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Is Your Almond Milk Safe?

October 2, 2015 by admin in Health News with 53 Comments

Almond milk in jug with almonds in bowl, on color wooden backgroundAlmond milk is a great alternative to dairy because it has no allergens in it. Just about anyone can drink almond milk without the risk of sensitivities, reactions or mucus formation. It doesn’t use any animal products, making it a good alternative for vegans.

Almond milk is also high in protein and calcium, which means that you are getting all of the traditional benefits of cow’s milk without any of the associated health risks. Not only that but almond milk is delicious.

Unlike a lot of dairy alternatives, almond milk doesn’t require an acquired taste or time to get used to it. It is naturally rich and is delicious in everything from coffee to mashed potatoes.

But is the almond milk you’re drinking safe?

Although homemade nut milks are probably the healthiest alternatives to dairy milk, someof the mass manufactured tetra packs are actually really bad for you.Here’s why:

Manufactures have been using Carrageenan, a seemingly natural derivative from red seaweed, as a thickener and emulsifier in Almond milk. This stops the milk from separating and forming lumps while it stands on the shelf and gives it a thicker and creamier texture. Carrageenan has no nutritional value but is used for this purpose in a variety of organic products, including Almond Milk.

The problem is that although Carrageenan comes from seaweed and seems like a natural product, it has been proven to have detrimental effects on your health. Not every plant in the wild is edible; in fact many of them are poisonous, even if they are “natural”. In the same way not every ingredient claiming to be natural is safe for human consumption.

What’s more is that by the time carrageenan is ready to be used in production it has been so processed and altered that it doesn’t even resemble the original seaweed on a chemical level anymore. So even if the original plant wasn’t too bad for you, the carrageenan that you find being pumped into your “organic” products is far from organic, natural, or anything like the original thing.

There are two kinds of Carrageenan that are commonly used. The first is Food Grade Carrageenan.

Food Grade Carrageenan is created by using an alkali process when it is derived from raw red seaweed. This form of Carrageenan has been deemed safe for use in food and consumer products in spite of studies that have found it to be harmful. I will talk about its nasty side effects in a moment.

The second is laboratory grade Carrageenan. Lab grade carrageenan is created by using an acidic process to break it down. The broken down or degraded carrageenan is also known as poligeenan.

This Degraded Carrageenan is so well known for causing inflammation that it is actually used to create or induce inflammatory diseases in laboratory animals for the purposes of drug testing!

The only real difference between the Carrageenan in your Almond milk and the carrageenan being used to cause deadly diseases in unfortunate lab animals is that one has been broken down by an acidic process. And that is the first red light that should be flashing for anyone who is paying attention. Because your stomach is acidic.

We digest our food by breaking it down in the stomach with stomach acid. So when you consume food grade carrageenan in organic products it gets broken down in the exact same way as everything else you eat, with stomach acid. Which means that just a few hours after you drink your almond milk you will have degraded carrageenan in your system.

Studies by J. K. Tobacman, M.D., associate professor of clinical medicine at the University of Illinois College of Medicine, found that consuming even un-degraded (food grade) carrageenan causes inflammation in your digestive system because it triggers an immune response. Your body sees it as a pathogen like salmonella and tries to resist it.

Chronic inflammation is associated with more than a hundred human diseases. Just a sample of these includes rheumatoid arthritis, inflammatory bowel disease, arteriosclerosis, heart disease, Alzheimer’s and Parkinsons.

Inflammation is also closely associated with a number of cancers.

As if that weren’t bad enough carrageenan has also been linked with causing gluten intolerance and effecting insulin levels. These two factors together can cause diabetes.

So it is very definitely not okay to be putting carrageenan into organic products that are supposed to be healthy! What makes it even more dangerous is that because carrageenan is used in the processing of Almond milk and is not a nutritive ingredient, they don’t even have to list it in the ingredients on the back of the box!

Very often all you will read on the back of a box of Almond milk are the words: “Organic processes”.

So how do you know which brands are safe?

