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Do I need to worry about the guar-gum in my coconut milk?

Answered on September 12, 2014
Created May 02, 2010 at 4:19 PM

In Belgium it is hard to find coconut milk without some additives. Even the organic brands add guar-gum. Do I need to worry about this?

Some info on wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Guar_gum), but I don't like the sound of: "Guar gum, also called guaran, is a galactomannan. It is primarily the ground endosperm of guar beans". Especially the bean part rings a bell.

Thank you.

3193ead7a301b741aafa193c4476edea

(213)

on October 18, 2011
at 01:27 PM

this explains a lot...thanks for posting! :)

93ae9f2d376e5426e891a9b58d8302fa

(2936)

on October 01, 2011
at 05:50 PM

Should read "It doesn't behave like..."

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41787)

on October 01, 2011
at 05:38 PM

Guar gum isn't a problem unless you have a problem with it. Not all additives are going to make you sick.

Medium avatar

(3024)

on September 26, 2011
at 05:14 AM

Aroy-D is the brand that Chriss Kresser recommended, which I got all excited about, since they carry that in my local supermarket - only they stopped carrying it just after I read about it :(

27e79ef3308bb5f2d7bd04ee7eea7b79

(2038)

on September 25, 2011
at 04:24 PM

+1 for recommending coconut cream concentrate. I'm crazy about that stuff, especially stra8ight (not mixed with water).

Cc7381bd787721575ea9198048132adb

(5541)

on August 22, 2011
at 05:12 PM

upvoting advertising that plagiarizes another comment? Yeesh. -1

89e238284ccb95b439edcff9e123671e

(10299)

on May 16, 2011
at 08:16 PM

thank you!!!!!!!!

9f8111d9ecaa64ea098a0860b47300e0

on May 15, 2011
at 03:29 AM

RE cotage cheese Daisy brand is still made the good old fashion way -cultured milk- cream -salt .

0d50f54d2c57d74806be35d916f8dc74

(634)

on May 14, 2011
at 03:56 PM

This seems to explain the stomach issues I was having when I was drinking a can of coconut milk with coffee for breakfast. Since I dropped the coconut milk (I still eat dried coconut and coconut oil) my stomach issues (constipation, diarrhea, mild nausea) have stopped. Good to know!

667f6c030b0245d71d8ef50c72b097dc

(15976)

on May 13, 2011
at 09:29 PM

If it's any help, apparently Trader Joe's coconut milk if free of guar gum

667f6c030b0245d71d8ef50c72b097dc

(15976)

on May 13, 2011
at 09:28 PM

Scary. Guar gum is in tons of cottage cheeses, too. Especially the organic ones! I know many here don't do dairy but recently I've been doing cottage and it's very hard to find non-GGUm options.

E0b0d94cebef8ed2371d02ec2ecb5461

(94)

on May 13, 2011
at 09:20 PM

I also have had severe diarrhea after downing a can of coconut milk with guar gum

696079a860ef54810406ae25e4650863

(1623)

on May 13, 2011
at 08:38 PM

I know what you mean- it was my most painful night in memory- NOT a fun time... I knew it was the guar gum since everything else in my diet was a known factor for several days surrounding 'The Incident' and I've had coconut milk sans guar gum multiple times without effect.Glad to know I'm not the only one around here that's not a fan!

1a641bbff1a7b0a70f08410376bbdf6b

(1587)

on May 13, 2011
at 08:18 PM

I got this reaction a couple of times, last time I had a can of coconut milk with guar gum the stomach pain lasted for a whole day and was so bad that I wanted to die ;) Never touch that stuff again. I know it is the guar gum as I have no problems with additive-free coconut milk

Cfccbcf3450ac4919311ded8ef162d49

(2312)

on February 01, 2011
at 01:26 AM

You can find it online here: http://www.earthlygourmet.com/products/purecoconutcreammilk.html

89e238284ccb95b439edcff9e123671e

(10299)

on May 03, 2010
at 06:17 PM

thanks, I'll have to try this one time

89e238284ccb95b439edcff9e123671e

(10299)

on May 03, 2010
at 06:44 AM

Mmmm, butyrate! thanks

89e238284ccb95b439edcff9e123671e

(10299)

on May 03, 2010
at 06:43 AM

Matt, many thanks!

