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What You Need To Know About Xanthan Gum

What You Need To Know About Xanthan Gum

At Happy Way, we not only love to provide our customers with products filled with nutritional goodness and flavour, but we always want to educate you along the way too. We endeavour to be transparent, and when our customers have questions about our products or ingredients, we want to give you the answers and knowledge that will empower you to make the best decisions for YOU.

We have recently chosen to add an ingredient called xanthan gum into a few of our protein powders, so we wanted to give you the ins and outs of exactly what this ingredient is and explain the reasons why we have decided to include it into our products.

WHAT IS XANTHAN GUM?

Xanthan gum is an additive that is often added to foods as a thickening agent. It is used in many products including a variety of foods, personal care and industrial products. 

Xanthan gum is formed when sugar goes through a fermentation process, where it creates a gooey consistency. It is then turned into a solid by adding an alcohol agent, which is then dried and grounded into a powdery form. When the powder is added to a liquid, it stabilises and thickens the product. 

It has been approved as a food additive and whilst there is no limit to how much xanthan gum particular foods can contain, it’s important to understand that it’s a soluble fibre, which our bodies can’t break down or absorb any calories or nutrients from. 

The sugars in which xanthan gum are created can be sourced from both animal and plant based ingredients. Whey is a product that is often used for the production of xanthan gum as well as vegan friendly options such as sugar cane, corn starch, sugar beet and soy. 

WHERE WILL I FIND XANTHAN GUM?

Xanthan gum is found in many products including:-

  • Ice-cream
  • Dressings
  • Soups
  • Sauces/syrups
  • Gluten free products
  • Juices
  • Skincare products
  • Toothpaste
  • Shampoo/conditioner
  • Paints
  • Adhesives
  • Household/industrial cleaners
  • Insecticides/herbicides

WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF XANTHAN GUM?

Besides improving the consistency of many products, there are some studies that have discovered other health related benefits of incorporating xanthan gum into our foods. However, because it is usually only found in super small amounts in our products, it does not have a great affect on our health overall. 

Some of the benefits when consuming larger amounts or xanthan gum supplements include:-

  • Decreased blood sugar – When consumed in larger amounts it can decrease your digestion and affect how rapidly sugar enters your bloodstream, lowering blood sugar after eating. 
  • Lower cholesterol – Tests have shown that when taken in larger amounts, cholesterol has decreased by 10% in some individuals.
  • Assisting with weight management – Because it can slow down digestion, individuals feel fuller for longer when consuming products with xanthan gum.
  • Improved regularity – Has improved bowel movements, creating stools that are softer and easier to pass through our bodies. 

ARE THERE ANY CONCERNS I SHOULD BE AWARE OF?

Xanthan gum is generally safe for consumption because of its small doses and really only has some negative side effects when consumed in large doses. People who have severe allergies to wheat, corn, soy and dairy should limit their intake, being that xanthan gum is made from sugar and the sugar is often sourced from these ingredients. Those that take diabetic medication should also avoid larger amounts as it can be known to lower blood sugar levels. It can cause an upset stomach in some individuals but only when at least 15 grams are consumed. Increased gas, frequency of bowel movements, softer stools and changed gut bacteria can be some of the side effects when taken in larger amounts also. Premature infants also don’t have fully developed digestive systems so products with xanthan gum should be avoided. 

WHY ARE WE USING XANTHAN GUM IN SOME OF OUR PRODUCTS?

Whilst xanthan gum does not provide any calories or nutritional value, at Happy Way we have decided to add a small amount into some of our protein powders to improve it’s consistency and overall quality. The xanthan gum used in our products is sourced from the sugars of soy, which means that it is suitable for those living a vegan friendly lifestyle.

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