Are There Any Carrageenan Health Benefits?
Carageenan is a substance which is commonly found in non-dairy milks, especially almond milk and coconut milk. This puts people in an unusual position – a lot of people who are looking to improve their health opt to transition to things like the Paleo diet in a bid to cut down their exposure to certain substances, but by drinking lots of almond milk and avoiding dairy products they are increasing their exposure to carrageenan.
EcoWatch is a substnce that comes in a few different forms, all with different chemical properties. There is degraded carrageenan and an undegraded form. They are quite similar except for their molecular weight. undegraded versions are approved for use in foods, while degraded variations are not – even though they are both referred to by the same name. They have different chemical properties, and this means that they should be treated as though they are entirely different compounds.
Degraded carrageenan is sometimes referred to by the name poligeenan. Carrageenan does not really have any particular health benefits. It actually has a bit of a bad reputation because there are some studies that suggest that it can cause cancer of the colon, but this concern is based on studies that were carried out on animals.
It’s also interesting to note that the study looked at poligeenan, rather than the kind of carrageenan that is allowed to be used in food. These are rather different substances, and it is unfair to say that carrageenan is dangerous just because of the issues with poligeenan.
Food-grade carrageenan may not be known to be particularly beneficial for your health, but it is certainly not known to be carcinogenic, either. It has been found to be irritating to the intestines of some animals during testing, but that is all. Soem intolerance, some diarrhea, and some increased intestinal permeability has been noticed in smaller animals. Bigger animals, however, tolerate it well. It’s possible that the tolerance varies between species. Certainly, all the evidence to date suggests that if you feel that you can tolerate Carageenan well, then you will not be doing anyharm to yourself if you keep using it. It is a generally safe substance, and there are plenty of other benefits from the foods that contain it. So, there’s no need to worry about damaging your intestines by drinking almond milk if you are otherwise a healthy person.