FDA ruling on Gum Acacia / Gum Arabic
As of this year, the FDA no longer recognizes 100% soluble fiber gum acacia/ gum arabic as a dietary fiber, and it will now be calculated as part of the carbohydrate content according to new nutrition label regulations. This is happening, despite citizen’s petitions submitted in 2019 to formally include it as a dietary fiber in the FDA’s nutrition fact updates. Under new FDA rules, non-digestible carbs must be determined to have physiological effects beneficial to human health before they can be counted as dietary fiber for nutrition labeling purposes on the new Nutrition Facts labels. These new rules came into effect January 1 for firms generating $10 million in food sales. Although the FDA will allow a six-month grace period before it will enforce the new rules regarding gum acacia / gum arabic, The FDA writes the following:
“Based on our consideration of the scientific evidence and other information submitted with the petition, and other pertinent scientific evidence and information, we conclude that the strength of evidence is insufficient to demonstrate that gum acacia has a physiological effect that is beneficial to human health… Therefore, we are denying your petition.”
FDA Rulings on Dietary Fiber 2020
Dietary fiber that can be declared on the Nutrition and Supplement Facts labels includes certain naturally occurring fibers that are ‘intrinsic and intact’ in plans, and added isolated or synthetic non-digestible soluble and insoluble carbohydrates that the FDA has determined have physiological effects that benefit human health.
Naturally occurring or ‘intrinsic’ fiber is found in foods such as vegetables, whole grains, fruits, cereal bran, flaked cereal and flours (the fibers are considered ‘intact’ because they have not been removed from the food). Foods containing these dietary fibers have been shown to be beneficial, and manufacturers do not need to demonstrate that they provide beneficial physiological effects to human health in order for them to be classified as ‘dietary fibers’ on the Nutrition Facts or Supplement Facts panel, says the FDA.
The FDA has also identified the following isolated or synthetic non-digestible carbs, which are added to food, as meeting the dietary fiber definition”
• Beta-glucan soluble fiber
• Psyllium husk
• Guar gum
• Locust bean gum
The FDA ruling on Dietary Fiber also proposes that the following non-digestible carbs be added to the definition of dietary fiber:
• Mixed plant cell wall fibers (a broad category that includes fibers like sugar cane fiber and apple fiber, among many others)
• Inulin and inulin-type fructans
• High amylose starch (resistant starch 2)
• Resistant Maltodextrin / dextrin
• Cross-linked phosphorylated RS4
Statement by The Paleo Foundation Regarding the FDA’s new Regulations placed on Gum Acacia
“Regardless of the FDAs new regulations, The Paleo Foundation will not be following this new regulation simply because it’s bullshit. We will continue to calculate 100% soluble fiber gum acacia / gum arabic as a 100% dietary fiber in our Keto Certified program. I don’t know if the FDA read the studies, but I sure af did. This whole thing makes no sense especially in light of what we are learning from microbiome research regarding the importance of prebiotic, soluble fibers” states Karen Pendergrass in a recent Facebook post. Pendergrass is both The Paleo Foundation founder, and author and avid researcher of prebiotic fibers and their impact on the microbiome.
Pendergrass adds, ” There is a lot of scientific literature supporting gum Acacia / gum Arabic as a dietary fiber that has a physiological effect beneficial to human health. Further, gum acacia / gum arabic is a non-digestible carbohydrate that is intrinsic and intact in nature, and there should be no contest to this fact.”
Incensed, she finally remarks, “I can’t help it, my conspiracy theorist eyebrow is raised in the general direction of the FDA.”
The FDA Ruling Hurts Keto Diet producers and adherents
The new rules disproportionately hurt producers of Keto Diet products that add functional fiber ingredients like the soluble fiber gum arabic / gum acacia in their products, as well as Keto Diet proponents. In the United States, the majority are consuming less than half of the daily recommended amount of fiber. Further, getting enough fiber is increasingly difficult with a reduced carbohydrate diet.
It is well recognized that constipation or diarrhea are perhaps the most common of the adverse effects of a ketogenic diet.
However, fiber can be used to treat and prevent constipation, and are essential to keeping your gastrointestinal system working properly. Soluble fiber like gum arabic/gum acacia helps increase probiotic bacteria, slow down gastric emptying, promote satiety, and supports the healthy bacteria in the gut. Insoluble fiber increases fecal bulking which can shorten gastrointestinal transit time, and prevent constipation.
For this reason, fiber may be the most important keto diet supplement of all. It is noted in other articles authored by Pendergrass that a quick and easy way to boost your soluble and insoluble fiber intake is by adding fiber to your supplement regimen through green leafy vegetables, or by supplementing with prebiotic soluble fibers such as guar gum, inulin from chicory root, and gum arabic/ gum acacia.
“The FDA ruling penalizes producers— especially keto producers— for adding 100% soluble fiber, functional ingredients like gum acacia into their products. They will feel pressure to take these ingredients out to meet carbohydrate limitations when that’s the last thing we should want these producers to do.” Pendergrass says.
“So, officially?” Pendergrass continues, “The Paleo Foundation stands with the gum acacia producers against the FDA ruling.” “That’s not going to change… we’ll do net carb calculations by hand if we have to for these cases. ”