Citric acid is gluten-free, but there is a common misconception that it’s not. This is because citric acid can be sourced from a variety of ingredients, including wheat.
However, citric acid that is derived from wheat is processed in such a way that the gluten is virtually erased from it. Therefore, citric acid is a suitable ingredient for those with gluten sensitivities, allergies, or celiac disease.
What Exactly Is Citric Acid?
Citric acid can be different things depending on where it’s sourced from. It can most commonly be found in citrus fruits, hence the name.
It can also be created by taking a culture called Aspergillus niger and combining it with sugar, which creates a liquid. This liquid is then combined with calcium hydroxide to make citrate salt. This citrate salt is then combined with sulfuric acid to make citric acid.
Where Does Citric Acid Come From?
Citric acid is a naturally occurring component of citrus fruits. That being said, citrus fruits are not usually used to create citric acid, because it’s too expensive, and sourcing enough citric fruits to make the amount of citric acid typically used in the consumables industry would be too difficult.
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Citric acid can be extracted from a variety of foods, including corn, wheat, molasses, cane sugar, or beets.
What Kinds Of Foods Naturally Have Citric Acid?
Some foods that are considered natural sources of citric acid include:
What Is The Purpose Of Citric Acid?
Citric acid actually has multiple purposes. It can be added to food or drinks in order to give them a sour flavor profile. It is also used as a thickening agent for a variety of foods, including ice cream and soft drinks.
It is also commonly used as a preservative. This is because the acid can help prevent foods from spoiling because a lot of bacteria that can turn food bad cannot thrive in an acidic environment. Similarly, citric acid is also used in some toiletries and cosmetics in order to keep them fresher for longer.
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Citric acid also helps the body absorb many vitamins and minerals. Therefore, it is sometimes added to supplements in order to provide better absorption for consumers looking to benefit from them.
Citric acid is also a common ingredient in household cleaning products. It’s much safer to use on surfaces than other, harsher cleaning products, such as bleach. Citric acid is also really good at breaking down stains and buildup.
Finally, citric acid has proven to be a very powerful component of disinfectants, being that it can kill a lot of germs and bacteria on contact. It has even been used as an ingredient for environmental cleanups, including cleanup of nuclear waste.
Are There Any Health Benefits To Citric Acid?
A diet with citric acid can be beneficial for your health. It’s an important part of helping your body metabolize food, it can help protect against kidney stones, and as previously mentioned, it can help the body absorb nutrients and minerals.
There have been some reports of people believing that they have had allergic reactions to artificially produced citric acid. However, those reports weren’t substantiated. At this point, it’s unknown whether or not man made citric acid can have any adverse health effects.
That being said, high amounts of citric acid in your diet can wear away at the enamel of your teeth. It can also upset your stomach if you are consuming it in conjunction with stomach remedies. Finally, it can also irritate your eyes severely if it were to get in them.