Have you ever how some foods become thick or gel-like? Apart from using flours or gelatins, do you think there are substances that have the same properties?
Of course, there is. There is this so-called “carrageenan” that functions as a thickening agent, emulsifier, and binder. It is a water-soluble fiber that is extracted from seaweed. It is a perfect alternative especially for vegans who cannot consume meat-processed products.
Here are some examples of food that contains carrageenans:
- Whipping cream
- Cream cheese
- Soy milk
- Snack foods
- Salad dressings
- Beers and diet sodas
This substance can be seen in almost all the store-bought products and even natural foods, but it is a common household question “is carrageenan safe?”
According to most studies, carrageenans are safe to consume. The only conflict is when the other type of carrageenan is used instead of the other one. A degraded carrageenan, or often referred as poligeenan”, has not the same effect as the undegraded carrageenan. This type is used on their products such as air fresheners and shoe polish. On the other hand, an undegraded carrageenan is the one that is safe to use in food. Misusing it can cause a health hazard and digestive problems.
Nevertheless, this answers the question which is “is carrageenan safe to consume?”
As a matter of fact, it is widely used on almost every product found in grocery stores. Studies even show that it has health benefits that can cure digestive system problems and peptic ulcer. Some people even boil this seaweed and the extract of it is used as a laxative.
In addition, the United States of Food and Drugs Administration has deemed it safe to use on food for human consumption. Thus, there’s nothing to worry about buying and eating foods that contain carrageenan substance.