89e238284ccb95b439edcff9e123671e

(10299)

on May 03, 2010
at 06:42 AM

thanks, I'll have to try this once.

5740abb0fa033403978dd988b0609dfd

(2633)

on May 02, 2010
at 08:27 PM

Have you seen this thread? http://paleohacks.com/questions/2361/any-source-for-coconut-milk-in-non-bpa-cans It has a couple links for making it yourself from shredded coconut: considerably cheaper, purer product, better quality control, not too hard.

Bdcb2101fd3f1853cfd645094d8ad086

on May 02, 2010
at 06:26 PM

Also, from the Wikipedia article on Guar Beans, this tidbit about Partially Hyrdolized Guar Gum, which is the commercial stuff: "PHGG is fully fermentable in the large bowel ... The pH of the feces is lowered along with an increase in fecal bulk that mainly consists of bacteria cell mass and water. Clinical studies have demonstrated a prebiotic affect of PHGG. Studies have also shown that PHGG can be used to maintain regularity. PHGG is used in foods for particulate suspension, emulsification, anti-staling, ice crystal control, and reduced fat baked goods." This makes it sound pretty good.

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20 Answers

10
696079a860ef54810406ae25e4650863

on May 13, 2011
at 08:06 PM

Guar Gum might work for many, but some people can have pretty severe reactions to it???

My Experience: I've been strict paleo and stayed away from all processed food for the last 6 months. 2 days ago I decided to get myself a little 'treat' and made myself a coconut curry with some lite coconut milk (with Guar Gum) for my first packaged food splurge.

2 hours later I was laying on the floor with severe abdominal pain and cramping, flatulence and diarrhea- NOT a fun night. (sorry if that's TMI!)

Although it is sometimes recommended to help with ???promoting regular bowel movements and relieve constipation??? (wiki- Guar Gum), people with IBS-like symptoms can have severe problems with it.

From sharecare.com: ???The most common side effect of taking guar gum is flatulence. About 50 percent of those using guar gum experience this side effect???. http://www.sharecare.com/question/side-effects-of-guar-gum

???Guar gum may sometimes cause gastrointestinal (GI) complications. These complications include pain, flatulence, nausea, and diarrhea.??? http://www.sharecare.com/question/know-before-taking-guar-gum

Trust me, they aren???t kidding!

After doing further research I ran across several additional sites and forum threads describing people's personal experiences with the gut irritating effects of Guar Gum:

Love this short article entitled ???Why is someone putting laxatives in my soup????: http://www.islandfoodie.com/guar%20gum.htm

http://www.ehow.com/about_5032973_guar-gum-side-effects.html - several of the commenters after the main article mention their reactions- which mirrored mine.

http://www.healthboards.com/irritable-bowel-syndrome/3019.html -another fun reaction???

http://www.ic-network.com/forum/showthread.php?t=22290 - from the interstitial cystitis forum

Anyway, Thought that it would be good to put this out there for those of us who are a bit more sensitive than the average bear. In case you are experiencing any of these problems you might want to avoid guar gum...

1a641bbff1a7b0a70f08410376bbdf6b

(1587)

on May 13, 2011
at 08:18 PM

I got this reaction a couple of times, last time I had a can of coconut milk with guar gum the stomach pain lasted for a whole day and was so bad that I wanted to die ;) Never touch that stuff again. I know it is the guar gum as I have no problems with additive-free coconut milk

696079a860ef54810406ae25e4650863

(1623)

on May 13, 2011
at 08:38 PM

I know what you mean- it was my most painful night in memory- NOT a fun time... I knew it was the guar gum since everything else in my diet was a known factor for several days surrounding 'The Incident' and I've had coconut milk sans guar gum multiple times without effect.Glad to know I'm not the only one around here that's not a fan!

