Sources of Food Ingredients: Konjac Gum
- What is konjac gum?
Konjac gum, or konjac flour, is a hydrocolloid (water soluble) dietary fiber derived from the Amorphophallus konjac plant (also known as devil’s tongue) that is used to provide texture, thicken, stabilize, emulsify, and suspend ingredients in foods and beverages. Konjac gum is primarily used as a source of glucomannan, which is a recognized source of dietary fiber.
- How is konjac gum made?
Konjac gum is obtained by drying the tuber of the Amorphophallus konjac plant and then milling it into konjac flour. Its origin plant is typically grown in China, Japan, and several other Southeast Asian countries.
- Why is konjac gum in my food?
Konjac gum is used to thicken, stabilize, emulsify, and suspend ingredients in foods and beverages. It helps create rich textures without adding calories, fat, or carbohydrates to foods.
- What foods and beverages contain konjac gum?
Konjac gum can be found in a variety of foods including ice cream, sauces, baked foods such as biscuits and cakes, noodles, meatballs and sausages, pastries and fudge, as well as in alcoholic and carbonated beverages.
- Is konjac gum permitted for use in the U.S. and in other countries?
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) have only approved konjac gum for use in foods under Good Manufacturing Practices. Konjac gum is used in the United States, European Union, Japan, China, and Indonesia.
- Can konjac gum be used in foods marketed as organic, vegetarian, halal, or kosher?
Yes, konjac gum may be used in foods marketed as organic in the United States.
Konjac gum may be used in foods certified halal but not in foods certified kosher. Konjac gum may be used in foods marketed as vegetarian.
- How does konjac gum benefit my health?
Konjac gum is a recognized source of dietary fiber by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). It also contains glucomannan, a water soluble dietary fiber which assists with satiety, improves intestinal health, and helps with lowering cholesterol.
- What other benefits does konjac gum provide?
It can sometimes be used as a substitute for gelatin.
- Why is konjac gum necessary in foods and beverages?
Konjac gum is necessary in foods and beverages because it is a thickener that helps to create the desired texture and thickness to meet consumer preferences. It also has synergistic versatility and can be used with other food gums. This gives developers opportunities to create more products with konjac as the source gum.
- How does konjac gum make food more affordable?
Konjac gum is a universal food gum and can be used in a variety of products. It mixes well with other food gums and ingredients. It helps to extend the shelf-life of many foods through thickening, emulsification, and stabilization.
- Does konjac gum contain genetically modified organisms (GMOs)?
Konjac gum does not contain genetically modified organisms.
- Is konjac gum safe for children?
Konjac gum is safe for children in moderation and often used in medicines. However, certain forms of konjac gum have been recalled in certain countries because of the risk of suffocation from consuming large amounts due to its thickening properties. The gum runs a risk of expanding in your throat if you consume too much of it at once. This is why manufacturers adhere to regulations on the amount allowed in foods to ensure product safety.
- How long has konjac gum been used in foods?
Konjac gum and konjac flour have a long history of use in foods dating back to ancient times in China and Japan.