We unfortunately don’t have a definitive list yet as it is not legally required for companies to declare carrageenan in their products, but we do know that these products definitely do use Carrageenan:

Almond Breeze (Blue Diamond), Almond Dream (original, unsweetened, vanilla, and unsweetened vanilla), Natur-a, Pacific Foods, President’s Choice, So Delicious, Central Market, Califia Farms, Earth’s own almond fresh, Engine 2 plant strong and Trader Joe’s(aseptic).

Now for the good news, there are companies who are dedicated to providing the public with healthy organic foods and beverages that don’t contain any harmful or controversial substances.

The following is a list of SAFE Almond milk products that do not contain carrageenan:

365 whole foods, Beber, Omilk NYC, Trader Joe’s (refrigerated – Ingredients vary in Trader Joe’s products), Wegman’s, Westsoyand Silk pure almond.

Now you know which Almond milk products to avoid and which are safe to buy. But almond milk is only one of the many supposedly healthy products that use carrageenan in their manufacturing processes. Here are some more products that commonly use carrageenan as a thickener and emulsifier:

Yoghurt, Soy Milk, Buttermilk, frozen dessert, ice cream, coconut milk, chocolate milk, sour cream, cottage cheese, Soy desserts, sliced turkey, processed sandwich meats, canned soups, microwave dinners and nutritional shakes and drinks.

All of these products are often made with carrageenan, so please read labels carefully (you always should anyway) to make sure that they don’t contain this dangerous inflammatory substance.

Just like carrageenan, many of the additives and processed ingredients in our foods harm our digestive system, causing inflammation.

If you are often suffering from digestive problems, go to the next page and watch the 3 tips to reduce these digestive-related issues –

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About the Author:

Emma Deangela is the best selling author of The Alkaline Diet Program and 80/20 Fat Loss. She has helped over tens of thousands of men and women to lose weight and transform their health with sound nutrition advice.

Do you drink almond milk? What brands do you drink? Have you made your own almond milk before?

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53 Comments

  1. Deb FreemanOct 2, 2015 at 11:49 pmReply

    I buy Kroger’s Simple Truth Almond Milk. I don’t have any in the refrigerator right now, but I’m wondering if this is on the safe or unsafe list.

    • Terri CabralFeb 24, 2017 at 12:35 amReply

      We buy that brand because it DOES NOT have that ingredient.

      • Terri CabralFeb 24, 2017 at 12:39 amReply

        Most of the Simply Organic Kroger products are good and safe. We only buy ice cream without it and make our yogurt at home but Kroger organic brand does not have it.

  2. PatriciaOct 3, 2015 at 12:34 amReply

    Great info

  3. PattyOct 3, 2015 at 2:12 amReply

    Thank you for this article and for making us naware of this inflammatory food. My Grandson just came down with hives, unknown cause. I have had hives in the past and I feel as though as I am getting them back. I also have unrelenting bloating and gastro problems but I eat mainly a vegetable diet. Can you tell me what t look for first when trying to deal with Hives?

  4. Laura WilliamsOct 3, 2015 at 11:53 pmReply

    Thank you for this very important imformation; you have confirmed what I had ascertained myself. When I had transitioned over from dairy products over 2 years ago, the first 3 months I had acquired Almond Breeze Milk, that contained carageenan. I was checking out the ingredients myself via the internet when I had discovered that this ingredient can be detrimental to one’s health. I immediately stopped ingesting this brand of milk and swithched over to Silk Pure Almond milk. So delicious coconut almond yogurt also contains the same ingredient. Unfortunately I’ve yet to find a yogurt that doesn’t contain it.

  5. Maryanne ThompsonOct 4, 2015 at 12:43 amReply

    I drink Silk Almond Light. Was wondering if that was safe.

    • Tom VJun 30, 2016 at 8:59 pmReply

      Why “wonder”? Just read the ingredient list.

