What is Glycerol Monostearate in Food? Uses, Safe, Side Effects

What is Glycerol Monostearate in Food? Uses, Safe, Side Effects


Table of Contents

Glyceryl monostearate E471, also known as woody rosin or gum rosin, is used as a natural additive in food products to improve the quality of food with unique properties. Woody rosin is a complex mixture of compounds derived from the sap of pine trees. In the discussion of this article, we will focus on what glyceryl monostearate is and other related aspects such as its safety and side effects.

What is Glycerol Monostearate?

Glycerol monostearate, also known as Glyceryl monostearate, is an organic compound with formula CHO. It is a white, odorless solid that is soluble in ethanol. It is used as an emulsifier and foaming agent in food and cosmetic products.

Glycerol monostearate is prepared by the reaction of stearic acid with glycerol, where the esterification takes place by means of sulfuric acid:

The product has the empirical formula C17H35O4S, but it exists as a mixture of diastereomers.[5] The most common one is the S-form (the S stands for “syn”).

Glycerol monostearate, also known as glycerol monostearate is a fatty acid ester of glycerol. It is commonly used in food manufacturing as an emulsifier and thickening agent, and as an excipient to make tablets.

Glycerol monostearate is a colorless waxy solid with a sweet taste. It has a melting point of 60 degrees Celsius and it soluble in water, ethanol and propylene glycol, but not in oils or other organic solvents. Glycerol monostearate can be synthesized from stearic acid and glycerin.

What is Glycerol Monostearate Structure?

Glycerol monostearate is a waxy, colorless or white, odorless solid. It is produced by the hydrogenation of glycerol, and is used as an emulsifier in food products, cosmetics and pharmaceuticals.

Glycerol Monostearate Structure

Glycerol monostearate (GMS) is a mixture of molecules that consists of a fatty acid ester and glycerol. The fatty acid can be stearic acid (C18:0) or oleic acid (C18:1). Glycerol and fatty acids are both hydrophobic compounds. The carbon chain attached to the glycerol molecule varies between C8-C22. These chains are usually saturated or unsaturated with double bonds.


A glycerol monostearate mixture contains the following ingredients:

  • Glycerol monostearate: Glycerol monostearate is a white, odorless, waxy solid. It is used as a lubricant and emulsifier in food and cosmetics products. It is also used to produce glycerol esters such as glycerol monooleate and glycerol stearate. It is used in the manufacture of chewing gum, toothpaste, pharmaceuticals, cosmetics and lubricants.
  • Glycerol distearate: Glycerol distearate is a solid form of glycerol monostearate that is more resistant to heat than its liquid counterpart. This type of glycerol is used as a thickening agent in cosmetics and personal care products because it provides a creamy texture without leaving any residue on the skin.
  • Glycerol tristearate: Glycerol tristearate is used as an emulsifier in foods, such as ice cream, candy, yogurt and chewing gum. Glycerol distearate is used in cosmetics and pharmaceuticals.
A mixture of these three components is called glyceryl stearate.
Glycerol monostearate may also contain glycerol mono-, di-, and triester of (palmitic acid or other fatty acids) found in commercial stearic acid.

Where is Glycerol Found?

Glycerol is a simple alcohol that is commonly used as a food additive and as an ingredient in cosmetic products. It is also used to make polyester polyols, which are used to make plastics such as polyethylene terephthalate (PET).

Glycerol is a colorless, odorless liquid that has a sweet taste. It is made in the body from fat during digestion. Glycerol can also be made from vegetable oil, animal fat, or other plant-based oils. Glycerol can also be made from natural gas or petroleum.

Glycerol is commonly found in:

  • Bread and baked goods
  • Candy
  • Chocolate
  • Coffee creamers
  • Dairy products such as butter and cheese
  • Jams and jellies
  • Milk substitutes such as soy milk and rice milk

Types of Glycerol Monostearate

It is generally classified into three types in the market based on the content of glycerol monostearate:

  • GMS 40: A minimum of 40% glycerol monostearate should be assayed
  • GMS 60: A glycerol monostearate concentration of not less than 60% according to the assay
  • Among these is DGM (distilled glycerol monostearate), which has the highest level of glycerol monostearate, not less than 90%

They all have emulsifying, dispersing, stabilizing, moisturizing, and foaming functions.

