carrageenan from their Almond Milk, it is NOT because they have deemed it unsafe and pulled it from their products, it is purely coincidence. I have just today received an email from them in which they state carageenan is 100% safe and they would not use it otherwise. They still have PLENTY of products that use this ingredient (their yogurt slushers for kids, coconut yogurt cups, coconut milk, and more).

This is my reply from TJs (with her name removed)

Dear Kat,

We appreciate you taking the time to share your thoughts, and for bringing your comments and concerns about carrageenan in our Trader Joe’s Private Label Products to our attention. Please know that nothing is more important to us than the health and welfare of our customers and crew, and the quality and safety of our products.

If we had any reason for concern, we would not continue to supply any product in question or use that supplier. Apart from all suppliers (international and domestic) being held to the high FDA safety standards, we have our own stringent QA requirements on all products – we will not offer an item that we, ourselves, at Trader Joe’s would not buy and enjoy.

Here is what we know: Carrageenan is safe, natural plant derived gum. A natural polysaccharide (carbohydrate) extracted from red seaweed, it is a functional ingredient for stabilizing, thickening and mouth feel (as in smoothness). There are 2 types of carrageenan and it is only Food Grade (purified un-degraded natura) that is federally permitted in food. Non-food grade Degraded (chemically treated) is federally prohibited from use in food.

As we greatly value your feedback below, I have shared your email with our Product Steering Committee for consideration. We will continue to work our hardest to earn and maintain your confidence and trust.

You may, of course, return any product in which you are dissatisfied to your local Trader Joe’s for a full refund – even the empty package will do.

Sincerely,
Customer Relations

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323 Ryan June 19, 2013

I just checked my fridge and the Silk brand Almond milk does NOT appear to have it either.

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324 Lisa June 22, 2013

Got a great way to deal with food problems…. Don’t eat!!
if you eat everything in moderation then your life would be balanced. but if you eat to much of one food group your life is out of balance

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325 Jenisia June 24, 2013

just read an article about new vegan marshmallows made in Ottawa, was excited until I ready the gelatin replacement was carrageenan! Considering many people avoid it I was surprised to see he would use it. Here’s the article on vegnews:
http://vegnews.com/articles/page.do?pageId=5898&catId=8

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326 Annette July 6, 2013

This is all very interesting considering that I am sitting here, feeling yucky, after eating ice cream that contains this carrageenan. Had 2 scoops of Chapman’s Vanilla Ice Cream for dessert. Before I finished my serving, the inside of my mouth felt all sizzly. Then my tongue got swollen enough to fill my mouth. For me, this is a typical reaction to sea food. It is after midnight, and I have an upset stomach, swollen tongue, and mucous building up in my throat. I can swallow and breath well enough to know I will be fine in due time. Drinking a cola beverage cuts through the mucous. I do wear a medical alert bracelet for sea food, but this is my first suspected reaction to exposure from an “additive”. I have checked the label on the ice cream carton to see if there were ingredients that I did not recognize. When I googled carrageenan, I discovered this site.
A special thank you to Angela for sharing this information. I will be reading all dairy labels in the future, as well as asking my pharmasist, point-blank about additives in my meds.

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327 Kat September 17, 2013

I am an ice cream addict and I am sad to say that ice cream without carageenan is very hard to find!!! If you look for the “all natural” labels (I think Turkey Hill has a “natural” line”), the ones that only have a few ingredients, then you will be ok.

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328 Kat September 17, 2013

Very good article. I just wanted to add that I have recently linked this ingredient to my chronic diarrhea. Since removing this from my diet, I feel 100% better!!!!! This was my ONLY dietary change I made, so I know it was carrageenan making me sick.

I accidentally consumed a yogurt with carrageenan, an “organic” yogurt from Trader Joes no less, and the next day I paid the price! I was very upset that first of all, I slipped in my label checking (but it can be hard when shopping with kids in tow) and that second of all, TJs uses such terrible additives in the first place!

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329 Marcia Kittler November 13, 2013

Hello everyone, the new problem with Whole Foods 365 brand almond milk is that they re-formulated it. They reduced the amount of calcium from either 30-45% to only 10%. All the other commercial almond milks I’ve seen are either 30% (the equivalent as milk) or 45%. I am very sad 365 almond milk is no longer at the nutritional level I need for healthy bones. Which is why I drink it.

