Guar gum, commonly known as guaran, is a galactomannan polysaccharide obtained from guar beans. It possesses thickening and stabilizing qualities beneficial in food, feed, and industrial applications. The guar seeds are dehusked, hydrated, processed, and screened in accordance with the intended use.
Guar gum is normally manufactured as a free-flowing, off-white powder. It is well known for its capacity to stabilize and thicken food items, but it may also offer some health advantages. According to studies, it might be advantageous for a few certain aspects of health, such as digestion, blood sugar and cholesterol levels, and weight maintenance.
Guar gum is used in variety of industry which is why there have been questions raised around its vegan status since many industries use guar gum as binder in meat or thickner for yogurt. As a beginner level vegan you maybe very concerned with its ingredients as you want to make sure you are following veganism at its best right from the beginning.
In this article will answer all your questions regarding its vegan status, where guar gum is used, what are its health benefits, etc and help you clear all your doubts.
What Is Guar Gum?
The seeds of the drought-resistant plant Cyamopsis tetragonoloba, a member of the Leguminosae family, are used to make guar gum. The endosperm of the leguminous plant Cyamopsis tetragonolobus, which has been cultivated for millennia mostly in India and Pakistan, is ground to produce guar gum. This gel-forming galactomannan has been used for both human and animal sustenance for a long time.
Is Guar Gum Gluten-Free?
Guar gum is produced by harvesting the bean pods and processing them to remove the husk and other seed components. Guar gum is the residual refined powdered material.
Guar gum is regarded as a gluten-free product because it is not produced using any of the three grains that contain gluten (wheat, barley, and rye). So, there is no gluten in guar gum. Patients with celiac disease and other conditions linked to gluten should be safe to use guar gum.
Even though guar gum, a substance made from the guar plant, is naturally gluten-free, you should take care when sourcing it to ensure that it hasn’t been contaminated with gluten.
Uses Of Guar Gum In Vegan Food
1. Plant-based milk
Dairy products can severely compromise your immunological and digestive systems if you have a sensitivity to milk or are lactose intolerant. Consequently, switching to plant-based milk is a simple decision. Some individuals find benefit from avoiding or consuming less dairy even when they don’t have allergies or proven food sensitivities.
Indulging in the abundance of plant-based milk could benefit these individuals’ health. Guar Gums are frequently used to increase the creaminess of various plant-based milk like almond milk, oat milk, etc. Additionally, it helps keep plant-based milk from curdling in hot beverages.
2. Vegan Ice Cream
Guar gum powder has been used to produce processed meals, where it serves as a thickening and prevents the ice crystal formation that is necessary for ice cream to maintain its creamy texture.
Guar gum powder is extremely inexpensive and has up to eight times the thickening ability of cornstarch (check vegan status), which is a further benefit for ice cream producers. Ice cream’s “mouth feel” and flavor release are both aided by guar gum.
3. Vegan-Friendly Soups And Condiments
Making a gluten-free delicacy with the same texture as a conventional one is possible thanks to guar gum.
Cornstarch, which has twice the thickening strength of flour, has a thickening power of guar gum that is about 8 times greater than that of cornstarch. Approximately 3/8 teaspoons of guar gum would be used in a recipe for every cup of liquid and 2 tablespoons of flour.
Unlike corn starch, which degrades when heated, guar gum does not. However, it takes some time to develop this ability to thicken without heating. In order to process guar gum properly, experts advise using heat.
4. Guar Gum In Baking
Guar gum and gluten-free baking go hand in hand. The majority of the time, gluten-free items include guar gum. The elasticity and texture of most bread are due to the gluten in the flour. Guar gum is often used in greater quantities in bread recipes, up to one teaspoon for every cup of gluten-free flour.
Guar Gum Vegan Substitues
1. Agar agar
Guar gum and agar agar differ in that guar gum are obtained from guar plants while agar is produced from a specific species of algae, but both can be utilized. as a stabilizer or thickener.
However, agar agar sets at a lower temperature and forms a firmer gel compared to guar gum. It is a versatile substitute that works well in dairy-free desserts, jams, jellies, and sauces.
Xanthan gum is a polysaccharide, like a guar gum. In addition to thickening foods, giving gluten-free baked goods structure and texture, and preventing ice crystals from forming in ice cream and other frozen goods, xanthan gum can emulsify fats and oils.
Both provide viscosity and improve texture in food applications. However, xanthan gum has stronger thickening properties compared to guar gum, so it may require less quantity to achieve the desired consistency
Similar to xanthan there is a substitute called Gella Gum which is absolutely vegan-friendly and acts a thickener and binder in baked goods, soups and condiments.
3. Flax seeds
When ground and mixed with water, flax seeds form a gel-like substance that acts as a binder and thickener. However, it’s important to note that the gel produced by flax seeds may not have the same strength and stability as guar gum.
Flax seeds are particularly useful in baking recipes where their binding properties can help replace eggs or provide structure to baked goods. Furthermore, ground flaxseed is easier to stomach than guar gum. Both golden and dark brown flax seeds are available. Both types work as a replacement for guar gum.
Is Guar Gum Healthy?
Guar gum has many health benefits. Some of them are listed below:
1. Healthy Digestion
Guar gum may benefit the well-being of your digestive system because it contains a lot of fiber. It might also function as a prebiotic by encouraging the development of beneficial bacteria and inhibiting the development of harmful bacteria in the stomach. It may aid in treating irritable bowel syndrome due to its capacity to support digestive health (IBS).
By incorporating a specific guar gum product into the recipe, critical care patients who receive tube-feeding formula may experience shorter bouts of diarrhea and have fewer watery stools. The duration of diarrhea episodes in children with the condition appears to be reduced by this guar gum product.
3. Maintain Blood Sugar Level
Guar gum may reduce blood sugar levels. This is due to the fact that it is a form of soluble fiber, which might induce a decrease in blood sugar levels by slowing the absorption of sugar.
Is Guar Gum Bad For You?
Guar gum is generally recognized as safe for consumption in normal food quantities. It is derived from the guar bean and serves as a natural additive that is commonly used to thicken and stabilize various food products. However, it’s important to be aware of certain considerations.
Excessive consumption of guar gum, being a soluble fiber, may lead to digestive issues like bloating, gas, and diarrhea, particularly for individuals who are sensitive to dietary fiber or have existing gastrointestinal conditions. Additionally, studies suggest that guar gum could potentially interfere with the absorption of certain medications, potentially reducing their effectiveness.
If you are taking any medications, it is advisable to consult with your healthcare provider to determine if there are any potential interactions. As with any food additive, it’s crucial to use guar gum in moderation and consider individual tolerance and dietary needs. If you have specific health concerns, seeking guidance from a healthcare professional or registered dietitian is recommended.
Guar gum research is a useful venture. Because of its capacity to establish potent hydrogen bonds in water, it is a novel thickener and stabilizer. High viscosity can be found in guar gum aqueous solutions. These factors have led to its use in several industries, including the food, pharmaceutical, textile, and oil sectors.
It’s conceivable that the quantity found in processed foods isn’t a major concern. Even though dietary fibres like guar gum might have some health advantages, the ideal way to reach a healthy lifestyle is to base your diet mostly on whole, unprocessed foods.