Xanthan Gum in Food Applications
Some widely known xanthan gum brands include Barry Farm, Bob’s Red Mill, Satiaxane and NOW Foods. They come in different forms, most notably powder form. Since it is easily available and purchase is relatively easy, you can get this gum from your local health or bakery store. Plus, it does not cost much either. Before we move on, it helps to understand more about xanthan gum.
What is Xanthan Gum?
Xanthan gum is a unique substance commonly found in food, cosmetic and industrial additives. It falls under the category of polysaccharides (a class of carbohydrate) and is usually produced by fermentation process. During fermentation, a strain of bacteria (Xanthomonas campestris) is added to glucose or sucrose (i.e. corn sugar). This turns them into gum.
In fact, this is the very same bacteria that cause leafy vegetable to rot (i.e. black color rot in cauliflower). The bacteria play an important role and work to assist the formation of slimy gum-like substance. This substance is perceived to be a natural thickener, stabilizer, and emulsifier. Previously, some of the popular thickening agents available were guar gum or corn starch. With additional researches, it was discovered that a combination of Xanthomonas campestris and corn sugar produced a similar, highly useful and colorless substance. Today, this substance is popularly known as xanthan gum.
Xanthan Gum Nutritional Info
To get a good read of xanthan gum nutritional info, it’s best to refer to the product label directly. The following nutritional info details are taken from different brands and they help to give you a general idea. In a particular brand, every 100g contains: Protein 6g, Energy 1497kJ/358kcal, Carbohydrate 81g, Sodium 3846mg, Fat 0.5g, and Fiber 84g. It basically contains no vitamin and minerals. Nevertheless, it is usually added for the purpose of thickening, stabilizing, and emulsifying a substance. You can also find out more about xanthan gum nutritional info online.
Xanthan Gum Side Effects
Xanthan gum may be derived from soy, corn or other plant products (the bacteria feed on these products). Therefore, those allergic to a particular plant should avoid taking gum (and its associated products) developed from that plant. Some people claim that they are allergic to the gum and most notable xanthan gum side effects include drying of skin and respiratory problems. However, these effects may/may not occur and if they do, the symptoms tend to surface after prolonged exposure to gum powder. Other common symptoms after consumption include flatulence and feelings of stomach bloating. It is also perceived to be a highly efficient laxative because it may cause diarrhea and bowel movement for some people.
Generally, it is safe to take up to 15 grams of gum per day. However, avoid consumption if you are pregnant, breast-feeding, have appendicitis, have intestinal narrowing symptom, or if you are scheduled for surgery within the next two weeks. Xanthan gum side effects vary from person to person. It is advisable to start with a small amount to understand your level of tolerance.
What Xanthan Gum Substitute?
For baking, the gum is of used to replace gluten for a gluten-free diet. It can be used to replace gluten in wheat flour but you’ve got to mix the gum in a right amount to form a proportionate flour blend. As a rule of thumb, for every cup of gluten-free flour, you can use 1 tsp of gum for cakes and cookies, and 2 tsp of gum for breads and pizza. Xanthan gum substitute is common because quite a number of people are allergic to gluten. It is also used in pasta and other flour based products, allowing those who are gluten-intolerant a chance to enjoy such foods as well. The use of xanthan gum substitute is increasingly common. You can find many products to be gluten-free these days.
What Can I Use Instead of Xanthan Gum?
There are also many people who ask, “What can I use instead of xanthan gum?” Well, you can try guar gum, gum Arabic, locust bean gum, carrageenan, and gelatin. These substitutes are used in many processed food products to give texture and enhance their edibility. Nevertheless, considering the side effects of food additives in general, they should be used only when necessary and added sparingly. Therefore, consider the ingredients that you choose for your cooking and the ingredients of ready-made food products that you buy.
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