Arabic Gum:5 properties, benefits and alternatives

Arabic gum , a natural product that is obtained from the trunk and branches of Acacia,.The gum arabic is a natural rubber also known by the name of acacia gum because it is extracted from two species of acacia, Acacia senegal and l ‘ Acacia seyal , plants belonging to the family Mimosaceae .It is able to promote a sense of satiety, helping to make those who suffer from excess weight lose weight, and to reduce the levels of cholesterol in the blood.

 Gum Arabic: 5 properties, benefits and alternatives

The main uses Arabic gum

Nowadays it is present in a long range of products and its use is not limited to the confectionery industry alone or as an alternative to gelatine, pectin and starch.

  • Fireworks
  • Emulsifiers
  • Supplements
  • Syrups
  • Candies
  • Photography
  • Paints and ink
  • Ceramic
  • Cosmetics

5 Benefits of Arabica rubber

Gum arabic has long been the subject of studies and research to confirm the effects of its consumption:

  1. Contains no calories

The FDA (Food and Drug Administration) in 2008 lowered the calories of the rabic gum to 1.7 per gram, due to a long debate on the real caloric potential, as it is not digestible by the body, the value is symbolic.

This means that in moderate quantities, gum arabic does not contribute to sugars or carbohydrates, therefore it is useful depending on the diet. In the kitchen, there is an average of 10 grams depending on the recipe, which effectively eliminates other more caloric substances such as sugar or butter.

  1. It gives satiety and lowers cholesterol

Because it is a concentrated source of dietary fiber, acacia gum can help people feel full, helping to curb cravings and overeating, and possibly helping with weight loss and reducing cholesterol levels. The results of a study showed that two different mixtures of gum arabic were able to significantly reduce the calorie intake of the participants three hours after taking gum arabic. At doses of 40 grams, it produced a significant reduction in the energy intake of 100-200 kcal, while doses of 10 or 20 grams led to a reduction in the energy intake of about 100 kcal. ( 1 )

  1. Facilitates weight loss

A 2012 study published by the Nutrition Journal carefully examined the regular consumption of this substance and its effects on overweight subjects. The group of 120 women in good health was divided into groups of 60 for the duration of six weeks.

The results were quite evident, with significant reductions in the percentage of body fat of the group that took gum arabic during the test. ( 2 )

  1. Rich in fiber

Gum arabic is a natural source of soluble dietary fiber (a complex polysaccharide) that cannot be digested by humans. However, these soluble fibers possess the ability to bind to cholesterol and bring benefits to cardiovascular health.

  1. Promotes the proliferation of bacterial flora

In 2008, a study correlated the effects of acacia resin on the intestine, particularly focusing on the bacterial flora, and the proliferation of probiotic bacteria. The results obtained after a four-week examination showed an increase in significance of Bifidobacteria and Lactobatteri, comparable to a prebiotic action. ( 3 )

3 Alternatives to gum arabic

For those who need a vegetable alternative to gelatine and don’t want to use an animal product, there are several options:

  1. Xanthan gum: itis a complex exopolysaccharide, a polymer composed of sugar residues secreted by the plant pathogenic bacterium. It is produced when glucose, sucrose or lactose are fermented by the Xanthomonas campestris bacteria. It is considered safe to consume up to 15 grams of xanthan gum per day, which can be found in foods such as packaged bread and baked goods. This substance may have some unique benefits, including helping people who have difficulty clearing food in the esophagus due to abnormalities in the muscles or nerves and potentially reducing tumor growth. It can also serve as a natural alternative to gluten as a binder in cooking.
  2. Guar gum: it is extracted from the endosperm of Cyamopsis tetragonoloba legume seeds. These crops are native to India and Pakistan.
    Guar gum and locust bean flour are chemically very similar; both are useful for creating thick gels. Guar gum is sometimes used as a vegetarian alternative to gelatin, just like acacia gum. It is considered a non-toxic and safe food if consumed in small quantities but can contribute to digestive problems when taken in high doses, such as Arabic gum.

Use in Ayurveda

In Ayurvedic medicine, acacia is considered to be refreshing, heavy to digest and useful for balancing the Kapha dosha. Gum arabic is considered a natural and expectorant antiseptic. The root and leaves of acacia applied to the skin to treat inflammation, infections, wounds, parasites and other diseases. Small amounts of the root can also be chewed or applied to the mouth to help treat bleeding, gum disease and loose tooth pain.

Other uses include:  

  • gargle for sore throat,
  • washing the skin with it for eczema and wounds,
  • use it in eye drops for conjunctivitis
  • enemas for hemorrhoids.

Gum arabic in the kitchen

Warm or room temperature water is generally sufficient to dissolve the gum arabic powder. The amount of dissolved soluble sugars (like gum arabic) that you choose to use in recipes will determine how hard or soft the final product will be, for this reason we recommend making several attempts based on your preference.

Here are some tips:

  • To help the cakes to grow and form a spongy consistency, use about five grams of gum arabic powder for every three eggs used in the recipe. In other words, if you are making a small cake that requires only one egg, use about 1.5 grams of acacia / powder gum.
  • Five grams of gum arabic are typically worth one teaspoon, but check the directions / recommendations for the exact product you are using. Store unopened arabic gum in a dry and cool place, away from direct sunlight.
  • You can keep unopened gum arabic for two years. Once the powder is opened, store it in the refrigerator for up to six months. It is best to keep the gum arabic in an airtight jar in the refrigerator.
  • If you add a few drops of alcohol to any mixture made with gum arabic, this will also increase its duration.

Contraindications and possible side effects

Gum arabic can cause digestive problems for some people, particularly if used in large quantities. Potential side effects of gum arabic may include flatulence, nausea, indigestion and diarrhea.

To avoid collateral effects, it is necessary not only not to exceed the maximum daily dose of 30 grams, but rather remain below it.

According to a 2017 report published by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA), concerning gum arabic that is safe, “No adverse effects were reported in the subchronic and carcinogenicity studies at the highest dose tested and there are no concerns about to genotoxicity.

by Abdullah Sam
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