Food Additives Carrageenan

Is Carrageenan Clean?

December 16, 2022

Carrageenan is one of those words that makes you scratch your head. It doesn’t sound very natural, but it’s a common ingredient that you see in lots of products. You typically will see it in dairy products or alternative dairy products and certain processed meats. 

Carrageenan is a fairly controversial ingredient, and one in which Wake Up and Read the Labels does not approve. Let’s discuss the reasons why.

What Is Carrageenan?

Carrageenan comes from edible red seaweed, and it’s used in products as a thickening agent. There are two different types of carrageenan, though. There’s food grade carrageenan which is what is the ingredient found in most food products, and there’s poligeenan which is a degraded carrageenan used for medical testing.


Poligeenan is carrageenan that has been processed with acid and it becomes degraded carrageenan. It’s not approved as a food additive because it does cause significant inflammation and can cause many health risks. Studies have linked poligeenan to gut tumors, colon cancer, and ulcers in animals.

It is not safe to consume and is listed as a carcinogen.

Food Grade Carrageenan

Food Grade Carrageenan is carrageenan that has been processed with alkaline substances. It’s not processed with acid which allows it to be considered safe for consumption. 

Some researchers are hesitant to state that food grade carrageenan is safe to eat because it can potentially become degraded when mixed with stomach acid. 

A study that was released in 2017 stated that even food grade carrageenan could be a gut disruptor, but researchers in 2018 released another article stating that there wasn’t enough research to support those claims.

Is Carrageenan Safe to Consume?

So which is it? Is it safe or unsafe? FDA still allows food grade carrageenan even though some believe that it can become degraded once mixed with stomach acid. Let’s review what we know about carrageenan so far.

Sure, the FDA still allows it, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that carrageenan is good for you. Food dyes, enriched wheat flour, and high fructose corn syrup are also FDA approved, but we’ve previously written about how harmful these ingredients can be in your body once consumed.

Many researchers believe that food grade carrageenan can be linked to health issues like:

With all of the conflicting research, the risks are too great to ignore. Your body and your health deserve better.

Why Wake Up Does Not Endorse Carrageenan

Why would you want to consume something that isn’t good for you, isn’t a necessary ingredient, and could potentially be very harmful to you? Just avoid it. If you see carrageenan listed as an ingredient, look for another product that doesn’t contain it. 

In fact, we’ve done all the hard work for you when it comes to finding all of the products made with REAL ingredients. 

Book a call with a food coach to discuss how we can help you feel your best. Wake Up and Read the Labels has got you covered.

Here at Wake Up and Read The Labels, we help people learn how to read ingredient labels on the food they eat. We are not licensed, medical professionals. We are here to educate. No content on this site, regardless of date, should ever be used as a substitute for direct medical advice from your doctor or other qualified clinicians.

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