You want your whole foods to be vegan friendly, especially when you are constantly spotting them on ingredient labels of your favorite foods. This is why a lot of people want to know if guar gum is vegan. The truth is it is completely vegan.
The bean itself doesn’t look particularly appetizing, but it can be used to make a versatile gum, and we are going to find out more.
What Is Guar Gum?
The bean is usually grown in India, Pakistan, Australia, Africa, and the US and is often known as guaran. India produces up to 3 million tonnes of it annually, accounting for around 65% of the world’s supply.
How Is Guar Gum Made?
It is made from the seeds that are dehusked, milled, and turned into an off-white powder. Desirable in food because it does not turn into gum unless it is mixed with water.
Is Guar Gum Vegan?
Yes, it is. Both cruelty-free and plant-derived, it is fine for consumption. There is no need for animal testing so it is a safe ingredient.
Derived from the guar bean, it has been used for thousands of years and is likely to be found in vegan-friendly foods that you had no idea about.
What Is Guar Gum Used For?
Guar gum is a common ingredient in gluten-free and vegan-friendly food. Any stretchy proteins that are not viable with such diets and lifestyles can be replaced by guar gum.
This is because of the binding qualities that make it an ideal replacement for gelatin. Its thickening and stabilizing properties are the reason it can be used in jellies and many confectionery items that are often suitable for vegans.
As a white powder, it doesn’t look too dissimilar from fine flour. But because of its free soluble state in water, it is easy to use in food recipes.
An important ingredient for any vegan, guar gum is a ready-made gelatin alternative because it has a similar effect. Guar gum is often used to thicken plant-based milk as it is otherwise too watery to replicate dairy products.
When mixed with these products, guar gum helps to improve mouthfeel and produces a similar texture.
It is also used in gluten-free recipes such as bread, pasta, cakes, and noodles. A stabilizing agent, it allows those with intolerances to enjoy these foods, giving them a similar consistency to the original, gluten-filled products.
What Does Guar Gum Taste Like?
When made into a fine powder, guar gum can be added in pretty much any quantity without impacting the flavor.
Because you don’t need a lot of it for it to start thickening food and drink, it doesn’t impact the color or taste when dissolved.
Is Guar Gum Good For You?
It has been declared a safe food for consumption by the FDA who states:
This substance is generally recognized as safe when used in accordance with good manufacturing or feeding practice.
Case studies have shown that guar gum can help treat people with diabetes as it slows the absorption of sugars in the body.
Some products marketed guar gum as a potential weight loss remedy, but the FDA has banned it from such uses. Overconsumption has been found to have a detrimental effect on the way your body can absorb nutrients from food.
Guar Gum Vs Xanthan Gum
Two of the most common thickeners used in gluten-free food, it is generally considered that guar gum is best for use in cold foods, whilst xanthan gum is preferable for baking.
Xanthan gum can also be used as an emulsifier meaning it can be used to ensure water and oil combine in foods without separating.
Guar Gum Vs Agar Agar
Still derived from another vegan-friendly source, agar is made from a sea vegetable and shares similar benefits to guar gum. Known as plant-based gelatin, it is used for setting jellies and used in vegan cheese to help provide a desirable texture when melted.
If you find a recipe that has agar agar on the ingredient list, guar gum is usually a viable alternative.
Where Can I Buy Guar Gum?
Thankfully for those who want to use it in their baking or home cooking recipes, guar gum is readily available online. Some of the brands making the best guar gum are as follows:
Herbalia Guar Gum Powder
An all-natural vegan-friendly gelatin replacement, this guar gum powder is high in fiber and is GMO-free.
Anthony’s Organic Guar Gum Powder
Derived from certified organic guar gum beans, it is batch-tested and verified gluten-free. A product of India and packed in the USA, it is another plant-based thickener.
Bob’s Red Mill Guar Gum
With eight times the thickening power of cornstarch, this is another vegan option for home baking.
So, any time you see guar gum on the ingredients label, you know it is a good sign. We should note that there is always a chance that there are non-vegan ingredients included as well, so be mindful of this.
Highly effective when used as a thickener, guar gum is a popular vegan alternative to gelatin.
Featured image by Quintinz (CC BY 3.0)