Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Xanthan Gum

I have been examining many ingredient labels lately, and Xanthan gum is present in nearly all the processed foods I look at. This ingredient, which sounds like some sort of martian chicle, is a type of sugar that has been fermented with a bacteria species called Xanthomonas campestris .

The bacteria consumes and digests the sugar, creating a starchy byproduct. This substance is used to thicken foods or create a creamy texture in low-fat dairy foods. It is also a substitute for wheat gluten. (1)

Xanthan gum is naturally made, so in terms of my yearly commitment, it makes the cut. However, I wonder how the body digests and processes this type of ingredient. Most importantly, is it necessary? If I can have natural oil and vinegar salad dressing, is that better than a low-fat basalmic vinegarette that contains Xanthan gum?

To me, yes.

1. http://www.wisegeek.com/what-is-xanthan-gum.htm

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