什麼是黃原膠食品添加劑?是健康還是有害?
What is xanthan gum food additive? Is it healthy or harmful?

What is xanthan gum?

Xanthan gum is a popular food additive, usually added to food as a thickener or stabilizer. It is produced by the fermentation of sugar by a bacteria called Xanthomonas campestris. When sugar is fermented, it produces a broth or similar viscous substance, which is made solid by adding alcohol. Then it is dried and turned into a powder. When the xanthan gum powder is added to the liquid, it will quickly disperse and form a viscous and stable solution. This makes it an excellent thickener, suspending agent and stabilizer for many products. It was discovered by scientists in 1963. Since then, it has been well researched and determined to be safe. Therefore, the FDA has approved its use as a food additive, and there is no restriction on the amount of xanthan gum that can be contained in food. Although it is manufactured in the laboratory, it is a soluble fiber. Soluble fiber is a carbohydrate that the body cannot break down. Instead, they absorb water and turn into a gel-like substance in your digestive system, which slows down digestion. Therefore, your body cannot digest xanthan gum, nor does it provide any calories or nutrients.

Where is Xanthan Gum Found?

Xanthan gum is found in food, personal care products and industrial products.

Food products

Xanthan gum can improve the texture, consistency, flavor, shelf life and appearance of many foods.

It can also stabilize food and help certain foods withstand different temperatures and pH values. In addition, it can also prevent food from separating and allow them to flow out of the container smoothly.

It is often used in gluten-free cooking because it can provide the elasticity and bulkiness that gluten gives traditional baked goods.

The following are some common foods that contain xanthan gum:

  • Salad dressing
  • Baked goods
  • Fruit juice
  • soup
  • ice cream
  • Sauces and gravies
  • syrup
  • Gluten-free products
  • Low-fat food

Personal care products

Xanthan gum is also found in many personal care and beauty products. It thickens these products, but still flows out of the container easily. It also allows solid particles to be suspended in the liquid.

The following are some common products that contain xanthan gum:

  • toothpaste
  • cream
  • Lotion
  • shampoo

Industrial Products

Xanthan gum is used in many industrial products because it can withstand different temperatures and pH values, adhere to the surface and thicken the liquid, while maintaining good fluidity.

Common industrial products containing xanthan gum include:

  • Fungicides, herbicides and insecticides
  • Cleaner for tiles, grout, oven and toilet
  • paint
  • Fluids used in oil drilling
  • Adhesives such as wallpaper glue

Xanthan gum can lower blood sugar

A number of studies have found that high-dose consumption of xanthan gum can lower blood sugar. It is believed that it turns the fluid in the stomach and small intestine into a viscous gel-like substance. This slows down digestion and affects the speed at which sugar enters the bloodstream, thereby reducing the peak blood sugar level after eating. A 12-week study asked 9 men with diabetes and 4 men without diabetes to eat a muffin every day. During the six-week study, these people ate muffins that did not contain xanthan gum. For the next 6 weeks, they ate muffins containing 12 grams of muffins. Participants' blood sugar was tested regularly. When eating muffins containing xanthan gum, the fasting and postprandial blood sugar levels of diabetic men were significantly reduced. Another study of 11 women found that after eating rice with xanthan gum, blood sugar was significantly lower than rice without xanthan gum.

Xanthan gum can cause digestive problems

For most people, the only potential negative side effect of xanthan gum seems to be stomach upset. Many animal studies have found that large doses increase stool frequency and cause soft stools. In human studies, large doses of xanthan gum have been found to have the following effects:

  • Increased bowel frequency
  • Increased stool volume
  • Soft stool
  • Increased gas
  • Change intestinal bacteria

These side effects do not seem to occur unless at least 15 grams are consumed. It is difficult to reach this amount through a typical diet. In addition, the ability of xanthan gum to alter intestinal bacteria may be a good thing, because many other soluble fibers can alter intestinal bacteria.

Some people may need to avoid

Although xanthan gum is safe for most people, there are a few people who should avoid it.

People with severe allergies to wheat, corn, soy or dairy products

Xanthan gum is derived from sugar. Sugar can come from many different places, including wheat, corn, soybeans, and dairy products. People who are severely allergic to these products may need to avoid foods containing xanthan gum unless they can determine the source of xanthan gum.

premature baby

Simply Thick is a thickener based on xanthan gum that is added to formula and breast milk for premature babies. In some cases, infants develop necrotizing enterocolitis, a life-threatening disease that causes the intestines to become inflamed, damaged, and begin to die. Although Simply Thick is safe for use in adults, infants should avoid using it because their internal organs are still developing.

People taking certain medications or planning surgery

Xanthan gum can lower blood sugar levels. This can be dangerous for people taking certain diabetes medications that can cause hypoglycemia. This can also be dangerous for people planning to undergo surgery soon. These people can eat some foods that contain xanthan gum, but they should avoid large amounts until they have a better understanding of the effect of xanthan gum on blood sugar.

Is it safe to eat?

For most people, eating foods containing xanthan gum seems to be completely safe. Although many foods contain it, it only accounts for 0.05-0.3% of food. In addition, an average person consumes less than 1 gram of xanthan gum per day. It has been proven to be 20 times safer. In fact, the Joint Expert Committee on Food Additives has designated an acceptable daily intake "not specified" for it. When food additives have very low toxicity, and the content in the food is so small that it does not cause health hazards, it will give this name. But people should avoid inhaling xanthan gum. Workers who handled it in powder form were found to have flu-like symptoms and inflammation of the nose and throat. Therefore, even though you may eat a lot of foods that contain it, your intake is so small that you are unlikely to experience benefits or negative effects.

to sum up

Xanthan gum is a commonly used thickening, suspending and stabilizing additive. It is found in many foods and products and seems to be safe for most people. It may even be beneficial to health when consumed in large quantities, although these higher intakes also increase the risk of digestive problems. Importantly, it is difficult to achieve higher intakes through regular diet and may have to be achieved through the use of xanthan gum supplements. Although many studies have proven the safety of xanthan gum in food, few human studies use it as a supplement. At the same time, it is safe to eat foods containing xanthan gum. In the worst case, it seems harmless.

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