E412

Guar gum (guar gum)

  • Our verdict: 2 - with reservations, otherwise relatively ok
  • Origin: It is produced from natural sources that are not further chemically treated.

Guar gum, or guar gum, is the name given to the soluble fibre obtained from the seeds of the Cyamopsis tetragonolobus plant.

Characteristics and food uses

Compared to corn starch, guar gum has almost 8 times the thickening capacity and is widely used in the food industry for these properties - whether as a thickener, emulsifier or stabiliser. It is therefore a 100% natural ingredient, but is used as a food additive and must therefore be labelled with the appropriate E‑code. In this case, it is specifically E412. It can be found in, for example, beverages, cheese, dairy and meat products, bakery products, dressings and sauces or some dehydrated products.

Effects on human health

Guar gum is not dangerous to health in terms of its origin; as a fibre, it even contributes to an increased feeling of satiety, normal digestive function and can play a positive role in maintaining normal blood cholesterol levels or preventing colon cancer.

However, when consumed in excess, it can lead to constipation, bloating or laxative effects, especially when combined with a lack of fluids. In rare cases, guar gum can also act as an allergen in sensitive individuals - for example, there have been cases of allergic reactions, rhinitis or asthma in some people who have worked extensively with this product.

In conclusion, guar gum is a food additive of natural origin which is used for its properties to improve the consistency and shelf life of food. It is not harmful to health in any way, but on the contrary, since it is a soluble fibre, it can provide certain benefits.

Sources

RIDEOUT, Todd C., et al. Guar gum and similar soluble fibers in the regulation of cholesterol metabolism: current understandings and future research priorities. Vascular Health and Risk Management, 2008, 4,5: 1023.

SONG, Y., et al. Dietary fibre and the risk of colorectal cancer: a case‑control study. Asia Pacific journal of cancer prevention, 2015, 16,9: 3747‑3752.