667f6c030b0245d71d8ef50c72b097dc

(15976)

on May 13, 2011
at 09:28 PM

Scary. Guar gum is in tons of cottage cheeses, too. Especially the organic ones! I know many here don't do dairy but recently I've been doing cottage and it's very hard to find non-GGUm options.

E0b0d94cebef8ed2371d02ec2ecb5461

(94)

on May 13, 2011
at 09:20 PM

I also have had severe diarrhea after downing a can of coconut milk with guar gum

89e238284ccb95b439edcff9e123671e

(10299)

on May 16, 2011
at 08:16 PM

thank you!!!!!!!!

0d50f54d2c57d74806be35d916f8dc74

(634)

on May 14, 2011
at 03:56 PM

This seems to explain the stomach issues I was having when I was drinking a can of coconut milk with coffee for breakfast. Since I dropped the coconut milk (I still eat dried coconut and coconut oil) my stomach issues (constipation, diarrhea, mild nausea) have stopped. Good to know!

9f8111d9ecaa64ea098a0860b47300e0

on May 15, 2011
at 03:29 AM

RE cotage cheese Daisy brand is still made the good old fashion way -cultured milk- cream -salt .

3193ead7a301b741aafa193c4476edea

(213)

on October 18, 2011
at 01:27 PM

this explains a lot...thanks for posting! :)

9
Bdcb2101fd3f1853cfd645094d8ad086

on May 02, 2010
at 06:21 PM

Maybe you'd appreciate what Mark Sisson says about Guar Gum:

http://www.marksdailyapple.com/the-wonderful-world-of-coconut-products/

"The thick, creamy liquid that comes out is coconut milk and can be used for Thai curries and Brazilian seafood stew. Personally, I love drinking a big chilled glass of it by itself. Because people tend to misinterpret the natural separation of coconut milk in the can as spoilage, most canned coconut milk often includes thickening agents like guar gum, especially the stuff sold in Western countries. I wouldn???t worry too much about guar gum."

He doesn't say why he wouldn't worry about it. Probably because the good of the coconut product outweighs the bad of the industrially refined polysaccharide "guar gum." A galactomannan is just a refined carb that, in this case, has thickening and binding properties. I.E. it's a "gum." If it's pure it won't have any evil "bean" lectins or anything like that.

89e238284ccb95b439edcff9e123671e

(10299)

on May 03, 2010
at 06:43 AM

Matt, many thanks!

Bdcb2101fd3f1853cfd645094d8ad086

on May 02, 2010
at 06:26 PM

Also, from the Wikipedia article on Guar Beans, this tidbit about Partially Hyrdolized Guar Gum, which is the commercial stuff: "PHGG is fully fermentable in the large bowel ... The pH of the feces is lowered along with an increase in fecal bulk that mainly consists of bacteria cell mass and water. Clinical studies have demonstrated a prebiotic affect of PHGG. Studies have also shown that PHGG can be used to maintain regularity. PHGG is used in foods for particulate suspension, emulsification, anti-staling, ice crystal control, and reduced fat baked goods." This makes it sound pretty good.

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41787)

on October 01, 2011
at 05:38 PM

Guar gum isn't a problem unless you have a problem with it. Not all additives are going to make you sick.

5
9a5e2da94ad63ea3186dfa494e16a8d1

on June 01, 2011
at 06:48 PM

You can mail order coconut products from Tropical Traditions. They don't have coconut milk, but something they call "coconut cream concentrate". It is not liquid, it is solid, sort of like unsweetened peanut butter but made from coconut. You can mix it with warm water to get something like unsweetened coconut milk. I wrote about it here. I use it a lot in curries, smoothies, and just drinking by itself.

Even though it isn't as sweet or convenient as store-bought coconut milk, I think it is way better for you. Commercial coconut milks are produced using lots of heat and chemicals, and sugars and stabilizers are added to them too. This stuff is extracted by hand and is about 70% fat and so is a good source of coconut oil.

