What is it?
Gellan gum grows naturally on water lilies but can also be artificially produced by fermenting sugar with a specific strain of bacteria
It’s added to processed foods to bind and stabilize the structure, similar to guar gum, carrageenan, agar agar, and xanthan gum uses. However, 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 and is very common in many vegan and plant based alternatives.
How is gellan gum used?
Gellan gum has a variety of uses but it’s most commonly used to bind and create creamy textures in ice creams, plant based milks, and even juices to help stabilize the liquid so they stay “mixed” and don’t seperate to make it look appealing to the shopper.
Common Foods Containing Gellan Gum
Beverages: plant-based milks, juices, chocolate milk, and even some alcoholic drinks
Confectioneries: candy, marshmallows, fillings for baked goods, chewing gum
Dairy / dairy alternatives: cream, plant based yogurts, processed cheese, vegan cheese alternatives
Packaged foods: cereals, some noodles, breads, and gluten-free and low-carb pastas / breads
Sauces and spreads: salad dressings, ketchup, mustard, jams / fruit spreads
Other foods: vitamins and supplements, some processed meats, prepared soups, broths, powdered sugar, and syrups
You’ll find gellan gum in many vegan options.
Safety and Side Effects
This study states it may even slow digestion in some people
Emulsifiers such as gums, including gellan gum, can actually alter healthy levels of intestinal bacteria in some people. This disrupts the normal mucous layer that lines the gut and contributes to inflammation in the digestive tract and colon and even colitis.