Harmful or Harmless: Guar Gum, Locust Bean Gum, and More | Chris Kresser
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Harmful or Harmless: Guar Gum, Locust Bean Gum, and More

by Chris Kresser

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iStock.com/Minerva Studio

So far in this series on additives, I’ve discussed magnesium stearate, soy lecithin, carrageenan, and xanthan gum. These are the most common food additives found in processed foods, especially in processed “health” foods, and many health conscious shoppers have been unnecessarily concerned about avoiding some of the less harmful substances I covered in this series.

In this final installment, I’ll review an assortment of gums that are often found either alongside or replacing xanthan gum and carrageenan in processed foods, acting as thickeners, stabilizers, or emulsifiers.

Find out how gums used in processed foods can affect your health.

Guar Gum

I talked briefly about guar gum awhile back in my unexpectedly controversial article on coconut milk, but I’ll give you a bit more detail here. Unlike xanthan gum, which is a product of bacterial fermentation, guar gum is derived from an actual food: the guar bean, or Indian cluster bean, which grows primarily in India and Pakistan. They look similar to green beans, and are a common vegetable dish in the areas in which they grow.

The physiological effects of guar gum have been extensively studied, first on animals and then on humans. In rats, the only significant effects from guar gum supplementation were reduced body weight and lower blood glucose, even with guar gum making up 15% of the diet (over 100 times the FDA Acceptable Daily Intake). (1) Because guar gum is a soluble fiber, neither of these effects is particularly surprising. Other animal studies conducted to test the safety of guar gum concluded that it is not carcinogenic or teratogenic (harmful to growing fetuses). (2, 3, 4)

Because the animal studies showed no harm even at very high doses, guar gum is now being studied in humans as a therapeutic tool for reducing blood glucose and cholesterol levels. Studies have shown guar gum supplementation to be effective for reducing fasting blood glucose, improving glycemic control, reducing insulin requirements in insulin-dependent diabetics, and reducing LDL cholesterol, although whether these effects could be maintained long-term is uncertain. (5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10)

Unfortunately, these studies do report gastrointestinal side effects such as increased gas. In one study where subjects were given 21g of guar gum per day for 3 months, two participants dropped out due to excessive gas and abdominal discomfort. (11)

Although 21g per day is far more guar gum than anyone would reasonably encounter in their diet, even small amounts could cause unpleasant symptoms in those with sensitive digestive systems, and I’ve had patients with gut issues improve after removing guar gum from their diet. With that in mind, I think it makes sense to avoid guar gum if you have gut issues, like small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO) or IBS, unless you’ve removed it and added it back in without noticing any harmful effects.

Locust Bean Gum

Locust bean gum, also known as carob bean gum, is derived from the seeds of the carob tree. During a two-year animal study, rats were given locust bean gum as 5% of their diet, and no carcinogenic or other toxic effects were observed. (12)

Similar to guar gum, locust bean gum has also been studied in humans as a potential cholesterol-lowering compound. (13) Normal subjects and subjects with familial hypercholesterolemia were given between 8 and 30 grams per day of locust bean gum for 8 weeks, resulting in reduced total cholesterol and an improved HDL to LDL ratio. Participants did report increased gas, but it went away after a week or two, and no other harmful effects were reported.

I think the same recommendation I gave for guar gum applies here: if you have gut issues, it would probably be best to avoid locust bean gum. Otherwise, I see no indication that it will cause harm.

Gum Arabic

Gum arabic is derived from the sap of the acacia tree. Under FDA regulations, gum arabic is given an Acceptable Daily Intake level of ‘not specified,’ which is assigned to additives with little or no observed toxic potential. Animal studies have shown that it is not carcinogenic, mutagenic, or teratogenic, and even at very high doses, the animals did not display any effects of toxicity. (14, 15)

In a small human study, 5 healthy men were given 25g of gum arabic per day for three weeks, and no side effects were reported. (16) In fact, gum arabic had very little effect on the participants, positive or negative, aside from a modest reduction in serum cholesterol and an increase in breath hydrogen.

The increased breath hydrogen indicates metabolism by intestinal bacteria, which has been confirmed by more recent studies on the prebiotic properties of gum arabic. A study using healthy human volunteers found that gum arabic acts as a powerful prebiotic, selectively stimulating the growth of bifidobacteria and lactobacilli. (17) The study authors concluded that gum arabic is at least as effective a prebiotic as inulin, if not more so. Many of you are probably aware that inulin is sold as a prebiotic supplement, so that’s pretty significant!

Based on the available research, gum arabic seems pretty benign, even for those with gut issues. I certainly wouldn’t be concerned about consuming small amounts of it, although as always, be aware of your individual tolerance.

Tara Gum

Like guar gum and locust bean gum, tara gum is derived from the endosperm of a legume. Tara gum is a relatively new food additive so there’s less data on it, but it has been thoroughly studied for toxic effects in animals. Researchers conducted multiple 90-day trials in rats, mice, and beagles with tara gum as 5% of the diet, and found no adverse effects other than decreased body weight in the experimental groups. (18) Three-generation reproductive rat studies and genotoxicity studies found no harmful effects of tara gum. (19) In 2-year trials, the experimental groups had more tumors than the control groups, but due to the “high spontaneous incidence” of this particular tumor and the fact that nearly all of the control mice developed the tumor as well, researchers concluded that this was not a result of the tara gum supplementation. (20)

I’m slightly more skeptical of tara gum compared with the other gums because the toxicity results are less conclusive. Also, while all of the other gums have been tested on humans, tara gum has not. That doesn’t mean it’s not safe, because the available evidence indicates it is; it just means we don’t have as much to go on, and it’s always good to be cautious of new food additives.

Gellan Gum

Gellan gum is similar to xanthan gum in that it is an exopolysaccharide produced by bacterial fermentation. Unfortunately, the routine animal toxicity studies conducted for new food additives aren’t available online, but we do have a human study to look at. To test the safety of gellan gum, the diets of ten volunteers were supplemented with gellan gum at approximately 30 times the level of normal dietary exposure for 23 days. (21) Gellan gum acted as a bulking agent similar to xanthan gum, but no adverse effects were reported. However, a rat study with gellan gum supplemented at 5% of the diet for 4 weeks resulted in abnormalities in intestinal microvilli, which is concerning. (22)

This rat study, as well as the lack of data overall, makes me cautious, and I think those with sensitive guts should avoid it just to be on the safe side. For everyone else, I doubt the small amounts found in food will cause a problem, but it might be best to avoid it if possible.


As a general rule, gums can be problematic for those with digestive issues simply because they’re mostly indigestible, but it’s very unlikely any of them will actually cause harm. Of course it’s ideal to avoid food additives altogether, but I know it’s not realistic for everyone to prepare all food from scratch, and unless you have digestive issues or a sensitivity to certain gums, I don’t think it’s necessary.

Because I’ve covered a lot of different additives with similar applications (primarily thickening or emulsifying), I’ll try to rank them for you. Let’s say you’re buying some almond milk, and there are a bunch of different brands that use different additives. First, do your best to avoid carrageenan. As I mentioned in the article, the concerns have been largely overblown, but it definitely shows the highest potential for harm among the additives we’ve discussed, and with all of the choices available to us, it should be pretty easy to find a brand that doesn’t use it.

Next, I would avoid tara and gellan gums, not because they appear to be harmful, but because we have less information on them.

I’d probably rank guar gum above xanthan gum because it’s derived from a food instead of a bacterial exopolysaccharide, and it isn’t produced using common food allergens. Locust bean gum is probably on about the same level as guar gum, although based on the available studies, the gut symptoms associated with locust bean gum appear to be less severe.

Gum arabic seems the least likely to create digestive symptoms, and it even stimulates the growth of beneficial bacteria, so out of all the gums, it appears to be the least problematic.

Finally, just remember that the overall quality of your diet is far more important than how well you avoid these additives. Luckily, the two correlate pretty well!

I hope you’ve found this series informative and helpful. As always, share your thoughts and questions in the comments!


Join the conversation

  1. I have been tested for and do have an allergy to xanthum gum, tuna and wheat. (No other foods showed up in an extensive array of foods tested). It gives me a mild bloat but more importantly causes my face to break out in 1 to 10 red zit-like dots. Since I’m also allergic to wheat it’s a real pain that xanthan gum is used instead of guar or carrageenan gum. I had never heard of gellan gum but just switched to Bliss coconut coffee creamer and immediately broke out. Back to the ingredient listing and discovered gellan gum and hence this article. I obviously wish both gums were used far less frequently!!!

  2. I’m going to a holistic doctor and he has me on a three week fat and liver cleanse…the shake has guar gum under “other ingredients” and I’m wondering if that will greatly affect or further damage my intestInal issues: gastritis, nausea, bloating, burning. I only experience all those symptoms when I have a gastritis flare but nausea and bloating are more common. Should I bring it to his attention or will I be ok?….

  3. Thanks for researching all of these additives for us!! Although some of them cause bloating/gas in some people, I was amazed to find studies saying that guar gum that is “partially hydrolyzed” (PHGG) actually treats IBS w/constipation and bloating. It increases transit time & enhances evacuation which is a godsend for those who are constipated. Guar gum contains prebiotic fiber which feeds our good bacteria. Probiotic bacteria ferment it, turning it into short-chain fatty acids such as butyrate which in turn nourishes and fortifies our gut lining. Chris: could those w/ an inflammatory/ allergic response be reacting to legume toxins (lectins, phytates, glycosides etc.) since most of the gums come from legumes? The fiber itself, though, is soluble prebiotic fiber that heals the gut. It is fascinating to see both the dark and bright side of these plants!

    • I hope he comes an answer your post because it raises some interesting points! I suffer from gastritis, Hashimoto’s, sluggish liver and parasites. My doc has me on a liver cleanse but the shake has guar gum. It makes my stomach feel funny…not sure if it’s the chocolate or the gum because the vanilla one didn’t give me a bad reaction like the chocolate one. I was up late from the pain and nausea :/ today is my second day (only doing vanilla from now on) so I don’t think it’s the detox side effects.

      • I’m sorry about your symptoms 🙁 Hope you find relief soon! It sounds like you are in good hands; most docs (even alternative docs) don’t even want to entertain the possibility of parasites. They are increasingly common, and not only in tropical climates! Some thrive in cold climates. Plus, much of our food comes from far-flung places, and there is unprecedented global travel in and out of the country today. Take comfort in knowing you are not alone; it’s estimated that 80%+ of the population (some say 100%) has some kind of parasite, just as we have numerous commensal bacteria and fungi living within us. They’re part of our micro- (and dare I say, macro-) biome. Going on a tangent here, but some species of worms actually turn off autoimmune reactions in people with severe IBD! Look up helminthic therapy. Best of health to you!

