Carageenan Controversy and cashew milk recipe

Happy Fun & Flexible Friday!

Have a MORSELICIOUS weekend

and please keep your questions coming!
It’s time for our A.N.S.(Ask Nutri-Savvy Advice) with R.D., Lauren O’Connor:

Q.  I’ve noticed carageenan as an ingredient in some of my products. What is it? Is it safe to consume?

A.  Carageenan comes from natural seaweed or algae and is used as a thickening agent.

It provides no nutritional value. Like any processed additive, carageenan is controversial in terms of its safety.

Is it toxic?

In animal studies carageenan has been shown to cause intestinal distress,

resulting in colonic ulcerations and tumor growth. In 1982 the

International Agency for Research on Cancer

regarded degraded carageenan as a potential human carcinogen based on “sufficient evidence”

of carcinogenicity in animals. However according to a toxicology review,

food-grade Carageenan is not degraded to any extent in the intestinal tract

and thus in human doses consumed exhibit no toxic dangers.

This review supports the the Joint Food and Agriculture Organization/

World Health Organization Expert Committee on Food Additives (JECFA)

who has stated there is lack of carcinogenic, genotoxic, or tumor-promoting activity with carageenan.

While carageenan may be somewhat controversial, I have consumed soy milk

that contains this debatable substance. I only use 1/2 cup in my cereal and

up to 1/2 in my latte’s but I mix it up by alternating with my own homemade cashew milk

and other ‘milks’ that don’t contain this additive. (Meaning I’m not consuming large amounts of

carageenan-containing foods.)  If you are concerned, look for brands with only natural ingredients.

You may also want to check the  added sugars (note: organic cane sugar is considered “natural”.)

The fewer grams of sugar, the better. You may consider preparing your own ‘milk’.

Cashew milk can be simply made by processing soaked, water and a little pure vanilla

and a pinch of salt (optional) in a blender. Almond milk can be made similarly

but best to use skinless almonds or blanch them yourself. Shelf life may be limited.

But you can always make small quantities at a time.

15 thoughts on “Carageenan Controversy and cashew milk recipe”

  1. Great info, Ladies!! Thank you, as always.

    Missy – I have made almond milk in a standard (20 year old) blender, and it is both ridiculously easy and delicious!!!!

    The other thing I did was to make “biscotti” with the almond pulp!! Save the pulp, squish out all the water, add just a bit of natural sweetener, spread the almond pulp out on a baking sheet and bake @ 350 until crispy. Its very thin but really delish!! Good luck!

  2. This couldn’t have come at a more perfect time! I was just wondered what the heck this caragenaan stuff is! Thank you for enlightening. Great blog! I also got cashew/almond milk as my “homework” this week from my health coach… Taking this fear I have of making it away!

  3. Enjoyable. Thank you. I have also noticed that Mo seems to be ahead of everyone with the “chia seed” phenomenon that seems to be just now sweeping the country. I know that Mo has been using them in her recipes for some time now. I’m glad the rest of the country is finally catcing up!

    We will now wait for the hemp seed craze to happen – since you seem to be a trendsetter! Buy stock now!!

  4. Mo,
    I enjoy teaming up with you for this Ask the Dietitian column.
    Your wit/humor (and originally) in your blog is certainly a joy.

    Readers/friends: Keep those questions coming!

    Lauren O’Connor : )

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