Xanthan gum substitutes list

Discussion in 'Diet, Nutrition and Supplements' started by stephm2010, Mar 14, 2012.

  1. stephm2010

    stephm2010 In Motion

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    Xanthan gum is a widely used food additive, which is produced by fermenting glucose and/or sucrose with the bacterium strain, Xanthomonas campestris. The name xanthan is derived from the bacterium that is responsible for production of this gum. Chemically, xanthan gum is a long polysaccharide consisting of three different chains of sugar. Its structure is more or less similar to cellulose, except for the trisaccharide side chains. To be more precise, xanthan gum ingredients are glucose, glucuronic acid, and mannose.

    This food additive is available in powder form, and is readily soluble in water and brine solution. One of the characteristic properties of xanthan gum is that a small quantity is required for getting the desired thickening (about one percent). Approximately 0.5 percent gum is added in processed food products. Depending upon the required thickness of the product, the quantity of xanthan gum can be lowered to about 0.3 - 0.4 percent. Also, it is stable even when exposed to a wide range of temperature and pH, which is not so in case of other gums. Let's discuss in brief about xanthan gum uses and what are the substitutes of this gum.

    Uses of Xanthan Gum

    Even though strains of bacteria are involved in the production of xanthan gum, scientific researches reveal that it is not harmful for human consumption. Commercially, it is used as a stabilizer, emulsifier, thickener, and binding agent in preparation of dairy products, sauces, and salad dressings. Xanthan gum recipes are ideal for people who are sensitive to gluten, soy, egg, and dairy-based products. Some people prefer adding it in ice creams to prevent formation of ice crystals and also, to get a pleasant texture. In toothpaste and cosmetic products, xanthan gum acts as a binder of the ingredients and prevent them from separation. In simpler terms, it is used in products that require gel like properties.

    Substitute for Xanthan Gum

    While xanthan gum has multiple uses in varied products, some people report allergic reactions to this food stabilizer. Those who are sensitive to corn and corn-based products are at a higher risk of manifesting xanthan gum allergy symptoms. Some of the manifested conditions include headache, diarrhea, temporary increase in blood pressure, and abdominal pain. For such an allergic case, one can make use of a xanthan gum substitute in specific amounts. Following is a list of the popular substitutes for xanthan gum, which you can consider using in gluten-free and dairy free recipes:

    Guar Gum
    Also known as guaran, guar gum is a polysaccharide containing mannose and galactose sugars. Of all the substitutes of xanthan gum, it is a preferred choice. Basically, it is a powder form of the endosperm of cluster beans or guar beans. For production of guar gum, the beans are dehusked first, screened, and then grounded to form a fine or coarse powder. Like xanthan gum, guar gum is used as a thickener, stabilizer, and plasticizer in dairy products, baking, meat items, frozen foods, sauces, salad dressings, and cosmetics.

    Gum Arabic
    Gum arabic is a natural food stabilizer, which is derived from the sap of various species of acacia tree. As it is obtained from acacia tree, it is also referred to as gum acacia. Unlike xanthan gum, it contains glycoproteins in addition to polysaccharides. Gum arabic is colorless, odorless, and highly soluble in water. The low viscosity, high emulsification, and adhesion properties of gum arabic make it an excellent ingredient in bakery products, beverage emulsions, meal replacers, and coatings of cereals, snacks, and confections. Besides food processing units, it has been used in various industrial applications like inks, paints, glues and textiles.

    Locust Bean Gum
    Locust bean gum or carob gum is a polysaccharide having mannose backbone and galactose side chains. It is obtained from the seeds of carob beans, and can be dissolved in both hot water and cold water. Commercially, locust bean gum is available in the form of a white or whitish-yellow powder. It is commonly used as a thickener, stabilizer, and gelling agent in cream cheese, ice creams, fruit preparations, and salad dressings. Proponents of this gum opine that it increases the dietary fiber of the food without increasing the calorie count. However, there are conflicting data regarding the safety and uses of locust bean gum.