  4. I have spent the past 6 years suffering increasingly worsened digestive issues- cronic constipation, bloating and painful cramps. Having even the Gastroenterologist tell me that nothing was wrong and it must just be unexplained IBS and gluten sensitivity, I continued to avoid gluten only to see my symptoms worsen.
    Finally, I had a lightbulb moment! I realised that my symptoms had been particularly bad after drinking an almond milk with Guar and Xanthan gum and additive 407 (carageenan), also, I had been putting Schiracha sauce on my salad at lunch time which also contains Xanthan gum. The gums!
    I’d been substituting bread, milk, flours etc for gluten and dairy containing ones trying to help my symptoms when it had been the gums all along and I’d been increasing my pain and built up intolerance all this time!
    I cut out all gums just over one week ago and the change has been instant and incredible! Bloating, cramps, pain and constipation are gone. My digestive system is slowly righting itself. My face also is less puffy and I no longer wake up feeling tired and heavy! I feel like myself again!
    I wish to share this experience with anyone who may be having the same problems- still being in pain even after eliminating gluten. You may not have have the intolerance you think you must have.
    Thanks for reading

  5. It is becoming more and more difficult to find additive free foods. I am a conscientious label reader and still get caught out (just discoverd my organic cream contains gellan gum – I bought some ultra-pasteurized because the regular pasteurized was sold out – and I now have bad abdominal cramps!)

    If even expensive organic foods contain additives what can we do?

    • Watch the documentary What the Health on Netflix. You’ll have all of the answers you need and it will change your lives in unimaginable ways. You will be rid of all of these ailments and more.

  6. I’ve been a fan of Breyer’s Ice cream for a long time, but they have also gone to the dark side. Carrageenan is now in all their flavored products, and now tara gum in their vanilla, which gives me diarrhea. If my body is expelling it, it can’t be a good thing. Maybe if you want a pleasant tasting laxative….

  7. I traced a significant amount of Asthma like symptoms I had for years to drinking flavored coffees. I started drinking them in quantity from Dunkin Donuts. Soon afterward I noticed difficulty breathing. I eventually had to get an inhaler. I happened to go off of any coffee at all for some time and the Asthma like symptoms went away. On getting a flavored coffee again, the symptoms came back with even more intensity. It unfortunately took several more times of this cycle to make me look into it. The flavor carrier for the coffee is Gum Arabic (Acacia). I am allergic to many trees. I have really looked at anything that could have this Gum in it and avoided it. It is also used to stop the crystallization of sugars in sodas, but is rarely listed on the labels. I don’t really drink soft drinks any more. All the symptoms are gone. I highly recommend looking on the ingredient list and avoiding this gum if you have any tree allergies. Before figuring this out I could not walk around the block without getting winded. Now I can run a half marathon and regularly do 10Ks with no issue. I’m 55.
    I also traced significant digestive system issues to Xanthan gum. I continually got a upset stomach every time a had a salad or various other common foods. On consulting an allergist and going for tests. He suggested that the issue is with old produce. The film that forms on the produce when old is related to mold, which I show high allergic reaction to. After heeding his advice and getting the freshest produce I could, I still was getting sick. I stopped eating salads all together, which really bothered me. I did get similarly sick after eating something other than a salad. Looking at the ingredients, all looked familiar except the Xanthan gum. After several similar incidences I finally found the Xanthan gum was the culprit. The gum is used in all over the counter salad dressings. It is also used in gravy and many coatings for cold cuts. The amount of reaction I have is dependent on the quantity used I imagine. I now use only olive oil and rice wine vinegar on my salads with some Italian seasoning. I have all the salads I want. The xanthan gum is derived from fermenting corn meal with a fungus. I still have significant allergies to mold and fungus.
    It took me years of unpleasant trial and error to find the relationship between the symptoms I was having and these gums. I now believe that many of our common ailments are probably related to many of these additives. I think both of these gums are also considered NATURAL.. You can still see them in Natural and Organic products in stores.
    I hope this helps someone to avoid the unpleasantness I had to go through.

    • About 20 years ago I began having severe gastric distress. Through a long process of illumination I figured out that the culprit was #guar gum. As long as I illuminate guar and capsicum from my diet I have no gastric distress. I have found guar in dairy, baking mixes, breads, packaged popcorn and in soups at Panera and la Madeleine restaurants. All my life I thought I had a weak stomach, I didn’t realize I was poisoning myself by things I ate that were “natural”. I also get headaches if I ingest Splenda. Needless to say, I read all labels.

    • for those with possible digestive issues or ones they cannot solve, stay away from iceberg lettuce. It can wreak havoc on your intestines within 15 min of eating.

    • Dave!! ANSWER TO PRAYER!! <– Your comment which I just read this morning.

      For me, it doesn't appear to be Xanthum gum as much as gellan gum & locust bean gum which are currently bothering me "big time"! (we're all different & obviously react differently to various substances.) Though the way you described Xanthum gum being created, I'm sure I'd have problems with that as well! (same allergens: trees & definitely mold & fungus)

      Anyway for 3 days now I've been having the EXACT SAME SYMPTOMS you've described here!! Bronchitis SO BAD it felt like a truck sitting on my lungs! Had to pull out the inhaler which I use as sparingly as possible (as side effects can be hazardous, too!)

      So after a good night's sleep, I woke up this morning feeling refreshed, no breathing issues….. UNTIL I had my 8 oz. of Califia Cold Brew Coffee, Mocha. (I always limited "my fun" to 8 oz. due to caffeine which I'm sensitive to..) Well??!! Almost immediately the breathing discomfort & distress started again.

      Good thing? I'm almost certain it's the gum additives, so it is good to discover this without thousands $ spent at doctors for tests while continuing to suffer.
      Bad thing? I've got a whole closet full of various alternative milks which I'd stocked up on. Obviously wasted money, sigh & whose got it to waste? But I'll donate & hope someone in need won't have the same allergy issues.

      Thank you, Chris, for this site!! And thank all of you for your thought-provoking comments!!
      Definitely: food for thought!

    • Corn and Wheat? If it’s not Organic it isn’t safe… All genetically modified GMO food is causing every Cancer known to man and every Plague of the 21st. century.. It is only one of the Poison’s that Monsanto, Dow, Dupont, Bayer, and six other Giant Agro Companies around the world that are poisoning every living thing on earth with. Don’t look to the FDA for a fix because they are in the pockets of all Agro Companies and don’t give a damb thing about our health. In 2015 Monsanto paid off the FDA $6.5 Billion Dollars to keep GMO off the labels of our food. If it isn’t Organic it is POISON !!! and some of that is tainted by other farms spraying Roundup Pesticide on their crops….

  8. I’m curious, although I don’t seem to have latex sensitivity I know people who do. A type of latex is made from Acacia. Does this mean that people with latex sensitivity can’t eat Gum Arabic?

  9. Chris, I ended up in the hospital last Sunday because the urgent care clinic had closed early. The 2 previous nights I had been up 8 times to the bathroom, only passing trickles of urine each time, and wondered if I had a bladder infection. Normally, having bph, I’m up 2 or 3 times only. The doctor, following a thorough consultation and doing a bladder scan which ruled out the necessity of a catheter, told me I had a swollen prostate and to go to my urologist. I asked myself what new foods I’d eaten prior to and during the 2 difficult nights. The answer was caffeine/calori/sugar-free A&W root beer and Diet Cranberry-Mango by Ocean Spray containing Gum Arabic, which is Acacia Gum. I suspected the latter and a quick and short experiment proved me right. Guar Gum I had to give up years ago (no ice cream for me–boo-hoo!) as it also slowed down the plumbing every time. Carageenan , which you seem to find most problematic, does not affect my plumbing. The reason I added these 2 drinks was because I find it hard to drink 8 glasses of water each day and am pre-diabetic so must watch sugar. Perhaps the aspartame is as bad longterm as Acacia Gum is shortterm–I haven’t counted my brain cells. Cream also slows my plumbing down (good-bye pumpkin pie with whip cream!), but nothing does it as well as Acacia Gum (Gum Arabic)! Comments welcome. Murray

    • just put some frozen blueberries or cucumbers in your water to drink more.
      all those low calorie etc drinks are terrible for you. watch for kidney stones with soda

    • If you can still eat ice cream, then check out Vanilla Haagen Dasz or Sam’s Club Vanilla. They are the most close to natural that I have found without those additives. I read labels on everything due to allergies, food intolerances, and a sensitive digestive track. Guar gum doesn’t appear to do anything bad to me unless I eat too much of it, and then it just slows down bowel movements in combination with dairy. So I will consume it in Open Nature vanilla ice cream. But if you can’t have cream, then that probably won’t work for you. I am allergic to milk but can tolerate it fairly well in these particular ice creams if I eat it moderately (hard to do).

      • If its available in your area, you should look for Turkey Hill’s All Natural Ice Cream. No gums, additives or artificial ingredients. If you read the back of the label, it truly is all natural, and some are Non GMO.

  10. These gums are used at very low levels in foods. Consumption would be a few grams per day or less. So the studies of consuming 20-30 g per day are very exaggerated compared to what people might consume.

    • A very small amount of guar gum causes me extreme gastric distress. Once I have avoided everything from my intestinal track I feel like I am recovering from the flu. For me, just a little bit is detrimental to my health. I’m sure there are a lot of people out there walking around with IBS or symptoms of Crohn’s but don’t realize it’s just something they are eating that they shouldn’t be.

  11. Very upset!!!!

    • I also have looked for the same and am convinced it dies not exist. I write Califia Farms about the carrageenan and gums in their almond milk and I guess others did also. Their bottles now say “Carageenan free”. Califia still contains gel lab gum and carob bean gum but they are last in the list of ingredients so not as much as the other ingredients. Perhaps, in time, they will take one or both of them out. The company is very health conscious so I think they take your comments seriously.

    • If you are okay with soy, I have found WestSoy plain unsweetened soymilk to have only 2 ingredients listed: soybeans and water. It’s available in shelf stable cartons. It tastes great so not sure why other brands have to add all the other junk. Trader Joe’s also has a shelf stable soy with just soybeans and water as the only ingredients. It tastes great also.

