Side Effects of Cellulose Gum

By Jody Braverman

Used in ice creams, beer, jams and jellies, cake frosting and diet foods to thicken, improve texture, prevent settling and crystallization, and bind water, cellulose gum is found in many processed foods. Cellulose gum itself is a harmless natural substance that comes from the walls of plant foods. There's no evidence of any harmful side effects from consuming it.

Pint of Bitter
credit: Digital Vision./Photodisc/Getty Images
A glass of beer on a table.

Effects of Cellulose

Cellulose is an inexpensive food additive produced from the reaction of cellulose from plant walls with acetic acid -- the type found in vinegar. As a form of insoluble dietary fiber, cellulose passes through the body undigested and unabsorbed and thus poses no known health dangers, Michael Jacobson, executive director of the Center for Science in the Public Interest, told The Wall Street Journal in 2011. However, if you ate a large amount of cellulose gum, you might experience digestive discomfort from eating a lot of dietary fiber at one time. Since the U.S. Food and Drug Administration limits the amount of cellulose gum a food can contain, eating too much isn't likely.