Although a lot of people understand that carrageenan is a safe and natural food stabilizer, not many of them really understand what the substance is or what the main function is. If you want to make sure that everything you consume is totally safe and fine, get your facts straight before making a decision. After all, it is all about you, your family, and your health. You really don’t want to take chances.
Carrageenan and the Main Functions
Carrageenan is basically a natural food grade substance that is extracted from the seaweed. There are so many different variants of them and they have been used as a gelling, stabilizing, and also thickening agent. Basically, carrageenan is produced in three food grade forms of kappa, iota, and also lambda. Each of them is taken and extracted from different seaweed species. They also have different molecular structures and used for different structures too. Lambda, for instance, is used for plant milk, salad dressings, or ice creams. Kappa is often used as the firming agent for the wheel and block cheeses. Iota is often used in gelatins.
The Growing Concern
So, where’s the harm, you may ask? You see, there has been a growing concern that carrageenan can cause health issues, especially in the digestive system, such as Carrageenan cancer. Based on several scientific studies, carrageenan is responsible for the digestive issue as well as cancer-related lesions. Some problems of the colon cancer are believed to originate from carrageenan.
You see, those dangers and threats are possibly made by the poligeenan, a substance that shares almost the similar name but with totally different structures. The only reason why carrageenan is held responsible for the issue because it is the basic substance which is then turned into a dangerous compound. Poligeenan was used almost 100 years ago but it has never been used in the modern food industry anymore.