INS 412 (Guar Gum) – Uses, Benefits, & Side Effects
INS 412 or Guar Gum, as popularly known, is a vegan, gluten-free food additive, which is often used in the food, cosmetic and pharmaceutical industry and is approved by the FDA.
The source of INS 412, a natural food additive, is the endosperm of seeds of the guar bean and is known as Guar Gum. It is popularly used in the form of thickener, stabilizer, and emulsifier.
Not only is it highly soluble in water, but it is also a popular organic solvent. INS 412 finds stability over a wide range of pH, that is, between 1.0–10.5.
Necessary Know-how about INS 412
According to the FDA, this food additive finds use as an anticaking agent or as a free-flow agent. Also, it is famous as a drying agent and emulsifier or emulsifier salt in addition to firming agent and flavor enhancer. Not to forget, it finds application as a humectant, formulation aid, stabilizer, or as a thickener as well as a texturizer in food.
Origin of INS 412
INS 412 is derived from guar bean and thus it is also known as Guar Gum. It is the endosperm of seeds of the guar bean, a member of the Leguminosae family. There are three types of INS 412 depending on diverse production methods. It appears white or sometimes yellowish-white and has no odor.
Uses of Guar Gum
Fermented cream products, as well as canned and bottled fruit plus vegetables, are some of the most common food items that contain INS 412 or Guar Gum. Other than these, it is also present in jams and jellies, marmalades, powder and liquid sweeteners, infant formulae as well as baby and cereal-based foods. It is the cheapest hydrocolloid and hence is used in ice creams too.
1. Uses in bakery
By improving the dough yield, it offers a softer texture to the baked products. Also, it enhances the shelf life of a product. It also finds use as a fiber supplement. INS 412 acts as a thickener owing to high viscosity, cold water solubility, and acid stability. It acts as a viscosity controlling agent, thereby reducing calories for beverages with low calories.
2. Uses in cosmetics
In cosmetics, it helps in binding, film-forming, emulsion stabilizing, masking as well as viscosity controlling agent functions. It is also widely used during the preparation of shampoos and gels.
3. Uses in pharmaceuticals and clinical nutrition
Owing to its disintegrating, viscosity-enhancing, binding agent, or thickening properties, it finds use in pharmaceuticals also. It ameliorates the cohesiveness for tablet formation in the drug powder. As INS 412 is a water-soluble dietary fiber, it finds applications in clinical nutrition also. It helps reduce diarrhea and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).
Food products having INS 412
Due to its binding property, it is used in many food products like jellies and candies, ice creams, powder and liquid sweeteners, in baking, canned and bottled fruits/vegetables juices, etc. As well as guar gum is present in infant formulae and baby based food products. Our morning instant breakfast option such as packaged cereal or oatmeal contains INS 412 in it.
Personal Care Products having INS 412
Many of our personal care products and cosmetics contain INS 412 as it helps in binding, film-forming, emulsion stabilizing and masking. It is also widely used during the preparation of shampoos and gels because of its viscosity controlling agent functions.
Industrial Products having INS 412
Owing to its disintegrating, viscosity-enhancing, binding agent, or thickening properties, it finds use in pharmaceuticals. It ameliorates the cohesiveness for tablet formation in the drug powder.
Advantages of Using Guar Gum
Adequate consumption of guar gum is good for health. Let’s look into the health benefits it offers.
1. Prevents crystal growth
Not only does INS 412 prevent crystal growth but also contribute to the creaminess, and texture. In addition to adding fiber and reducing fat, it also enhances stiffness. By reducing crystal formation, it caters to the need for slower, as well as a higher uniform meltdown. Last but not the least, INS 412 prevents lactose crystallization as well as shrinkage during storage.
2. Has good fiber content
It is a natural fiber that meets dietary fiber needs. Some of the benefits of INS 412 include lowering blood glucose as well as cholesterol levels in addition to lowering blood pressure.
3. Has laxative properties
Apart from this, it also reduces calorie intake and at the same time also increases the frequency of bowel movements.
4. Improves mineral absorption
Lastly, it also improves mineral absorption, especially in the intestinal tract.
Side Effects of using Guar Gum
Before consumption of any food, all of us are eager to know if the use of a particular thing can cause potential damage to our health. Similarly, we have concerns about the consumption of INS 412.
1. Can be Allergic
Some people suffer allergic symptoms, for example, rhinitis and asthma on exposure to INS 412 for a long time. Also, it is known to be a cause of flatulence if you use it for lowering serum total cholesterol levels. It might cause problems like esophageal obstruction or small bowel obstruction. In some instances, it might even prove fatal. The reason behind this is the water-holding capacity and the gel-forming tendency of guar gum.
Frequently Asked Questions
Guar gum is a food additive, mainly used as an anticaking agent in food products. Here we have answered a few FAQs about it.
1. Is INS 412 safe during pregnancy?
According to EFSA’s reproductive and developmental toxicity study on animals, INS 412 is considered safe for pregnant women.
2. Is INS 412 natural?
Yes. INS 412 is a natural polysaccharide coming from the endosperm of guar bean seeds.
3. Is INS 412 kosher and halal?
INS 412 is kosher pareve as it meets “kashruth” requirements. Also, it is halal. Many manufacturers have an MUI halal certification.
4. Is guar gum (INS 412) gluten free?
Yes. INS 412 is gluten-free as it does not contain wheat or rye. It also does not contain barley or crossbreeds of such grains.
5. Is guar gum (INS 412) vegan?
INS 412 is vegan. It is a vegetable gum whose primary source is seeds. The process of manufacturing does not include products that have an animal origin. Thus, it is perfect for inclusion in the diets of vegetarians or vegans.
INS 412 is a plant-based natural thickening agent that marks its presence in a lot of food items. It is one of the seven authorized dietary fibers by the FDA that is known to offer plenty of perks. The FDA and EU assert that INS 412 is safe to use as a food additive. Also, it finds a secure application as a stabilizer for animal feeding.