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Mallory

confused about carrageenan

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Ok, so I'm on Day 28 and have done great! I am about to travel for the next few weeks and I want to stay as close to Whole30 as I can, allowing for a few treats local to where I am traveling (Montreal). My boyfriend who is from there insists that I have to try Poutine, which is french fries with gravy and cheese curds... sounds kinda gross to me but people love it there!

Anyway, I was looking at Whole Foods the other day at the Applegate Farms deli meat for something that would be easy to eat on the go and travel with, and it all had "less that 2% carrageenan from seaweed."

I know this is out for the Whole30, but how can something from seaweed be so harmful? And is this carrageenan different from the ones listed on Almond and Coconut Milk cartons? And is "less than 2%" going to have really harmful effects?

It is so irritating after learning this much about food that almost everything you look at has some kind of harmful preservative!

Also, I'm trying out some homemade turkey jerky today to take with me... really excited!

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Interesting article... saw that it is inflammatory to the gut, which is why we would be avoiding it on the Whole30.

I wonder if that is true for very small quantities like the less than 2% in the deli meat.

Has anyone noticed adverse reactions after eating the Applegate Farms stuff?

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I haven't eaten any of their products with carrageenan. It looks like the cold cuts that have it are only the chicken and turkey, although I'd double check the label. Less than 2% may not make much difference to how much a problem it is or isn't. Emulsifiers are not usually used in large amounts. If it was me, I'd have the roast beef or something without carrageenan, but it may not be a big deal very occasionally if you don't have gut issues. For me it wouldn't be a worthwhile deviation from W30 even though I don't have gut problems (other than having one.) Surely there's something more tempting than a cold cut?

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If you get the Applegate turkey from the deli counter (not the prepackaged stuff), it shouldn't contain carrageenan. They supposedly use it in the prepackaged sliced deli meats for "ease in slicing." There was a long conversation awhile back on the old Whole30 Facebook page, but I can't find it at the moment.

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Ok, thanks everyone! I will have to check the deli counter. My Whole Foods only had chicken and turkey in the pre-packaged section, and I only want it to travel with because it will be easier to eat on the road!

Thanks again!

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Mallory,

So you (and everyone) knows our perspective...

Carrageenan is a concentrated, refined seaweed extract used to thicken processed foods, and is found in everything from deli meat to yogurt to chocolate. Carrageenan is significantly inflammatory if it gets into the body, which can happen with increased gut permeability. (Carrageenen is actually used in laboratory studies to create inflammation.) Furthermore, carrageenan may be degraded to components which can cross even a healthy gut barrier, even in tiny amounts.

This makes it potentially nasty stuff; therefore it's out for the Whole30. We caution folks not to fall into the "it's natural" trap, as there are plenty of unhealthy substances that start off as a plant!

Best,

Melissa

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I recently read that there's been some talk of carageenan being added to the list of foods that can't be included in foods that are certified as "organic," too. So, I think there's definitely some broader pushback about its use in food. All the above is really interesting and illuminating.

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Thanks for posting this. Serves as a reminder. I saw carageenan on some labels today. I hope I didnt buy anything that had it.

I also bought two large boxes of roasted seaweed at Costco. I read the box after opening one of them and eating one of the packages that it has sesame oil and corn oil. I'll probably give the rest of the opened box to my friends cause I know they like them and I'm going camping with them (which I bought this for anyways for myself) next week.

As for the opened one, hopefully ill save the receipt and return it the next time I go there.

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Seaweed is a whole food, whereas the additive carrageenan is an industrial product made in a lab and chemically engineered with the aim of making commercial packaged products more palatable. It has potentially deleterious side effects and products that contain the additive are also pretty much guaranteed to be heavily processed and altered food items. Whole food is always just whole food.

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I find that I can not eat Applegate food products. I have terrible stomach issues whenever I eat them. I didn't know what was causing it, but the carrigeanen articals/wikipedia have helped me understand. Very enlightening! Thank you.

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On 27/04/2015 at 7:26 AM, Erika_whole30 said:

So, why can't we have deli meat that has carrageenan but we can have seaweed, from where carrageenan is extracted?

 

On 27/04/2015 at 7:40 AM, kirkor said:

Seaweed is a whole food, whereas the additive carrageenan is an industrial product made in a lab and chemically engineered with the aim of making commercial packaged products more palatable. It has potentially deleterious side effects and products that contain the additive are also pretty much guaranteed to be heavily processed and altered food items. Whole food is always just whole food.

Also worth noting that the seaweed that carrageenan is extracted from is not one that you would go out and eat like one does w/ seaweeds in sushi etc. Although the "red seaweed" is technically edible..........you wouldn't eat that particular variation. Just thought it was worth mentioning that you aren't necessarily comparing apples to apples when saying "I can have seaweed so why not carrageenan". 

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