Non-Dairy Milk Additive Could Make You Sick

Do you choose soy milk, almond milk, kefir, or low-fat dairy because you think it’s better for your family? A recent report found that even these “healthy” products could be contaminated with a substance that  is classified by the WHO’s International Agency for Research on Cancer as a “possible human carcinogen.”

The Cornucopia Institute, an organic watchdog group, recently published a report that shows a wide variety of organic brands of both low-fat dairy and non-dairy products contain carrageenan, a seaweed derivative used as a stabilizer and thickener in foods. Carrageenan keeps ingredients in beverages and creams from settling, so they can be consumed without shaking and have a pleasant creamy texture in the mouth.

Unfortunately, research funded by the National Institutes of Health raises serious concerns about harmful effects of carrageenan as an inflammatory agent on the human gastrointestinal tract. Even though carrageenan has been used by the food industry for nearly 50 years, it “so reliably causes inflammation that scientists actually use it to induce inflammation in biological experiments.”

In a recent statement to the National Organic Standards Board, Dr. Joanne Tobacman explained that carrageenan itself and its breakdown product both create dangerous inflammation, a condition that serves as the backbone of more than 100 human diseases, including inflammatory bowel disease, rheumatoid arthritis, and arteriosclerosis. Inflammation also fuels other life-threatening diseases, including cancer.

In some cases, individuals suffering from chronic gastrointestinal symptoms have reported that their symptoms disappeared when they cut carrageenan out of their diets.

Although Cornucopia researchers are quick to acknolwedge that organic brands are still far more healthy than conventional alternatives, they stress that industry influence can often mean unsafe ingredients like carrageenan are allowed to slip through the regulatory cracks.

To avoid dairy and non-dairy foods that contain carrageenan, browse this handy shopping guide.

Related Reading:

Is Milk Fat Making Us Sick?

Four Questions To Ask Your Dairy Farmer

Los Angeles Bans Flavored Milk In Public Schools

Image via Thinkstock

142 comments

William C
William C5 months ago

Thanks.

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W. C
W. C5 months ago

Thank you.

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Fi T.
Past Member 2 years ago

There is always something more important than money

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Harriet Brown
Harriet Brown3 years ago

just checked my Blue Diamond Almond Breeze and, yup, it has carrageenan in it. my rice milk didn't. so - found a recipe in another Care2 post and will make my own almond milk. thanks again for the useful info. I have been avoiding dairy due to arthritis and who knew?

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Harriet Brown
Harriet Brown3 years ago

good to know - many thanks.

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LMj Sunshine

Good to know.

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LMj Sunshine

Good to know.

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Yulan Lawson
Yulan Lawson4 years ago

And yes it can make you sick. Look really, we are humans and suppose to live on human milk not cows. They have two intestines, think about it.

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Yulan Lawson
Yulan Lawson4 years ago

Most soy in the world now is GMO'd.

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Rosette Reyes
Rosette R4 years ago

thanks for the article... I just hope they could be able to eliminate harmful ingredients...

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