There are number of additives that are widely used in the food industry. It is important to read food labels for these ingredients, beyond reading them for fat, protein, carbohydrate grams and calories.
It is also important to realize the word”natural” and “organic” means less and less, because these ingredients are found in these foods as well. Here are just a few to look for on food labels.
Carrageenan are family of linear sulfate polysaccharides that are extracted from red seaweed (Wikipedia). The food industry uses carrageenan for their gelling, thickening, and stabilizing properties. They are also used to improve the feel of the food in your mouth. OK since when did ice cream not feel good! They are primarily used in dairy and and deli/lunch meats because of their ability to bind to food proteins.
Carrageenan have been linked to following health concerns:
~ triggers an immune response in the body
~ causes low grade inflammation which is a well-known precursor to more serious diseases, including heart disease, diabetes, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and cancer
~ linked to an increase in ulcerative colitis
~ causes extreme stomach cramps followed by diarrhea
Gums ~ Xanthan, Guar, Bean Gums
The other ingredients or additives you want to look for are the “gums”: xanthan, guar and bean gums.
The “gums” are very economical to use and are commonly found in dairy products (ice cream, heavy whipping cream, almond milk, rice milk, soy milk), lunch meats and salad dressings. They are thickening agents and stabilizers; they prevents ice crystals from forming in ice cream, provide a “fat feel” in low or no-fat dairy products and keeps the fat blended in the liquid they are in, preventing the fat from settling at the bottom of the container.
The gums have been linked to GI issues and cause disruption in the digestive process.
I am not going to name company names or stores whose products have these additives in them. To my readers, please become more label savvy, read the labels. When you purchase these products that contain these additives you are telling the food manufactures and/or stores that it’s OK to use these additives, when in reality…You Do Not Want These Ingredients in You!
References: Dr. Pradeep Dudeja, University of Illinois and Dr. Stephen Hanauer, MD, University of Chicago.
I am curious to hear from you, if you have any of these symptoms after eating foods with carrageenan or “gums”?
Please leave your thoughts/comments.
Be Healthy for a Lifetime!
Linda DeFever, CPT