What is Glycerol Monostearate Used For?

Glycerol monostearate is a food additive that is used for a variety of purposes. It is used as a food preservative, and it has been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for use in foods such as breads, cakes, biscuits and other baked goods. It can also be used as a stabilizer in ice creams and margarines.

How to Use Glycerol Monostearate? Glycerol monostearate has a number of different uses, including:

Glycerol Monostearate Uses in Food

Glycerol monostearate is used in many foods as a dispersing agent and emulsifier to help mix ingredients together without clumping or caking. It’s also known as E476 in Europe and has been approved by the Food Chemical Codex for use in baked goods, cereals, chocolate products, beverages and other foods.

  • Breads: Glycerol monostearate is allowed as a dough conditioner in breads. This ingredient allows the bread to have a soft texture while also allowing it to rise more quickly than normal.
  • Cakes: Glycerol monostearate is allowed as a leavening agent in cakes because of its ability to produce carbon dioxide gas bubbles and make the cake rise during baking. It also prevents excess moisture from forming on the surface of the cake during baking so that it will be less sticky when eaten.
  • Biscuit: This ingredient can be used as an additive to make biscuits flaky by helping them separate from each other after baking.
  • Pasta: Glycerol monostearate is used as an emulsifier in pasta products to help keep the ingredients separate during cooking. It helps prevent clumping of the dough and improves the texture of the finished product by allowing it to cook evenly.
  • Ice cream: Glycerol monostearate is often used as an emulsifier in ice cream because it prevents ice crystals from forming during storage. This improves the taste and texture of the product.
  • Caramels, toffees and chocolate: Glycerol monostearate is often used as an ingredient in caramels, toffees and chocolates because it helps prevent them from becoming sticky or hard during storage.
  • Chewing gum: Glycerol monostearate can be added to chewing gums for its ability to improve texture.
  • Bodybuilding Supplement: Glycerol monostearate is commonly found in bodybuilding supplements. The substance helps increase the absorption of other ingredients like creatine and protein powders. It also helps improve muscle growth by increasing the amount of protein synthesis in muscle cells. This can lead to greater muscle gains over time when combined with regular exercise.

Glycerol Monostearate Uses in Cosmetics

Glycerol monostearate is often added to cosmetics as an emulsifier or thickener. It can be used as an ingredient in lotions, shampoos and conditioners among other products. The substance helps keep oil and water mixed together so that they don’t separate after application on your skin or hair (which would cause discomfort). This makes it easier for your skin or hair to absorb moisture from these products more easily than if you didn’t use the ingredient.

Glycerol Monostearate Uses in Plastics

Glycerol monostearate can be used in the manufacture of plastics to improve their strength, glossiness, clarity, flexibility, and water resistance. It also improves the film formation during extrusion processing of polyolefins.

The following are its functions in plastics:

  • Foaming agent: Glycerol monostearate is used to increase the volume and stability of plastic foams. It also improves the processability of the polymer. The addition of glycerol monostearate to polystyrene increases its resistance to stress cracking by up to four times. It also increases the stiffness of polypropylene and improves its impact strength.
  • Lubricant: Glycerol monostearate acts as a lubricant when it is combined with other plasticizers to make plastic material more flexible. It also prevents the formation of static electricity in plastic materials by neutralizing static charges on the surface of the plastic.
  • Antistatic agent: Glycerol monostearate prevents dust from adhering to the surface of plastics when they are being handled or packaged. This makes it useful for packaging products that might otherwise generate static electricity during storage or transportation. For example, it can be found in microwave popcorn bags where it helps prevent sparks from being emitted by the bag’s contents during cooking. It can also be used in protective packaging such as bubble wrap or foam packaging peanuts to prevent static charge build-up within these materials.
  • Anti-fogging agent: In food packaging, keep the water in a thin film and prevent water pools from forming.

How to Dissolve Glycerol Monostearate?

Glycerol monostearate (GMS) is a common ingredient in food, cosmetics and other consumer products. It’s used as a thickening agent, emulsifying agent and stabilizing agent. GMS is a white powder that dissolves easily in water. It has a neutral taste and odor.

GMS is easy to dissolve at room temperature, but if you’re using it in cold applications, you’ll need to heat it up before adding it to the mixture. If you add GMS directly to cold water, it will not dissolve easily.

