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Non-Dairy Milk Additive Could Make You Sick

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

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139 comments

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8:55AM PDT on Oct 16, 2013

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?

8:48AM PDT on Oct 16, 2013

good to know - many thanks.

8:21PM PST on Dec 10, 2012

Good to know.

8:20PM PST on Dec 10, 2012

Good to know.

6:31PM PST on Dec 1, 2012

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.

6:30PM PST on Dec 1, 2012

Most soy in the world now is GMO'd.

11:17PM PDT on Sep 16, 2012

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

4:14PM PDT on Sep 7, 2012

Like many commenters today, I am a whole lot less worried about the carrageenan in soy milk than I am about the Soy in soy milk!! Come on, people, like corn and canola and several other plants, you can ASSUME it has been genetically modified. Even if you buy from farmers' markets and/or grow it yourself you can't be sure there has been no cross pollinating contamination. Maybe if you grow it in a greenhouse - but how much do you really know about the seeds? And, no, I am not suggesting you eat more meat or dairy. Considering how cows are fed? No. I am suggesting that you get informed and keep informed and make tough choices about what is least toxic for your particular system. If soy milk makes you ill, what difference does it make whether it is the carrageenan or the soy that is doing it? Don't drink it.

7:03AM PDT on Aug 20, 2012

The whole food production system is flawed from Monsanto GM crops to pesticides and antibiotics; from hormones to steroids added to unlabeled foods as a norm. Is it any wonder we are contracting cancers and lethal illnesses as never before? I'm sure in the impending New World Order, all this contamination and pollutants will no longer be a part of our nutrition.

12:04PM PDT on Aug 11, 2012

hmmm I drink almond milk all the time. that might be why I've been having some gastrointestinal problems.

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