IS XANTHAN GUM VEGAN? SHOULD YOU BE CAUTIOUS ABOUT IT?

One of the ongoing processes for any vegan is to perpetually go equip themselves with a wealth of information on what they consume.

This includes things they long categorized as vegan or even non-vegan. One has to take time to investigate what is happening in the food industry, to benefit themselves and others.

Knowledge is meant to be emergent and adapts to the changes. After all, some years ago there was no vegan cheese or vegan milk and so forth.

With that being said, a growing number of people have begun to ask, “Is Xanthan gum vegan?”

Google trend showing is xanthan gum vegan | veganscult.com
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The consensus on that question would say, “Yes, most of the time Xanthan gum is vegan”.

As usual, we use the word “most of the time”, because a definitive conclusion may mislead. However, indeed most Xanthan gum brands are indeed 100% vegan.

Let’s look at the composition of Xanthan gum.

What is Xanthan gum? Is It Vegan?

Xanthan gum is often a powder made from fermented bacteria and carbohydrates (can be derived from sugar, lactose (dairy), corn, or wheat) which can be added to foods to thicken or stabilize them.

The bacteria that make Xanthan gum is found on the surfaces of leaves of chlorophyll-rich vegetables.

In my eyes, It is 100% vegan as aforementioned.

But, yes but, some of my fellow vegans might be apprehensive of the type of sugar used in manufacturing Xanthan Gum.

If the sugar used involves the use of bone char for refinement then it is a cause of concern. But the problem lies in the fact that it is hard to verify such minute details.

So, I suggest not to go for such minor details, instead look at the bigger picture “You are doing everything to save the planet, don’t worry about the battle, worry about the war”.

However, this might be a relief for you that most often corn is used in the USA as it is relatively cheaper (The USA govt. subsidizes corn production).

Is Xanthan Gum Gluten Free?

Xanthan Gum is 100% Gluten Free. As mentioned earlier Xanthan Gum is made from the process of fermentation of carbohydrates. It does not contain any sort of gluten.

Moreover, since gluten acts as a binding agent like in sourdough bread, Xanthan is specifically used to bind, thicken, and emulsify non-gluten foods otherwise the non-gluten food, in the end, would be just a pile of crumbs.

Here is an interesting video of the level of thickness provided by the use of different proportion of Xanthan Gum :

Why Xanthan Gum is so much popular?

Xanthan Gum | veganscult.com

The substance is a very multifaceted additive with multiple applications in traditional and modern cooking.

Implementing it in any recipe is usually easy to do.

It is the vegan go-to choice when it comes to making watery substances denser, it works best in small proportions, turning them into richly flavored sauces and pastes.

Not only can this substance be used to create froths and light forms, easily, but Xanthan gum is useful in the stabilization of emulsions and suspension of particles in fluids. A lot of purees use it effectively to bind them from separating.

Another big advantage of this vegan additive is its neutral flavor. It doesn’t interfere with the overall taste of the foods it is used in because of this, which makes it ideal.

Its impact is thus elusive, enhancing the “mouthfeel” of a wide range of preparations; this of course is a big reason for its use in vegan chocolate ice cream and vegan milk yogurts.

It manages to neatly replace the texture and qualities that people in the non-vegan community desire dairy fat for. In our opinion, it even gives a better texture.

Which Foods and products Contain Xanthan Gum?

Baked Products

Xanthan gum is an ingredient in many confectionaries and baked foods to sweeten them since it’s a polysaccharide.

In many gluten-free bakery products, it is used to stabilize other additives so that they blend with the dough more effectively; this is a quality that dough (which is not contained in gluten-free foods of course) would have easily done.

Xanthan gum thus acts as an adhesive in gluten-free baked foods which allows them to remain integrated throughout the baking process.

Vegan Salad Dressing

Xanthan is a recommended thickener for salad dressing. It easily creates a suspension because of its ability as a hydrocolloid to absorb both water and oil-based liquids at the same time.

You can make a good salad dressing with Xanthan gum by mixing it with olive oil, salt, pepper, and any dried herbs.

It is also a very good replacement when making eggless mayonnaise.

Fruit Juices

The taste and presentation of many citrus fruit juices are owed to the properties of Xanthan gum. It tends to keep the pulp content and liquid in the juice more consistent.

Vegan Soups

Xanthan gum is a good vegan way of adding thickness and consistency to a soup.

It can replace many non-vegan gravy products if used in the right amounts and stirred into a rich vegan soup.

Vegan Pizza Topping Base

After making crusty dough for a pizza, one needs a base to sprinkle toppings on, Xanthan can assure consistency in the base.

Needless to say, it can also be added to the dough. Thus it is a multipurpose agent.

Vegan Yogurt

Just as dairy yogurt is made from dairy milk, vegan yogurt can be made from the many types of vegan milk that exist.

Since many of them are not very thick, their thickness can be aided by using Xanthan gum. Whether it is an easy almond milk recipe, soy milk, or coconut milk.

Thankfully this dairy-free delicacy is also something you can make in your own home. Together with other vegan stabilizers like agar-agar and vegan sweeteners like maple, you can easily make vegan yogurt.

Cosmetics

In a lot of skincare products, this agent can function as a binder.  

Xanthan gum is an additive across a broad range of personal care cosmetics which encompass soaps (and other bath products), lotions and makeup creams, hair creams, and even toothpaste.

As mentioned in all other instances. Its ability to stabilize and thicken the agents it works with makes it a good vegan candidate for the job.

How to make use of Xanthan Gum?

When considering whether or not to add xanthan gum to a flour mixture, take care to verify the listed additives. 

Certain products will already contain xanthan gum in the pre-made mixes so as to save the customer time.  In those cases, you thus have no need to add any Xanthan gum. Thus, you don’t need to add an additional thickener.

Another thing when using Xanthan gum is to follow the instructions of the recipe you are using as it is— In many cases the substance should be used sparing as over application may result in a texture that is too thick, slimy or heaver for your liking.

This of course is not a rule set in stone, you have the free will to experiment.

Conclusion

There are clearly many substances that replace regular non-vegan ingredients and the more people become aware of that the more people can take a bold step and be vegans.

One of the things that hinder people from becoming vegans is the fear of losing out on so many foods they were conditioned and accustomed to.

Xanthan gum is definitely one of the many ingredients that are there to combine with other ingredients discussed in this blog to make that transition easier.

Please feel free to share this information with more people and do not hesitate to read other articles on this platform.

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