Study Finds Carrageenan Safe

New peer-reviewed study proves the plant-based food additive is neither toxic nor inflammatory.


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A new scientific study revealing that carrageenan is safe for consumption will be published in the journal Food and Toxicology this October. The common algae-based food additive—often used as a stabilizer and thickener in dairy alternatives—was previously thought to have negative side effects due to an inconclusive 2012 University of Chicago study that stated, “Exposure to the common food additive carrageenan leads to glucose intolerance, insulin resistance, and inhibition of insulin signaling.” The new peer-reviewed study— conducted by research and development firm IONTOX—was performed on three human intestinal cell lines and found that carrageenan does not cross intestinal epithelial cells and is not toxic to these cells. Additionally, consumption of carrageenan did not increase cellular oxidative stress nor promote inflammation. “It is unlikely that [carrageenan] causes inflammation or that it disrupts insulin signaling pathways reported by Bhattacharyya et al. (2012),” the new study stated. Lead researcher and president of IONTOX James McKim revealed that his research replicated the conditions of the Chicago study and could not come to the conclusion that the food additive had any negative effects. “When science cannot be replicated,” McKim said, “we must be very suspect of the findings and question what may have gone wrong.”

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