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330 jannala November 24, 2013

neither my husband or I can eat butter anymore without horrible indigestion. It isn’t the fat causing the problem as we can eat butter without carrageenan. I haven’t been able to find a reason for them putting it in there as nothing is smoother than natural butter so it sure doesn’t need it for that reason. When I email diaries they don’t answer me

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331 lana December 15, 2013

So who at the Dairy council is related to the owner of this blog?

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332 Jill January 18, 2014

I really appreciate the information. Unfortunately, I’m only learning about this ingredient now. Our four year old son had been drinking blue diamond almond milk for over two years :(. I also see that’s its in his organic Stoneyfield tube yogurts as well. I literally feel sick to my stomach about it. I just do not understand the senselessness of what we are exposed to in the foods we eat. I thought I was careful with our food choices, but it seems you just can’t be careful enough these days.

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333 Glenda Dionne January 23, 2014

Carrageenan mixed with water is the medium I use to float acrylic paints for marbling. Opus carries it.

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334 Angie January 24, 2014

A couple of years ago I began having seemingly random HORRIBLE stomach “attacks.” Started with stomach gurgling, bloating, then severe cramping, diarrhea, sweat literally pouring off me, etc. I also experienced a general increase in stool mucus. I researched, saw the doctor, but since it didn’t happen ALL the time, I really found nothing conclusive. Until the day about a year ago that all I had to eat was some banana pudding dessert made by a friend. I had a terrible attack just an hour or so later. I called her to find out what exact ingredients were in the pudding…. non-dairy whipped topping, sweetened condensed milk, instant pudding…. and which exact brands she had used. When I checked those labels, carrageenan jumped out at me. A quick Google search told me all I needed to know. Since then, I have avoided carrageenan, especially on an empty stomach (which seems to be a million times worse) and have had only 1 attack (and even it did not fit the pattern of my typical attack, so I’m not sure it was the same), and the mucus has dissipated. Now, when my stomach starts to gurgle, I can identify another food that has carrageenan. It is obviously a sensitivity that can come on suddenly, and I personally think it may be something that is exacerbated by some other factors, as my sister suffered from it for awhile, too. But hers went away with no change in diet before I figured out what it was. I wonder how many people are suffering, going on meds, having surgery, etc. when there is this relatively simple explanation.

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335 Angie January 24, 2014

I should add that I do consume dairy and stumbled upon this blog while doing some research. Carageenan has been used for decades! Only recently does it seem to have really begun to cause more problems. I wonder if the increase in IBS and Chrons is related to what seems to be either a change in carrageenan or our sensitivity to it. Like I said, I think there must be other factors that increase our sensitivity to it at times – possibly emotional as both my sister and I were experiencing a lot of stress at the times our sensitivities were at their worst. I personally see no real difference in carrageenan as an additive than using cinnamon, oregano, or any other natural derivative. I do think there needs to be public awareness of the possibility of sensitivity to carageenan, just as there has been increased awareness of sensitivities/allergies to peanuts and dairy. But that’s just my non-expert opinion.

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336 Denise February 10, 2014

I have just called So Delicious and informed them that my family will no longer be purchasing the three + cartons of Vanilla Coconut milk that we have been consuming for the past several years – which makes me sick to think I’ve been feeding me and the children this ingredient!! I’ve had stomach issues develop over the past 7 years and that’s the time I made the change to “healthier” non-dairy milk alternatives!

Boycotting is the only way to get the stuff out – the blogger mom did it with GMO’s and Cheerios!!

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337 Christine March 3, 2014

Thanks for posting this! I drink sodelicious coconut milk because it is organic and non gmo. It had the least amount of ingredients which I look for in the products I buy. It does have carrageenan but the company has just recently changed the recipe due to customer complaints! Link to the article is below…

http://sodeliciousdairyfree.com/blog/just-what-is-carrageenan/

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338 Tio March 17, 2014

People needs to know that carrageenan is approved widely all over the world. It is classified as safe for consumption by United States of Food and Drug Administration. Joint Food and Agriculture Organization/World Health Organization Expert Committee (JECFA) has even recommended a group of allowable daily intake (ADI). Quoting on the research link you posted above;
‘Moreover, research shows that food grade carrageenan can be broken down to degraded carrageenan in the gastrointestinal tract.’
But really, where is the research that this article pointed out? I can’t even think why these ‘scientist’ would even say such things..

