Xanthan gum can be a food additive you have never heard about, but you likely consume it several times a week. Want to know more about it please read the article.
Xanthan gum is a familiar food additive that is commonly added to thicken or stabilize food. Xanthan gum is a substance that helps make a few foods and medications. It was discovered by a few scientists in 1963. After that, it has been well researched and determined as safe to consume. Therefore, the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) has approved xanthan gum as a food additive and placed no restrictions on the amount of xanthan gum a food can contain.
Xanthan gum is usually produced by fermenting a carbohydrate (a sugar substance) with Xanthomonas campestris (bacteria) and processing it. When sugar is fermented, it creates a broth-like substance made solid by adding alcohol. They are then dried and converted into powder. These products have different effects like adding thickness, keeping textures from changing, and holding components in place to which it is added.
Xanthan gum can be seen in many medicines like tablets that slowly break down in the body and eye drops.
While adding this xanthan gum powder to a liquid will quickly disperse and create a vicious and stable solution. This provides a great thickening, suspending, and stabilizing agent for many products.
Even though xanthan gum is made in a laboratory, it is a soluble fiber. These soluble fibers are carbs that the body cannot break down. They can absorb water and turn into a gel-like substance in the digestive system, which slows down digestion.
Therefore, the body cannot digest xanthan gum, and it does not provide any calories or nutrients.
Xanthan gum can improve the texture, thickness, flavor, shelf life, and appearance of many foods.
It also helps to stabilize foods, helping them to withstand different temperatures and pH levels. Additionally, it helps foods to flow smoothly out of their containers.
It is used instead of gluten because it can provide the elasticity and fluffiness that gluten can give in traditional baked goods.
The common foods that contain xanthan gum are:
Sauces and gravies.
Xanthan gum is also present in many personal care products. It makes these products to be thick and allow them to flow easily out of their containers. It also helps the solid particles to be suspended in the liquids.
Some common products that contain xanthan gum are:
Many industrial products contain xanthan gum because it can withstand different temperatures and pH levels and thicken liquids while maintaining a good flow.
Common industrial products that contain xanthan gum are:
Fluids used in oil drilling.
Adhesives like wallpaper glue.
Fungicides, herbicides and insecticides.
Tile, grout, oven, and toilet bowl cleaners.
Xanthan Gum is used in pharmaceuticals to improve its thickness and stability. They are used in medicines to enhance the texture of the medicine or to slow down the release of the active ingredients.
Xanthan gum manufacturers will sometimes use some common food allergens like corn, soy, wheat, and dairy products to produce them. So if anyone has an allergy to one or more of these products listed above, they should avoid xanthan gum and products that contain it.
Xanthan gum is not a common food allergen, but some people may experience allergic reactions to xanthan gum, which is relatively rare by comparison.
A group of the eight major allergy-causing foods is often referred to as milk, eggs, crustacean shellfish, fish, tree nuts, wheat, peanuts, and soybeans are the reason for about 90% of all food allergies in the world. Ingestion of these food allergens can cause severe food allergies, life-threatening, like anaphylactic reactions. Persons may still have allergic reactions to foods other than the eight foods mentioned above.
The benefits of xanthan gum include:
It can minimize blood pressure.
It can fight and prevent cancer.
It is gluten-free. People with celiac disease must avoid a protein called gluten, which is found in many grains, like wheat, barley, and rye. Therefore they are the common ingredient in many baked goods and pasta. This gluten can make the dough stretchy and help to create an airy texture for baked goods. When baking, some people with celiac disease mix xanthan gum with gluten-free flour instead of gluten to achieve the same effects.
It can lower cholesterol levels.
People having xanthan gum have noted that it gives them increased fullness after consuming, thus helping in delaying stomach emptying and slowing digestion. In this way, it is helpful in weight loss.
Xanthan gum can increase the movement of water into the intestines to create a softer, bulkier stool that is easier to pass.
Xanthan gum is used to thicken liquids for people who have difficulty swallowing, like older adults or people with neurological disorders.
It is used as a saliva substitute for individuals suffering from dry mouth.
It also has a prebiotic effect and encourages the growth of healthy bacteria in the gut.
A few side effects have been reported due to xanthan gum. They are banned from being given to premature infants because they can lead to a severe digestive problem known as necrotizing enterocolitis in infants born prematurely. It may cause gas, increased frequency of bowel movements, increased stool output, softening of the stools, bloating, and alteration in the gut bacteria. It can also have a laxative effect if consumed in large amounts. Therefore, it is advisable to inform the doctor about any supplements you are taking even natural ones.
Last reviewed at:
20 Jan 2022 - 4 min read
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