Gums – can be problematic for those with:

  • Digestive issues because they are mostly indigestible.
  • Food allergies because of how they are made

Guar Gum

  1. IGuar Gums from the guar bean, or Indian cluster bean, which grows primarily in India and Pakistan.
  2. Is high in soluble fiber
  3. Is used as a thickener and binding agent, but does not exhibit “gelling” feature.
  4. Is used in ice creams to keep the product smooth and prevent the formation of ice crystals
  5. In the medical world has been shown to
    1. reduce body weight, lower blood cholesterol levels and lower blood glucose levels  – although gastrointestinal side effects (increased  gas) may be evident.
    2. used as a laxative, but can also be used to treat diarrhea, irritable bowel syndrome and for reducing cholesterol.  Guar gum is a fiber that normalizes the moisture content of the stool, absorbing excess liquid in diarrhea and softening the stool in constipation.

Xanthan Gum 

  1. Xantham GumIs an indigestible polysaccharide that is made by fermenting (corn*, wheat, dairy or soy) sugar with a bacteria, xanthomonas campestris.   This is the same bacterai that creates those ugly black spots on broccoli and cauliflower.   This slimy goo is then dried and ground into a fine white powder.
  2. Xanthan gum is an emulsifier.   An emulsifier stabilizes a mixture so it stays combined while sitting around – think salad dressing.
  3. It is also used as a thickener.
  4. Is used in ice creams to keep the product smooth and prevent the formation of ice crystals
  5. Is frequently used in gluten free foods to help give the dough a sticky consistency.    But beware if you have food allergies or intolerances.
  6. You only need a small amount to achieve the results you want.
  7. Used in combination with guar gum or locust bean gum the viscosity is better than if used alone, resulting in less of both ingredients being required.
  8. Xanthan gum is a carbohydrate with 7 grams of fiber per tablespoon – this can cause bloating in some people.
  9. May be derived from a variety of sources (corn, wheat, dairy, soy).    A problem with people who have an allergy to any of these ingredients.
  10. Was first produced in a lab in the 1960’s.
  11. Is it safe?   Only if you don’t have an allergy to the sugar source being used.
  12. In the medical world may be used to lower blood sugars and cholesterol in those with diabetes.

Bottom line recommendation:  If you have a food allergy or intolerance to Corn, Wheat, Dairy or Soy avoid Xanthan Gum. 

Baked goods using Guar gum vs. Xanthan gum will exhibit different properties:

  • Guar vs. XanthanBreads made exclusively with xanthan gum have a tendency to feel or taste wet even when cool.
  • Breads made with guar gum as the only binding agent can sometimes collapse or get very dry.

Locust Bean Gum 

  1. Also known as Carob bean gum, is derived from the seeds of the carob tree.
  2. Being studied as a potential cholesterol-lowering compound.
  3. Side effects, increased gas, may be evident.

Gum Aarabic

  1. Derived fr omthe sap of the acacia tree.
  2. Limited side effects evident

* A quick side note:  Corn is one of the most genetically modified foods, there is nothing natural or organic about corn.   You decide.

GMO Corn