‘Scientific evidence shows that the consumption of food grade carrageenan may lead
to harmful effects on human health, including inflammation, lesions, and cancer in
the colon.’
Again, where is this ‘Scientific evidence’?.. And the word may.. So basically they are not sure themselves.

There are many people trying to discourage the use of carrageenan without any scientific basis, probably to their own gain as carrageenan has become more and more popular these days.
Basically, if you want to avoid carrageenan, be my guest. But you have to avoid sausages, hams, and even the ready to cook lamb I buy at the supermarket has carrageenan in it!

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339 DDDD April 1, 2014

I’m neutral. Here’s an article on the research process, references as well as why the WHO has approved it
followyourheart.com/is-carrageenan-safe

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340 Becki June 13, 2014

In 2013, WhiteWave Foods separated from Dean Foods, and became an independent, publicly traded company. Silk is no longer owned by Dean.

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341 Stephanie August 19, 2014

ITS NOT ALWAYS LISTED ON THE LABEL!
You should note also that carageenan is not always listed on the label. I became aware of my own intolerance to carageenan this year by comparing reactions to 2 different almond milks. The only difference in the ingredients was carageenan. I am gluten and lactose intolerant so have been reading labels for years but never connected this one. After I became aware of my reaction to carageenan I had the occasion to drink LACTAID milk again. I noticed that I was having a very similar reaction to the almond milk brand that contained the carageenan. Although it wasn’t listed on the LACTAID label, I went on their website and it is listed there as an ingredient!
Another surprise to me was that it is an ingredient in Ranitidine (Zantac) a drug that I tried taking for my acid reflux but am intolerant to. Again, its not listed on the label but it is listed on the website.
FYI – The reactions that I have to carageenan is a puffiness in my mouth and a tingling on my face and lips as well as some abdominal pain. Who knows what its doing in my colon!

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342 ASmith August 25, 2014

For 10+ years I have struggled with what I thought was IBS or colitis, or celiacs disease, or dairy-intolerace but this past year, I finally figured out what was causing my IBS-like symptoms… carrageenan. I don’t care if it’s considered “safe”, I steer clear of it. Since removing carrageenan from my diet I have not had issues with my gut. If by accident, I do ingest something with carrageenan in it – I know within 24 hours because the bloating, gut-wrenching pain comes back (I then check the label of what I had eaten and sure enough, carrageenan is always an ingredient. I then chide myself for not reading the label first). I truly think many people are affected the same way I am but do not know that carrageenan is the cause (like I didn’t know for a decade). Is this ingredient really necessary?
I now make my own almond and coconut milk, and to be honest it tastes way better than store brands :)

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343 Linda Rosenblatt November 11, 2014

so happy to see you post about Carrageenan, thank you for sharing this information with your readers.

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344 Amanda January 14, 2015

I am starting to learn a bit more about it recently so thank you for posting this. I have been slowly reducing my dairy intake so have started buying Blue Diamond almond milk as it seemed like the popular choice (Costco sells it). After reading the label today, we will no longer be buying it!! Thank you for the info!

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345 Debbi January 17, 2015

So I just learned I’m lactose intolerant and have been at whole foods daily with my hidden ingredient list. I was there for 3 hrs yesterday looking at labels.. I’m sure it will get easier.
. I used liquid coffeemate for years because I preferred the taste to cream or milk. Now, it is classified as lactose free, non dairy, but states it has a milk derivative. I am appalled at what the FDA allows for additives in our foods and how sneaky the food industry is about hiding what they add. I’m trying califia farms almond coffee creamer, but now see it contains carageenan. I think that might be an issue for digestive problems. Any thoughts or suggestions?

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346 Kat February 24, 2015

Hey people, this is just another scare tactic started by the huge Dairy Association (funded by our tax dollars through the USDA) to scare the millions of people who are turning to dairy alternatives. There is SO much money and political maneuvering behind this claim. Please don’t be fooled. Studies have been done feeding large quantities of the organic gums that are used to hold together gluten-free products, and they have all caused intestinal inflammation and serious illness to the rats used in the study also. Any ingredient that has been isolated and fed in large quantities to an animal is not good!
Carrageenan is an extract from seaweed, relax, unless you plan on getting bottles of it and forcing yourself to eat it 3 times per. day.