      • But is it GMO Soy? They don’t have to list it on package yet. GMO products can cause gastrological problems. It causes the insects digestive systems to explode when they eat the Soy plant that has been produced with GMO’s.

      • Hi Alexandria, don’t know if you saw my recent piece on how I’ve been hurt by both guar gum and acacia gum (gum Arabic). It’s also on my Facebook. Now I’m making my own Almond milk with blender and juicer. Let me know if you’d like more info.

        • Hi, Murray,
          Can you please share your recipe for almond milk? Have you found a place to get a good price on bulk almonds? Organic?


          • Hi Susan,
            Actually, I just learned from a dietitian that the protein and, I guess, vitamins, are removed with the fibre when you juice. Thus, I’m thinking of buying a Vita-mix or Blendtec (probably the latter) which will leave everything in. The recipe I followed was 1 c. almonds (after soaking over-night, then draining and rinsing) to 3 c. water. I use it mainly on my cereal. Sorry I guess we can’t share our email addresses here–or may we? Let me know how you make out. Murray

    • There is a brand called “Califia Farms”. They have a coconut almond milk blend that is amazing. Carrageenan free and it only has Gellan gum and locust bean gum. Hopefully that helps.

      • Gellan is really sinister…
        From: http://www.natural-health-journals.com/2228/gums-in-foods-causing-health-problems-for-many
        Gellan Gum: Another Additive Made of Bacterial Excretions
        Like xanthan gum, gellan gum is also made by bacteria cultured in a sugary solution. The bacteria, Sphingomonas elodea, are one species out of many in a genus that’s widespread and normal in nature. Sphingomonads are known to be hardy organisms able to thrive with minimal nutrition; some species have been found in environments contaminated with toxic compounds, where they’ve shown they can use the contaminants as nourishment. Some species can also cause non-life-threatening infections in humans that may require antibiotics.
        Studies done on gellan gum consumption have not found toxic effects, nor have users commented online on any problems with regular consumption. This might be partly due to the fact that gellan gum isn’t used nearly as much in processed foods as the other gums. Or perhaps its effects are more subtle than those of other gums.
        One study found that giving rats 5 percent gellan gum in their diets for four weeks led to intestinal microvilli adhering to one another, and decreased digestion of nutrients in the gut (source: “Effects of Curdlan and Gellan Gum on the Surface Structure of Intestinal Mucosa in Rats,” Osaka City Univ. and Osaka Prefecture Univ., 2009, jstage.jst.go.jp).
        Microvilli are the tiny hairlike tubes that cover the surface of villi, which are the finger-like structures lining the inside of intestines. The microvilli are where nutrients are absorbed into the blood and carried to the entire body; they also release fluids that aid digestion. The whole purpose of there being so many of them is to make digestion and absorption of nutrients as fast and effective as possible. Clearly, then, it would be a bad idea to eat something sticky that has no nutritional value, cannot be digested, and would impair the ability of microvilli to absorb and secrete by forming a gummy film over them.

    • Is very easy do it own milk from almonds , nuts and much more look at google
      Add also some xylitol – must be REALL Birch and vanila beans taste great and healthy

    • I finally found Red Barn Almond Milk. Only organic almonds, sea salt, filtered water and acacia gum (the safest gum for the intestines mentioned in the article). Taste is better too. It will not appear as creamy looking because there aren’t a zillion “gums” gelling it together. Just shake the bottle before each serving. I have severe IBS and reflux and getting all of the gums out of my diet except for the acacia gum in my almond milk has definitely helped.

    • I have tried the new Hempfu ; which is like tofu, I like the idea of using more hemp, But they put that Gellan Gum in it and I had a reaction to it; the same as from some types of chocolate, major break out!

    • You probably don’t “do” soy as it’s gotten bad press lately. But if you do, WestSoy organic (no GMOs), unsweetened, nothing added, might be an option.

  12. Both carageenan gum and gellan gum cause me to feel a mild shortness of breath. I feel stress, as if the air is way too humid. In both cases, it occurs after drinking a glass of chocolate milk, which otherwise has natural ingredients, from different brands. One brand uses carageenan and the other uses gellan gum. Took me a few days the first time, but only two glasses the second time, because I recognized the symptoms. Xanthum gum affects me with gas or mild diarrhea. As others have noted, these gums are everywhere. I buy Haagandaz ice cream because they don’t use these gums, and I write the other companies that use natural ingredients, but use additives like gums for fillers. Everyone needs to use the power of their pen (email) and $.

    • “Natural Ingredients” include all the above gums, bugs, worms and anything else from nature. The best way to go is Kosher, Local or Organic. Then you know exactly what you’re eating. And if you don’t want to spend more $, shop at Aldi.

  13. I recently found out my IBS is actually celiacs disease. so I went gluten-free. I found out that some gluten-free products are made with sorghum which leaves a really bad after taste and a horrible smell in the house after it’s been cooked. are the products made with the gums mentioned in this article what they use instead of sorghum in gluten free products?

  14. I have found the gum additives cause insomnia in me. I didn’t sleep a full night until I was almost 40. Now I avoid all gums and sleep great. The hard part is it seems they are being added to more and more items. My oldest daughter is allergic to them as well, while I can’t stay asleep, she can’t fall asleep. She will pace the house weeping at 2 a.m. because she can’t sleep, it’s terrible.

    • Ditto. Insomnia caused by guar gum. Because I cook everything, and control all ingredients, this is a side effect for me as well.
      I’ve tested it a few times, and it takes very little. I used to buy coconut milk with no additives, just water. I switched to a brand available at Whole Foods, claiming less than 1% guar gum. Two attempts, separated by a few weeks, and bam, insomnia, both times.
      So, I’m glad I found another individual to back my findings.
      Best Wishes-

      • It would help both of you to do some research on sleep disorders. I’ve had one my whole lI feel, and now (at age 37), I’m sleeping better than I ever have before…and it’s not just due to eating better. There are a lot of tricks: warm milk (whatever kind you prefer), going to sleep in a different room, keep lighting low for atleast a few hours before bedtime (as specially Smart phones…their brightness disrupts the circadian rythm), cold turkey and Zzzquil (all natural, not addictive). After 25 years of suffering, I’m finally getting 7-9 hours sleep a night…and I feel amazing (including weight loss).

        • Hi Cynthia, RE: Sleep disorders and Epilespy …..I like this article, it is well written and discuses the very different aspects of the high potential down fall of additives primarily because manufactures do not finish research before they are allowed to put these things on the market. However, I think the mention of gut issues here are being down played or overlooked as a serious long term potential for particular segments of the population. What I am talking about is the connection in epilepsy and cancer to free radical production and elimination…indicated by gas and gut issues. I would encourage all that are following this with sleep disorders, epilepsy, and perhaps bio-polar and ADHD to look into the connection between Glutamine and nitrogen homeostasis. This is the link between the gut and potentialy how Gums can interfere with neurologically sensitive people. (as the two people referred to sleep disturbances above and the mice having unusual gas) Perhaps the general population can handle the gums , but I dont like the argument that people with epilepsy or similarly the 5% of mice that have issues with these additives are statistically not significant. This is the argument the FDA makes for the reason it is still legal to uses MSG when it is clearly a toxic substance to over 5% of the population. I am particularity alarmed that for 30 years the whole population seems to feel its acceptable that parents with epileptic children be exposed to exitotoxins when many of them have never heard about them and they are in almost every food in the store.

      • I have the same reactions, always told I was wrong,
        I am glad to see that I am not the only one.
        I avoid any and all of these additives, it makes it very hard to find food without any of the above but it is worth it.
        Being awake at night was not the only side affect I had.

    • Heather, please look into Melatonin for your daughter. It’s natural and our bodies produce it in order to sleep. She may need a melatonin supplement if something is counteracting her production of it or blocking it in her body.
      I feel awful she goes through that! I am an insomniac and if I don’t take a sleep aid, example Melatonin, I will be up the entire night.

      • Before taking melatonin she could try wearing blue blockers glasses by uvex after sundown. Then your body can produce melatonin by itself.

  15. Gms like gum Arabic are used as food additives to gel everything together and prevent separation and movement. Digestive system does not want this, the digestive fluids won’t penetrate as well, leaving all that undigested food for the bacteria to proliferate on. Hence people experiencing excessive gas.

    Currently I have a multivitamin, protein powder product and it has a majority of filler in it per 35g serving. Gum Arabic number one, cellulose gum, tapioca, xanthan gum….


    I would like to know how a big wad of gluey indefeasible stuff is going to affect nutrient absorption!

    I wager gums are anti-nutrient

    • You need to get a clean protein powder. I can definitely recommend pure Hemp Protein Powder. You can find it at places like ThriveMarket.

      All those protein powders with junk in them are simply not worth it.

  16. Very interesting information! I use guar gum in my canned coconut milk. And I use xanthan gum as an additive in my homemade salad dressings and grain-free baking. I avoid all grains, sugar, dairy, soy, corn and most of my meats are grass- feed. So I am relieved to know that these items could be a source of trouble for me if I have trouble in the future. Most dried beans cause severe gut pain, but the guar gum is from a bean more like a green bean so that may be why I can handle it. After about 25 years of experimenting with what works for me, I am still learning. Good luck everyone! Keep up the struggle as it is so worthwhile!

    • Avoid eat tinned beans and pulses.
      You need to soak dried beans/pulses overnight and then cook (ideally with some seaweed in it).
      Also, introduce slowly. I do not experience gas issues when I cook beans and pulses as above.

  17. Nice to find this. Thought I had a mild lactose intolerance because I always felt bloated and terrible after eating ice cream. I realized it was the gums and carageenan and now check labels when I shop. It’s a funny allergy, because it’s just as common to find the gums in top shelf all natural products as it is the store brands. I love eating ice cream again!

  18. I’m very sensitive to carob bean/locust bean gum. It gives me bladder infection like symptoms and causes frequent urge to urinate (whether or not I actually have to pee). Before I realized what it was, I was sometimes getting up 8 – 10 times a night to go to the bathroom, sometimes more! I was falling asleep all the time during the day. It took a couple of months of not eating carob bean gum in anything for the symptoms to go away completely. I avoid it like the plague now. As others have noted, it’s in everything, though, so I mostly eat fresh cooked food at home and avoid most everything packaged.