    Gum Tragacanth
    Gum tragacanth or simply tragacanth is a tasteless, odorless, and water-soluble polysaccharide produced from the sap of Astragalus plants. It is used as a stabilizer and textural additive in processed food, beverages, and salad dressings. However, gum tragacanth has fewer applications in the food industries as compared to xanthan gum and other substitutes of xanthan gum. In the contrary, it is widely used in pharmaceutical and other manufacturing industries.

    Carrageenan
    Carrageenan is another substitute for xanthan gum, which is obtained from the red algae, Irish moss. Since carrageenan is a plant-based product, many people opt for it instead of using gelatin (an animal-based food additive). It is widely used in dairy products, soy milk, alcoholic drinks, ice creams, desserts, diet sodas, soups, and jellies. Though carrageenan is commercially available as a powder in the market, one can also make it at home by boiling Irish moss for about 30 minutes.

    Xanthan gum and its substitutes are important ingredients of many processed food items, as they provide the desired texture and increase the palatability of such products. In fact, the individual components of food will separate in the absence of xanthan gum or its substitute. Nevertheless, the chemical properties of these food additives, their ingredients, and side effects should be analyzed prior to introducing them in the diet menu. Read to know more on dangers of food additives and preservatives.

    While some people experience hypersensitive reactions to xanthan gum, others may manifest unusual symptoms after ingesting xanthan gum substitutes. Thus, the food safety depends upon the individual sensitivity towards the particular food additive. On the safety note, it is always better to understand the product (whether xanthan gum or substitute), so as to minimize the possible health risks and complications (if any).
     
  2. Miss Lizzy

    Miss Lizzy Member

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    Does anyone have a preference to Guar Gum over Xanthum Gum for their recipes? If so, why? I have never used it and Xanthum Gum seems to be a little harder to find (and substantially more expensive) than the Guar Gum in Australia.
     
  3. sivan

    sivan New Member

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    i use 1/4 tsp of both guar gum which makes the shake creamier and xanthan gum which makes it thicker
     
  4. Inatic

    Inatic Ya Gotta Wanna!

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    lately that is what i've been doing to.
     
  5. Scarl3tbutt3rfly

    Scarl3tbutt3rfly Motivated and ready!!

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    I've actually thought of trying that. Good to know it works well!!
     
  6. Miss Lizzy

    Miss Lizzy Member

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    Cool. Thank you, I'll order both then :)
     
  7. lil dev

    lil dev New Member

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    Great info, thanks for posting. It's great to see the other options out there. Has anyone tried glucomannan?
     
  8. LadyV

    LadyV Member

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    Chia seeds can also be used as a thickener, I haven't tried it, but I just ordered some today.
     
  9. pavermama

    pavermama Rut Row!

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    I want creamier!! I don't have any problems with my shakes coming out thick just sometimes too icey. I want creamy!! Guess I'm gonna invest in some guar gum..
     
  10. Inatic

    Inatic Ya Gotta Wanna!

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    try reducing the amt of water you are using. It should get creamy like ice cream even with just xantham gum.
     
  11. cdnmom2girls

    cdnmom2girls Member

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    I use xanthan regularly with no problem, but once I started using guar too - holy bloating! It doesn't affect everybody, but it's something to be aware of.

    I LOVE chia seeds and I put them in my slow cooker with my oats. They add a crazy amount of volume. I specifically asked Erik to incorporate them into my plan since they're not "free". The other added bonus (other than their huge nutritional benefits) is that in combination with the rest of my breakfast, they really help to fill me up - especially once they're "swollen".
     
  12. pavermama

    pavermama Rut Row!

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    Will do!! Thx!!
     
  13. LadyV

    LadyV Member

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    Are they considered a carb? I just ordered them, expecting them this week!
     
  14. cdnmom2girls

    cdnmom2girls Member

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    Looks like it: 60 cals, 3 g each fat and protein, 5 g carbs.
     

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