Guar gum is a food additive that’s found throughout the food supply.
Though it has been linked to multiple health benefits, it has also been associated with negative side effects and even banned for use in some products.
This article looks at the pros and cons of guar gum to determine if it’s bad for you.
What Is Guar Gum?
Also known as guaran, guar gum is made from legumes called guar beans (1).
It’s a type of polysaccharide, or long chain of carbohydrate molecules bonded together, and composed of two sugars called mannose and galactose (1).
Guar gum is frequently used as a food additive in many processed foods (1).
It’s especially useful in food manufacturing because it’s soluble and able to absorb water, forming a gel that can thicken and bind products (1).
The FDA considers it to be generally recognized as safe for consumption in specified amounts in various food products (2).
Summary: Guar gum is a food additive that is used to thicken and bind food products. It’s high in soluble fiber and low in calories.
Products That Contain Guar Gum
Guar gum is widely used throughout the food industry.
The following foods often contain it (2):
- Ice cream
- Salad dressing
- Gluten-free baked goods
- Breakfast cereals
- Vegetable juices
In addition to these food products, guar gum is also found in cosmetics, medications, textiles and paper products (1).
Summary: Guar gum is found in dairy products, condiments and baked goods. It’s also used as an additive in non-food products as well.
It May Have Some Benefits
Guar gum is well known for its ability to thicken and stabilize food products, but it may also provide some health benefits.
Studies indicate that it could be especially useful in a few specific areas of health, including digestive health, blood sugar, blood cholesterol and weight maintenance.
Because guar gum is high in fiber, it may support the health of your digestive system.
One study found that it helped relieve constipation by speeding up movement through the intestinal tract. Guar gum consumption was also associated with improvements in stool texture and bowel movement frequency (4).
Additionally, it may act as a prebiotic by promoting the growth of good bacteria and reducing the growth of harmful bacteria in the gut.
In a 2012 study, 60 participants with constipation who received a supplement containing guar gum experienced a significant decrease in concentrations of harmful bacteria in their digestive tracts (5).
Thanks to its ability to promote digestive health, it may also aid in the treatment of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).
A recent 6-week study followed 68 participants with IBS. It found that guar gum improved IBS symptoms, and in some patients it also reduced bloating while increasing stool frequency (6).
Studies show that guar gum may be effective at lowering blood sugar.
This is because it is a type of soluble fiber, which can slow the absorption of sugar and lead to a reduction in blood…