      • DebSep 8, 2016 at 5:49 amReply

        Tom V,
        Emma said that because carageenan is not a nutritive ingredient, companies are not required to list it in the ingredient list. She said sometimes it will be listed as poligeenan. but may not be listed at all.
        So once again our government are allowing “foods” to be consumed even though they can cause serious health issues. Why not? It keeps big pharma in business selling medicines to treat your illnesses!
        Emma stated that Silk Almond did not contain carageenan, but you know how when companies make a “light” or “fat free” version of their product, it often requires some other additive? So I think Maryanne Thompson and Betty Tambellini’s question is a good one. (Especially since I drink the Silk Almond Light, too! And would like to know the answer)
        Good information for sure!

    • Betty TambelliniAug 2, 2016 at 10:07 pmReply

      I would also like to know if Silk
      almond light is safe to drink?
      Thank you,
      Betty Tambellini

  6. corinne d cantolinoOct 4, 2015 at 12:58 amReply

    just purchased tree of life almond milk not listed on container is it OK ?

    • TerryJun 6, 2016 at 1:27 amReply

      Califa has eliminated carreegann from their unsweetened almond milk. It’s now written right on front of bottle.

      • HopeApr 17, 2017 at 11:41 pmReply

        Blu Diamond has also eliminated carrageenan.

  7. corinne d cantolinoOct 4, 2015 at 12:59 amReply

    don’t have any right now, but I think some rice milk products have this same problem aslo almond and rice yogurts.

  8. AnnOct 4, 2015 at 4:51 amReply

    Thank you for this article. I buy the refrigerated SILK Vanilla Almond Milk. Please tell me that this is an OK brand as I love it so much. Thank you.

  9. Jean LaBarrOct 4, 2015 at 8:22 amReply

    I drink Almond milk it is a Shop Rite brand. Does this contain that ingredient that is causing all kinds of illnesses?

    • Tom VJun 30, 2016 at 9:00 pmReply

      Just read the ingredient list on the package!

      • KathieApr 17, 2017 at 12:24 pmReply

        Didn’t you read the article or Deb’s reply to your last off the wall comment???? IT IS NOT NECESSARILY LISTED IN THE INGREDIENTS!!!

  10. Barbara KeigherOct 4, 2015 at 11:43 pmReply

    I can’t remember if Nancy’s makes an Almond milk? I do buy Nancy’s yogurt…..if they do they use carrageenan

  11. Donna ScaravilliOct 5, 2015 at 12:13 amReply

    I drink flaxseed milk right now. I have used cashew milk, soy milk, almond milk and coconut milk. Do you know anything about flaxseed milk?

  12. Emma OrtegaOct 6, 2015 at 6:01 amReply

    I make my own almond milk.

    • WaleahOct 8, 2015 at 3:44 amReply

      Could I have the recipe for that please.

  13. Donna WilkinsonOct 6, 2015 at 8:51 amReply

    I drink Hiland’s Almond Milk and I am wondering if this product is a good product to drink or not

  14. Shannon MadiganOct 7, 2015 at 1:39 amReply

    I would definitely be interested in your Diet Program but don’t have a credit card and can’t afford the 90 dollars

  15. Judy MonroeNov 8, 2015 at 8:16 amReply

    Could you please send me your almond milk recipe ? Thank you in advance. Judy Monroe

    • SharonNov 12, 2015 at 11:29 pmReply

      Soak over night, or a least a few hours, in a quart glass Mason jar, one container of organic raw, unsalted almonds.
      Drain, rinse and place in Vitamix container. Start slow, then quickly increase to high speed. You can add distilled water, or any other ph balanced water to the container to achieve the thickness or thinness you prefer.
      You can pour the mixture through a nut milk bag, or layered cheesecloth, for a clear thin milk, or use as is.
      Vanilla, or stevia may be added, but I like mine plain.
      I store in a glass Mason jar in the fridge, keeps up to 4 days and if I strained the mixture I save the pulp in ice cube trays in the freezer, to add to soups and stews

  16. Sha SemDec 19, 2015 at 8:57 pmReply

    Thank you very much for sharing this. My Almond Breeze is trashed and I will start making my own. How dare businesses intentionally harm us. Especially under the healthy labels for conscientious shoppers.

  17. Pamela MarshDec 21, 2015 at 10:38 pmReply

    I found Gellan gum as an ingredient in my Tempt hemp milk. Can you advise me on Gellan gum please?

