Is Xanthan Gum Vegan?
Many vegans around the world choose to cook for themselves, and the online vegan community will provide you with so many great advice and recipes that will help you lead to a healthy and balanced vegan diet.
And on that path, you will certainly make some mistakes, which is perfectly normal, and ok. The most problematic aspect for many is the choice of food items, not the items themselves, but more about those products that are helping you to thicken the food (or loosen it) or some supplements that you love to add.
This is the problem because it is not about the product itself, but it is more about the way of its production, and you can never be 100 per cent sure what you are getting. You need to be extra careful and you need tom, even if you are not sure, to a content manufacturer and ask them about the way of production).
Now, one of the very much used products in the food industry, and in-home cooking, is Xanthan Gum. It is usually used for thickening food, and for the most part, it is considered to be safe for consumption, and we will discuss this issue in some later sections.
About this product, there are so many controversies, and online we have found numerous opposite information – and we found that at times this product is made with egg whites, and this means that Xanthan Gum is not always vegan as it is said.
Most people think that it is vegan because it is made from bacterial fermentation, it is utilized to solidify food goods or as an emulsifier to improve products that are based on liquid and oil. This means that it is used to keep all the ingredients that you use, in this case, water and oil to keep together.
Xanthan gum was “discovered” by American scientists in 1960, and was formally used as a dietary supplement in 1968 both in Europe and America – it is considered to be safe, and there are numerous ways of how this Gum is produced, so this is the aspect that alters what it is and can be considered vegan.
Besides the health part, this product was used for cooking, and in many different industries, like cosmetics, etc. In all of this, it has a similar purpose – to thick products.
Now, our main interest comes in the food department – and its usage in it. It can be different, but it is usually used in the production of juices, bread and various baked goods (gluten-free bread and baked goods).
This Gum is usually used for different thick salad dressings, sauces and dips, pre-made soups (you know that kind that is like a powder that you put in the water). Xanthan Gum is also used in the production of ice creams, and syrups (you know about all those store-bought syrups that you put on your ice cream, they usually have Xanthan Gum).
In cosmetics, it is used for liquid soaps and shampoos, laundry detergent, toothpaste, lotions – almost all products that you use in your home is made in some part with this gum.
Xanthan gum is a polysaccharide, and a dietary supplement labeled E 415 – so if you look at the ingredient box of some product you will not see Xanthan Gum, but the label E 415.
It is used as a stabilizer and artificial thickener, and can also be used as a gelling agent to improve the viscosity and structure of foods – it is no wonder why so many industries in the world use it, it is not expensive and is very effective.
It can be found in small quantities in sauces, ketchup, jellies, jams and marmalades. It is a major constituent of fake blood used in films – yes, every time you see blood on screen; you are probably looking at the Xanthan Gum, because it gives the perfect thickness.
Also, Xanthan Gum is responsible for the smooth appearance of ice cream without ice crystals – as we have said in the previous sections, numerous food items use this product.
Fermentation of glucose and lactose with the aid of Xanthomonas Campestre’s produces Xanthan gum – this is the simplest way of how we can explain to you the production of the Xanthan Gum.
One very important thing for you to know is that the Xanthan Gum is one very natural product, and therefore its use in organic food production is allowed. This is very comforting to know if you are vegan, but this does not mean that organic is vegan.
The problem that occurs in the production of Xanthan Gum comes from the fact that some producers use egg whites in their production, and this cannot be vegan! Truth to be told, there are products on the market that have egg whites, and in this sense, you need to be careful with Xanthan Gum.
The appearance of egg whites in this item has occurred because at times it is processed with eggs. But, for example, one of the companies that produce them has stated that they do not use any dairy products in the production of Xanthan Gum.
So, take a deep look at the ingredients list, and if you have any doubt contact the manufacturer.
Where is it used?
