Another Sneaky Little Culprit- Carageenan Gum

If you’re telling yourself that eating something with carageenan gum  is no big deal, because you think it’s a natural as eating the seaweed from which it’s derived,  you might be in for a nasty surprise, in the form of unexpected abdominal pain, bloating and gas.


First off, the mere fact that something is derived from something that may have once been a nutritious thing to eat certainly does not make it a good, Paleo option. 

Secondly, depending on the manufacturer’s process, it may have been made simply by boiling down some seaweed, which may not be as offensive, but more commonly, it goes through a series of steps including drying, baling, grinding,  sifting to remove impurities, treating with hot a solution of potassium hydroxide then removing the outer cellulose layer and finally, an evaporation process.

That does not sound like a recipe for food.

That sounds like a science experiment in high school chemistry.

Why is it used in the first place?

Companies use it to:

  1. thicken things, from ice cream to corn-syrupy pancake syrup
  2. emulsify things to help liquids to stay mixed together without separating
  3. change the texture: to make something thicker or chewier
  4. stabilize crystals: to prevent sugar or ice from crystallizing

All completely unnecessary steps if one is eating fresh, real food.  There are so many options of Paleo meals to eat, I cannot imagine why one would feel the need to thicken, emulsify, change textures unnaturally or stabilize anything.

All these steps to get what once may have been a food into an unusual, synthetic texture…and then you’re going to eat it?

Any question or surprise about why the example featured in today’s post causes abdominal distress?

Don’t eat foods with additives.  In fact, don’t eat foods with labels.  (They’re probably not food anymore.) Unless you’re considering the small tag wrapped around a bunch of kale with the name of the local grower’s farm from which it came a label!