Posts with Category:

Food Additives

Harmful or Harmless: Guar Gum, Locust Bean Gum, and More

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So far in this series on additives, I’ve discussed magnesium stearate, soy lecithin, carrageenan, and xanthan gum. These are the most common food additives found in processed foods, especially in processed “health” foods, and many health conscious shoppers have been unnecessarily concerned about avoiding some of the less harmful substances I covered in this series. In this final installment, I’ll review an assortment of gums that are often found either alongside or replacing xanthan gum and… Read More

Harmful or Harmless: Xanthan Gum

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I hope everyone had a wonderful and delicious Thanksgiving! Today, I’m continuing my series on common food additives. Last time, I discussed the health effects of carrageenan, a food additive that is commonly used as a stabilizer, thickener, or emulsifier. Another additive that shares many of these functions in commercial foods is xanthan gum, which is also popular in gluten-free baked goods for the elasticity it lends to dough. Although it isn’t as heavily discussed… Read More

Harmful or Harmless: Carrageenan

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Carrageenan, a heavily discussed additive in the world of alternative health, is an indigestible polysaccharide that is extracted from red algae, and is most commonly used in food as a thickener or stabilizer. Carrageenan-containing seaweeds have been used for centuries in food preparations for their gelling properties, but the refined, isolated carrageenan found in modern processed foods has raised concerns in the health-conscious online community. (1) Carrageenan is especially common in non-dairy milks such as… Read More