Guar gum, xanthan gum, carob bean gum, methyl cellulose, -- binders which might cause troubles

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    • Guar gum, xanthan gum, carob bean gum, methyl cellulose, -- binders which might cause troubles

      I try to avoid the binders, thickeners, stabilizers, etc., that are in many packaged foods. In case someone else has reactions to the gums and cellulose, here is something I ran across that might be a help. I had a hunch the problems were more than just phytic acid, PUFA, and lectins in legumes.

      There is a chart at the linked-site which lists some of the effects of:

      Guar, Xanthan, and methylcellulose. One of these is included in almost every gluten-free processed food, but why? Can we eliminate them? Should we?


      Why? The easiest answer is that something has to hold those recalcitrant flyaway grains of starch and flour together to mimic the protein structure of gluten. After all, even gluten-free folks want to have tender bread and flaky pie crust. We need something to stand in for the protein
      [gliadins] and hold it all together.

      The wonderful folks in the processed food worlds chose guar gum, xanthan gum and methylcellulose as the best candidates.

      What is guar gum? This one is simple: Guar gum comes from guar beans. They are dried, hulled and ground to a fine powder.

      What is xanthan gum? Far more complex, xanthan gum is a compound made from mixing fermented sugars with bacteria, then precipitated with isopropyl alcohol. No home cook could produce their own, so I would put this in the “processed” category.

      Methylcellulose? is synthetically produced by heating cellulose with a caustic solution (e.g. a solution of sodium hydroxide) and treating it with methyl chloride.

      Taking wood pulp and treating it with lye and a poisonous gas to create a food additive? Only in the world of Frankenfoods does this make sense — not in my kitchen, thank you. Watch your packaging for this one, it is ubiquitous in shampoos, toothpastes, and foods like ice cream simply because it works and is fairly inexpensive.

      If I find more information about gums and cellulose, I'll post it.
      LCHF Maintenance, Goal: Health First.
      Daily averages of 50-60P: 110-130F: 30-35C

      UTC -5 hours
    • Carob/locust bean info from "Molecular Recipes":

      Chemical Reaction

      Carob seeds are used to produce locust bean (or carob) gum, a galactomannan polysaccharide with a molecular weight of 400,000 to 1,000,000, made up of long chains of the sugars galactose and mannose. The main chain consists of (1-4) linked β-D mannose residues, and the side chains are (1-6) linked α-D galactose. Its composition varies, but it usually has approximately 3.5 randomly distributed mannose residues for every galactose residue, although that number can range from 2.8 to 4.9. This structure can affect the properties: Less galactose increases the chains’ flexibility, but increases their extensibility. This structure is similar to that of guar gum, but the uneven side-chain distribution makes it less soluble and less viscous.

      ​It forms weak, thermally irreversible gels due to the association of the parts of the chains lacking galactose residues. Reducing temperature and water activity can increase this association, allowing the formation of a 3-D network and gel. This is the reason LBG works so well in ice cream: The weak gel produces a smooth texture and doesn’t give ice cream a slimy mouthfeel, plus the gum provides meltdown resistance.

      That website sells such things, and has explanations about many similar products. For some of us, that is all useful information about what to avoid, rather than what to use in a recipe
      LCHF Maintenance, Goal: Health First.
      Daily averages of 50-60P: 110-130F: 30-35C

      UTC -5 hours
    • Ten Facts about Xanthan Gum

      1. Xanthan Gum is made by fermenting corn sugar with a bacteria, Xanthomonas campestris. It’s the same bacteria that creates black spots on broccoli and cauliflower. The result is a slimy goo that is then dried up and ground into a fine white powder.

      2. Xanthan gum is an emulsifier. It helps ingredients blend more effectively and stay blended while waiting on a shelf. For example – water and oil mixtures, as well as bits of spice in a salad dressing.

      3. Xanthan gum is also used as a thickener. Add a bit to water and it becomes more viscous. Many fat free salad dressing maintain and oily viscosity by using thickeners such as xanthan gum. In pastry fillings, it prevents the water seeping out and soaking the dough, thus protecting the crispness of the crust.

      4. Xanthan gum is used in ice creams as well to prevent the formation of ice crystals and keep the product “smooth”.

      5. Xanthan gum has become popular in the gluten free circles. It helps give the dough a sticky consistency.

      6. Only a small amount of xanthan gum is necessary to achieve the desired result, usually less than 0.5% of the food product weight.

      7. When mixed with guar gum or locust bean gum, the viscosity is more than when either one is used alone, so less of each can be used.

      8. Nutritionally, xanthan gum is a carbohydrate with 7 grams of fiber per tablespoon. This may cause bloating in some people.

      9. Xanthan gum may be derived from a variety of sources such as corn, wheat, or soy. People with an allergy to one of the above, need to avoid foods with xanthan gum, or to ascertain the source.

      10. Xanthan Gum was “discovered” by a team of USDA researchers in the 1960′s. In 1968 it was approved for use as a food additive in the US and Europe.

