Update on Gum Arabic

Update on Gum Arabic
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From harmless to helpful?

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What about gum arabic, the hardened sap of the acacia tree, used as a stabilizer in the food industry, and for the lickable adhesive on the back of envelopes?

Considered harmless—but, there’s actually some new data suggesting in large enough doses, it may actually help feed our good bacteria.

So, I’m actually going to bump that up to helpful.

To see any graphs, charts, graphics, images, and quotes to which Dr. Greger may be referring, watch the above video. This is just an approximation of the audio contributed by veganmontreal.

Please consider volunteering to help out on the site.

Image thanks to Dinesh Valke via Flickr

What about gum arabic, the hardened sap of the acacia tree, used as a stabilizer in the food industry, and for the lickable adhesive on the back of envelopes?

Considered harmless—but, there’s actually some new data suggesting in large enough doses, it may actually help feed our good bacteria.

So, I’m actually going to bump that up to helpful.

To see any graphs, charts, graphics, images, and quotes to which Dr. Greger may be referring, watch the above video. This is just an approximation of the audio contributed by veganmontreal.

Please consider volunteering to help out on the site.

Image thanks to Dinesh Valke via Flickr

Doctor's Note

For more on food additives, check out these videos:
How to Avoid Phosphate Additives
Phosphate Additives in Meat Purge and Cola
Who Determines if Food Additives are Safe?
Artificial Food Colors and ADHD
Seeing Red No. 3: Coloring to Dye For

And check out my other “HHH” videos (Harmful, Harmless, or Helpful?) – listed below the post. 

If you haven’t yet, you can subscribe to my videos for free by clicking here.

11 responses to “Update on Gum Arabic

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      1. Hi Gum,

        I am a volunteer for Dr. Greger. Thank you so much for your question.

        I believe they are the same–Acacia is the genus name of the plant.

  1. Wish you’d do a piece on the various gums (locust bean, guar, arabic, tara, gellan) used as food stabilizers. Vis a vis the “Wal-Mart Ice Cream won’t melt!” fiasco… As certain alterna-medicine sites Like Mercola & NaturalNews seem to
    keep banging the drums about “ooh, gums are totally dangerous!”
    Personally, I’m more concerned by the levels of sugar & saturated
    fat in the ice cream bars than the food stabilizers used to make them not run all over your hand in 2 minutes… (Not like these bars haven’t been in every gas station and convenience store freezer in nearly the same formulation since the beginning of time, with none the worse for wear.)

    http://www.theskepticsguide.org/just-chill-it-doesnt-matter-that-your-ice-cream-sandwich-wont-melt

    Have generally found that most gums are considered harmless:

    http://chriskresser.com/harmful-or-harmless-guar-gum-locust-bean-gum-and-more

    Just hoped maybe you could to some degree settle the matter with actual science…

    1. Hi Michael. Ask and you shall receive! (I just wish I could work quicker…) See if these help: http://nutritionfacts.org/topics/gum-arabic/

      I know we have some info on carrageenan, too: http://nutritionfacts.org/topics/carrageenan/

      The main point with these are not that they are healthful, but if there is a small amount in healthful products (soymllk or other fortified foods come to mind) no reason to avoid those foods completely. Check out the video I may have the message wrong. As for the others you mentioned I’ll look into posting more about stabilizers, but I agree with you “concerned by the levels of sugar & saturated fat in the ice cream bars”

      Thanks,
      Joseph

  2. I’ve never seen any claims about dental benefits of gum arabic, but can evaluate them if you link some claims that you’re referring to.

    Dr. Ben

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