Locust Bean Gum Nutrition Facts

Calories, Carbs, and Health Benefits of Locust Bean Gum

Carob tree beans in a basket

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A natural food additive from a carob tree's seeds, the food industry uses locust bean gum as an ingredient in an array of products, such as ice cream, yogurt and cream cheese, because the gum acts as a valuable stabilizing and thickening agent. The gum also offers a sweet, slightly chocolaty flavor, making the additive an easy inclusion in food products.

Other industries discovered locust bean gum's esteemed properties, and you will also find the gum in inedible merchandise such as cosmetics, beauty lotions, mining products, shoe polish, insecticides, and other products that need a thickener, such as in textiles and paper.

Although well known for its solidifying properties, the locust bean gum offers health benefits ranging from reducing cholesterol levels to improving blood sugar levels. However, its typical serving size is so small that it does not have much of an impact on health.

Native to the Mediterranean, almost three-quarters of the world’s locust bean gum comes from Spain, Morocco, Portugal, and Italy.

Nutrition Facts

The following nutrition information is provided by the USDA for 1 gram of locust bean gum.

  • Calories: 3
  • Fat: 0g
  • Sodium: 0mg
  • Carbohydrates: 1mg
  • Fiber: 1g
  • Sugars: 0g
  • Protein: 0g

 Carbs in Locust Bean Gum 

One 1g serving of locust bean gum contains less than 1 percent of the daily recommended intake of carbohydrates, but is often found in foods also containing carbohydrates, such as pie fillings and condiments. To fill your diet with healthy carbohydrates, you should look at consuming other non-processed foods such as sweet potatoes, oats, bananas, and berries, as well as eat foods with locust bean gum in moderation. 

Fats in Locust Bean Gum
Locust bean gum contains a trace amount of fat. The gum also contains no polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fat. However, foods using this additive often do contain a significant amount of fat. This makes reading labels essential to ensure that no more than 5 to 6 percent of your total daily caloric intake includes saturated fat, per the recommendations of the American Heart Association.

Protein in Locust Bean Gum
Locust bean gum doesn’t offer a substantial dose of daily protein. Rather, you should consume healthy proteins such as beans, eggs, legumes, seeds and at least eight ounces of cooked seafood per week, according to the United States Department of Agriculture.

Micronutrients in Locust Bean Gum
You don’t find many micronutrients in this gum. It contains a small amount of calcium and fiber per serving.   

Health Benefits

As one of the most common additives in the world, the chances of you consuming locust bean gum on a regular basis remain quite high. While the amount typically found in our diet is very small, research shows the gum, in larger doses, offers significant health benefits, including:
Reduce Cholesterol 

Locust bean gum could help lower cholesterol, according to a study published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. In this study, 17 adults and 11 children of which 18 had high cholesterol and 10 had normal levels, were fed products each day without locust bean gum and food products with locust bean gum ranging from 8 to 30 grams. This was done to assess the effect of the gum on their hypolipidemic levels.

The group consuming locust beam gum experienced a decrease in their overall cholesterol level and their LDL cholesterol levels. Plus, they reported no negative side effects. This result was found in both the adults and children. Researchers state that locust bean gum appears as an effective, safe approach to controlling cholesterol levels. 

Treat Diarrhea
Locust bean gum contains pectin, the compound that allows the gum to form into a gel. Research shows pectin aids in the treatment of diarrhea.

In a 2017 systemic review of 14 trials using 1,927 participants, carob bean juice was found as an effective, alternative medicine for the treatment of gastrointestinal disorders in children and adolescents. No serious adverse effects were reported. However, researchers note more evidence is needed to determine appropriate effective dosages. 

Steady Blood Sugar 
In a study involving lab rats and published in Phytotherapy Research, researchers fed animals a diet containing 15 percent of guar or carob gums (locust bean gum) for two to six consecutive weeks. They investigated the gum's effect on body weight, glucose, insulin and cholesterol levels. Results showed a decrease in both glucose and cholesterol levels. 

Common Questions 

What does a locust bean look like?
The locust bean is cloudy colored, ranging from pale white to pale yellow. If you purchase locust bean gum in stores, you can find the additive in powder form with a transparent coloring. This transparency works well when incorporating the powder into your food as you won’t change the color of your dish.  

Is locust bean gum used alone in food products?
The gum can be used alone in homemade ice cream and other foods, but it is typically combined with other thickeners. Food technologists combine locust beam gum with Xanthan Gum and Kappa Carrageenan to form a gel and give foods certain desired qualities, such as an elastic texture or an ability to reduce crystals forming on frozen food products. 

Recipes and Preparation Tips 

As a thickening agent, you can use locust bean gum when making homemade ice cream, yogurt, pie, and other prepared foods. The gum needs to be heated in order to dissolve, otherwise it leaves a gritty or chunky texture in recipes. Ideas for cooking include the following:

  • Keep a fruit pie from spilling over in the oven. Add 0.2 percent of locust bean gum to pastry fillings. This helps stabilize the fruit and avoid it from spilling into the pie crust. This helps keep the crust crispy and the pie's filling away from the bottom of your oven.   
  • If your homemade ice cream gets too many ice crystal formations on them, you can add locust bean gum to slow down and diminish the size of the crystals. This is especially helpful if you don't eat all the ice cream within a few days. 
  • For steady meringues, locust bean gum can stabilize foams.
  • If you want the perfect whipping cream dollop on top of a pie, the gum can stabilize dairy foam. 
  • Locust bean gum can make cheese dips more spreadable.

For the perfectionist cook, you might want to try testing your dish with locust bean gum before serving it to your guests. The gum contains a slight flavor that doesn't always blend as well as you'd hope. But because the gum's flavor is not strong, the other food in your dish can easily overpower the gum. 

Allergies and Interactions

If you experience any health issues when consuming products containing locust bean gum, you might have a food additive reaction. Such reactions often go undiagnosed as they occur in less than 0.25 percent of the population.

If you experience any of the following, you might want to consider scheduling an appointment with an allergist as these reactions could suggest a food allergy or sensitivity:

  • Hives
  • Sweating
  • Itching
  • Atopic dermatitis
  • Coughing
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Weakness
  • Lethargy
  • Migraines
  • Irregular heartbeats, such as an arrhythmia or tachycardia

To diagnose a food additive reaction, you typically need an oral test with the alleged additive. This is done under the supervision of an allergist to avoid any severe complications. If you are diagnosed, your medical professional might suggest avoiding the additive altogether. 

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