  18. Viv L.Dec 31, 2015 at 10:18 amReply

    First- I will appreciate if you please withhold my name. We recently found out my daughter’s allergic to milk. We switched to almond milk, as she is also allergic to soy. I just checked the refrigerator, and we have a carton of Almond Breeze, and a carton of Meijer brand Almond Milk. Ironically, her allergic reactions have stopped, and yet she has developed inflammation in different forms, leading to infections with low grade fevers, etc., and was just prescribed antibiotics and Prednisone. I will learn, and teach her how, to make our own almond milk from now on!

  19. Cindy dunphyJan 28, 2016 at 9:54 amReply

    I do no see carrageenan noted in the ingredients section of Blue Diamond Unsweetened almond coconut milk.

    • Dee FinchMar 10, 2016 at 7:49 amReply

      I also checked the ingredients on the Blue Diamond Almond Breeze unsweetened and do not see that one listed.

  20. Judy LeeFeb 17, 2016 at 12:09 amReply

    Domestic almonds are subject to forced pasteurization – If you are considering making your own almond milk, make sure your almonds are steam treated rather than fumigated with toxic propylene oxide (PPO) gas!

  21. Terrence TrimbleApr 10, 2016 at 3:00 amReply

    I just wanna say I love you! Great job on exposing products that are potentially and actually harmful to us… Keep up the great work!!!

  22. Mary CampbellApr 11, 2016 at 2:44 amReply

    I have been noticing over the past few years I was having a lot of mucus after using creamers in my coffee and eating ice cream. I thought it may be the filers and when I stopped using foods with these ingredients I noticed a big difference. I have been using Almond Breeze but will now stop as I did check and sure enough no mention of carrageenan. Thanks again. Mary C.

  23. Patricia BanksApr 13, 2016 at 1:56 amReply

    Yes! Perfect sense as to Winn Dixie Almond milk! I wondered why every time it was added my spine was SO PAINFUL plus I’d put on weight for no known reason-THANKS for this info!!

  24. TrudyMay 23, 2016 at 6:16 pmReply

    It’s in lunch meat and baked chickens too..

  25. LisaJun 6, 2016 at 8:21 pmReply

    I appreciate the advice regarding carrageenan.
    One question: which almond milk is high in protein? The Blue Diamond unsweetened variety has only 1 gram of protein per 1 cup serving.

  26. Sally WeberJun 29, 2016 at 12:16 pmReply

    Curious that Carrageenan is not listed as an ingredient in the Blue Diamond Almond Breeze (Almondmilk/Coconutmilk Blend). According to the FDA it is required to label: http://www.accessdata.fda.gov/scripts/cdrh/cfdocs/cfcfr/CFRSearch.cfm?fr=172.620..???

    • ScottOct 24, 2016 at 3:35 amReply

      Thanks for the link, Sally. Very helpful.

  27. AntoinetteJul 2, 2016 at 12:25 amReply

    we been using -almond milk , yogurt ,buttermilk , frozen desserts , coconut milk . sour cream ,cottage cheese ,caned soups I read your article
    My husband just have brain operation was CANCER Is going to radiation therapy
    doctors do not know where the cancer come from we
    was truing to eat healthy I suspect he gat the brain cancer from this so healthy food I am afraid I will be next because I was eating the contaminated “CARRAGEENAN ” additive in the food we was eating
    I have a stent put for -ARTERIOSCLEROSIS” and I was told by the doctor that he can fix the other veins , in my heart because is clod In 2006 I have heart operation and four artery was change TWO ears after doctor tell me I will need another heart operation or I will die Other doctor give me The ” Stent ” I try to eat healthy -with “CARRAGEENAN
    in all the food I been eating I need help thank you

  28. Carol PriceJul 18, 2016 at 4:27 amReply

    I want to order Probioshield but the message cut off before the order information came up. Please help.
    Thanks,
    Carol

  29. NancyAug 3, 2016 at 12:49 amReply

    I drink almond milk for the calcium because I have osteoporosis. I have heard that homemade is the best way to drink almond milk but it lacks the calcium and is low in actual almonds so what’s the benefit?