    For other people with allergies and sensitivities: don’t just read labels, read them every time you buy the product. I’ve had the unfortunate experience of eating something I knew I could trust just to suffer from symptoms and then find out they had changed their recipe. 🙁

  19. Thank you for a well balanced commentary. I arrived here because I am reverting to my earlier practice of making my own yogurt, and seeking a better approach to a thicker version, I checked the ingredient list on my favorite organic yogurt. Your column has been very helpful. I began reading comments because I frequently find additional useful information from other readers. What I have gleaned from the comments on this site is as follows: 1) I reaffirm once again that I am very grateful that I have no allergies to anything. 2) People really need to find some means for self-affirmation other than attacking other people. We all have our short-comings and it does not make anything better if you are constantly poised to point out those of others. 3) As I grow older, I have an increasingly lower threshold for tolerance of negativity and people belittling others. I have not read all the available comments on this really nice article because of too much nastiness.

  20. Thanks Chris. These gums are poison to my daughter who developed GI issues from her soy allergy. My daughter recently started to become sick again complaining about naucious was and pain in her esophagus and stomach. Turns out that one of her main stay foods, brown cow yogurt started adding locust bean gum. We stopped the yogurt and the discomfort and stopped.

    Most “natural” foods make her I’ll. We can’t buy anything at whole foods. All this “healthy” food is dangerous. Now the safe foods are potato chips and Fritos.

    Thanks Chris. Your research is great

    • Gregg. I feel sorry for your daughter that you consider potato chips and Fritos safe foods. They are nothing but pure junk foods with almost zero nutritional value.

      • um, i think it was meant as sarcasm…..? i guess some don’t share the same sense of humor. i took it as such.

      • actually it’s quite possible that some people would be less allergic or sensitive to highly synthetic foods if that person has many natural allergies to things that are grown out of the ground. I am very allergic to wheat but I am not allergic the chewing gum.

  21. I have been diagnosed w/IBS. I am a 74 y.o. white female, in otherwise fair health (osteoporosis, now osteopenia). I am looking primarily for ways to avoid the continuous upsets to my digestive health by better understanding what can cause them . I am working to better incorporate the low-FODMAP diet which I believe is helpful as is a product called ibGard, anOTC treatment for IBS. The gastroenterologist who dx the IBS said the 2 things that exaserbate IBS are stress & fresh restaurant food, (salads, fruit) due to the preservatives widely used in restaurant kitchens. “Your gut has no idea what to do w/preservatives.” Apparently fresh foods are sprayed w/preservatives in many restaurants. I now buy only organic.

    • I was diagnosed with IBS w/ diarrhea. It was making my life hell. My doctor prescribed me a med that I was to take everyday for the rest of my life and I was only 24 at the time! I am not into taking any type of meds (I didn’t even use an epidural when I had my son). Thank God I was dating a vegan at the time of the dx who suggested I stop eating meat. It was close to Jan 1st so I made it my New Years resolution and the results were a 180!!!! 8 years later now and I recently began eating chicken sparingly but those symptoms NEVER returned

      • I was diagnosed with IBS which in turn was ulcerative colitis, I was due surgery in 8 months – I went to a naturopath and cut out anything in my diet that was or turned into sugar (carbs, wheat, rice, carrots, onions, sweet potaotes, starches, garlic, anything fried, chips etc) it was hard, but I stuck it out for 8 months eating healthy proteins and lots and lots of greens along with fish oil, probiotics and vitamin D. I went back for the colonoscopy and the top doctor thought he had the wrong chart (even scolded the nurse), turns out he didn’t have the wrong chart and I had reversed my symptoms with the best medicine ever – FOOD! If you commit yourself to your health you can do it too! It’s amazing!!

    • Hi Ann,

      What did you do to turn around osteoporosis to osteopenia? Please inform me as I would like to do the same. Thank you.

  22. Im am extremely sensitive to gums. It took me 2 yrs to find out these fillers were poison to me. I dont know if this has to do with my fibro, migraine, sibo, or all of the above, but I cannot eat anything with gums or I get terrible vertigo. Its a travesty how many foods now contain these fillers. Its in almost everything that is vegan or gluten free and in all tortillas, most coconut milks, and even gourment made sushi rolls. Ugh. I think we are going to see more senstivities to these substances in the future, but people will think its the food they are eating.

    • I have intestinal problems and a lot of food intolerances as a result. I can’t drink ordinary milk so I started drinking almond milk. Well, I started getting ill so I switched to hazelnut milk. Well, I started getting ill again. I thought it was my condition.

      Last night, Christmas, I slowly worked my way through a carton of hazelnut milk. After I finished I lazily read the carton. What is locust bean gum? What is gellan gum? I looked it up, found this website. I had a shock. I shouldn’t be consuming this. I feel such a fool for not knowing. I so carefully check ingredients. I also had a few chocolates I thought I could eat. Guar gum? I feel a total imbecile.

      So, yesterday, abdominal pain, loads of diarrhoea in the early hours of the morning. I have to be so careful. How can I make a mistake like this? I just didn’t know until now.

    • Hi Margie,

      I have dealt with Migraines since I was young. I know one trigger is Guar Gum, the second is Xanthan Gum. Guar causes much more pain and length of migraine. Xanthan seems to take more build up in my system before causing a Migraine.

  23. I’m a chef. The only reason for adding these gums to anything, say ice cream for example, is to s t r e t c h the ingredients and lower cost. These gums cost only a few dollars per ton verses
    the cost of real milk or cream.

    For people with gluten intolerance, you certainly want to avoid these gums. They can clog the microvilli in your intestines.
    Flours can be milled to almost any protein and gluten level. For example good pizza flour has a high gluten
    content but cake flour has very little gluten.
    If you make a loaf of bread out of cake flour, it will fall apart in your hand because cake flour has almost no gluten in it.
    For those baked goods, you have to add a gelling agent like egg whites, etc.
    Never gum.
    A good miller can probably supply you with wheat flour having almost no gluten in it if you ask for it.
    Again you will have to “fix” this flour for it to be usable in baking. For gravies or sauces it should be fine as is.

    • Thank you Al Schrader! I avoid him additives on general principal, and because my son is allergic to all guns. They caused anaphylactic shock when he was elementary school age.

      I thought gums were only being added as thickened. But now I can see it’s all about increasing profits, driven by greed. Gums make icecream and yogurt taste less good, just so the makers can increase their bottom line! This is wrong.

      Consumers should demand gum-free food.

  24. You say some gums are indigestible. What does the body do with the Gum, store it as fat, or release it through bile???

    • If your gut is compromised, it’ll slip into your bloodstream and trigger an autoimmune response.
      I didn’t know I had Celiac until I was 50. Like most Americans I would say to the GI doc, “hey–eating xyz gives me the runs, have you got a pill so I can KEEP eating xyz?” 100 years ago, if something you ate sent you to the outhouse every time, you’d say to YOURSELF, I’d better NOT EAT xyz! Right?
      But nope, I had to get crazy sick before I figured out the MD had it right…. My late father grew up on a ranch but they grew wheat too. When they introduced what he said was “Red Dwarf Wheat” a hybrid, he said, he developed horrible GI symptoms. So his brother back on the family ranch planted NON-hybrid wheat and shipped it to us 1000 miles away. My mom ground it and we baked EVERY DAY. But after he and my uncle died, my cousin thought we were nuts to want that wheat. He now has Celiac too.

      • Very interesting! Our wheat is not as it used to be. My Mother who is from Europe ate wheat her whole life because it was pure and not adultered by Monsanto. What a sin we cannot eat wheat anymore due to the GMO effect.

        • All non-organic wheat may say non-gmo verified, but it was probably sprayed with round-up to kill it just before harvest.

          • They also started adding Folic Acid to all grains about the same time they re-engineered wheat. A large portion of the population has a MTHFR gene variant which affects how the body processes Folic Acid, which should not be confused with Folate.

            I can tolerate some gums, not others. Took me a long time to figure out that as a celiac with a latex allergy I was reacting to latex cross-reactive foods including acacia which is gum arabic.

            • My daughter has the MTHFR gene (drs nickname it “Monday Thursday Friday” for good reason – ha!) so I avoid anything that says “enriched” as well as multivitamins that also contain synthetic vitamins that many people can’t process and can build to toxic levels. It’s not an easy task to avoid this stuff. It means I have to read every single ingredient list in the store, while others just cruise down the aisles grabbing whatever without reading. Meanwhile, pregnant women are still being encouraged to gorge on folic acid supplements which I have read can block the folate receptors. I think by the next generation people will finally realize the link between food additives/synthetic nutrients and developmental disorders such as autism and adhd.

  25. There is a prebiotic called Perfect Pass Prebiotic that contains PHGG, partially hydrolyzed guar gum which is ‘broken down with natural enzymes into the ideal molecular size and the perfect food for your beneficial microbes’. It claims to be guaranteed to have no side effects and does not feed the bad bacteria.

    I would welcome opinions on this product!

    • I wonder why this product would use Guar Gum instead of Arabic Gum since that is the only gum that seems to have any benefits whatsoever, including prebiotic properties.

  26. Hello, I have been increasing my intake with Almond Milk Original brand and drinking more coffee – I’m using a french vanilla creamer as well. However, I keep getting severe bloating – it looks like I just ate a Thanksgiving meal! Also, I am experiencing a lot of gas. Also, when I was younger I was lactose intolerant but I grew out of it and have no stomach pain when consuming diary. Is the dairy what is causing me to bloat? Do you have any suggestions for things to consume that may help with the bloating? Thank you!

  27. Gellum gum, like xanthan and guar is a beta 1to4 O glugoside,
    as is lactose, pectin and phlrorizin to name a few, if one is lacking the Beta 1to 4 O glycosidase often called lactase then all these products will ferment in the gut and cause unusual lavage as well as gastric reflux if used in excess, diahrrea is common as symptom of lack of the enzyme as well as flatulence.

  28. Are there any ingredients I can use in gluten free bread to bind things together (IE what guar gum and other gums do), which don’t cause stomach discomfort and gas?

