- Cellulose is a tough carbohydrate that comes from the cell wall of plants. Cellulose gum, which may also appear on the label as carboxymethylcellulose, is made by reacting the cellulose, which comes from wood pulp or cotton lint, with an acid.
Cellulose gum has a number of different uses and is found in a variety of different types of foods. It’s used to stabilize the foam in your mug of beer and helps prevent crystallization of sugar in icing. Cellulose gum also binds well with water and is used in low-calorie food products such as fat-free ice cream and low-fat cookies to add bulk and texture. The food additive also helps suspend fruit in products such as jelly and fruit pie fillings.
If you’re trying to reduce your fat intake or you’re on a low-fat diet, choosing foods made with an additive like cellulose gum can help to make you feel less deprived.
It may help to supress the appetite. Because it works as a filler in foods, it has the potential to keep you feeling full. This is another reason cellulose gum is often found in diet foods! But you may experience loose bowel movements if you eat too many foods high in cellulose gum. Some people even use it as a laxative for weight loss.
Cellulose gum is versatile. It’s not only in a variety of food products, but also in toothpaste, pharmaceuticals, and even household products. It’s a highly useful additive that acts as a stabilizing and thickening agent.
It is an additive, not a whole food ingredient. Although cellulose gum is generally deemed a safe and acceptable food additive, there’s still the potential that there are as yet unknown risks because it isn’t a traditional whole food.
Because cellulose gum (also known as carboxymethylcellulose, or CMC) is sometimes called a “dietary fiber” on the package of food products, you might think you’re getting more fiber in your diet than you really are. CSPI cautions that cellulose gum isn’t as healthy as the fiber you’ll find in natural foods. You should read nutrition labels and ingredient lists carefully.
No interactions are known.
Source: Healthline, http://www.healthline.com/health/food-nutrition/cellulose-gum#3