It is estimated that the protein supplement market will be valued at $32.6 billion by the year 2027. It is natural to observe tendencies in the sale of protein powder as people of this era prioritize looking after their well-being.
The increasing demand for ingredient additives is seldom discussed. The huge increase in plastic tubs of powdered products and perceived nutrition has led to the widespread use of Xanthan Gum (pronounced ZAN-thin), and every other undesirable component.
This piece will present you with all the fundamental facts about xanthan gum in protein powders, thereby allowing you to make an educated decision. The article also addresses numerous inquiries people usually ask.
Xanthan gum is a substance that can be used to add texture, thickness, and stabilization to a variety of industrial, food, and wellness products.
If the name xanthan gum is unfamiliar to you, look around your house and you might be surprised to find it in many common items, such as moisturizers, makeup, toothpaste, salad dressings, and even frozen desserts.
Xanthan gum was initially uncovered in 1963 and has since gone through extensive study and is now employed in food products regularly. The FDA has determined that the use of this food additive is safe for use in human food.
Xanthan gum comes from fermented sugar. Specifically, sugar is fermented by a vegetable bacteria called Xanthomonas campestris; the viscous substance combined with alcohol will produce a solid named Xanthan Gum.
Once it has been dehydrated, xanthan gum can be made into a dissolvable fiber powder which can then be utilized in any desired product. When added to any type of liquid, this ingredient breaks apart and produces a more rich and luxurious consistency.
Xanthan gum provides greater durability to products, which enhances their shelf life. Xanthan Gum is often used to keep baked goods tasting fresh by preserving the moisture, but there is a potential for the development of microbes.
Xanthan Gum in Protein Powder
In the past 10 years, there have been major improvements in food science, rendering it difficult for an experienced whey protein fan to differentiate between a pure protein product and one which has been enhanced by the ideal additives through taste.
When very few dairy proteins are launched by modern pop-up protein brands, the selection usually doesn’t include loads of much-indulged flavors. The flavors that mask a poorly sourced protein powder the best include those that resemble our sweetest desserts, such as:
- Peanut Butter
- Birthday Cake
Brands that have a creative edge have realized that they have the ability to promote their plain or unadorned flavor with a superior quality element and then utilize sensible reasoning to develop a wide variety of low-value but strongly flavored items.
Brands Flavor Whey Protein
The answer to this question is multifaceted; in short, the two most dominant reasons why the majority of whey protein brands use over bearing flavor systems include:
- Meeting consumer demand
- The whey smells Terrible without Covering it up
The first reason is rather apparent. Tasty proteins are just as beloved as any classic dessert; there’s a huge customer base for delicious desserts.
The second reason is the basis of this article. The current surge in popularity of whey protein is a result of the sharp rise in factory farming operations. It can be difficult to tell which whey is best since all the brands tend to make the same basic claims, so it can be difficult for people to make a knowledgeable decision.
The reason you will never encounter a whey product that is “naked,” “raw,” or “unflavored” that contains a substance such as Xanthan Gum is clear.
Companies that want the customer to comprehend how scrumptious their product is do not aim to alter their view by adding materials that can alter the texture of the whey.
Brands that have focused on improving the flavor of their products instead of the sourcing of materials are the ones that revolve around taste.
The purpose of adding xanthan gum to protein powder isn’t to increase its health benefits, but to make it seem as though the nutritional content has been enhanced. It is highly affordable, and if the aim is to hide grime and overcooked milk power, it is the perfect addition.
Xanthan gum is hardly ever the only ingredient added, due to the smell that unpleasant, low-quality whey gives off in addition to altering the texture. Therefore, when xanthan gum is present, it creates a powerful and consistent taste in the whey.
The Benefits of Xanthan Gum
Given its popularity, there must be some definite benefits to incorporating xanthan gum into recipes. To sum up, the advantages to the individual may be slight in terms of health, however large companies stand to gain considerably from a financial point of view.
The manufacturer’s benefit is crystal clear: creating an apparent nutritious product that is low-cost to manufacture yet can be presented as a premium option that capitalizes on the lax dietary supplement and Federal Trade Commission regulations on labelling. For supplement companies, the benefits are profit margin.
For all others, listing the mostly anecdotal health “gains” from taking xanthan gum is a quick task. For every piece of evidence from a research study involving only four mice, there is an opposing study to counter it.
Despite this, the data underneath accords with the recent “advantages” of xanthan gum, mainly those who are merchandising it. If you have been considering if Xanthan Gum can be classified as a superfood, the response is no; it would be more accurately categorized as an anti-superfood.
1. Lowers Blood Sugar
Investigations conducted on humans and animals have strongly suggested that there could be a lowering of blood sugar levels as a result. It is proposed that xanthan gum forms a syrupy substance in the stomach which reduces the speed that food is digested, including the rate of sugar being taken in.