27e79ef3308bb5f2d7bd04ee7eea7b79

(2038)

on September 25, 2011
at 04:24 PM

+1 for recommending coconut cream concentrate. I'm crazy about that stuff, especially stra8ight (not mixed with water).

2
0b957bdb5e9744bacdcf8c770ede37ac

on September 25, 2011
at 01:48 PM

Golden Star coconut milk contains only water and coconut milk.

1
3dfe7bcf7819a8050176298a8c8c36af

on October 01, 2011
at 04:45 PM

Be suspicious! Any coconut cream or milk HAS to contain a 'thickening agent' (i.e. guar gum) to give it that homogenous cream consistency.. no matter how 'pure' it may seem according to the packaging. I personally only trust the ones which separate into water and fatty solids. If you shake or blend these the emulsion will last for a couple of minutes rather than days and weeks and months.. if they are pure.

1
Ed71ab1c75c6a9bd217a599db0a3e117

(25467)

on September 25, 2011
at 05:02 PM

I use it for patients with FH to lower increase their HDL to improve endotoxin clearance in the portal circulation with some other medical maneuvers.

1
3dc69b257dd93737dba454c8c08790f6

on June 01, 2011
at 06:43 PM

for me it is a problem. Every time I eat some coconut cream with guar gum in it i get bloated like back in the day when i ate grains. Really awful and for a while I did not know what was causing it. I heard a podcast by the healthy skeptic (one with Robb Wolf, Mat Lalonde and Chris Kresser) and they spoke about it. I did an n=1 experiment and bingo. :(( It sucks

1
8063ffc4fa6b60a1275171659f8a14f0

(155)

on June 10, 2010
at 02:15 PM

The Thai brand Aroy-D sells coconut milk in the type of waxed cardboard container similar to juice containers etc with no additives but i have only found it in an Asian market called T&T

Cfccbcf3450ac4919311ded8ef162d49

(2312)

on February 01, 2011
at 01:26 AM

You can find it online here: http://www.earthlygourmet.com/products/purecoconutcreammilk.html

Medium avatar

(3024)

on September 26, 2011
at 05:14 AM

Aroy-D is the brand that Chriss Kresser recommended, which I got all excited about, since they carry that in my local supermarket - only they stopped carrying it just after I read about it :(

1
0a8f18c1bf567443a481a7fd40b3777d

(164)

on May 02, 2010
at 10:24 PM

It might even be helpful as some of it is metabolized into butyrate by bacteria in the colon..

89e238284ccb95b439edcff9e123671e

(10299)

on May 03, 2010
at 06:44 AM

Mmmm, butyrate! thanks

1
9e2180e7bfd688eb52d4f0c536172024

(2004)

on May 02, 2010
at 05:55 PM

I'm not sure the guar gum is harmful. I haven't found any brand that doesn't have some sort of additive. The one in my pantry now was manufactured in Thailand -- no guar gum or other thickener, but it does have citric acid and a sulfite preservative. Maybe if we go to an Asian grocer we'll find something better.

89e238284ccb95b439edcff9e123671e

(10299)

on May 03, 2010
at 06:42 AM

thanks, I'll have to try this once.

0
3491e51730101b18724dc57c86601173

(8395)

on November 05, 2013
at 06:10 PM

You can easily make your own coconut milk with dried coconut. Pour nearly boiling water over the flakes at a ratio of about 3 parts water to 1part dried coconut flakes and blend In the blender until the liquid is white and somewhat thickened. (Use an oven mitt of thick towel to hold the lid when you first turn on the blender or hot water will spur out!).

Strain the blend through a nuts milk bag or muslin bag to separate the milk from the pulp (you can dry the pulp in your oven or dehydrator and then grind it for coconut flour). Add vanilla and a touch of sweetener (honey, stevia, etc.) if desired. Refrigerate. It doesn't last long so I make small quantities or freeze the extra in ice cube trays.