The process of dissolving GMS varies depending on how much you have to dissolve at one time, but here are some basic tips:

If you’re dissolving small amounts of GMS (less than 100 grams), simply add the powder slowly into cold or warm water until it completely dissolves. It takes about 3-5 minutes to dissolve each 100 grams of GMS.

How to Dissolve Glycerol Monostearate in Water?

Glycerin monostearate is an emulsifier that can be used to create stable creams and lotions. To dissolve glycerin monostearate, you must first mix it with water. The ratio for dissolving glycerin monostearate is 1 gram of powder to 10 grams of water.

Step 1: Place the glycerin monostearate and water into a glass beaker or large bowl. Use a whisk to stir the mixture until it is completely dissolved.

Step 2: If your glycerin monostearate is not completely dissolved after whisking for several minutes, place the beaker in an ultrasonic bath for 5 minutes to help it dissolve.

Step 3: Allow the mixture to sit for 15 minutes before use so that any undissolved particles can settle at the bottom of the liquid.

How is Glycerol Monostearate Made?

Glycerol monostearate is a common food additive and sometimes used as a pharmaceutical excipient. It can be produced from glycerol or stearic acid, both of which are naturally occurring compounds. Glycerol is a trihydric alcohol that has three hydroxyl groups (OH) attached to different carbon atoms. Stearic acid is a saturated fatty acid with 18 carbon atoms and one carboxylic acid group (COOH).

Glycerol monostearate is made by reacting glycerol with stearic acid in the presence of an alkali catalyst such as sodium hydroxide (NaOH). The reaction produces glycerol monostearate, sodium chloride, and water as byproducts:

C3H5(OH)3 + C17H35O2Na + H2O → C18H37O2Na + NaCl + H2O


Other Names
  • Glyceryl monostearate
  • Monostearin
  • Mono, diglycerides of fatty acids
CAS Number 123-94-4
Chemical formula C21H42O4
Molecular Weight 358.56



It is a white powder, flake or bead with a slight acidic smell.

Solubility and HLB

Because of the two places of OH-, glycerol monostearate has two chemical structures, and the first isomer takes up a large portion of the final glycerol monostearate product.
A low HLB property makes it lipophilic and forms water-in-oil emulsions (w/o).


Because of the two places of OH-, glycerol monostearate has two chemical structures, and the first isomer takes up a large portion of the final glycerol monostearate product.


1-glycerol monostearate, Image Source


2-glycerol monostearate, Image Source

Is Glycerol Monostearate Safe to Eat?

US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) as well as FAO/WHO Expert Committee on Food Additives (JECFA) have approved its use as a safe ingredient.


The use of glyceryl monostearate in food is generally recognized as safe (GRAS) with no limitations other than current safe manufacturing practices. Furthermore, it can also be used in feed since it is GRAS.


As a food additive in Regulation (EU) No 231/2012, glyceryl monostearate (E471) is registered in the European Union as an authorised substance. It is included under the category of “Additions other than colours and sweeteners”.

How Much Glycerol Monostearate Pre Workout?

The amount of Glycerol Monostearate you should take depends on your goal and other factors such as your health conditions, age, gender and weight. You may want to start with a lower dose (100 mg) or even less if you have never taken any dietary supplement before. It’s also good practice to start with small amounts over an extended period until you get used to it, then increase gradually over time until you reach your desired dosage level.

Why is Glycerol Monostearate Added to Chocolate?

Glycerol monostearate is a common emulsifier added to chocolate.

Emulsifiers are substances that help bind ingredients together, so they don’t separate. In chocolate, they help keep cocoa butter and other fats from separating from other ingredients in the mixture.

They also give the chocolate its texture and mouthfeel. Without emulsifiers, the final product would be too soft and greasy, or too hard and gritty-feeling.

Glycerol monostearate is a white powder that dissolves easily in water and oil. It can be made from animal fat or vegetable oils like palm oil or cottonseed oil. But since it’s often used in candies like chocolates, it’s most often made from hydrogenated vegetable oils such as soybean oil or corn oil.

Glycerol Monostearate VS Glycerin

Glycerol Monostearate is used in a wide range of products, including baked goods, dairy products, confectionery products, ice cream and frozen desserts, fat emulsions and sauces. It can also be added to cosmetics as an emollient and moisturizer.

