What the heck is Carrageenan and Alginate? And why are they added to food and my beer?
Both are naturally found in seaweed. Brown seaweeds contain alginate. Red seaweeds contain carrageenan. Because of their water-holding properties, many of these carbohydrates (particularly carrageenan and alginate) are extracted from seaweeds and used to thicken a variety of foods, including soy milk, chocolate milk, ice cream, yogurt, soups, salad dressings and jellies. These natural thickeners can contribute soluble fiber to your diet. Carrageenan is also a vegetarian and vegan alternative to gelatin.
If you are terrified of carrageenan and alginate, like #FoodBabe, then you should also avoid eating sushi, seaweeds, especially kelp supplements, and in general you should avoid any seaweed-rich diet. For example, brown kelp seaweed makes up more than 10% percent of the Japanese diet.
Studies on this kelp-rich diet, have shown that kelp seaweed lowered levels of the potent sex hormone estradiol in rats, and raised hopes that it might decrease the risk of estrogen-dependent diseases such as breast cancer in humans. Kelp may also contribute to these reduced cancer rates among Japanese women. So if you want to avoid carrageenan and alginate, avoid healthy foods like seaweed, sushi and many asian diets (which are correlated with higher than average life-spans).