Locust bean gum is a product that comes from Ceretonia siliqua , a tree more commonly referred to as carob, that is native to Mediterranean regions. The seeds of the carob tree are removed from the tree, then dehydrated. The dehydrated seeds are heated to release their natural oils and become more flavorful before being ground up into a powder known as locust bean gum.
In the manufacturing industry, locust bean gum is primarily used as a means to thicken food products. Common items that contain the powder include salad dressing, syrup, cheese, condiments, and ice cream. In addition to food products, it can also be added to cosmetics, pet food, and even insecticides to prevent the products from becoming too thin or runny during the packaging process.
The taste of locust bean powder is similar to ground cocoa powder, but it contains less fat and calories than cocoa. It can be used in place of cocoa powder in baked goods or other desserts as a healthier alternative. The powder can also be processed into chips or bars that have a flavor and appearance that is comparable to chocolate. Unlike chocolate chips or pieces, processed locust bean does not melt evenly or produce a smooth texture.
Some people may prefer to consume products that contain locust bean powder because it has more fiber than chocolate or other sweeteners. Since it has fiber and lower amounts of fat and calories, the powder is often used as a flavoring agent in sweet diet food products, such as low fat cookies or ice cream. The product is also completely natural, so dieters may favor it over artificial sweeteners to cut fat and calories.
Gluten is a type of protein that is naturally found in many grain and bread products, such as barley, rye, and many other types of dough. People with celiac disease cannot properly digest gluten and may experience gastrointestinal inflammation if they consume products containing gluten. Locust bean gum can be used as a replacement for gluten-based products in recipes, so those with celiac disease do not have to avoid food normally made with dough, flour, or other grains. The powder can also be processed into a low carbohydrate version of flour that can be consumed by people with diabetes who have to limit their carbohydrate intake.
Supporters of locust bean gum believe it also has medical benefits in addition to its thickening properties, sweetening abilities, and dietary benefits. Some people claim the powder can help lower the amounts of high cholesterol in the blood. It can also be used as a natural remedy to treat coughing or diarrhea.