0
D246d4c0c2536b7979a4ba723819f240

on November 05, 2013
at 04:56 PM

For those that are worried, here is a brand that does NOT include guar gum. http://www.amazon.com/Natural-Value-Coconut-13-5-Ounce-Containers/dp/B000LKVIEG/ref=sr_1_3?srs=5856181011&ie=UTF8&qid=1383670363&sr=8-3&keywords=coconut+milk

0
A5e56bdcea4cbf0befab20dba66cb5cf

on August 14, 2013
at 09:21 AM

Another source of guar gum that I did not realize is Boku Super Protein. A "super health" product that I've been taking for years with no issues..but last couple years started to constantly have bad gas(like horrible smelling,also bloated& constant gas) after taking it. I equated this to all types of sensitivities,FodMaps, gluten, fructose sensitivity. I noticed it got less when I cut out the coconut milk. I think Boku must have changed the formula sometime along the line as I didn't use to have the issues with their older protein powders. Until recently I was taking it pretty regularly with my pre/post workout smoothie ...I actually increased the dose quite a bit as I increased my muscle building...horrible bloating and gas. Kept blaming berries, bananas etc...tinkering the smoothie recipes. I ran out while travelling recently&switched brands..and my bloating subsided. I decided to reread and compare the ingredients in the brands and lo and behold Boku Super Protein contains organic guar gum! While that's an ideal source of it, my stomach was having bad reactions, I'm glad I noticed this, as I even stopped drinking raw milk as a a result thinking it was the dairy!

I guess the moral of the story is just because someone on the internet says it's good for you, fiber etc. Does not necessarily mean it's healthy for you!

0
Medium avatar

on May 25, 2013
at 06:16 PM

BLeh. I just bought coconut with guar gum to make chocolate custard. I hope I dont' spend my night on the floor with severe stomach pain.

0
E4f0588a22d7a9dbc1228d155464e05e

on May 25, 2013
at 05:52 PM

If you order from Amazon.com you can get BPA Free Cans with Natural Coconut Milk with nothing but Coconut extract and Water no Guar Gum. http://www.amazon.com/Natural-Value-Coconut-13-5-Ounce-Containers/dp/B000LKVIEG/ref=wl_it_dp_o_nC?ie=UTF8&colid=1L2NWKUXUWX9E&coliid=I1JCMQ7CFR3Q85 there is the link. Hope this helps!

0
287cc4d7fac29fa52968f3fe9ca681ca

on April 07, 2013
at 05:27 PM

Trader joes has a lite coconut milk additive free. I mix it with a can and a quarter of Water. Its perfect

0
93ae9f2d376e5426e891a9b58d8302fa

(2936)

on October 01, 2011
at 05:49 PM

Savoy brand, from Thailand. Coconut cream. It doesn't behave like it's gummed up with anything. It's unique. Thick as can be. Is it too good to be true?

Edited directly. Ignore my comment.

93ae9f2d376e5426e891a9b58d8302fa

(2936)

on October 01, 2011
at 05:50 PM

Should read "It doesn't behave like..."

0
35e09dae32de43af73b3bffaff5636fe

(103)

on May 14, 2011
at 03:58 PM

if you worrie you are not alone. i worry to and wont consume it. * Go for taste. there are already some good point top.

0
0d50f54d2c57d74806be35d916f8dc74

(634)

on May 14, 2011
at 03:55 PM

This seems to explain the stomach issues I was having when I was drinking a can of coconut milk with coffee for breakfast. Since I dropped the coconut milk (I still eat dried coconut and coconut oil) my stomach issues (constipation, diarrhea, mild nausea) have stopped. Good to know!

0
Aedf722d2a6f4accf7c5e666e6b5b2f0

on June 10, 2010
at 06:24 AM

I'm not sure the guar gum is harmful. I haven't found any brand that doesn't have some sort of additive...but t might even be helpful.. http://choyungteareview.net

Cc7381bd787721575ea9198048132adb

(5541)

on August 22, 2011
at 05:12 PM

upvoting advertising that plagiarizes another comment? Yeesh. -1

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