What is Citrus Pectin? Is it Gluten Free?

Being gluten free, I have gotten VERY used to reading labels and discovering new ingredients I’ve never heard about before. As a part of our research, we’ve covered a few of these ingredients in the past before:

These are a few food additives and ingredients we’ve come across in baked goods, drinks, cocktails, and processed foods. There are thousands more out there. In this post, we’re taking a look at a new one I discovered recently, citrus pectin.

When eating some fruit strips from Trader Joe’s, I came across this ingredient.

What is Citrus Pectin?

Citrus pectin is a natural substance derived from the peel or pulp of citrus fruits, such as oranges, lemons, and grapefruits. It belongs to a group of complex carbohydrates known as polysaccharides, specifically a type of soluble dietary fiber.

In the food industry, it is commonly used as a gelling agent, thickener, and stabilizer. Citrus pectin can often be found in gummy candies, fruit strips and processed fruit items, along with some other jelly like products.

When combined with sugar and acid (usually lemon juice), pectin can be used to create jams, jellies, and fruit preserves. The gelling property of pectin is especially useful in these applications, as it helps give the desired consistency to the final product.


What is Modified Citrus Pectin?

When doing research on the ingredient citrus pectin, I came across a lot of articles about Modified Citrus Pectin.

Modified citrus pectin is simply a more digestible form of pectin. Modified citrus pectin is composed predominantly of D-polygalacturonates, which are more easily absorbed by the human digestive system. Modified citrus pectin on its own is promoted and sold as a dietary supplement.

MCP is also considered an alternative therapy with people trying to use it as a treatment for cancer. It is not clinically proven and research is very limited.

According to Cancer Research UK, ‘Early trials in the laboratory have shown that MCP may have an effect on cancer growth and very early studies showed it had some effect in prostate cancer cells. MCP may also stimulate the immune system and lower cholesterol.’

modified citrus pectin


Is Citrus Pectin Gluten Free?

Citrus pectin is available in various forms, including powdered and liquid forms, and can be found in health food stores, grocery stores, within products, and online. As with any supplement or dietary addition, it’s always essential to consult with a healthcare professional before incorporating modified citrus pectin or any other new dietary product into your routine.

Citrus pectin is generally considered gluten-free and safe for people with Celiac Disease. Citrus pectin is derived from the peel or pulp of citrus fruits, which do not contain gluten. However, it’s essential to be cautious and check the specific product label or manufacturer’s information to ensure that there are no added ingredients or potential cross-contamination with gluten-containing substances during the manufacturing process. Some pectin products might be processed in facilities that also handle gluten-containing ingredients, which could lead to potential cross-contamination, so always keep that in mind!

If you follow a gluten-free diet due to celiac disease, gluten sensitivity, or any other reason, it’s best to look for products that are specifically labeled as gluten-free or verified by a trusted gluten-free certification program to minimize the risk of gluten exposure. As with any dietary restriction, if you have any concerns or doubts, it’s always a good idea to reach out to the manufacturer or consult with a healthcare professional.


Read next: What is a Low FODMAP Diet?

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