All You Need To Know About INS 412

This post may contain affiliate links. This means we may receive a commission at no extra cost to you whenever you buy a product clicking on our link. This helps us fund our product reviews and other content.

What is INS 412?

INS 412, more popularly known as Guar Gum is a naturally found food additive that is extracted from the seeds of the guar bean. This plant is extensively grown in India, Pakistan, Myanmar, Indonesia, Central Africa, and the arid regions of the USA. In other words, it is a hardy crop that is best suited for dry and hot weather such as in India. In fact, India is the largest producer of this crop which accounts for 80% of the world’s production. 

INS 412 is mostly used as a thickener, emulsifier, and stabilizer. What makes it stand out is its high solubility and its role as an organic solvent. The constituents of this ingredient are vegan and gluten-free; this property has made it a hugely popular food additive among people who follow a vegetarian or vegan diet. It is usually white to yellowish in colour, odourless, and tasteless, which makes it perfect as a food additive. It forms a thick gel that is eight times stronger than starch. One of its most popular use is in giving ice cream its texture and consistency. Another popular application of this food additive is in the production of jellies, chewable candies, sauces, and dressings. Of late, it is popular in making gluten-free atta too.

guar bean from which guar gum is extracted
Guar Bean

So, let’s explore all the applications of the humble yet very versatile guar gum and understand how it helps us in our daily lives.

Uses and application

Baked Food Items

Guar gum is an inseparable part of baked food items owing to its unique ability to enhance texture and increase dough yield. It also helps in extending the shelf life of baked goods which can be crucial for commercial baking since they usually get spoiled soon if not consumed within a reasonable period. If you are particular about a gluten-free diet, INS 412 is meant just for you.

Thickens Sauces And Dressings

Thickening sauce is a relatively easy task. You can use flour, cornstarch, and tapioca among other ingredients to thicken your soup and sauce. However, they may not be the best option in case you are on a keto or low-carb diet. Guar gum is a great alternative to traditional methods while still giving your food the thickness and consistency you require. That’s not all; it is not affected by heat which means it can retain its consistency at any temperature unlike tapioca and arrowroot starch. 

Works Well On Frozen Food

As mentioned, INS412 is not affected by heat or lack of it. In addition to helping you with specific dietary habits such as gluten-free, keto, and vegan, it can be used to prepare frozen/cold desserts such as ice cream, softy, popsicles, and smoothies. 

Industrial Applications

Guar gum also serves as a lubricant in the mining and oil industry. It helps in minimizing corrosion and keeps the surface free from other pollutants ultimately extending the life cycle of the machinery. Guar gum is also used in the floatation process, which is widely used for extracting many minerals from their ores. It also finds application in the textile industry as a sizing agent and as a binding agent in the paper industry.  

Pharmaceutical And Cosmetic Applications

It is also used in the production of various tablets, capsules, and cosmetics as a thickener and binding agent. Owing to its high viscosity, it also serves as a perfect base for lotions, ointments, toothpaste, and shampoos. 

Guar gum can also be consumed directly and is believed to have many health benefits that include improving digestion, maintaining blood sugar and cholesterol levels, weight maintenance, and regulating blood pressure among others.

How is INS 412 Made?

Guar gum is made from the ground endosperm of the guar bean. Once it is harvested, the seed is dried, hulled, and ground into fine powder. The powder is mixed with water to form a slurry and heated to activate the gum. The hydrated gum is then ground into a fine powder and further impurities are removed before it is packed and shipped to consumer markets. The overall production process is quite standardized. However, depending on the specific product or the purpose it is meant to serve, certain variations may arise in the production. 

Is Guar Gum Safe To Consume?

Anything in excess is never good; this principle applies also to guar gum. As per leading medical journals, guar gum is safe for consumption in reasonable amounts. Its safety as a food additive has also been approved by the US Food and Drug Administration and European Food Safety Authority among other international regulatory bodies. It is also considered safe for pregnant women to consume it.

Possible Side Effects Of Guar Gum

Although cases of allergy or any other side effects from this item are rare, it’s best to keep a watch in case of people with a history of allergic reactions. Some of the known side effects of consuming INS 412 are bloating, gas, and asthma or breathing problem in certain cases.

To be fair, most of us have consumed guar gum in some form or the other right from an early age. So, the chances of any side effect from this food additive are close to zero if it hasn’t happened earlier. However, if you are planning to consume it directly as a health supplement or for medicinal purposes, it’s best to keep a close watch over it.

Storage Tips For INS 412

Guar gum usually comes in the form of powder. Like any powder-based product, it captures moisture which can create lumps and make it lose its properties. This also reduces the product’s shelf life.

Guar gum can last up to two years – although we strongly advise our readers to store this item in small quantities and finish it within a year at best. 

  • It is best to store the item in air-tight containers and make sure it remains like that unless it is being used.
  • Use the item in batches to maintain the freshness and potency of the product. 
  • Keep it away from sunlight and store it in a cool, shaded area.
  • Make sure you use a dry spoon to scoop the powder to avoid contact with water and moisture.

To conclude, INS 412 has many applications in various walks of our lives. Ironically, most of us are not aware of the role it plays. This simple yet all-encompassing food item serves as the foundation of many important aspects of our lives without which we may never function to the best of our capabilities. 

Leave a Comment