Now, on your vegan journey, you are visiting numerous stores, and you are getting surprised what is used for – bakery products, biscuits, cakes, pasta, quick-frozen and related products, cooked, semi-cooked and steamed sausages and preserves, fresh and melted cheese preparations, fruit and vegetable-based desserts, stuffed olives, fruit-based sauces and vegetables (including ketchup and similar products), fish salads, substitutes for dairy products or dairy products, similar products with or without milk parts, candy products, filling mass, toppings, egg-based liqueurs, spirits other than natural spirits, fruit wines and mixed fruit wines, non-alcoholic soft drinks, soups, concentrates for soups and sauces, food additives, spices, spice and spice extracts, pudding powder, creams, desserts and related products, flips, expanded cereals, mixes and other snack products, all types of mustard, infant and toddler foods, gluten-free cereal-based foods, infant and toddler special foods, nutritional supplements.
As you can see there is a small chance that you will miss out on Xanthan Gum – and your questions are it vegan are constant.
Is Xanthan Gum Vegan?
Is this product vegan or not depends on the production of the Xanthan Gum, or how bacteria is cultured. You see, like a high-fiber carbohydrate that can be obtained by fermenting sugars, it can be made in a variety of forms.
This fermentation is produced in a way that soy or corn is fermented – but this is just one way.
But, not all ways of production are vegan – it can use egg whites, and in this way, it is not vegan. So always check with the manufacturer. In the process of fermentation glucose, lactose or sucrose can be used, and this is the aspect that alters the fermentation process and the vegan status of Xanthan Gum.
For example, Bob’s Red Mill Xanthan Gum is the safest choice for vegans – is an option. It states that it is vegan and that uses non-GMO corn.
So, there are some manufacturers that specifically claim that their product is vegan and that no animal product was used to produce it.
Is Xanthan Gum Healthy?
Due to the fact that xanthan gum is produced from corn or other cereals, allergic reactions should be considered if a person is sensitive to a particular cereal. It contains no fats and proteins, only carbohydrates.
Calorie value: 10 gr. xanthan gum has 30 Cal
Daily Needs: The daily intake is 20 gr. per kilogram of weight, though the need for so much is very rare because the thickening effect is excellent.
It is labeled E415 as a dietary supplement (E numbers on food ingredients indicate which food additive was used in the food itself, represent the European standard for labeling food supplements).
Xanthan gum contains no fats and proteins, only carbohydrates. Ten grams of xanthan gum has 30 calories.
Because xanthan gum is often used in gluten-free diets, it is often available for purchase at health food stores and individual pharmacies.
Xanthan gum is produced by Xanthomonas Campestre’s by fermentation of glucose, sucrose or lactose. It is a natural product and is allowed in organic food production. There is no research on the health effects of xanthan gum, but it is considered a safe product. As xanthan gum is produced from corn or other cereals, xanthan gum itself can cause allergies in allergic people to a given cereal.
Due to possible allergies, it is not recommended to consume xanthan gum of unknown origin to people with allergies.
Daily allowable use is 20g per kilogram of weight. However, it is a very rare need with so much, because the thickening effect is exceptional and typically uses 0.5% of the total weight of the food to which the gum is added.
What are the substitutes for Xanthan Gum (for those who are not sure will they use it)?
Some of the alternatives are – Guar Gum (they have a similar name, and both are used for thinking. Also, one substitute can be Corn Starch, then Chia Seeds, Agar-Agar, Arrowroot.
Xanthan gum (E415), synthetic thickener, stabilizer and gelling agent. It is obtained by fermenting corn sugar using bacteria. At higher doses, it acts laxatively.
It is allowed in organic food production. Production from genetically modified maize is possible, but a final evaluation of the xanthan gum produced so far cannot be given. It is considered harmless.
Xanthan gum is used as a dietary supplement to improve the viscosity and structure of foods. It is used in very small quantities, most commonly in ketchup, sauces, various salad dressings, jams, marmalades and jellies. You can find xanthan gum in toothpaste, cosmetics and lubricants.
It is a major constituent of fake blood that we often see in movies. Ice crystals do not appear in ice cream precisely because of xanthan gum, and because of this, ice cream has a smooth appearance.