A Rant on Carrageenan

A Rant on Carrageenan
A Rant on Carrageenan
This post is entirely different from most of what I write on this blog. In fact, you could call it a rant. I’ve gotten some comments on a post I wrote nearly two years ago. The first one I wasn’t so sure why the long involved comment. The second one, from earlier this month, was more obvious. The commenter included their website and that website is for a company that apparently manufactures (extracts) carrageenan and then sells it. I held off until this week with even publishing these two comments, even though one of them is over a year old. Oh, I did remove the URLs because I really don’t wish to be see as promoting their company or its products. I encourage you to read my original article and also their comments.

The commenters clearly did not read my blog post; they only posted their comments. I have no doubt they’ve been searching the web for any articles that are not favorable to carrageenan and write the same thing on each one.

I’ll forgive them for lumping me in with their derogatory “blogger” term or “consumer watchdog.” I did not write my article from either standpoint, but rather from personal experience. And I stand by all that I said. I would like to address a few points:

1) As I stated in the original article, my first encounters with carrageenan were when I worked in medical research. The group I was working with needed to grow tumors in their laboratory animals as part of their research. They had compounds that were known carcinogens which they injected into the animals. To speed up the growth of tumors, they also injected carrageenan in solution. They used carrageenan because it was a known tumor promoter.

2) The first commenter, ‘debbie’, went into a long discussion about various forms of carrageenan and suggested that the less pure forms were the ones that caused gastrointestinal issues for some people. I did not really discuss any stomach issues caused by carrageenan because that isn’t something I know much about. I simply referenced other sources on that topic.

3) While we’re discussing purity, though, I need to point out that the carrageenan we used in the lab as a tumor promoter was very pure. I’ll stand by not wanting to eat foods containing carrageenan simply based on that property.

4) Carrageenan is also known to trigger headaches and migraines in some people, including myself and others that I know personally. So, forgetting anything else, I want people who experience migraines to be aware of this product. In the same way that they need to know that walnuts are a huge migraine trigger for some people.

For me, though, the biggest issue about carrageenan is that it is a tumor promoter. We are exposed on a daily, even hourly, basis to carcinogens. Why would you also want to voluntarily expose yourself to something that could rev-up the activity of those carcinogens? I cannot really describe just how shocked I was the first time I read an ice cream label and found carrageenan – a known tumor promoter – in the ingredient list!

I want to stress that I am not anti-science. Far from it. I’m for responsible science though. Science that has thoroughly tested things before they introduce it to our food supply or even our environment.

So, tell me in the comments …
Are you concerned about carrageenan in your food supply?
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I'm now an author and publisher. I write a blog over at BarbaraMcNeely.com. And I have a book published - “Lessons of an Opening Heart."
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3 thoughts on “A Rant on Carrageenan”

  1. Thank you for your rant. I steam internally. So you speak for me. I appreciate you raising awareness of the toxic foods we eat. Last week I was with a group of friends for lunch at the Guenther House (home of Pioneer Mills) and refrained from ordering their Champagne Chicken Enchiladas! They looked so good! Afterwards I went to the gift shop and bought the mix to make the enchiladas at home and guess what –carrageenan! Yesterday I stopped by a Weight Watchers meeting to buy a cookbook and snacks, thinking that would be a good place to buy healthy foods. Good thing I read the label on their WW Shakes — carrageenan! Yikes!

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