Cottage cheese is a great choice for a healthy snack or breakfast, or at least it should be. Unfortunately, many brands include additives such as carrageenan, locust bean gum, xanthan gum, and guar gum in what should be a simple, healthy product. Listed below are a few options without any gums or carrageenan.
Carrageenan-Free Cottage Cheese
Nancy’s Organic Cultured
Both the low fat and whole cottage cheese is free from carrageenan and gums. This brand also includes live probiotics. The brand seems to have organic and non-organic versions, and both lines have clean ingredients.
Nancy’s Organic Whole Milk Cottage Cheese Ingredients: Organic Pasteurized Whole Milk, Organic Pasteurized Cream, Organic Pasteurized Nonfat Milk, Salt, 4 strains of lactic cultures, LIVE PROBIOTIC CULTURES: L. acidophilus, Bifidobacterium lactis.
Daisy’s 4% and 2% cottage cheese both are free from carrageenan and gums. They have the simplest ingredient list mentioned here, and they are easily found in any grocery store nationwide. The fruit flavored varieties are free from carrageenan and gums, though the fruit components do have some other additives. This brand is not organic.
Daisy 4% Regular Cottage Cheese Ingredients: Cultured Skim Milk, Cream, Salt
Good Culture’s full cottage cheese line is free from gums and carrageenan. Some, but not all of the cottage cheeses are organic. The brand offers whole, low fat, double cream and fruit flavored cottage cheeses with live active cultures.
Good Culture Whole Milk Classic Cottage Cheese Ingredients: Organic Skim Milk, Organic Whole Milk, Organic Cream, Celtic Sea Salt, Live and Active Cultures
Kalona Super Natural Organic
Kalona Super Natural Organic Cottage Cheese comes in a whole and low fat version. Both versions are free from carrageenan and gums, and also use milk from grass-grazed cows.
Kalona Super Natural Organic Whole Milk Cottage Cheese Ingredients: Certified Organic Grade A Nonfat Milk, Organic Grade A Whole Milk, Organic Grade A Cream, Celtic Sea Salt, Cultures (Mucor Miehei Protease)
Breakstone’s 4% and 2% cottage cheese does not contain carrageenan or gums, but it does contain tapioca starch. The brand has varieties with fruit which have other additives, and a live active culture variety of cottage cheese which has inulin in addition to tapioca starch. The bran dis also not organic. This brand isn’t the best option on this list, but it’s definitely not the worst in the store.
Breakstone’s 4% Milkfat Small Curd Cottage Cheese Ingredients: Cultured Pasteurized Skim Milk and Cream, Tapioca Starch, Salt
It’s important to note that not all types of Friendship Dairies Cottage Cheese is free from additives like carrageenan and gums. Only the 4% California Style, 2% Lowfat Pot Style, 1% Lowfat, 1% Lowfat Whipped, 1% Lowfat No Salt Added, and 8% Milkfat Keto-Friendly varieties are additive-free. There are many gums and carrageenan in their Nonfat version and some of the fruit flavored ones. None of the varieties are organic.
Friendship Dairies 4% California Style Cottage Cheese Ingredients: Cultured Nonfat Milk, Milk, Cream, Nonfat Milk, Salt, Carbon Dioxide (To Preserve Freshness), Enzymes
What is Carrageenan & Why Should I Avoid it?
Carrageenan is a common food additive used to emulsify, gel, and thicken processed foods. It’s made from a type of seaweed called Irish Moss. It’s very commonly found in many foods such as infant formula, chocolate milk, heavy cream, ice cream, cottage cheese, deli meats, creamers, nut/soy milks, and other dairy-free alternatives.
Carrageenan is thought by some to be a gut irritant. So much so that consuming carrageenan has been linked with irritable bowel syndrome, inflammation, bloating, glucose intolerance, and even cancer. Though the FDA insists that carrageenan is safe to consume, I personally want to avoid it, especially since it really isn’t necessary. High-quality dairy doesn’t need stabilizers and thickeners to be creamy and delicious.
What Are Other Additives in Cottage Cheese?
Other commonly found additives in cottage cheese are Guar gum, Tara gum, Xanthan gum, Locust bean gum, Carob bean gum, Gellan gum, Acacia gum, Modified Food Starch, and Mono and Diglycerides. All of these additives act as stabilizers in food, but are really not needed to make cottage cheese. It’s worth the effort to seek out brands that don’t use these shortcut filler ingredients that could potentially be irritating to your gut, and harmful to your health.
I personally like the taste and texture of Good Culture and Kalona brands the best. For other guides on carrageenan-free foods, check out my other articles: Ice Cream Without Carrageenan, and Chocolate Milk Without Carrageenan.