    I absolutely LOVE bread but I’m trying to heal a leaky gut, so need to stay clear of gluten. Help! 😉

  29. After much research a recent found book written by Dr. Russell Blaylock, called ‘Excitotoxins’ has given me so much information that I now understand by so many people have similar reactions to food additives. As the research has revealed foods like carrageenan and nutrisweet act similarly in the brain and gut. Since our gut is called our second brain due to its numerous nerve endings the correlation stands to reason. I read one bloggers response about the reaction being the same to both. The doctor informed that msg has been added to carrageenan causing the same reaction. Flavor enhancers are used constantly and called by different names in order to deceive us. Since the thickeners of all sorts are beyond our control, who’s to say that this is not true in every case. I am a nutritional analyst and have been able to test whether any food or food product are beneficial for us. We will always be deceived by those who wish to line their pockets. So I will always say go back to basics and know what you put in your mouths

    • No one ever mentions panic attacks which in my case began as benign shakiness soon after eating some kinds of meals and oddly enough fast food milk shakes. Over years it evolved into the full blown reaction and nearly daily , with the shakes, heart rate of 120’s with chest discomfort productive cough with wheeze , and bowel movements also evolving from loose to at the last resembling cholera-like water and gas…time lasting went from hour to half day…sipping Pedialyte helped the calming…..finally an overnight ER visit after a 3 day period of repeating hours long attacks culminating with hours of severe dysrythmia, I was sent home with no diagnosis as symptoms disappeared after 10 hours. My nutrition savvy daughter diagnosed me by long distance phone call that early morning with gastritis. She said my symptoms were due to a highly irritated vagus nerve and she prescribed a white diet: milk, eggs, rice and boiled meat, starchy veggies like squash and baby fruit. No coffee or stimulating drinks…apple juice….that EE visit was my last panic attack after I began the prescribed diet and gluten free bread, but that week had a short lived almost attack, and read the ingredients of a new brand of gluten free cracker. There it was: xanthum gum. Since then I have sampled out to include carrageenen, and others and found even a mouthful of carrageenen content food starts the early symptoms of this panic condition. Otherwise I am now regular with firm stool, no tachycardia or respiratory signs after eating but have had threats after eating unexpected gums in what always seemingly benign foods, but nothing full blown….I was headed for treatment with beta blockers or psychotropic drugs for my “anxiety”, a falsely derived diagnosis offered in the ER. Now I am in my 3rd month of living carefully but well as I have not been for years. And the gums are everywhere like a plague even as folk are dealing with IBS, asthma, panic attacks, and the young are being affected because these are not an instant problem but will be in the future. I have just bought a breadmaker and will be eating gluten free bread for now but amazingly most glutenfree baking flours have gums so I have stocked plain flours and will create my own. Engaging shoppers at local groceries I have been amazed how many report their own problems with panic attacks and GI too , theirs or family….so I share my experience and results….it cannot hurt to try this new way of eating because as I tell these folk, if there is no improvement then the gums and perhaps the gluten are not the problem. PS Just look at the label on those expensive natural breads: gums and cellulose, carrageenan, inulin, and hold on to your hats, datum…and in all the nutrition and protein drinks too. I hope my expetience helps someone.

      • Would you please provide your gluten free bread recipe. I also suffer from panic attacks, and I have a bread maker but seldom use it. Thank you.

  30. I didn’t really care much about all the gums in the ingredients until I started to dring Silk Almond milk which contains Gellan Gum and Locust Bean Gum. I had diarrhea immediately after consuming about two cups of Almond milk in the morning and it lasted for about 5 hours.
    I switched from regular milk to almond milk and now I guess I have to take all types of milk out of my food intake…which is sad.
    All the chemicals used in food and cosmetics, etc…are really sickening.

    • Almond milk is Very easy to make and tastes delicious!
      Check web for recipes- should be water & almonds & a dash of vanilla or salt if you like, nothing more is necessary! If you blanch and peel the Almonds (skin slips off easily), it makes the almond mik rich and creamy!

  31. From Livestrong.com: “A study in rats published in ‘International Journal of Cancer’ in 2002 illustrated that high levels of guar gum exacerbated colon cancer risk. Although there have been correlation studies in humans, there have not been any complete clinical trials in humans to examine this possible impact. If you have any history of colon cancer in your family, you should be cautious when consuming large amounts of guar gum.”

  32. I am also allergic to guar gum. I suspect I have had this allergy for my entire life, but recently discovered it after spending 2.5 weeks in Belize and Guatemala last February and March. I ate freely there and felt better than I have ever felt before! When I returned home to the states, the symptoms came back after eating: nausea, diarrhea, gas, dehydration, and occasionally constipation. The reaction occurs within 15 minutes of ingesting guar gum and can last for hours. I eliminated all of the major allergens out of my diet to discover guar gum has been the culprit this entire time. There is no reason why we need a substance used for fracking in our food. If Guatemalans can eat well without guar gum in their food, so can we.

    I am sick of letting guar gum make me miserable. I contacted the FDA’s Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition (CFSAN) this afternoon to file a complaint against this additive. I highly recommend all of you allergic to guar gum to do the same. If we ban together, we can eliminate this from our food. Here is the link to file a complaint with the FDA’s CFSAN: http://www.fda.gov/AboutFDA/CentersOffices/OfficeofFoods/CFSAN/ContactCFSAN/default.htm

    • I am also Allergic to Guar Gum and now it seems Gellan Gum too. I get lesions on me, whenever I eat anything with Guar Gum in it. It started when I found out I had celiac disease 3 years ago. I started baking all my own breads and buying gluten free products and they all have a lot of Guar Gum. I was adding a lot of it and Xanthum Gum to my baking. My dermatologist thought it was Herpes, then my Crohns, then Shingles. He didn’t have a clue and I didn’t have any of those, but I do have hundreds of food and chemical allergies. I kept asking if it could be an allergy. It was so painful and I would get the lesions for weeks. He said that allergies NEVER cause sores or lesions. IDIOT. I finally figured out that it was the Guar Gum and as soon as I cut out the Guar Gum, I stopped having the lesion outbreaks, until I would accidentally get ahold of Guar Gum (CREAM CHEESE) I would never think cream cheese had it, but I check everything now. I never buy shredded cheese, because they even slip it in that sometimes too and all ice cream has it. I make my own ice cream out of frozen bananas and fruit. Well, I love Almond & Cashew Milk, but I couldn’t drink the Blue Diamond, because of the Guar Gum they put in theirs. I was drinking the Silk Cashew & Almond Milks. Actually, just putting them on my cereal and mixing them in my powdered peanut butter and a little in my smoothies. Then, I saw that ALDI had Unsweetened Almond Milk for $2.29. Good price and No Guar Gum. Got home, drank a glass. Yummy!!! A few hours later. Here come the lesions. Wait a minute. What does that have in it? GELLAN GUM. Silk Original Cashew Milk I have in the frig has that too, but it’s way down on the ingredients. On Aldi’s brand, it’s one of the first few ingredients, meaning it has a LOT in it and I just drank a glass of it. So, for me, this Gellan Gum, is acting just like Guar Gum does to my system. I do have both Celiac Disease and Crohns, plus Diabetes. So, I don’t have a great immune system. I just looked at Wikipedia on my TV and looked up Guar Gum and it says that people that are allergic to Gaur Gum can get LESIONS. Well, surprise, surprise. I didn’t think I was the only one having problems with these gums.

      • Dogs and cats with allergies get bumps and lesions. Why not humans? (Im a vet tech & cert. Natural health consultant). Your allergy doctor is an idiot!

  33. I am alergic to guar gum. I break out in a rash and will get red patch like sores. Especially around the elbows and lower legs on my delicate skin. I will also get flushing and redness around the temples and right in the center of my chest. It got worse as I got older, as more and more items had Guar gum added in. When I stopped eating Guar gum, my chronic dandruff and diarrea stopped. I really wish I lived in Europe like in France, or Belgium. There are laws that prevent this kind of crap ending up in food. I’ve learned how to avoid a large dose of it, but still I get tricked now and again. It should be labeled as an alergen, but unfortunately, it is considered harmless.

      • Mike is right

        I live in Europe and it is freely available.

        The article above clearly states these additives ARE NOT dangerous, unless you have an allergy or sensitivity to them, in which case its bad luck for you, but it does not make the additive “evil” or something that should be banned.
        If we start banning all the foods people have terrible reactions too, then in our household ,we could get kale, mushrooms, onions ,wheat, and any other fodmap food banned!
        Just because one has a problem with certain foods, does not mean it is harmful to another!

        • You can’t equate kale, mushrooms, onions or even wheat with guar gum. Those are whole foods, while guar gum is a laboratory concoction (even though it’s taken from a real food (a bean). Your comparison is like saying high fructose corn syrup is just like corn.

          • It’s not LIKE it’s corn, it IS corn. If I take a cell out of your body, extract an ion of anything out of it, it will still be human.
            I’m a veteran of Mayo Clinic immunology and learned the HARD way before seeing that doctor. Some GMO foods contain human DNA. Opinion?
            I had been thought to NOT have a rare disease. My BODY didn’t get that memo, and I nearly died. Corn is ubiquitous–it’s everywhere and in everything. I’ve had drug company pharmacists say, “oh it may have STARTED as corn, but there’s no corn left in it.” Then how is there ANYTHING left? I react to both the glutens AND starches. A month back a nurse mistakenly hooked me up to lactated Ringer’s (has dextrose) and went into anaphylactic shock while unconscious. “Not the same?”

    • Welcome to America! The land of the free, the brave and every illness causing additive added to the food supply! God bless us….every one !

  34. I do gluten free, mostly grain free baking and have been searching for a binder. After reading your series of articles, I ordered Gum Arabic from Mountain rose Herbs. When it came on the back of the package is a WARNING: California Proposition 65): This product contains a chemical known to the State of California to cause birth defects or other reproductive harm.

    I’m wondering about this since I planed to use it in bread as a substitute for Xantham gum.

    What do you know about this?

    • I know: that if it says it could be carcinogenic – to avoid it like the plague… or cancer. : ) Return the package! Another comment is: the above supposed studies have been conducted for only a month – that is the huge mistake ALL clinical trials make. The damages to our system for an UNKNOWN substance will not need to show up in one month. I coukld take years to show. Cancer for example takes 8 years to grow to soemthing that can be detected in diagnostics. THAT IS WHY MOST CAANCERS ARE ONLY DETECTED WHEN ONE HAS ONLY MONTHS TO LIVE.


