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Label Able: Xanthan Gum

I'm a label reader and I like to know what I am putting in my body. I have been seeing "xanthan gum" listed as an ingredient in many different types of food, like this Annie's salad dressing. I finally decided to find out what it is exactly.

Xanthan gum is made by fermenting corn sugar with the Xanthomonas campestris bacterium (that's where it gets its name). This bacteria is the same one that causes black spots to form on broccoli or cauliflower. It's added to products as an emulsifier to help ingredients blend more effectively, and it's also used as a thickener. Xanthan gum is usually found in salad dressings and sauces, but you may also see it in frozen foods to prevent ice crystals from forming. It's also added to fat free foods to give them a smoother consistency. Some toothpastes contain this additive, and xanthan gum is also used in gluten-free baked goods to give the dough a sticky consistency.

Since it's made from corn sugar and added to foods in small amounts, it's not unhealthy for us. The only people who need to watch out are those who have a corn allergy.

Join The Conversation
HushYuppie HushYuppie 9 years
oops posted under wrong thread :-\
HushYuppie HushYuppie 9 years
Kinda disappointed that they have Splenda as a seasoning option.
vlc4649 vlc4649 9 years
umm, NATURAL! i'm with pookie, corn based laboratory foods are not exactly "natural" thats like saying drinking ethanol is natural because it comes from "plants" or even worse drinking bio fuel. Corn Syrup itself is already processed corn and then further processing takes it another two steps from "natural" cutting out corn was the best thing i've done for my diet. I still eat NATURAL CORN PRODUCTS (corn on the cob, polenta or grits, and corn meal for corn bread) i lost about 10 lbs and my energy increased. I no longer eat processed food, because they all contain corn something. even citric acid is often made with processed corn. CORN itself is not even a food that human's digest, have you seen what happens in restroom the next day. There is a reason for that. Native people who introduced corn to use used corn that is very ge
Giasbash6260 Giasbash6260 9 years
ew how disgusting!
Spectra Spectra 9 years
Yeah, xanthan gum is pretty natural as far as food ingredients go. Truthfully, it is used in VERY small amounts in foods because a little goes a long way!
emalove emalove 9 years
Thanks, Yum!
GlowingMoon GlowingMoon 9 years
Interesting. Truthfully, I don't like bottled salad dressings. I like to make my own in a way simple way with olive oil, vinegar, garlic, herbs, and sometimes, some dijon mustard.
curvylibrarygal curvylibrarygal 9 years
Is that dressing good? I love Annie's Goddess dressing, but sadly the fat grams keep me from buying it most of the time...
karisaamy karisaamy 9 years
very interesting
Soniabonya Soniabonya 9 years
so is it safe to eat broccoli and cauliflower with the black spots on it? lol.
jill37 jill37 9 years
Marcel from a former season of Top Chef used xanthan gum in his cooking and he seemed to favor high quality ingredients. (Perhaps I watched this show a little too closely . . .)
annalia05 annalia05 9 years
At the moment I read this, I was sitting at my desk eating the salad brought for lunch- with that exact salad dressing. I put my fork down long enough to read that it isn't a harmful ingredient. Good to know!
aimeeb aimeeb 9 years
Good to know...
pookietrue pookietrue 9 years
It's scary to realize just how many corn-based additives are in our food. It's seemingly unescapable in most any packaged product. I saw a list somewhere and it was eye opening, besides the obvious high fructose corn syrup: xanthan gum, maltodextrin, dextrin, dextrose, modified food starch, crystalline fructose, etc, etc Subsidies to corn farmers that have led to an over-abundance of these labratory made ingredients, is a large part of the obesity problem in the US, I believe.
Leilanic1 Leilanic1 9 years
I've always wondered what that was!
Dana18 Dana18 9 years
Thank you. I would have never thought it was a bacteria.
raieven raieven 9 years
mystery solved! thank you.
rumpel2 rumpel2 9 years
good to knw!
angelle321 angelle321 9 years
Interesting! I wonder what some of the mystery ingredients are on nutrition labels but haven't bothered to look any of them up so far. Glad to know!
kiwitwist kiwitwist 9 years
wow, crazy! Thanks!
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