|Xanthan gum Quick Facts
|Fine textured powdered dust
|Fight Cancer, Treats Diabetes, Treat Osteoarthritis, Treats Dry Mouth, Alleviates Constipation, Help Control Hunger,Treat Dysphagia, Fights Tooth Decay, Celiac Disease,lower Blood pressure
This ingredient has grown in popularity in recent years with the rise of celiac disease and gluten sensitivity, as this substance is completely gluten-free, but can offer the same filling or thickening needs of gluten and wheat. Since xanthan gum is derived from various sources of sugar, including dairy products, so it is not essentially vegan-friendly, although some companies exactly state it on their packaging. Unfortunately, many people go through their life without knowing about xanthan gum or its potential benefits.
Nowadays it is extensively used in gluten-free breads, pastas, and other flour-based food products. It is good news for those who are allergic to gluten. You can find xanthan gum in almost every gel-like food since it is an efficient emulsifier and thickener as a food additive. It is a thickening agent used in many foods, medications and cosmetic products. Today it is commonly used in:
- Lipsticks in tubes
- Baked goods and pastry fillings
- Ice cream and sherbet
- Industrial uses
- Jams, jellies and sauces
- Salad dressings
Xanthan gum was discovered by Allene Rosalind Jeanes and her research team at the United States Department of Agriculture, and brought into commercial production under the trade name Kelzan in the early 1960s. It was approved for use in foods in 1968 and is accepted as a safe food additive in the USA, Canada, Europe, and many other countries, with E number E415.
Xanthan gum derives its name from the strain of bacteria used during the fermentation process, Xanthomonas campestris. This is the same bacterium responsible for causing black rot to form on broccoli, cauliflower, and other leafy vegetables. Nowadays it is extensively used in gluten-free breads, pastas, and other flour-based food products. It is good news for those who are allergic to gluten.
Health benefits of Xanthan Gum
Xanthan gum’s thickening/stabilizing properties help give some foods or products an anticipated consistency or otherwise hold their ingredients together properly. Among its uses, xanthan gum is used mostly in many toothpastes, yogurts, lotions, medicines, puddings, jams, sauces, ice cream, baked goods, and cosmetics. It’s also a popular substitute in gluten-free baking. Listed below are some of the health benefits of using Xanthan Gum
1. May Fight Cancer
Xanthan gum helps to suppress tumor growth in mice by encouraging the immune system. Slowing cancer growth increased the survival time of mice identified with skin cancer. (1)
2. Treats Diabetes
Diabetes is a chronic condition that impairs the body’s ability to process blood sugar. If blood sugar remains too high, it can cause damage to nerves, eyes, blood vessels, and kidneys. Xanthan gum helps to decrease glucose concentrations without negatively affecting digestive fluid thickness.
For those whose diet mainly consists of rice, xanthan gum may reduce its unhealthy consequences. Blood sugar spikes roughly 30 minutes after consumption of rice. In a research of 11 healthy subjects, xanthan gum suppressed this blood sugar spike in humans.(2), (3), (4)
3. Treat Osteoarthritis
Osteoarthritis is actually a painful joint disorder commonly caused by aging joints or obesity. Multiple animal researches showed that xanthan gum injections had a protective effect on the cartilage while also relieving pain. Results are promising for future human-related studies.(5), (6)
4. Treats Dry Mouth
Saliva alternates reduce dryness for the mouth and throat by replacing natural saliva or activating normal saliva flow. Patients on kidney dialysis complain about dry mouth and thirst due to a obligatory fluid-restricted diet. Research of 65 patients showed saliva substitutes containing xanthan gum can treat thirst and dry mouth.(7), (8)
5. Alleviates Constipation
Research carried out on 18 volunteers concluded that xanthan gum had powerful laxative effects on the human body. Amount and frequency of stool production increased with supplements of xanthan gum.(9)
6. Help Control Hunger
In a research of 9 people, the participants who consumed xanthan-supplemented muffins described a sense of fullness. However, the European Food Safety Authority stated no relationship between consumption of xanthan gum and increase satiety. Another research confirmed that xanthan gum did not considerably decrease hunger in 21 obese women patients. More research is needed.(10), (11), (12), (13)
7. Treat Dysphagia
Dysphagia is a disorder that describes difficulty swallowing or starting the act of swallowing. A xanthan gum-based food thickener improved safety and provided therapeutic relief for 120 patients with dysphagia when compared to 14 healthy volunteers.
