The Guar Powder; Is the Food Additive Harmful or Helpful
There have been several questions and arguments for the usage of guar gum in food related applications. Ten years ago, there had been concerns on the level of pesticides usage in guar gum production. This concern has however been addressed and closed.
In the European Union, evaluation by a panel of experts on the safety of the food additive, the concluded there was a lack of adverse effects to the body after continued intake of the guar powder in foods.
The guar gum powder is used for various purposes in manufacture of processed foods. It is used as a stabilizer, thickener and stabilizer in foods. These include dairy products, soups, and body supplements.
Action in the Digestive System
It is known to absorb liquids in the digestive system hence serves as a better thickening agent compared to other product like the corn starch and locust bean powder.
Research on the water holding capacity of the guar gum shows it can hold more than 8 times the water volume that other hydrocolloids can hold.
The action of the guar powder is similar or even much better to hydrocolloids such as the carrageenan, which have been used historically used as in cooking and baking.
In nutrition, the food grade guar gum is helpful in normalizing of blood sugar as well as reduction of cholesterol levels. Usage has however been cautioned as there has been a lot of publicity on its usage in weight loss claims. This is due to the water absorbing property of the guar gum.
Supporting Facts on Guar Gum Uses
In baked foods, it is used in making of recipes that are gluten free. It is used to replace the wheat flour and provide the same dough characteristics for baking.
Binding Ingredients Together
In the manufacture of dairy products the guar powder acts as a very effective texturizer as well as thickener. It helps in keeping the thinner components such as water or coconut oil in the mixture.
Creating a Satiated Feeling
The product when used in food has got low digestibility and is also known to swell in the digestive system creating this “full” feeling. It is also used as a laxative. It helps slowing the digestion process and reduces the cholesterol absorption rate. It functions this by reducing the viscosity of the foods on the gut, and hence used in overweight management.Guar Gum Drawbacks
It forms the bulk matter very rapidly and when consumed in large quantities. It has at times been linked to pulmonary embolism, esophageal tear and luminal obstruction.
It should be avoided in high amounts when used in supplements due to issues of constipation or intestinal obstruction.
For weight loss regimes, it has been recommended to be used as glucomannan powder, as a safer approach to avoid these complications.
Emulsifiers in Foods
There has been a lot of study on the usage of emulsifiers on foods. A common school of thought is that these products may interfere with the levels of intestinal bacteria, thus disrupt the mucus layer lining the gut. These studies are still ongoing but so far they are not proven.
The effects of guar powder in foods have been studied widely. The main significant effects seen from usage as a food additive is the reduction in body weight and reduced glucose levels.