In 1968, Xanthan Gum was officially approved as a food additive, a few years after it was discovered by a team of USDA researchers. Today you will find this ingredient in many food products. Its main job is to make different ingredients, like water and oil in salad dressings, blend easily. In other words, it does the emulsion (prevention of the separation of ingredients) function even though it is typically not an emulsifier.
It is produced by fermenting corn sugar using the Xanthomonas Campestris bacteria. Ever wondered how ice cream stays smooth in the freezer without forming ice crystals? Xanthan Gum is the answer. It is also used in other products such as toothpaste and cosmetics to stabilize water contents. Very little of it is required to get the ideal results (usually 0.5% of the product).
Check out this video on how Xanthan gum is made:
Xanthan gum can also be derived from wheat, soy, and dairy products. Some people react badly to some of these products so to be on the safer side, it is best to avoid products containing Xanthan gum in general. If you must, check the label to confirm it doesn’t contain any traces of the above mentioned or contact the manufacturer for clarification.
Nutritionally, Xanthan gum is rich in carbohydrates and fibers. However, a more than 15 grams of daily intake may cause serious bloating and intestinal gas.
If you are unsure about Xanthan gum, try these three vegan alternatives which have similar properties to those Xanthan gum has:
- Chia seeds
- Agar Agar
- Ground Flax Seeds
Have you ever tried preparing food using Xanthan gum?