What is Guar Gum?
Guar Gum is sourced from extracting the endosperm of guar beans. The seeds go through a process of dehusking, milling, and screening before they become what people know as guar gum or guar powder. Most guar beans come from South Asia particularly in Pakistan and India. There are also smaller plantations of the guar plant scattered in other countries like the US, China, Australia, and Africa. The beans themselves may be eaten as is and they can also serve as feed for cattle. But what most people are familiar about are guar gums in the form of ground powders used as a food source or additive.
As a food additive, guar gum is widely used as an alternative to cornstarch for its thickening properties. In preparing various food items and mixtures that need to be thickened, guar gums are said to provide more viscosity than cornstarch. Because of this, the use of guar gum is widely used in making pastry and ice cream products. Guar gum is also touted as a great “binder” with water molecules especially in ice cream products. Without guar gum on these products, the mixture will not be as smooth and creamy. This is especially true for a typical brand of ice cream that is re-frozen when melted. If this ice cream has guar gum as part of its ingredients, then the texture will be much smoother. If no guar gum is involved, the re-frozen water molecules will make the texture grainier because of the formation of ice crystals.
Guar gum is also used as a form of laxative because of its high-fiber content. Some manufacturers of this supplement also market their products as effective in lowering cholesterol levels or easing symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome. Some vitamins and supplements with guar gum also claim that it could also help people manage weight problems and diabetes.