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Gellan gum (E418) is a food additive that was discovered growing on a lily pad plant in Pennsylvania over 50 years ago, Now, it's produced by fermentation technology with a natural bacteria—the same process used for some of our favorite foods and drinks like wine, cheese, yogurt, and bread.

gellan gum was discovers from lily pad


It was firstly used as an alternative choice for gelatin and agar agar, but nowadays it is widely used in foods & beverages products, including jams, candy, meats, and fortified plant milks (1Trusted Source).

You may wonder whether it offers any benefits or is safe to consume.

The content below examines gellan gum to determine whether it's good or bad for you.

Gellan gum is a food additive typically used to bind, stabilize, or texturize processed foods. It's similar to other gelling agents, including guar gum, carrageenan, agar agar, and xanthan gum.

It grows naturally on water lilies but can be artificially produced by fermenting sugar with a specific strain of bacteria (2Trusted Source).

It's a popular replacement for other gelling agents because it's effective in very small amounts and produces a clear gel that isn't sensitive to heat (3).

Gellan gum also works as a plant-based alternative to gelatin, which is derived from animal skin, cartilage, or bone.

SUMMARY

Gellan gum is an additive used to bind, stabilize, or texturize foods. While naturally occurring, it’s also produced commercially via bacterial fermentation.

Gellan gum has a variety of uses.

As a gelling agent, it lends a creamy texture to desserts, gives fillings for baked goods a jelly-like consistency, and reduces the likelihood that certain delicacies — such as creme brûlée or flaming sorbet — will melt when subjected to heat.

Gellan gum is also commonly added to fortified juices and plant milks to help stabilize supplemental nutrients like calcium, keeping them mixed into the beverage rather than pooled at the bottom of the container.

This additive likewise has medical and pharmaceutical applications for tissue regeneration, allergy relief, dental care, bone repair, and drug manufacturing (4Trusted Source5Trusted Source).

SUMMARY

Gellan gum has gelling, stabilizing, and texture-enhancing properties, as well as several pharmaceutical uses.

You can find gellan gum in a variety of foods, including (6):

  • Beverages: fortified plant-based milks and juices, chocolate milk, and some alcoholic drinks
  • Confectioneries: candy, marshmallows, fillings for baked goods, and chewing gum
  • Dairy: fermented milk, cream, yogurt, processed cheese, and some unripened cheeses
  • Fruit and vegetable products: fruit purées, marmalades, jams, jellies, and some dried fruit and vegetables
  • Packaged foods: breakfast cereals, as well as some noodles, potato gnocchi, bread, rolls, and gluten-free or low-protein pastas
  • Sauces and spreads: salad dressings, ketchup, mustard, gravies, custards, and some sandwich spreads
  • Other foods: some processed meats, fish roe, soups, broths, condiments, powdered sugar, and syrups

Gellan gum is particularly popular in vegan packaged foods because it's a plant-based alternative to gelatin.

Gellan gum keeps things consistent

You know how sometimes you pour almond milk into a coffee, forget about it (oops), and come back to it looking separated and, well, kind of gross? Gellan gum helps to prevent that separation from happening in products you buy at the grocery store.

“When you choose an alternative dairy milk containing gellan gum, you can rest assured knowing the nutrients will be evenly distributed throughout each glass you pour,”

almond milk fortified with calcium—without gellan gum, the calcium and minerals would settle at the bottom, along with almond sentiment.

You'll find it listed on food labels as gellan gum or E418. It's also sold separately under brand names like Gelrite or Kelcogel (5Trusted Source6).

SUMMARY

Gellan gum is added to various beverages, confectioneries, sauces, spreads, packaged foods, and dairy products. It's also a popular alternative choice for gelatin in vegan products.

While gellan gum is said to offer several health benefits, few of these are backed by strong evidence.

For instance, some evidence suggests that gellan gum relieves constipation by adding bulk to stool and helping foods move smoothly through your gut (67Trusted Source8Trusted Source).

That said, these studies are very small and outdated. What’s more, results were mixed, indicating that any digestive benefits may vary by individual (9Trusted Source).

Furthermore, certain gums have been linked to weight loss, appetite control, and lower blood sugar and cholesterol levels, leading some people to assert that gellan gum also provides these benefits (1011Trusted Source12Trusted Source13Trusted Source14Trusted Source).

However, very few studies have examined whether gellan gum has these attributes specifically — and those that do fail to report any significant effects (68Trusted Source9Trusted Source).

Suitable for Vegan/Vegetarian Recipes

Because it's produced from bacteria fermentation and not from any type of animal source, gellan gum is a common additive in vegan diet foods. Vegan recipes — including cultured products or those that normally contain dairy, such as almond milk or coconut kefir/yogurt, for example — are usually in need of some sort of added stabilizer and thickening agent to prevent the products from separating.

This is where stabilizers like organic gellan gum, locust bean gum or guar gum can come in handy. Often the gellan gum found in foods is vegetarian-, kosher- and halal-approved, although this depends on the specific product it's used in.

SUMMARY

Few studies have tested gellan gum's benefits, though it may reduce your likelihood of constipation. While some people claim that it promotes weight loss and reduces appetite, blood sugar, and cholesterol, further research is needed.

Gellan gum is widely considered safe (6).

While one animal study linked chronic intake of high doses of gellan gum to abnormalities in gut lining, other studies have found no harmful effects (615Trusted Source).

Moreover, in a 3-week study, people ate close to 30 times more gellan gum per day than typically found in a normal diet without experiencing any adverse effects (16Trusted Source).

That said, because this product may slow digestion in some people, you may wish to limit your intake (16Trusted Source).

SUMMARY

Gellan gum is considered a safe food additive by FDA & JECFA, though it may slow your digestion.

Gellan gum is a food additive found in a variety of processed foods.

Although it may fight constipation in some people, most of its alleged benefits are not supported by science.

That is to say it is considered safe because of small amount uses in small amounts,thus it's unlikely to cause problems.

 

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