      And at, about Xanthan gum sensitivity:

      Xanthan Gum is a polysaccharide used as a binder in many gluten-free products. In the production of xanthan gum, sucrose or glucose is fermented by abacterium, Xanthomonas campestris. After a four-day fermentation period, the polysaccharide is precipitated from a corn-based growth medium with isopropyl alcohol, dried, and ground into a fine powder. When added to a liquid medium, a slippery, sticky gum is formed, and this substance works well in holding baked goods together, or keeping separate liquid ingredients in suspension in salad dressings and sauces.

      While the above description doesn't make it sound very appetizing, what's the problem with xanthan? Some people develop an allergy to xanthan, withgastrointestinal symptoms such as bloating, gas, and diarrhea. Even consumption of a very minor amount can lead to days and days of recovery and many trips to the bathroom. Hmm. Sound like anything we've heard before? And that's the problem. Experiencing a xanthan reaction can make you question your gluten-free diet, make you think you were accidentally exposed to gluten, or mystify you completely.

      A xanthan reaction can also precipitate migraine headaches, skin itchiness, and for those exposed to large amounts, such as bakery workers, nose and throat irritation. Symptoms of xanthan sensitivity become more prevalent with increasing exposure, so that can be one important clue. If you've suddenly started baking alot, or become addicted to a new brand of gluten-free cookies, and you start to have increased gastrointestinal symptoms, you may want to consider ruling out an adverse reaction to xanthan gum.

      What's a body to do? Guar gum makes a good substitute, and it is also less expensive.

      How did I become aware of this? Well, actually I have known about this for quite awhile, but since xanthan gum is in so many gluten-free products, I thought that sensitivity to xanthan must be a rare and isolated occurrence. Then two things happened to change my mind. I began baking a lot of gluten-free products for a business venture, and suddenly started having some gastro-intestinal problems, after being healthy for so long. I didn't have the severe pain of a gluten reaction, but otherwise my symptoms were eerily similar, particularly the bloating. I had already decided to lay off the baking (and tasting) as much as I could, and had narrowed the possibilities down to either tapioca starch or xanthan gum. Then, a student in one of my cooking classes let me know that she had a severe allergy to xanthan, and described her symptoms. They were identical, except in severity.

      I reformulated my recipes using only guar gum for my next stretch of gluten-free baking, and I had no problem at all. I certainly hope that I do not develop a reaction to Guar gum, which is the ground carbohydrate storage portion of the guar bean. I have not seen reports of allergy or sensitivity to guar gum, but will do a little more research for my own knowledge, which I will share in the future.

      By no means am I advocating that all people following a gluten-free diet give up products made with Xanthan gum. But, if you do not feel that the diet is helping you, and are still symptomatic, a sensitivity to Xanthan gum is one possibility that needs to be ruled out.

      LCHF Maintenance, Goal: Health First.
      Daily averages of 50-60P: 110-130F: 30-35C

      UTC -5 hours

      The post was edited 2 times, last by Serena ().

    • I've only used can't xanthum gum a few times over the years, that's the only one.

      I've noticed a popular Australian Paleo Chef Pete Evans uses arrowroot in a lot of his recipes, it's not low carb but he doesn't use much. Years ago when I first started low carb it was in quite a few old low carb recipes.
      Low Carb in a Nutshell ~ Carb Counts ~ Research ~ Measurements/Conversions ~ Glossary

      Let me know if you think of anything else handy from the site to put here.
    • More on:

      Carob or locust bean gum or carubin or algaroba [1] is poorly soluble but viscous dietary fiber extracted from the seeds of the carob tree (Ceratonia siligua, which belongs to legume family) grown in Mediterranean. It is an indigestible carbohydrate, a polysaccharide made of galactose and mannose (a galactomannan).

      Carob Gum as a Food AdditiveLocust bean gum is used as a food thickener and stabilizer. In the European Union it is labeled as E number 410 [2]. Carob gum may be used in coffee, fish products, dried pasta, fermented milk, cream and infant formula [3].

      Carob Gum Supplements: Possible Benefits but Insufficient EvidenceThere is INSUFFICIENT EVIDENCE about carob gum effectiveness in preventing or treating weight loss [4], reducing glucose spikes after meals in individuals with diabetes type 2 [6], reducing blood cholesterol levels[5,11], gastroesophageal reflux disease and heartburn (GERD) [4,7], diarrhea in children [4,8], celiac disease and sprue [4].

      Guar Gum Safety: Toxicity, Side Effects

      Carob gum is Generally Recognized As Safe (GRAS) by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) [9]. and has the “Acceptable Daily Intake (ADI) not specified” status (the highest safety category by JECFA[1].

      Pregnancy. Not enough studies have been done to evaluate carob been supplements safety during pregnancy and breastfeeding [4].

      Carob gum may decrease the absorption of calcium, iron and zinc [12]. Individuals allergic to legumes may be allergic to foods containing locust bean gum; nasal discharge, asthmatic attack, hives (urticaria) and lip swelling (angioedema) have been reported [10].

      I added the bold type.

      As a result of all this internet searching and reading, I tossed the rest of the cream cheese with the gum additives. :)
      LCHF Maintenance, Goal: Health First.
      Daily averages of 50-60P: 110-130F: 30-35C

      UTC -5 hours