Nutritional Ingredients

The uses of gum arabic in food and its alternatives


Arabic gum is known as an emulsifier and stabilizer for food flavors. It is extracted from the branches of acacia trees in Africa. Specifically in Sudan.

Among its many uses, The gum is used to polish shoes. It is also used in printing to make it more consistent.

It is also an important ingredient in chocolate and sweets. But the most important is the role it plays in the soft drink industry , as it binds sugar to syrup.

In fact, it is edible glue!!


What is gum arabic?

Arabic gum or what is known as (GA) is derived from the secretions of acacia trees. It consists of a mixture of polysaccharides (a major component) plus glycoproteins.

However, The components of the gum can vary depending on the source, climate and soil.

Sudan is the largest producer in the world. It is followed by many other African countries.

The glue dissolves easily in water to form solutions with low viscosity. This allows it to be used in different forms, It is also used as an emulsifier.

Read the topic: What does an emulsion mean ?

It is also used as a thickening agent and flavor stabilizer in both the pharmaceutical and food industries. As well as being used in the textile, pottery and cosmetic industries .


History of gum arabic

gum has a checkered history, in 1997, When the US government imposed sanctions on Sudan – the world’s largest producer of gum – for supporting terrorism.

lobbyists protested, As a result, the only product exempt from the export ban was gum arabic.

Recently there have been ethnic clashes over the lands where acacia trees are grown. Try to exchange resources for weapons or money.

Sudan is responsible for up to 70-80% of the global production of gum arabic.


The uses of gum arabic

Gum arabic is widely used in foods made with gluten-free flour. It acts as a substitute for gluten by binding food components.

The power of gum arabic comes from its ability to increase the viscosity and other properties of foods in small amounts. In most foods, The amount of gum arabic used is 0.5% or less.


The uses of gum arabic in food

Gum is favored by food manufacturers; Because it has unique properties that add desirable texture to food product and palatability to processed foods.

It also gives the product more resistance to heat and cold than others. Others are more acidic like: Mirinda Citrus .

Mucilage in food affects the gut flora, exerting a strong influence on the composition of gut bacteria.

These common food ingredients are treated as small additions to dishes and meals. As it is not suitable for use as food supplements.

Gum Arabic is also symbolized in the list of food ingredients with the symbol E414 or E414


The health benefits of gum arabic

Mastic gum has been evaluated as an acceptable daily food for humans by the Joint FAO/WHO Expert Committee on Food Additives since 1969.

Gum offers a wide range of potential health benefits , one of which is its prebiotic effect.

It has been claimed that four-week supplementation with gum arabic (10 g/day) resulted in significant increases in Bifidobacteria, Lactobacteria.

Other effects include a decrease in the level of plasma cholesterol in animals and humans, and anti-cancer effect, And an antioxidant with a protective role against liver toxins.

In addition It has been claimed that gum arabic alleviates the effects of chronic renal failure in humans .

Several studies indicate that a high intake of dietary fiber , including gum arabic, is associated with beneficial effects on lipid metabolism .

The results of the studies also showed a significant decrease in body mass index by 0.32%. and body fat by 2.18%.

This was after regular intake of 30g/day of gum arabic for six weeks.

Dietary fiber enhances satiety. change in the glycemic index, affect gastric emptying, And the secretion of the intestinal hormone and thus help in weight management .


Warnings about gum arabic

The main concern with gum arabic is that some people experience digestive issues such as bloating and diarrhea after eating it.

Those who suffer from intestinal imbalance issues and diffuse intestinal symptoms would be wise to limit their intake.

Also, gum arabic is clearly dangerous for children. Those allergic to soy, corn and wheat need to choose gum arabic carefully or avoid it altogether.


Arabic gum substitutes

It is not difficult to find alternatives to gum arabic. But knowing how they differ in terms of nutrition and flavor is crucial.

xanthan gum

Xanthan gum is a kind of exopolysaccharide secreted by some microorganisms. Especially plant pathogenic bacteria. Once isolated, It can be used as a thickening agent.

It is a common ingredient in many products , such as ice cream, cosmetics, and yogurt.

Caesar Mango juice contains xanthan gum

After filtering it from the alcohol, xanthan is dried into a powder, It is often used in protein powders and other supplements to provide texture and volume.

A xanthan gum substitute may be necessary for people who are sensitive or intolerant to the substance.

Or for those who need to use it on a large scale and want to save money because gum arabic is very expensive.

Corn Starch

With a similar consistency to xanthan gum, Cornstarch is a great filler for your recipes if you need a little more volume.


This can help vegan alternative, Arabic gum It can be a great addition to foods as it stabilizes ingredients while cooking.

Egg whites

Egg whites act as a leavening agent and a binding agent. It is popular in baked goods and desserts to give a fluffy texture.

Chia seeds

Not only are these seeds rich in fiber, It also provides omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. Which is not provided by gum arabic.


when collagen breaks down, it creates gelatin, It is a viscous substance that is an ideal substitute for gum arabic in baked goods.

guar gum

It is a white substance often used in cream sauces and soups as a thickening agent. This is the perfect alternative to gum arabic.

The bay bean is a plant grown primarily in India and Pakistan. in that part of the world, It is a widely consumed vegetable.

India alone produces three million tons of laurel seeds annually. Guar gum is created from this vegetable.

The popularity of guar gum in the food industry is due to its thickening power.

Compared to cornstarch, Laurel has eight times the thickening force. It is also an excellent emulsifier accompanied by extreme durability.

Guar gum is commonly used in ice cream and coconut milk. It is also popular in gluten-free foods.


It is obtained from red algae. It is a plant-based product and can be used in place of gelatin gum or gum arabic in cakes, pastries, dairy products and many other products that use it.


Ground flaxseed is one of the best sources of omega-3 fatty acids in your diet. A good alternative to gum arabic.


Some popular food products that contain gum arabic:

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