    • About 90% of the whole herbs I get have that warning on them. Really? Alfalfa leaf is carcinogeic? Chamomile flowers? Oatstraw? It is the GMO people putting fear in the population of healthy, whole foods that can PREVENT cancer. It’s like the disclaimer they MAKE the dairy industry put on the packaging saying it is free of rBGH or rBST only if the FDA’s disclaimer, “no significant difference has been shown between milk derived from rBST-supplemented and non-rbST-supplemented cows” is included on the label. There is a difference and a danger of giving those artificial growth hormones to the cows and us drinking the milk! I would not worry about the Prop 65 warning on anything from Mountain Rose Herbs. They are a reputable company selling SAFE products.

      • The companies may be reputable, but they are not in charge of the policies that the USDA and FDA create for farmers and products. If you research the USDA website or email them, you will soon see that there are many restrictions and requirements for the cultivation of crops whether GMO or non-GMO, and many of these FAVOR CHEMICALS and GMOs. Like allowing certain percentage of dangerous pesticides or other conventional techniques on non-GMO crops – yes. NON-GMO crops. So not all is transparent becuase like they finagle with vocabulary, like “natural” and “organic” and names they name chemicals on labels – or the chemicals they do NOT require then to label at all. So the truth is that EVERTHING is suspect and subject to trusting our certifying officials – but how can we do that when they exclude info and lie?? and change vocabulary meanings?? this is why WE MUST GO FOR BANNING GMOs. Period, and for changing our farming techniques. Did you know that the USDA PATENTS GMO crops also?? How could they be impartial or even truthful if they have investments in GMOs themselves???

  35. I am very pleased to have found this website as I was googling food additive gums. I am an old lady and have no allergies or sensitivities but I do like to minimize intake of bad stuff. Moreover I have granddaughters with skin issues, one has gut issues, so information about additives is particularly helpful. Thanks.

    • I was just saying in another post, why are the elders of native tribes so wise, calm and good energy while north american seniors are crabby, senile and sick?
      You Mrs Swissik are one of the wise elders and your grandchildren are lucky to have you as a grandmother!!!
      Sadly my parents in law are stuck in the 70s mentality of low fat and eating grains and processed foods and swear by eating packaged desserts like pudding and cookies after each lunch and dinner. I am horrified to think what they will try to feed my children once I have them. (I will be telling them the kids are allergic to everything except a WAPF diet).

      • Thanks for the article. I found the information useful and hope it will help those who have allergies. It is certainly important to check the lists of ingredients on labels.

        Lisa B:
        You asked elsewhere, “Why are the elders of native tribes so wise, calm and good energy while north american seniors are crabby, senile and sick?”
        I always thought that the elders of native tribes who are relied on for their wisdom were recognized as “elders” precisely because they had demonstrated that they had it. Surely not all old native tribesmen are wise, while all North American seniors are “crabby, senile, and sick”! You seem to be comparing a status that is very likely earned among native American tribes with the situation with SOME PEOPLE IN another group of who are seniors simply because they haven’t died yet, smearing ALL elderly North Americans in the process. Perhaps as you yourself become older, your opinions may become a little less all-inclusive?

        –Healthy non-senile (but allergic to fuzzy logic) North American Senior

      • 6 years ago i visited 2 cities in Japan for 3 weeks. Only 1 elderly lady walked well ….like an elderly person (slow and bent over). The tons of other people i passed on the street were healthy looking at all ages, including some who had to be in their 90s, walked at a really brisk pace, straight backs, had healthy looking skin & hair, etc. The difference: very little meat & dairy eaten, all natural fresh food purchased each & every day. No one stockpiles for a week or whatever.( except for the rice they eat 3 times per day) NO PRESERVATIVES allowed whatsoever! A Japanese friends father worked in customs. One time the US forced the Jap. Govt to purchase fruit from the US. They tested the fruit in the customs holding building before allowing it into the country. They ended up destroying every bit of the fruit from the US due to the toxin levels. The Japanese were shocked that the US gov’t allows its citizens to ingest such hazardous foods!

  36. I am allergic to all of these gums that they are using and I wish that the FDA(Monsanto) would leave things alone, and just let nature take its course, when they use these gums, they are genetically modifying them. and not using the natural way of doing these gums.

  37. I have a known allergy to locust bean and carrageenan gums for a number of years. Two bites of a Dove Ice Cream bar and I had a full-blown allergy attack in 20 min. I know to avoid products containing these gums and ask for ingredients at every restaurant and read all labels. Imagine my shock when 20 min. after eating at a fine Italian restaurant (marina sauce and Italian sausages-no pasta), I was in the midst of a major allergy attack. I called the restaurant today and learned that they use their homemade marina sauce to keep their Italian sausages AND purchased meat balls hot on the stove.. At the time of the customer’s order, they dished out the sausage and I enjoyed every bite until 20 min. later and BOOM! I was in serious trouble. The manager checked every ingredient for me immediately and found their purchased meat balls include Locust Bean Gum. I didn’t even order the meat balls and yet the Gum contaminated the sauce resulting in an attack. It’s getting really scary and life-threatening. The manager was shocked at the added ingredient. It’s getting harder and harder to protect oneself – just ask one who has been treated at the emergency room many a time.

    • If I were you. I will stay and eat at home all the time. There is no way to prevent future problems like the one you had unless you control and prepare your own food.

      • I agree; the only way one can avoid harmful ingredients in food is to prep it at home oneself. Even then watch out for what you add, such as tomato paste from a tube or anything else that comes canned, or otherwise packaged.

        • yes, especially canned stuff, best to avoid all- all canned seafood has stuff in it a well- the other culprits are: Palm Kernel or Palm Oil, Tripolyphosphate, Erythorbate, and Dipotassium- some of these will make you have rectal bleeding

    • Carrie: What an awful experience!
      I know from experience that at least one often successful alternative cancer treatment strongly recommends that the patient avoid processed foods. That makes sense, considering how many of the “foods” on the market contain a lot of ingredients that are not natural or really foods at all. Even the word “natural,” we are told, doesn’t necessarily have to mean anything, legally speaking. But “organic” and the USDA seal does.

  38. Well, I just had one 8 oz glass of So Delicious Coconut Milk Egg nog and am pretty horribly bloated. Eggs and coconut don’t do this to me….it must be either the xanthan gum or the guar gum that are in the drink….

    • If I remember correctly this (as other) coco. milk contains carrageenan. I don’t buy it any more. I have communicated with Califia another producer of almond milk and was told until they find a suitable substitute they will continue to add carrageenan as well. I mistakenly believed that this particular brand was additive free because when I purchased it at Costco it was sold from the cooler. Today I found almond milk at Walmart in the cooler and it contains only locust bean gum and gellan gum. Both seemingly not so bad if it doesn’t affect one’s gut. Mine is pretty tough.

        • I have found “Carraeenan-free” Califia products at the health food store and was thrilled! But when I picked up a large bottle at the grocery store I was disappointed to find it still contained carrageenan. I had to put it back. When can we expect ALL Califia products to be carrageenan-free?

          • I had told my husband that was a “safe” beverage for him to get, being as it was “carrageenan-free” Now I need to have him check every bottle for the ingredients.

        • Removing carrageenan is not enough for many of us. Guar gum and gellan gum cause my daughter to have 40-50 minutes of unbelievable bloating and gas. My husband gets an immediate cramp, followed by diarrhea. I like Califa Farms taste, but it seems like they both react the worst to that brand. I don’t understand why it can’t be left out with the direction telling us to shake well before using. It’s an oxymoron for health foods to contain additives.

  39. I stumbled across this discussion while looking for ways to make marshmallows without corn syrup. (I have a corn allergy.) The information on other food additives that I read here has certainly been enlightening! I do have one question after taking in so much information at once. It seems (for those of us who are not vegetarian) that the best ingredient to use when making foods like marshmallows which demand using SOMETHING to obtain that certain texture and consistency is plain old-fashioned gelatin. Do you agree with my assumption in this scenario? Besides being animal-based, is there anything else creepy about gelatin to consider? Thank you for the education!

  40. Thanks Chris for this article. Out of all the commercial almond milks out there, the Silk Vanilla Unsweetened has the best ingredients. I have no gut issues or discomfort at all. The ingredients that concerned me was the Locust Bean Gum and the sunflower lecithin. After reading this article, I see that the LBG reacts fine with me, and since the lecithin is from sunflowers, I assumed that’s an ok form of lecithin. What do you think?

  41. Norma Vessels –
    Yes – you are right about Wendys soft ice cream! It has carrageenan and all kinds of GUMS.
    I was diagnosed with eczema and went completely food additive free for 29 days (gluten free also), (plus took Dr. Wallach’s vitamins and mineral regime. I was about 85 % free from eczema – On the 29th day – some friends said lets go to Sams club for some Frozen yogurt. I got Chocolate Frozen yogurt – (before I got home – I was itching like crazy – eczema was back behind my neck (hairline). I called them next day and asked what was in it: Skim pasterized milk, liquid sugar, pasteruzed sweet cream, buttermilk, paster and cultured skin milk, carmel base (corn syrup), cream & salt, water, sugar, sweet condensed skim milk, natural flavored carmel color, AMMo – for color, CARRAGEENAN, salted carmel base (water sugar brown sugar) natural artifical flavors, modified foo starch, salt, citric acid, corn syrup, non fat dry milk, cream, whey, cellulose gum, guar gum, modified food starch, CARRAGEENAN, pectin, contains milk and eggs, contains less 1% of carmel color, mono diglyerides, sweeten pasteruzed egg yolks, and sugar. Now these were listed in order of how much was in it. (so if you see some items listed twice – it was added twice).
    There was no chocolate in this Chocolate Frozen Yogurt (I was sure it was the chocolate – NOPE).
    I read about CARRAGEENAN and this is not a good product – – but now I really question CARRAGEENAN and any GUM’s.
    Anyone wanting to get rid of eczema – just get on a good vit and mineral regime and stay away from CARRAGEENAN and Gum perservatives!!! Actually any perservatives. Then gradually add back into your diet – and you can find out for yourself.
    McDonalds soft icecream has in it Milkfat, nonilk fat, sucrose, corn syrup, 1% of each mono diglyceride, Guar gum, CARRAGEENAN, sodium hexanetophospth, Cellose GUM, artifical flavors, vita Palmilata.
    Good luck Sheila

    The next day, and the day after that, I was so off my balance, I could barely stand up. I realized that it was that large amount of ice cream that sent me there. I read the ingredients of a half gallon of ice cream in my freezer and found the Locust bean gum, the Caro gum and the carragenna, all three in the ice cream.

