If you are allergic to soya you should take a very hard look at anything containing guar gum. This is something I’ve never come across from any doctor or allergy specialist so I’ve never worried about it before. However, if you examine ingredient lists from many freefrom foods, guar gum is often present.
So what does it do and what is guar gum?
Guar gum, also called guaran, is a galactomannan. It is primarily the ground endosperm of guar beans. The guar seeds are dehusked, milled and screened to obtain the guar gum. It is typically produced as a free-flowing, off-white powder. (Wiki)
It increases yield in baked goods and also helps thicken dairy products but it’s uses are not just limited to food, though typically they are most widely used in gluten free goods. Guar gum is also used in the paper, explosives, pharmaceutical and cosmetics industries, to name just a few.
Why on earth are we eating this stuff?
But I’ll get to the point. The point that guar gum can contain traces of soya protein.
The Super Healthy Children website says, “Because guar gum may contain traces of soy proteins, eating it can lead to an allergic reaction. Symptoms may include vomiting, nausea, diarrhoea, cramping, runny nose, nasal congestion, shortness of breath, wheezing, coughing, chest tightness, hives or skin rashes. A severe and possibly life-threatening reaction of anaphylaxis could occur in rare cases with the consumption of soy proteins.”
Well… I’m speechless.
I’ve been having random and unexplainable, albeit mild but still worrying allergic reactions now so could guar gum be the culprit? It still might not be the guar gum but I’m suspicious and Mr What Allergy discovered this link whilst googling the problem.
I was eating a Coconut Collaborative Dark Chocolate Snowconut Stick and my throat began to itch and tingle. It didn’t progress from there but if you have ever had anaphylaxis, this is where it begins. I felt a very slight shortness of breath and the sypmtoms lasted for quite some time. So we checked the ingredients. Nothing in there that I was worried about…
Ingredients: Coconut Cream (32%), Water, Grape Juice Concentrate, Chocolate (17.2%) (Cocoa Mass, Coconut Sugar, Cocoa Butter), Inulin (from Chicory), Natural Flavour (1%), Vegetable Emulsifier: Mono & Diglycerides of Fatty Acids, Stabiliser: Guar Gum, Locust Bean Gum, Vanilla Pod (1%)
I had ignored the ‘may contain soya’ warning, thinking it was probably from the chocolate and soya lecithin which is not such a problem for those allergic to soya. But no… it would seem it was a very valid warning.
I have eaten their yogurts no problem and if you look at the ingredients for them they contain corn flour instead of guar gum. So just consider, because one product from a company is OK doesn’t mean they all will be.
Mr What Allergy has kindly and happily eaten the other two, proclaiming them to be just as good as any ‘normal’ ice cream on a stick. He is somewhat of a connoisseur in this field so this is high praise.
And since I am now on a mission to ‘cut out processed food’, he has helped me by removing any temptation to try another one.
So watch out for anything with guar gum if you have a soya allergy and also heed warnings on packs.
Has anyone else experience a reaction from guar gum? or from these choc ices? Where does the risk of soya come from in this product. I have sent an email to the people at Coconut Collaboratives to find out.