  30. vickieSep 29, 2016 at 1:21 pmReply

    oh man I’m always having loads of stomach problems since birth. I right now have some soy milk…the SILK….the low fat …ugh….tastes awful…but I normally drink the milk no lactose in it….which really now doesn’t help me at all. I love milk with particular foods…cereals, cookies…cakes…etc…or for cooking…..I eat yogurt…the natural and the one that helps the stomach…ice cream…so wow….why cant they find something else to thicken the foods…when we make homemade icecream…it thickens and we don’t use that seaweed stuff….I know though….when we freeze our icecream it becomes harder then the icecream we buy…and its because of the carrageenan in it…oh joy….

  31. ValOct 9, 2016 at 5:23 amReply

    Califa Farms Unsweetened Almond Milk says carrageenan free on the label and it’s not listed in the ingredients.

  32. judy eOct 12, 2016 at 2:47 pmReply

    THIS ARTICLE IS VERY ILLUMINATING! I LEARNED A LOT FROM READING IT… THANK YOU ANGELA!

    I WAS DRINKING BLUE DIAMOND…

    BUT NOW SILK ALMOND IS ON SALE .BOUGHT 4 QUARTS
    BUT NONE OF WHAT BI BOUGHT SAYS ANYTHING ABOUT pure IN ITS NAME…

    IS THE WORD PURE A MEANINGFUL NEEDED
    neCESSITY?

    I AM VERY NUTRITION CONSCIOUS

    I DRINK A QUART OF ALMOND A Day
    do you think that is TOO much?

    I WOULD APPRECIATE ANY HELP YOU CAN GIVE ME

    THANK YOU SO MUCH

    JUDY E
    HIGH SCHOOL MATH EMATICS TEACHER
    (WORK IS BASED UPON SOCRATES + MARIA MONTESORRI0

  33. JenDec 5, 2016 at 12:14 pmReply

    Silk brand changed and left the carrageen out of the cashew and coconut milks this year.

    I called them and thanked them. I don’t buy almond milk from any company, as I don’t’ trust that California to spray their trees.

  34. JenDec 5, 2016 at 1:20 pmReply

    Also if you drink for the calcium in a product. Know your calcium. Calcium carbonate is limestone. I don’t want that in there. But leaving out the carrageenan is such and improvement, that I am going to tolerate that., until I find out more. And I don’t do soy products at all GMO or not.

    We leave one bad problem behind to have another one.
    I have made my own coconut milk, but it is time consuming.
    One step I do, is put it in the freezer before breaking it.
    To cause it to break easier. I put it in two plastic bags, and slam it on concrete to break it. I am not strong enough to hack it with a knife. Puncture it with at least two holes, and drain it before trying to break it too. Save and set that aside in your freezer and mixed that with your watered mixture when done. You can use old worn pillow cases or dishtowels for straining too. Experiment. That is what they did before recipes or before women could read.

  35. KBarrettApr 15, 2017 at 9:21 amReply

    I broke down and cried when I read this article! I have been fighting cancer for a year and a half and began drinking the Blue Diamond unsweetened vanilla product shortly after I was diagnosed. I am so angry that this harmful ingredient does not have to be listed. As they say “You can put lipstick on a pig, but it’s still a pig.” Shame on you B.D. The 4 containers I had of your product just went down the drain.

  36. Patty M.Jun 24, 2017 at 7:57 amReply

    So what about all the pet food that has this ingredient in it now? Is it food grade? Why are they putting so much crap in our pets’ food?

    • connie reamsOct 10, 2017 at 11:16 pmReply

      Hi I’m so confused with the food industry today! I’m wondering if there is any good food we can honestly say is safe!I never knew about this ingredient ,I have a lot of health issues. So I put my faith in health foods!now I’m thinking are they all lying just to make 💰.is there any thing out there, we can trust?

  37. CynthiaAug 26, 2017 at 9:05 amReply

    Thank you for the info.

  38. PaulaSep 15, 2017 at 3:56 amReply

    I drink unsweetened Silk brand Cashew milk exclusively. The regular non organic. Is it free of the Carrageenan?

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