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347 ryan March 14, 2015

It makes me vomit when I eat somthing with it in it not knowing what is in it

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348 faisal March 15, 2015

Carrageenan is a food additive. It is an indigestible polysaccharide extracted from red algae (seaweed), added to foods as a gelling http://dailycome.com/carrageenan-allergy-symptoms-with-foods-and-products/

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349 wendy July 6, 2015

well, my first batch is in the fridge, I think it tastes pretty darn good! It also has the added benefit of oats, which, as everyone knows is helpful for lowering the dreaded high clorestol.
Thanks for the recipe.

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350 Sarah July 29, 2015

I can instantly tell if something has carrageenan in it. I get intestinal cramping from it. I didn’t realize it was this ingredient until I started looking at the milk alternatives that were giving me this problem and saw that carrageenan was the main denominator.

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351 Myesha Amunrud August 2, 2015

A round of applause for your article post.Thanks Again. Much obliged.

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352 Judy Webster October 29, 2015

Possibly Almond Breeze changed their formulation. The last few in my fridge have no carrageenan. This is Original Unsweetened.

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353 Lexi December 26, 2015

When I found out that I’m allergic to dairy (and eggs), I started drinking plant-based milks. That’s when I started experiencing stomach troubles: cramps, bloating, tenderness, basically just overall unease. A friend asked me if the milks contained carrageenan. Yup, they did. I did research online, and found it to be a natural substance – seaweed – that acts as an emulsifier/binding agent. Eggs perform the same when baking – their function is to get thick and sticky to hold ingredients together. Well, when carrageenan gets into my digestive tract, it does the same thing. I know that’s what it is because I’ve done numerous elimination tests on myself. Get the facts, then act accordingly. If it doesn’t bother you, good. If it does bother you, stop consuming it, also good. Just because it’s a natural substance, it doesn’t mean it’s good for me – it’s probably not the carrageenan itself, but its interaction with stomach acids, just like what happens with baking. I think you just have to listen to your body in the end. Thank you.

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354 amy January 11, 2016

does anyone know if there’s another name for carrageenan used in ingredient listings? i’ve read in articles that blue diamond original flavored almond milk does contain carrageenan but carrageenan is not on the packaging’s ingredient list. thanks for the help!

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355 Logirose February 12, 2016

As someone who has studied seaweeds for years I have to tell you, carrageenan is not derived from seaweed, it is seaweed. As natural as grass or leaves on a tree. Sure they refine it like you have down when making your home made oat milk, but there is not a lot that needs to be done to it to make it work its magic. There are many nutritional benefits to carrageenan and I’d suggest you look then up and read a few scientifically proved articles before writing posts such as the above. Very misleading. Have you or your readers heard of Google scholar? Google it, and then Google benefits of carrageenan. Then Google dangers of carrageenan. Then do the same on any other common food ingredient – Baking soda, oats, dates…. In sure you will find scientifically pros and cons to each. But at least then you will be somewhat qualified to share your opinion online. In my opinion. Which I’m not saying is right. But hey, we’re all entitled to an opinion no matter how wrong it is, right???

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356 Denise Kale May 3, 2016

I found a link about carrageenan from Food Science Matters that supports the benifits and safety of carrageenan. It says it has been used for over a century all over the world and can even be made from seawead, water, salt and alcohol in your own kitchen! It is also internationally approved as safe. I also wonder about the ethicacy of some studies and what agency paid for them, noting that dairy milk commercials have scoffed at products containing carrageenan. I hope that the product is safe because as a vegan it has been an important ingredient in many recipes, plus it is apparently in a surprising amount of foods, both vegan and non vegan. I also have a lot of Irish Moss on hand which is supposed to be similar to use as a thickener but do not know if that is in the same category in the study. We eat few processed foods and I would not be able to get my husband to drink almond milk! The soy milk he likes has carrageenan. He is just starting a semi vegan diet and thanks to your Oh She Glows cookbook (the best recipes for turning people on to vegan foods) he is now eating the same foods as I but to a limit. We love your recipes and I have bought the Oh She Glows cookbook as gifts. Here is the link about Carrageenan. For me it will remain a sometimes ingredient in cooking but I am going to research Irish Moss and may substitute with that.
http://www.foodsciencematters.com/faq/

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