    • Dairy is a pretty potent gluten mimicker so it could have caused your problem as well. Now that we know that gluten can be a major cause of allergies, psoriasis and other autoimmune diseases…I would be more concerned with the dairy in that ice cream you ate…

  42. Chris, thank you for the thorough research you are doing! I have started a series of posts about ingredients in the supermarket bought produce (in Switzerland) and your additives guide is extremely useful (just downloaded the ebook too)

  43. Chris, in my experience with my own allergic reactions, I have had negative body responses to Guar Gum, including hives, vertigo, heart racing, and nausea. All 3 times after enjoying some kind of dairy free ice cream loaded with guar gum but no other controversial ingredients. I have also read that guar gum is frequently contaminated with soy from processing, and I am also intolerant to soy (but guar gum produced some unique symptoms for me). Something to learn more about for all of us.

  44. What about Methyl Cellulose? (461) Anyone heard of it or know if it’s ok? Sounds a bit artificial to me.
    (It’s in the GF bread I eat along with Guar gum.)

  45. Thank you for the info. I am concerned for my daughter who loves to drink Almond milk and wants to get pregnant. I am concern if Almond milk which has locust bean gum and gellan gum would be harmful to a pregnant woman. Should she
    drink the Almond milk?

    • Ofcourse Almond milk is perfectly healthy for her, unless she is allergic to any of the ingredients.
      From experience of being pregnant 4 times, i would suggest the best thing to do is to let your daughter make her OWN decisions about what she does and doesn’t eat without interference if you want to stay in her good books!
      Theres nothing more annoying than someone interfering or “helpfully suggesting” they do otherwise as it just comes across as criticism.

  46. I tend not to create many remarks, however i did some searching and wound up here Harmful or Harmless: Guar Gum, Locust Bean Gum, and More. And I do have 2 questions for you if it’s allright. Could it be just me or does it look like some of these remarks look like coming from brain dead folks? 😛 And, if you are writing on additional places, I’d like to keep up with anything fresh you have to post. Could you list of the complete urls of all your shared pages like your Facebook page, twitter feed, or linkedin profile?

    • Good day,
      On behalf of all the people contributing to this forum, can you please clarify your requests as stated above. You would like Chris Kresser to give you a list of all his recent activity on all channels, and could you please clarify whom you are calling brain dead?

  47. Could someone tell me if there have been studies showing what thickeners (or other things besides coffee, tea, chocolate, and carob) contain theobromine and/or caffeine? I am extremely sensitive to both. (it raises my blood pressure to dangerous levels. Started doing this 3 1/2 years ago.) I read labels like mad, actually didn’t know that locust bean and carob bean are the same thing… glad I skipped the ice cream with locust bean in it tonight, it’s not a fun reaction! thanks

    • Jodie!
      The only ice cream I eat is Turkey Hill vanilla or chocolate and Hagaan Das vanilla or chocolate because they are the only ones that just use milk, cream and sugar!
      There is one place near me called Sweet and Crafty that makes soft serve with those three ingredients. I have to sit and watch everytime friends stop for an ice cream cause most add guar gum, xanthem gum, carob gum, tara gum, etc etc etc i have been reading labels for years!!! No creamy things from restaurants and I use only oil and vinegar for a dressing! Processed cheese is a big nono! Fresh mozzarella is my treat! I choose my ricotta, sour cream and yogurt wisely. Gotten used to it after ten years! Good luck!

      • Are you on fb Jodie? I wil like to know more about what foods you eat. Because I’ve been going that route for a year now & feel at my best.

    • Jodi,
      Make sure that when you go to the dentist, to tell them you have this problem. You should not use epinephrine it will stimulate your system and that is not good for someone like you.

    • I’m not sure why so many ask questions of others….not realizing they have a computer with a search bar and can look up things themselves. Do a search of “foods containing theobromine”, etc…

  48. I have had problems with these “thickeners” /gums for years. I started noticing when I ate ice cream, cream cheese, ricotta, frosting, creamy dressings, etc that had any gums in them, I developed sebatious cysts on my face. A colleague showed up to work with a swollen face and we discovered that he needed to make his own ice cream to eat every night instead of the ones with a million unnecessary ingredients.
    My face is cyst free if I cook my own foods and use ricotta/etc that has three ingredients as it should. Turkey Hill uses milk, cream and sugar in their vanilla bean and chocolate only. Dermatologists have debated with me that it has nothing to do with the gums, but I eat yogurt without it and have no problems. I drink milk so it is not dairy and cheese as they suggest. I buy a block of cheese instead of shredded and have no problems. The moment i eat anything with gums, I have a cyst that last for weeks!
    Do you have any thoughts on this subject?

    • It wouldn’t surprise me at all if gums gave you cysts. Milk gives me acne, red burning, rough skin, acid reflux, some kind of arthritis in my feet. Who is to say that your body chemistry isnt affected by gums in such a way that your skin reacts as it does?

      • Hey Honey, how are you? I have celiac disease and believe you also have celiac disease. You can get a blood test to disgnose whether you have it or not.

        For the writer of this article are those who have celiac disease allergic to Gellan Gum, what do you think?

        Thanks in advance,

    • Wow, that is so interesting! 9 years ago I experienced cystic acne over much of my face for a year, couldn’t get rid of it until I saw a naturopath. She changed my diet and added some supplements. I’ve never been sure which change helped it go away. I’ve always suspected it was getting rid of all the soy I was eating, including soy milk and soy ice cream (blech, I know). Now I wonder if the gums had anything to do with it?! I notice when I use protein powders with gums I get extra bloated. Thanks for this info! And thanks Chris for doing such a great job. Love your podcasts also!

  49. I have been without any of the gums for 5 weeks (the stuff they put in gluten free baking). My digestion immediately improved! Another few days later, I also decided to stay off the gluten free oats until I figured out I could soak them so i’ll try that in future, but being basically GAPS/paleo has helped greatly as well. I think I’m turning against eating things that we have not evolved to eat. Grains and dairy need to be eaten properly: soaked and fermented as was done by our ancestors who figured out HOW to properly eat them safely, same as any other new fangled food. If we can’t figure out how to eat them properly and safely, it’s out. If so many have issues with them (and remember I AM one of those people who thought I was fine with them, but upon eliminating, I realized my other issues were actually related) then it’s not a safe ENOUGH food. Is a food that is safe for some really safe? I realize peanuts are safe for me but not for all, but there’s something else happening here. I think that if those who say they aren’t reacting, just haven’t reacted yet and will suffer consequences later, plus we need to remember something important: ADDITIVES ARE ADDITIVE – they have an additive effect and the more unfair curve balls we throw at our bodies, like a fever, we could get stronger, but with additives and chemicals that can weaken and confuse our bodies, and make them focus hard on working to combat these things which only takes away focus and energy to digest normally.

    • I’m sorry, did you write the phrase “gluten free oats”? Do you actually know what Gluten is, or is your current dietary style a mere middle class attempt at appearing unique and elite?

      • Thank you Laura Schoenfeld for your response to Jennifer, I appreciate it.

        Jennifer, I’m just not sure why you were so quick to insult and name call me. I didn’t not target anyone with my comments, they were my learnings, my story that I shared because it is relevant to the topic being discussed here. That’s what we are all doing here. Trying to learn so we can bring health to ourselves and our families. You don’t know me, my health history, or my family’s struggles at all from my post to categorize me as any type of social class and accusing me of coming here on this site to appear as some superior way to everyone else. Would you call a cancer patient avoiding sugar elitist, or a child with a fatal peanut allergy eating an alternative food elitist?

        My experiences are fact. I have suffered with digestive issues and have been doing my own investigation which you could have done yourself by a simple google search. I stated that I was planning to purchase gluten free oats (which I actually did, I tried the onlyoats brand linked on my name) and soaked them per many gluten free sites promoting soaking your grains whether gluten free or not, and tried them. It’s because it breaks down the phytic acid that is on the grains, which unlocks healthy minerals otherwise trapped in there, plus phytic acid is a chelator robbing the body of minerals. This is also a google-able fact that is discussed actually here on Chris Kresser’s site, as well as many others. For those interested, I did fine on soaked oats and continue to learn about proper food preparation for my family’s health.

        Your comment that I have a “dietary lifestyle” that is elite seems to reflect that you don’t believe anyone actually has a gluten sensitivity or intolerance, at all. If you believe that, go ahead and make your identical comment on other pages of this site, and other respectable forums for people who have suffered for years with digestive issues due to gluten and other grain issues. Go sit in the waiting room of a GI clinic and tell them they are elitist for avoiding grains and purchasing alternative foods in their desperate effort to try something to alleviate their horrible painful suffering. There are genuinely people and even children truly suffering from these things. Have you ever been sick and paid for a medicine? If so, you are elitist for spending money on a remedy as well.

        As Laura said, gluten free oats, like many other gluten free grains, in case you are surprised by that as well, are sold at any health food store and affordable for anyone, not only reserved for the elite as you imply. By the way, we save money by making foods at home, with cheap ingredients like cabbage to make probiotic sauerkraut, buying organ meat which is many times cheaper than popular cuts, and sacrifice what we must when necessary. For example, some people just don’t bother purchasing the alternative gluten free items, which appears in many comments on this site by others as well. Soaking grains is actually a free activity.

        Just like everyone else here, we are sharing what we’ve learned anecdotally. None of us are elitists or have millions for grants to pool together and make a study of our own, so we go by the studies there are, ensure we are looking at things from all sides, and coming together in an environment where we can share our knowledge. If no one shared their story, we wouldn’t have been able to confirm our knowledge because we wouldn’t know we were alone in our problems.

        We are sharing our stories for support, and knowledge for the goal of trying to heal, and watch our families grow to be healthy and strong, I’m sure Jennifer you have the same goals for yourself and your family, or future family. Despite your comment, I hope you and your family don’t end up with such a digestive condition or any other health afflictions because no one should know first hand what we’ve experienced. You, and all of us, have the right to learn from all the wonderful research and articles there are here, and elsewhere.

        Not sure what you were trying to accomplish with your hostility but those of us will real digestive issues are going about our journeys to health with or without your negative comments.

          • Agreed, well said. I know of several people who can’t have gluten. The one is so sensitive that if wheat flour touches her skin, it turn red and itchy. I’ve asked those with various allergies, intolerances, and diet issues that much of their current diet is to trial and error, documenting what worked and what failed.

        • Thanks Lisa for sharing your story. It resonates at different levels. And you are right, the best way is to cook from scratch as much as possible. That way most additives and harmful chemicals can be avoided. I liked some of your suggestions.

