The Role of Carrageenan in the Food Industry

2When you buy your favorite ice cream or yogurt, have you noticed how appealing they look? They look delicious with the smooth velvety texture and thick appearance. Well, without the carrageenan, it would be impossible for your favorite foods to look so mouthwatering and tasty. In fact, most of the food products won’t look good at all.

Understanding the Role of Carrageenan

What is carrageenan, anyway? Is it good for the food? Is it good for you? What kind of health benefits you can get from it? Carrageenan is basically a food thickener and stabilizer that gives the frothy appearance of the yogurts – as well as making other products look good and appealing. Carrageenan is extracted from the red algae variant native to the Irish coasts. This substance has been used for decades – even centuries – as a food stabilizer. In fact, the ancient people also used this for some health issues, especially those related to stomach upset and digestive problems.

Since the 1950s, carrageenan has been used in the food industry and it is considered safe. It has passed many tests and examinations performed by the FDA as well as other health organizations. However, some people still believe that carrageenan is dangerous. When consumed in a prolonged time frame, it can lead to the development of cancerous cells in your body.

The Common Mistakes

You need to know that the red algae can be extracted to many things. One of them is the carrageenan, which is a food-friendly substance. However, the result of the extraction can also result in poligeenan – a degraded type of carrageenan. Poligeenan is dangerous and it is often related to carcinogen trait. However, poligeenan hasn’t been used in the food industry for more than a century so there is no need to worry about it. If you think that carrageenan will turn into the poligeenan inside your digestive system, you are mistaken. It doesn’t work that way.

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