Carrageenan, Just saying!
It will take about 10 seconds to get passed our brief commercial to get to the real reason for this blog…Carrageenan! When we began developing our sports & fitness brand, Nanu™, we committed ourselves to whole food ingredients. Our commitment was to deliver nutrition with whole food so it comes holding hands with the natural digestive enzymes that allow our bodies to absorb the full nutrition value of each ingredient.
In the same spirit we created a list of ingredients that will never make it into a Nanu™ brand product:
- Soy Lecithin
- High fructose corn syrup
- Caramel coloring
- Disodium dihydrogen pyrophosphate
What is Carrageenan? Simply put, it’s a food thickener and stabilizer derived from red seaweed. You may have heard of natural thickeners like Irish Moss, a completely natural ingredient that’s been used for centuries. It’s the seaweeds like Irish Moss that Carrageenan is extracted from.
So, what’s the problem with Carrageenan? Digesting it creates several potentially carcinogenic byproducts and may trigger bio-chemical reactions associated with cancer and tumor growth. In a single serving, of a single product, it may not cause a problem. However, our standard western diet includes a lot of products that use Carrageenan, so we end up digesting a lot of small amounts, and that’s a big problem!
So there’s a simple way to think of it … Carrageenan is what often makes processed smoothies … unnaturally smooth, and commercial drink mixes blend so perfectly they defy nature!
- “Degraded Carrageenan”, a.k.a. “poligeenan,” is extracted by boiling it in much stronger acid “like battery acid” for long periods to reduce it to a small molecule.”
- “Poligeenan is used in medical imaging to make shakes consumed prior to an MRI and in animal studies to induce inflammation.”
- “It’s used as a thickener to make low-fat yogurts, ice creams, dressings and sauces retain creaminess, a preservative to make products like protein beverages, jams, snack bars and infant formulas shelf stable, and a vegan alternative to gelatin.”
So we are extremely heartened to see that the National Organics Standards Board has declared Carrageenan “verboten” (as our German friends would say) in organic foods. One down, many more to go.
Never forget that when you run, bike, swim, climb, whatever, you consume a serious amount of nutrition to fuel your body! Think to yourself, do I load up a battery acid? What the heck. It helps to start a car so it must be good for you.
So the next time you eat a natural product (like Nanu™) and you think, Gee, it is not that creamy or the shelf life seems short, remember this. Creamy, long shelf life with Carrageenan essentially produced with battery acid type extracts or truly natural whole food. Just saying!