          As for Jennifer, she was probably having a hard day and decided to take it out on a stranger on the internet. Hope she’s feeling better now.

          • I appreciate giving Jennifer a bit of understanding. We all face our own trials. Thanks to all for great comments. This discussion has really enlightened me. And thanks to Chris for his ever-thoughtful posts. Wonderful!

        • Lisa,
          Well said and I completely agree with you, people should know what they are talking about before they go shooting off their mouth.
          Do you know who Elisabeth Hasselbeck is? If so, then you should know that gluten free is not a fab, if not I suggest you google her and read her story, because she has a truly moving story that has helped millions. Living a gluten free lifestyle is not a choice most people because they want to, its because that have to. Someone who has Celiac disease has to be very careful everywhere they go when it comes to food, because it is very easy to cross-contaminate food and they will get deathly ill, where as someone who is sensitive or intolerant will suffer but not die. I have no choice but to live a gluten free lifestyle if I want to be able to enjoy a normal life, and ignorant people who think it is a joke or a choice need to be educated, like Lisa said would you make fun of or open a bag of peanuts in front of someone who is highly allergic to peanuts, I would hope not! I glad you are healthy and don’t have health issues to deal with, because if you did you wouldn’t have made the remarks you did. So next time before you open your mouth or engaged your figures to insult someone’s choices, learn about it first, then you can make intelligent remarks.
          Great information, I love to bake and being gluten free, I have always used Xanthan Gum, but I will try Gum Arabic and see how it works, do you know if this is gluten free?
          Thanks, live happy and healthy in whatever lifestyle you choose.

        • Well said Lisa, we have to turn to these sites for info & do our own research, as with intolerances our doctors aren’t of much help.

        • Lisa,
          It’s been a while since I have joined a conversation. When I saw your response I was very proud of you. I see and work with many people that have to deal with health issues. I am a nutritional analyst, and can test a person for allergies and substances that act adversely to ones body. I don’t need a machine to do this. Your own body can reveal what is wrong. It is unfortunate that in today’s food environment we now have to battle to keep from being poisoned by the same entities that claim to be on our side for our well being. I have watched since the 1970’s the changes in our food and with it the increase of every type of illness known to man. I have preached go “back to basics” on eating and preparing foods for many years. We are overpowered by the profits that can be made by feeding us mass produced, high sugar, wheat and what ever else put into it to make the taste buds swim with delight. Even the educational system refuse to teach the correct food. They believe the lies told back when I was in school and will not change it to enhance the proper learning of the children new in this world. We wait for someone else to provide what they insist is OK for us and then years later after many illnesses discover that they were wrong. If you really want a good lesson in that look up Ancel Keys and find out what this idiot did to the whole world by his egotistical findings. There are millions of people on cholesterol medicine and killing themselves because of his false information. It amazes me how one person can destroy so many peoples lives. Again I find it so encouraging that people like you insist on finding the truth.

      • I want to add that, not only are oats cross contaminated when they are harvested and stored, BUT there are a number of Celiacs that will also react to Gluten free oats, because oats contain proteins that are similar enough to gluten to invoke a response. I know because I researched it and I am one such person who has a bad intestinal response to them.

      • please be aware that even though oat is a gluten free grain, unless it is labeled gluten free, oatmeal can contain up to 40% gluten. before you bash helpful, knowledgeable people, check the facts. thank you

  50. Chris since my son eats gluten free and dairy free. I would like to know your opinion about the different kind of flours in the market like almond flour or tapioca, rice, coconut, potato. Which one do you think is better for a gluten free person?

    • Because of the dangers of solanine in potatoes and that almonds are a goiterogen and if not organic rice is heavily sprayed – I would suggest( org.) coconut flour.

  51. Your articles are always great. Thank you so much to explain such a details information.
    You are helping me a lot with my son’s diet.
    I bought a coconut milk that contained both carrageenan and guard gum.
    Many thanks

  52. I have recently experienced two separate allergic reactions from ingesting a whey protein product mixed with a different brand almond milk on each occurance. A review of the almond milk ingredients revealed both contain xanthan gum, carrageenan, and guar gum. The whey protein, which I have consumed fairly frequently, also contains xanthan gum. I am hyper allergic to any food product containing the most minute amount of penicillin(generally beef and dairy products).
    Unfortunately, I have not yet read Chris’ previous articles in his series.
    Has anyone had similar resulting reactions from the above noted gum products?

  53. Thank you SO much for this article and all the others regarding gums! Finally I have a clue what is going on with me and I will do a test over the next weeks to see how I do trying to avoid these gums that are in all my GF foods (very sensitive to gluten and dairy – major gas, discomfort and not pretty gm’s.) Have not been able to figure out why I am still having digestive problems when I’ve been staying away from gluten and wheat! I will reply to my own post if I remember, so I can report my findings. This morning I had my probiotic soy yogourt from bioK, black coffee (a must despite the digestive implications) and GF pure oat flour pancakes with a tiny bit of pure maple syrup from Quebec. The pancake mix containing only oat flour, baking soda, salt, and sugar, from the company called Only Oats which I bought from Community Natural Foods so I know the source is decent. That was a few hours ago… so far so good.

    • correction in the second sentence – in parentheses: not pretty gm’s not gm’s!

      Since all GM’s are inherently not pretty 😉

        • But you gave me a good morning chuckle…..so thank you! Perhaps your original typo was nature’s assistance with discretion!

        • Yes Lisa my whole family is gluten free and even though they are gluten free oats we still react to them. I have read that there is a form of gluten in oats and some people are reactive to this form of gluten as well. So basically it’s no oats for us, although we have recently discovered quinoa flakes which are a great replacement.

    • Lisa —

      I also get major gas and discomfort from gluten and dairy….AND from soy and oats. So therein may lay your culprits. Dealing with digestive issues can unfortunately mean avoiding more than just gluten and dairy (and guar gum?)!

  54. We found by food elimination and re introductions that My daughter and I both are allergic to Guar Gum. My daughter is Gluten free * from an allergy of mold that grows on wheat* and so in buying things gluten free we were exposed to Guar Gum and both would get very ill.
    In our test and food rotations also Ameranth was another. We just eat lots of whole foods and veggies 🙂
    It is tough to find foods without gums most of the time.

    • Correction Amaranth is My allergy. We have kept it away from our daughter since she would break out from Natural juice boxes that used it for color.

  55. I’m looking at the additives as an option to use in wheat free baking. Some options I like better than others, haven’t decided which is best but this info is extremely helpful.

  56. I understand the reference to the animal studies, however, I am not a rat, or a dog and I doubt that anyone is really interested on how these chemicals react on them! I want to know what they do to humans! This animal testing that still continues is rediculous, most studies on animals do not reflect the same results on humans. That being said, I love this site and know you are referring to what is available.

  57. I am enjoying your discussion about the “gum” additives now being used and studied. I would like to see, as additional information added to your articles, the components for fiber, carbohydrate, protein, and fat. I need this information due to being diagnosed with Type2 diabetes. I am looking for a replacement for wheat noodles, with a high fiber/protein content. Thanks for the info!

  58. My daughter used a product frm herbalife three years ago for about a month She has been.suffering with severe bloating belching excessive gas and stomach cramps for three years now What can she use to for relief please?

    • Jessy, I would recommend she try introducing kefir, a highly probiotic dairy product, in order to repopulate the good bacteria in her gut. I would be happy to send you some kefir grains that you simply add to milk (raw if possible) to culture it in about 24 hours. You are welcome to contact me at [email protected] thanks!

    • By all means change the diet. But if you can’t find the source of irritation, There is an herb called devil’s claw which reduces inflammation all over but especially in the intestinal tract. It lowers blood sugar a few points so if you’re diabetic take cats claw instead.

  59. Really enjoying this series. I’ve encouraged several of my clients to visit your blog recently when they have questions about these additives. I can tell them these things are safe or not, but it gives them a resources when they get home. Keep up the good research!

      • Yes, I too cannot eat brown rice. With my IBS, the fiber in it tears me up! But I am able to eat Jasmine white rice with no problem. I find that if I avoid high fiber foods, my intestines are so much happier. The more fiber I eat, the worse the constipation is, but if I stick to low fiber and mostly soluble fiber, I have no problem.

  60. Speaking of prebiotics.
    After listening to the podcast with Jeff Leach I was curious about using onion powder, mixed in water, the same way people use potato starch as a prebiotic. I’m not suggesting replacing cooked food with powder, but as a supplement to a nutritious diet and busy schedule.Might that be a beneficial way for increasing levels of Bifidobacterium?
    Thanks Chris

  61. Thank you for this article, I have forwarded it to some friends…i’ll bet that arrowroot is also not good for the gut as well, right?

  62. Very interesting post, Chris. Does the guar gum and locust gum seem to behave in a way similar to *resistant starch* – promoting beneficial microbes and modulating blood glucose? Would you classify potato starch and tapioca starch as similar to the guar and locust gum?

  63. Thank you Chris for the informative series. Patients are often confused about selecting foods containing these ingredients and the data you present will give them a good basis for making informed choices.

  64. Really enjoying this series so far. Maybe it’s already in the pipeline already, but I’d love to see an evaluation of titanium dioxide.

  65. Seems you have left out two items which are commonly used and which some have reported to have long term detrimental effects: di-calcium phosphate, which is reported to inhibit mineral absorption, and microcrystalline cellulose, which is indigestible and may build up in the body.

    • Robert, could you point me toward your sources for the long term detrimental effect of microcrystalline cellulose? My googling so far has failed to turn it up. Thanks.

    • I am probably the one in a million, but I find myself allergic to the bean gum families. I was going around very unwell, with a pulling in my ears, stuffy head, sudden dizzy spells, and going around for 8 months trying to stay on my feet because of a feeling of unbalance.

      One day my sister and I went shopping with me hanging onto the cart, and when we were done, we stopped and got some ice cream from Wendy’s.

      The next day, and the day after that, I was so off my balance, I could barely stand up. I realized that it was that large amount of ice cream that sent me there. I read the ingredients of a half gallon of ice cream in my freezer and found the Locust bean gum, the Caro gum and the carragenna, all three in the ice cream.

      I stopped eating ice cream, and everything that has any of the three compounds in the food. I came out of the dizzy spells and the wobbiling around, even though there are still smaller symptoms left over.

      I’m still searching for other ingredients that is harming me.

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