Food Babe Family - Header

Is this ingredient giving you a BUBBLE GUT? Watch out for “Gums” added to these popular foods and drinks!

The other day my friend told me that she had been drinking a bottled protein shake every morning, and she suspected that it was making her feel like she had a “bubble gut” a few hours later. 

You know that feeling when you have to unzip your pants because they feel too tight? When you feel so bloated that you can’t get comfortable? When you just want to put on your stretchy pants and lie on the couch?

She asked me to review the ingredients for her…and so I grabbed the bottle and it didn’t take me long to spot the culprit on the ingredient list. Her daily protein shake had THREE different “gums” listed on the label.

Whenever you see any of these “gums” on an ingredient label, you need to run away if you want to feel your best:

  • Gellan Gum
  • Guar Gum
  • Xanthan Gum
  • Locust Bean Gum
  • Carob Bean Gum
  • Cellulose Gum
  • Tara Gum
  • Konjac Gum

All of these gums are added to foods to thicken the consistency and as “Emulsifiers” to suspend ingredients evenly throughout the product so it does not separate.

Think about what these thickening ingredients are doing inside your GUT and to your digestive system.

When you ingest gums, they slow down your digestion and form a “gel-like” substance in your stomach.

They sit in your stomach like a glob of thickening goo. This leads to that awful bloated, gassy, “bubble gut” feeling. 

After they stew in your stomach, some people experience constipation and others get diarrhea. Gums make you feel like crap…literally!

If that’s not awful enough…

These gums change the bacteria in your stomach and intestines (microbiome), which can lead to disease. 

A deep dive study by researchers from the University of Michigan Medical School and the Norwegian University of Life Sciences looked into how we digest (or don’t!) Xanthan Gum. They found that it may alter the gut microbiome. (1, 2)

A previous study in 2021, published in Gastroenterology, investigated Carboxymethylcellulose (aka cellulose gum) consumption in humans and found that it “detrimentally” alters intestinal microbiota composition and may contribute to an array of chronic inflammatory diseases. (3, 4) There are multiple studies on guar gum, cellulose gum, and other gums that have found they negatively affect your microbiome. (5, 6, 7)

This means that gums kill beneficial bacteria in your gut and decrease bacterial diversity. This is very bad news for your health!

When your microbiome isn’t filled with a rich and diverse composition of bacteria, your health can go downhill very fast. An unhealthy gut can lead to mental disorders like depression, obesity and difficulty in losing weight, nutritional deficiencies, depleted immune system, autoimmune diseases, and gastrointestinal illnesses. (8)

If you want good health, you need to keep your microbiome healthy. PERIOD.

It’s like a garden, and you need to keep it watered, colorful, and alive! This is why probiotics and fermented foods are so good for you. 

Gums are certainly not something you want to consume on the DAILY… But you probably are. 

Sadly, many of the products that gums are found in are daily go-to products like protein shakes, coffee creamers, and non-dairy milks. 

Want to add some creamer to your morning coffee? GELLAN GUM!

Want to whip up a smoothie with almond milk to bring to work? GUAR GUM!

Want to grab a quick ready-to-drink protein shake after your workout? XANTHAN GUM!

We are being bombarded by gums, and you can barely escape it! 

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Vani Hari | Food Babe (@thefoodbabe)

Here are the most common places to watch out for gums in your food and drinks (even if they’re organic):

  • Ready-To-Drink Bottled Protein Shakes (I can’t find a single one without gums, yikes!)
  • Ice Cream (nearly ALL of them)
  • Coffee Creamers
  • Non-Dairy Milks (Almond, Oat, and Coconut Milk)
  • Salad Dressings 
  • Yogurts
  • Gluten-Free Products

I have not found a single bottled protein shake on the market without gums, it’s crazy. Thankfully there are a few alternatives in stores for ice cream, creamers, yogurts, and nut milks – but they are far and few between!


This is why I started my company, Truvani.

I was sick of all of the processed additives, preservatives, flavors, emulsifiers, and gums in my food and drinks, even in products that you’d think would be “healthy” like an organic protein shake! At Truvani our top priority is ingredients. We believe in real food without added chemicals. Products without toxins. Labels without lies.

Know anyone who is getting sabotaged by GUMS in their food or drinks? Please share this post with them!

Keep voting with your dollars, and choose brands who don’t take shortcuts with processed ingredients that are shortcutting our health! 




Food Babe Family - Book
Food Babe Grocery Guide

Sign Up For Updates

And Get A FREE Healthy Grocery Guide Sent To You Now!

Find out what to buy and where at the top grocery stores near you

Posts may contain affiliate, sponsorship and/or partnership links for products Food Babe has approved and researched herself. If you purchase a product through an affiliate, sponsorship or partnership link, your cost will be the same (or at a discount if a special code is offered) and Food Babe will benefit from the purchase. Your support is crucial because it helps fund this blog and helps us continue to spread the word. Thank you.

9 responses to “Is this ingredient giving you a BUBBLE GUT? Watch out for “Gums” added to these popular foods and drinks!

  1. I don’t see acacia gum on the avoid list although it is highlighted in a coffee creamer, it’s in one of my supplements so wondered if it’s a “bad” one? Also if something has cellulose in it but doesn’t say it’s a gum is that different, so many things have cellulose these days.

  2. I think it’s wrong to say that all gums are bad for you or bad for people’s digestion. Some are actually used specifically to improve gut health and digestion, like guar gum and acacia gum.

    “Numerous studies have looked at guar fiber, showing its role in maintaining proper bowel movements and treating symptoms associated with irritable bowel syndrome.20 Acacia gum, another soluble fiber, has recognized functionality as a prebiotic support for beneficial gut bacteria, as well.34 “
    If you’re interested I can add the study references.

    1. Thanks for saying so.. my Thorne fiber mend has partially hydrolyzed Guar gum.. is it good for digestion then?

  3. Please direct me to the sources of the GRAS usage of “Natural Flavors.”
    I have heard so many theories.. such as the establishment using aborted by products for an umami type enhancer. I avoid anything that includes “Natural Flavor.”
    We are being systematically poisoned. I’m fighting back the best I can.
    Thank you for all you do!

  4. I noticed “organic” guar gum in the organic coconut milk can I get from target.
    What are your thoughts on that?

  5. Thank you so much for covering this! I knew that gums are unhealthy, and until recently when my local Whole Foods started selling Straus Family Creamery ice cream, I couldn’t find a SINGLE ice cream brand there that was organic and DIDN’T have any gums added. So I bought an ice cream machine and had to make my own!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

food babe with grocery cart - footer image