Carrageenan is a non-nutritive thickener and emulsifier that can make our pets and us ill. It can easily be replaced by safer alternatives in pet foods, including tomato paste, guar gum, potato starch, pea starch, tapioca, and garbanzo bean flour.
This food additive is derived from red algae or seaweeds and processed through an alkaline procedure to produce what many consider to be a “natural” food ingredient. Interestingly, if you prepare the same seaweed in an acidic solution, you get what is referred to as “degraded carrageenan” or poligeenan, well-known for its inflammatory properties. The difference between a disease-producing carrageenan and its “natural” food counterpart is literally just a few pH points. Not a single sample of products containing carrageenan that have been tested could be said to be free of the degraded form.
Carrageenan is so toxic and inflaming to the human digestive system that this food additive is formally classified by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (part of the World Health Organization) as a potential human carcinogen. Scientists first discovered that carrageenan causes gut inflammation as far back as the 1960’s that leads to IBS, Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis and more. Studies from the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s link food-grade carrageenan to higher rates of digestive disease, including colon cancer, in laboratory animals.
Pets that eat primarily wet food with carrageenan will consume daily doses of carrageenan in amounts known to cause inflammation. In fact, inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) in cats is the most common cause of vomiting and diarrhea. Most pet food contain this additive, even the ones you find in the health food stores so you must read labels. I switched last year to Pet Guard which is also non GMO.
New independent research (published in 2014) at the Jesse Brown VA Medical Center in Chicago, demonstrates for the first time that carrageenan-induced inflammation occurs in both humans and mice, indicating that it is likely to cause a similar reaction in all mammals, including cats and dogs.
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