What is pectin?

What is Pectin?

As an avid label reader, I’ve noticed that pectin is an ingredient in strawberry jelly and fruit snacks. At first, I just assumed it was safe but as my knowledge grew, I decided I needed to read up on this ingredient that was somewhat foreign to me. Here’s what I found out about pectin.

Pectin is a soluble fiber found in apples, citrus pulp and peels, and plums. It is commonly used as a thickener or gelling agent. Consuming pectin in its natural form is hard for our bodies to digest so what we consume has to be altered into modified citrus pectin, or MCP, which allows for easy digestion. After all, too much fiber can cause constipation and other digestive issues.

Simply put, what gelatin does for traditional, animal-based products pectin does for vegetarian and vegan products.

Some products you might see pectin in (as either a thickener or dietary fiber):

  • Jam, jellies, preserves
  • Fruit snacks
  • Desserts and dessert fillings
  • Medicines
  • Non-dairy milks
  • Some fruit juices

A few warnings:

  • If you’re allergic to citrus fruits, you may want to avoid products with pectin…for obvious reasons.
  • Pectin can decrease your body’s absorption of beta-carotene.
  • Pectin should not be taken as a supplement, but please consult your doctor for more information.

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