The Unnecessary 9: Gums & Emulsifiers

The Unnecessary 9: Gums & Emulsifiers

What are gums and emulsifiers? 


Gums and emulsifiers are food additives used to thicken, stabilize, and blend ingredients in various products like plant-based milks, enhancing texture and consistency.

👉 Gums are natural or synthetic substances added to foods to thicken and stabilize them, making things like sauces and plant-based milks smoother and creamier.

👉 Emulsifiers help mix ingredients that usually don't blend well, like oil and water, ensuring products like salad dressings and vegan spreads stay mixed and consistent.


Why do we avoid gums and emulsifiers?


〰️ Digestive Issues: Gums can cause bloating, gas, and other digestive discomfort in some people, particularly those with sensitivities.

〰️ Gut Microbiota Disruption: Certain emulsifiers may alter gut bacteria, potentially leading to inflammation and digestive problems.

〰️ Metabolic Effects: Some studies suggest that emulsifiers can contribute to metabolic disorders and inflammation.

〰️ Additive Overload: High consumption of processed foods with multiple additives, including gums and emulsifiers, might have cumulative negative health effects.


*It's important to note that all seed oils are not created equal and some are better than others. For example, cold-pressed oils keep more nutrients, but they can cost more. Sources: PMID: 35892789, PMID: 33752754, PMID: 31866761

 *Not all gums and emulsifiers should be considered equal. Some studies suggest that certain compounds might even have beneficial effects.


What are some common gums and emulsifiers?


Xanthan Gum

Produced by bacterial fermentation of sugar, it's used for its thickening and stabilizing properties in sauces, dressings, and gluten-free baking.

Guar Gum

Derived from guar beans, it’s commonly used in dairy products like ice cream and yogurt for thickening and stabilizing.

Gellan Gum

Derived from the fermentation of sugar by the bacterium Sphingomonas elodea, is used as a gelling agent, thickener, stabilizer, and emulsifier in various food products.

Locust Bean Gum

Made from carob tree seeds, it's used to stabilize and thicken products like cheese and ice cream


Extracted from red seaweed, it's used in dairy and meat products to create a gel-like consistency and improve texture.


Found in egg yolks and soybeans, it’s used in products like chocolate, margarine, and baked goods.

Mono- and Diglycerides

Produced from glycerol and natural fatty acids, they are common in baked goods, spreads, and beverages.

Sodium Stearoyl Lactylate

Used in bread making to strengthen dough and improve texture.


Synthetic emulsifiers used in ice cream, salad dressings, and confectionery.


How can you avoid gums and emulsifiers?


The best way to avoid seed oils is to inspect ingredient lists 🕵️ 🔎.

Sources: Kiki MilkSilk, & So Delicious


Disclaimer: The information provided in this email is intended for educational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.