Today was a danger day in ~ the grocery store-- pints the Ben & Jerry’s were two-for-one. Because that me, that means Cherry Garcia (automatic pick, no decision necessary) and a wild map flavor (today, pistachio).But while i love the B&J’s, scanning the ingredients label raises a concern -- what exactly is carrageenan and also why is that in mine otherwise delicious, practically additive-free ice cream?


You may have noticed that it mirrors up in numerous “organic” and“natural” foods. I’ve watched carrageenan on brand for half andhalf, hefty cream, almond milk and a couple of brands that Greek yogurt.

You are watching: Does ice cream have seaweed in it

Here’s a definition snippet indigenous Wikipedia:

Carrageenans or carrageenins room a household of direct sulphated polysaccharides that room extracted indigenous red edible seaweeds. They room widely used in the food industry, for your gelling, thickening and stabilizing properties.


So essentially, yes seaweed in your ice cream.

If girlfriend search roughly a bit, you’ll discover (as you’d expect to uncover for any type of additive) a few health concerns linked to carrageenan. The many alarming is the it’s perhaps carcinogenic, however I’ve spent some time running the one come ground and also don"t think it"s credible. The researchthat sparked the concerns used a high portion of a degraded form of carrageenan (called poligeenan) in pet studies, yet the approved form as a food additive is undegraded carrageenan, and also it walk not produce the exact same results.

But over there is part decent evidence that carrageenan maytrigger minister inflammation, at the very least in some people. It’s not digestible, for this reason unlike most every little thing else in her B&J’s, the going to rumble v your cradle system fairly intact. That’s likewise true of grain-based fiber, yet usually that’s no going to present up in your ice cream. And also since carrageenan provides zero nutritional value, its just purpose is “gelling, thickening and stabilizing.” Delicious.

I contacted B&J’s to find out why they encompass carrageenan in their ice cream cream, when severalother brands execute not, and they were fast to respond. According to Lindsay Bumps, Ben&Jerry"s PR media maven:


We usage carrageenan as a stabilizer in our product. The purpose is to bond through water molecules and also thereby inhibit the get an impression of ice cream crystals as the ice cream freezes. This helps to offer some protection from iciness as result of temperature fluctuations during distribution. We usage very tiny amounts of carrageenan and also since the naturally derived from ireland sea moss, us feel that does not deteriorate the overall quality of our ice cream.

Irish sea moss is a type of red seaweed that grows off the shores of Ireland, good Britain and the Atlantic shores of the U.S. And Canada. The entirety sea moss does administer some nutritional worth (apparently some folks prefer to cook it in soups and stews), however carrageenan extract from it does not.

Full disclosure: No, I’m not going to stop eating Ben & Jerry’s. My relationship with the brand goes way back and we’ve created a level of trust that can withstand a tiny seaweed extract. If they start injecting various other stuff in the Cherry Garcia, we may need to reevaluate.It"s worth noting, however, that some food companies, favor WhiteWave (the makers of Silk soybean beans milk), have actually removed carrageenan from their commodities under push from customer groups.

The main takeaway:knowing what’s on the label of any food provides a basis for selecting whether or not to purchaseit. Here"s a lengthy list of products containing carrageenan for your reference.

You can find David DiSalvo onTwitter, Facebook,Google Plus, and at his website,daviddisalvo.org.

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David DiSalvo is the author of the best-selling book "What makes Your mind Happy and also Why You must Do the Opposite", which has been published in 15 languages, and also the books "Brain Changer: exactly how Harnessing her Brain’s power to adapt Can readjust Your Life" and "The brain in her Kitchen". His job-related has appeared in scientific American Mind, smashville247.net, Time, Psychology Today, The wall surface Street Journal, Slate, Esquire, psychological Floss and also other publications, and also he’s the writer behind the widely check out science and an innovation blogs “Neuropsyched” in ~ smashville247.net and also “Neuronarrative” at Psychology Today. He deserve to be found on Twitter
neuronarrative and at his website, daviddisalvo.org. Contact him at: disalvowrites gmail.com.