8. Fights Tooth Decay
Strong tooth enamel (the protective surface of the tooth) is a sign of good dental health. Acidic foods such as soda, coffee, and fruit juices can damage tooth enamel. Xanthan gum is a common thickening agent used in toothpaste. Xanthan gum can form a protective barrier over teeth, thus blocking acid attacks from foods.(16), (17)
9. Helping oropharyngeal dysphagia patients
Patients suffering from oropharyngeal dysphagia have problems with swallowing. The person has difficult to empty the esophagus. Use of xanthan gum helps the patient to swallow food more effectively.
10. Celiac Disease
Since xanthan gum is gluten-free, it is a safe ingredient in foods that would normally use wheat flour or gluten derivatives. For the millions of people struggling with gluten intolerance, this gum signifies a vital ingredient in many foods.
11. Used for lowering Blood pressure
Stable blood pressure is a must to run a healthy life. There are many reasons where the blood pressure levels shoots up. This needs an immediate attention. Xanthan gum is effective in lowering the blood pressure. It also controls bad cholesterol to certain extent.
Traditional uses and benefits of Xanthan Gum
- Xanthan gum is used for lowering blood sugar and total cholesterol in people with diabetes.
- It is also used as a laxative.
- Xanthan gum is occasionally used as a saliva substitute in people with dry mouth.
Xanthan Gum Substitutes
Xanthan gum is used as a gluten replacement in recipes due to how well it can bind ingredients together. However, the taste and slightly gummy texture does not appeal to everyone. Getting enough to cook with can also be pricey since xanthan gum is sometimes sold as a high-priced “healthy” alternative to gluten, despite its relatively few health effects. If you are looking for an alternative to xanthan gum, consider one of the following options.
1. Psyllium fiber
This is a form of soluble fiber you may have seen sold as a dietary supplement. Adding psyllium fiber to a recipe allows you to, for instance, bind the ingredients in bread together. However, psyllium fiber is not a simple 1:1 substitute for xanthan gum. For starters, you’ll need more of it, though how much more will depend on the recipe. You will also need more water to compensate for what the fiber will absorb. If you are using a gluten-free recipe that mentions psyllium fiber, more specific measurements should be provided.
In addition to being a good source of omega-3, flaxseed can be an effective binding agent if prepared properly. The most important thing to remember is that the seeds have to be ground up to have any binding effect. Once ground into a fine powder, mix the seeds with boiling water to form a thick paste that can be incorporated into your recipe as a xanthan substitute.
Gelatin is a probiotic ingredient that is used as a stabilizer or binding agent in a few different products. Again, simply mix with water to create the mixture you need and slip it into the recipe. Please note that, since gelatin is an animal byproduct, anything you make will not be considered vegan.
4. Agar agar
If you like the texture of xanthan gum but not the taste, then this seaweed-derived gelatin substitute may be the thing for you. Agar agar is almost tasteless, fast-acting thickening agent that can be used in similar amounts to gelatin, and can be a good way to make some recipes vegan-friendly.
- Xanthan gum thickens food and other products, and also prevents ingredients from separating.
- Non-food products, such as oil and cosmetics, also contain xanthan gum.
- Xanthan gum may help lower or stabilize blood sugar.
- As with any food or food additive, some people may not tolerate it.
- Gum is also a component of wallpaper glue, and soothes pigments in paint and ink.
- Xanthan gum also helps thicken commercial egg substitutes made from egg whites, to replace the fat and emulsifiers found in yolks.
- It is also a preferred method of thickening liquids for those with swallowing disorders, since it does not change the color or flavor of foods or beverages at typical use levels.
- In gluten-free baking xanthan gum is used to give the dough or batter the stickiness that would otherwise be achieved with gluten.
- In the oil industry, xanthan gum is used in large quantities to thicken drilling mud.
- Xanthan gum is used to prepare water gels, usually in conjunction with bentonite clays.
- It is also used in oil-in-water emulsions to help stabilize the oil droplets against coalescence.
- Xanthan gum is a common ingredient in fake blood recipes, and in gunge/slime.
- Xanthan gum is used in ice creams to prevent the formation of ice crystals and keep it smooth.
- Xanthan gum less than 0.5% of the food weight is usually enough.
- Xanthan gum is derived from many sources including corn, wheat, or soy. Pay attention to allergic responses.
- Xanthan Gum was “discovered” by a team of USDA researchers in the 1960’s. In 1968 it was approved for use as a food additive in the US and Europe.
- Xanthan gum binds moisture in the digestive tract, potentially making diarrhea worse.
- Xanthan gum can act as a laxative; it may make it more difficult to control the bowels.
- If consumed, xanthan gum can cause some digestive discomfort including laxative effects, bloating, and excess flatulence.
- People exposed to large amounts of xanthan gum powder, such as bakery workers, can experience flulike symptoms that include nose and throat irritation.
- For nursing mothers or in children do not give xanthan gum because it can endanger health.