Glycerol monostearate is an emulsifier that acts as a thickener in foods such as ice cream. It also helps prevent fats from separating from the water portion of foods during storage and processing. Glycerol monostearate can be found in many different types of food products including baked goods, dairy products, confectionery products, ice cream and frozen desserts, fat emulsions and sauces. It can also be added to cosmetics as an emollient and moisturizer.

Glycerin is a colorless, odorless liquid that is the main component of glycerol. It has a sweet taste and is found naturally in plants, animals and microorganisms. Glycerol is used in wide variety of products including pharmaceuticals, cosmetics, soaps, lubricants and electronic products such as cell phones.

Glycerol Monostearate VS Glycerol

Glycerol is a common ingredient used in food and cosmetic products. It is made by reacting glycerin with stearic acid to produce a solid that can be used as an emulsifier, thickener or stabilizer in many food products. In cosmetics, glycerol acts as an emollient and humectant (drawing water from the air).

Glycerol monostearate is a synthetic compound that has the same chemical structure as glycerol but is different due to the addition of a fatty acid moiety. The result is a long-chain ester that does not occur naturally in nature. Glycerol monostearate is widely used in foods for its ability to increase viscosity and reduce syneresis (the separation of liquids from solids). It also acts as an emulsifier, stabilizes foam and improves texture of food products such as ice cream, mayonnaise and salad dressing.

What does Glycerol Monostearate do?

Glycerol Monostearate is a fat emulsifier that is used in many foods, including ice cream and other frozen desserts. It is also used in cosmetics, pharmaceuticals and in paint production.

The function of this additive is to prevent the separation of water and fat, which can occur when they are mixed together.

Glycerol monostearate is a white powder that dissolves easily in water or alcohol. This additive is often used as a thickener or lubricant for food products such as ice cream and salad dressings. It can also be used as an emulsifier for making creams, lotions and other skin care products.

What are the Side Effects of Glyceryl Monostearate?

The side effects of glyceryl monostearate are few and far between, but they do exist.

Glyceryl monostearate is a type of fat that can be found in many foods, such as baked goods and margarine. It is sometimes used as an emulsifier to help blend ingredients together.

Glycerol Monostearate Side Effects

As with any food additive, there are certain side effects associated with glyceryl monostearate. These include:

  • Allergic reactions, including hives and itchy skin
  • Stomach upset or diarrhea
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Headache

Where to Buy Glycerol Monostearate?

You can buy glycerol monostearate at most grocery stores or specialty shops that sell baking supplies. You’ll find it near the other common baking ingredients like baking powder, baking soda, salt, corn syrup and more.

It’s also available online through several different retailers such as Amazon, eBay and Walmart Marketplace.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is Glycerol Monostearate Natural?

Glycerol monostearate is not considered natural because it’s a processed substance made by combining other chemicals. However, some natural ingredients can be extracted and converted into glycerol monostearate through chemical processes. These include soybean oil and palm kernel oil, which are plant-based oils that are also used in many personal care products.

Is Glycerol Monostearate Halal?

Yes, glycerol monostearate is halal. Glycerol monostearate is a fatty acid that occurs naturally in animal and vegetable fats and oils. In cosmetics, glycerol monostearate is used as a thickening agent and emollient.

Is Glycerol Monostearate Vegan?

Based on raw materials derived from vegetable oils, it is vegan, and vegetarians can incorporate it into their diet.

Is Glycerol Monostearate Kosher?

Yes. Glycerol Monostearate is a Kosher ingredient, as it does not contain any animal products. It is derived from vegetable oil and stearic acid, and it is used as an emulsifier in food products.

Is Glycerol Monostearate Gluten Free?

Glycerol monostearate is made from vegetable oils, which are naturally gluten free.


This food additive should be avoided. Glycerol monostearate (E471) is a food additive that is used to reduce the stickiness of a food product. Equally, it plays an important role in stabilizing foams, preventing from syneresis, or droplets separation from the foam matrix. It is also used as a preservative in wine or other beverages in cases where the foam quality is critical and there are pH related risks to keep in mind.

if you have any questions about glycerol monostearate, please contact us in the below comments.

Sophie Feng

Sophie Feng

Sophie Feng is the author of gradechemical.com, she is the co-founder of the grade chemical network. She has been in grade chemical company since 2017, with a working knowledge of food chemical .

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