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If you have ever wondered how yogurt gets so thick or how bread stays so viscous, then you are seeing the affects of cellulose gum. Cellulose gum, simply put, is a thickening agent. It is used in thousands of products around the globe, but is not a supplement in its own right.
Cellulose gum is one of those things you see on an ingredient list and think, what the heck am I putting in my body! Surprisingly, cellulose gum is a completely natural product that is derived from the cell walls of plants. Typically it comes from wood pulp and cotton seeds.
Because of this, cellulose gum is extremely cheap. It is considered to be an ecofriendly product because it is produced by easily sustainable items. It is for this reason that cellulose gum is the most popular choice by manufacturers as a thickening agent in nutrition and industrial products.
There is no way that this article will be able to address the many uses of cellulose gum. There are just too many products that rely on this ingredient to make it look or act the way that it should.
While cellulose gum is used primarily as a thickening agent, it can also be used as a stabilizer in food and non-food products. It can reduce acidity, pH balance and more.
Cellulose gum is also used as an absorbing agent. It can absorb a certain amount of oil in fried foods and it absorbs water up to 20 times of its weight. For this reason it is sometimes used to maintain the moisture in certain foods as well.
You can find cellulose gum in:
This is only a small example of where you can find cellulose gum.
In products that are all natural, you generally won’t find cellulose gum as a listed ingredient. This isn’t because it isn’t natural or pure, but because most people don’t understand what cellulose gum is and think that it’s a chemical additive.
An example of this is Breyers ice cream. In their commercials, they will tell you that their products are all natural. You may have noticed, however, that Breyers tends to get ice crystal growth faster than other, not so natural, ice cream. The reason for this is that cellulose gum, which you won’t find in Breyers, prevents crystallization in ice cream.
Perhaps one of the biggest benefits of cellulose gum in terms of nutrition is its utter lack of interaction in the human body. Despite the fact that cellulose gum is derived from plants, the body doesn’t recognize it as a plant. As such, the body doesn’t absorb it like it does with other ingredients found in food.
In essence, eating foods that contain cellulose gum has no direct affect on the body. As such, there are no safety concerns when using products that contain cellulose gum.
There is an exception to every rule. If you are allergic to cotton or wood pulp, you may have a reaction to cellulose gum.
The problem with cellulose gum is that it is high in dietary fiber. You might be thinking that this is a good thing, and it would be if the body actually absorbed cellulose gum, but it doesn’t.
The problem arises because many supplement companies use cellulose gum as a fiber additive in their products and then increase the amount of fiber it actually contains. This practice occurs because cellulose gum is extremely cheap to obtain and use.
What this means for you is that if you see cellulose gum in a product, especially a nutritional supplement, being used as fiber, then you need to pass it up. Cellulose gum will provide absolutely no nutritional benefit to you at all!
There is another downside to cellulose gum and this is the salt it contains. Cellulose gum is about 40% sodium and most food manufactures include the salt found in cellulose gum in their sodium content.
Just as with the cellulose gum fiber, the salt is not absorbed into the body. It is safe for people with high blood pressure, high cholesterol and others who cannot have sodium chloride.
You might find cellulose gum interesting and wonder if you can buy it to make your own homemade yogurt, but the answer is no. Cellulose gum, in its original form, is only available to manufacturers.
Not that it’s illegal to buy cellulose gum, it just isn’t something that is used in everyday from scratch cooking. Instead, you are going to have to settle for finding cellulose gum as an ingredient in the many products that you purchase for your home.
Check out the supplement finder to get the nutritional supplementation that you need!