- It may trigger allergic reactions in individuals sensitive to soy, corn, wheat or whichever plant xanthan gum is extracted from.
- Anyone with appendicitis, hard stools (fecal impaction), nausea, vomiting, bowel obstruction or undiagnosed abdominal pain should avoid it.
- If you are undergoing surgery, stop consuming xanthan gum, as it can interfere with blood sugar levels following an operation.
- Xanthan gum can cause migraines or skin irritation.
- Parents and caregivers should avoid feeding their infants xanthan gum-based thickeners, products or food.
Gluten-Free Banana Nut Bread
- 1 cup mashed ripe bananas (roughly three medium bananas- keep it at 1 cup)
- 2 large organic free-range eggs, beaten
- 1/4 cup organic Non-GMO Canola oil, coconut oil, or grape seed oil
- 1 1/4 cup lightly packed light brown sugar
- 1 cup brown rice flour or sorghum flour
- 1/2 cup tapioca starch or potato starch (not potato flour)
- 1 tablespoon rice bran
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 3/4 teaspoon xanthan gum
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 2 teaspoons bourbon vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 cup walnut pieces
- Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Line a 9-inch ceramic loaf pan with a piece of parchment paper.
- In a mixing bowl, beat the mashed bananas with the eggs, oil and brown sugar till combined.
- Add the brown rice flour, tapioca starch, rice bran, baking powder, xanthan gum, baking soda, salt, vanilla and cinnamon and beat until a smooth sticky batter forms. Stir in the walnut pieces by hand.
- Scoop the batter into the loaf pan and spread evenly.
- Stud the top with some extra walnut pieces, if desired.
- Bake on the center rack for 55 to 65 minutes, if necessary, until the center is done (a wooden cake tester should emerge clean).
- Ovens vary, so check the loaf at 50-60 minutes.
- Cool on a wire rack.
- This banana bread stays moist overnight, if tightly wrapped- but I would slice and freeze leftover pieces for best texture, beyond that.
- Makes one 9-inch loaf
Gluten-Free Chocolate Chip Cookies
- 1 cup sorghum flour
- 3/4 cup potato starch (not potato flour)
- 1/2 cup almond flour
- 1 teaspoon xanthan gum
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 1/2 cups light brown sugar
- 2/3 cup vegetable oil
- 2 large organic free-range eggs, beaten
- 1 tablespoon bourbon vanilla extract
- Rounded 1/2 cup vegan dark chocolate chips
- 1/2 cup chopped walnuts or pecans
- In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the sorghum flour, potato starch, almond flour, xanthan gum, sea salt, baking soda, and brown sugar.
- Add in the oil, eggs and vanilla extract.
- Beat the dough for two minutes, until it is sticky and smooth.
- Add in the dark chocolate chips; and stir by hand to combine. Add in walnuts or pecans, if desired.
- Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Form the dough into 28-30 balls. Place a dozen or so on the lined baking sheet and press down lightly- not too flat.
- Bake for 14 minutes. The cookies will look golden- but still feel slightly soft to the touch. They crisp a bit as they cool.
- Cool cookies on a wire rack.
- Sensational warm from the oven.
- Wrap cooled cookies by twos and freeze in freezer bags for future g-free treats. I place a small piece of parchment paper between cookies.
- Warm thawed cookies briefly in a microwave for melty chocolate chips and a fresh-baked style soft center.
- Makes 28 to 30 cookies.
Best Gluten-Free Apple Cake Muffins
- 1 cup sorghum flour
- 1/2 cup millet flour, or brown rice flour*
- 1/2 cup potato starch (not potato flour)
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon xanthan gum
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
- 2 teaspoons cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
- 3/4 cup light brown sugar
- 2 organic free range eggs, beaten
- 1/2 cup organic canola oil
- 1/2 cup rice milk
- 1 tablespoon bourbon vanilla extract
- 1 heaping cup diced peeled apple (we used two medium apples)
- Preheat the oven to 375ºF. Line a twelve cup muffin tin.
- In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flours, potato starch, baking powder, baking soda, xanthan gum, sea salt, cinnamon, nutmeg and brown sugar.
- Add the eggs and oil, and beat to combine. Add the rice milk and vanilla extract, and continue beating for a minute or two until the batter is smooth and elastic.
- Stir in the apple pieces by hand.
- Spoon the batter evenly into the muffin cups.
- Bake in the center of a preheated oven for about 22 minutes, until the muffins are domed, and firm.
- Cool on a wire rack for five minutes, then turn out the muffins from the pan to keep them from getting soggy. Continue to cool on a wire rack.
- Wrap and bag leftover muffins, and freeze them to preserve texture. These gems make perfect grab-and-go treats.
- Make one dozen muffins.