A Common Ingredient That Can Hurt Your Stomach

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Could your yogurt, coffee creamer or soy milk be hurting your stomach? Potentially. These and many other processed foods contain a very controversial ingredient, carrageenan.

Carrageenan, an additive made from seaweed, is used to thicken processed foods for improved texture, and while it is very common, it may cause gastrointestinal problems in those who eat it.

According to the Daily News Los Angeles, the additive comes in two forms, degraded carrageenan and high molecular weight carrageenan. While the first is banned from being used in foods, the second is used freely in the U.S. and is approved by the Food and Drug Administration. Even though the additive was given the thumbs up by the government, the "food grade" version of carrageenan has been studied since the 1960s and continues to cause great debate.

While the ingredient is banned from use in baby formulas in Europe and while it was found to have negative effects on animals, it is not only allowed by the FDA, but also by the National Organic Program, meaning that the additive can even be found in organic foods.

If you have inflammatory bowel disease or other digestive issues, you may want to be on the lookout for carrageenan on ingredient labels. As more research is done on the safety of this common additive, to protect yourself, consider eating less processed foods and avoiding products with carrageenan on the label.

Were you surprised to hear that even some organic foods contain this ingredient? check out the slideshow below to learn about other seemingly healthy foods with unhealthy secrets!

Image Credit: Getty Images

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