For some people, this is a desirable property. Nevertheless, consuming protein shakes may not always be in accordance with someone’s objectives. For example, following a heavy work session, you may not want to feel full and may be aware of signs of low blood sugar beginning to arise.
It is well-established that people without a blood sugar issue do not need to monitor their blood sugar levels.
Drinking a protein shake to reduce your blood sugar levels may lead to a lack of energy and a disruption in how your body normally regulates itself.
2. Decreases Cholesterol
A research project with 5 male participants discovered that a high amount of xanthan gum can reduce cholesterol levels. The research participants ingested ten times the normal amount of xanthan gum for over 20 days, and, consequently, there was a 10% reduction in their cholesterol levels. Despite the reduction being noteworthy, consuming this amount of xanthan gum can be detrimental and lead to severe abdominal pain and bloating. It would not be practical to include this amount in a protein shake, so the cholesterol level probably would not be significantly lower.
Additionally, it is better to seek a secure quantity of dietary fiber rather than consume a dangerous amount of xanthan gum.
3. May Ease Constipation
When baking, the addition of xanthan gum acts as a bulk-forming agent, creating a thick, jelly-like consistency.
A similar reaction takes place in the gastrointestinal tract when xanthan gum is consumed. The solids-forming and gel-like capabilities can assist with propulsion, and augment peristalsis – muscle spasms in your digestive system.
If you’ve ever gone through periods of difficulty in defecation, you know how unpleasant, and even agonizing, it can be. Constipation generally causes difficulty in passing stool through the digestive system.
In a separate trial, a team of researchers supplied a band of participants with xanthan gum and then followed their intestinal movements throughout the day.
The study revealed that xanthan gum had a beneficial effect on the rate of passage of fecal matter through the digestive tract. This led to more regular bowel movements and a higher overall volume of waste.
In other words, it assisted them in passing stool more often and in larger quantities. The researchers declared that xanthan serves as an extremely effective purgative.
4. Sjorgen’s Syndrome
Sjorgen’s syndrome is an autoimmune disorder which affects the salivary and lacrimal glands that produce tears and saliva. Individuals living with Sjorgen’s encounter parched eyes and a dry throat and usually need either eye medical procedure or drugs in their eye drops.
A lack of saliva can cause problems with consuming food, vocalizing words, and ingesting substances, as well as affecting one’s ability to detect flavors.
Studies indicate that xanthan gum could be advantageous in providing hydration and moisture for individuals struggling with dry mouth stemming from Sjorgen’s. Drug producers in Europe are investigating whether this method of treatment may be viable.
It appears at this stage that the impact is mainly related to the person’s specific requirements. Those who only have the ability to create a limited amount of saliva seem to gain the most advantages from xanthan.
5. Supports Tooth Enamel
You may find xanthan gum hiding in an unexpected place of your toothpaste. Xanthan may appear to be an unusual ingredient to help support your enamel, however, it has characteristics that can benefit the teeth.
Eating poorly, getting older, and having an off-balance of bacteria in your mouth can all cause the enamel on your teeth to erode. When your teeth lose minerals, they become weaker, and it may cause cavities to form.
Xanthan has the ability to reduce mineral loss and may even aid in re-mineralization by forming a protective cover from strong acids. It is theorized that xanthan could potentially attach itself to the enamel in order to defend it from corrosive damage.
6. May Inhibit Tumor Growth
No research involving people has been done yet, however preliminary data in animal studies suggests that xanthan gum may be able to stop tumor growth.
In a single experiment, scientists injected a group of mice with malignant cells and then supplied them with xanthan gum. They did experiments in test tubes to find out how xanthan gum would affect cancer cells when grown in petri dishes.
In the laboratory experiment, the xanthan gum stimulated the effectiveness of cancer-fighting immune cells. Mice were used as a model by scientists, and they observed that the ingestion of xanthan gum had a positive effect in delaying the emergence of tumors and that the lifespan of the rodents was prolonged.
Not bad for a food additive.
7. Weight Loss
Xanthan gum appears to be beneficial for weight loss due to its potential to promote greater satisfaction after meals and to delay stomach emptying.
When diabetic volunteers consumed xanthan gum, not only did their blood sugar decrease, but they also reported feeling more satiated.
A thick, jelly-like consistency of xanthan mixed with water or digestive juices gives the feeling of being full in the stomach. In practice, this should lead to less hunger and less food consumption.
Not much research has been done to figure out if xanthan gum helps with weight loss, but it looks like there may be a chance it could be beneficial to that end.
The Side Effects of Xanthan Gum
Studies have yielded varied findings concerning the possible adverse reactions linked with taking xanthan gum.
Most supplements that have xanthan gum as an ingredient often come from low quality sources and often include other ingredients which can be dangerous and cause more severe side effects than if it was purely xanthan gum.
Therefore, viewed independently, we believe xanthan gum is not important when making a decision about what product or brand you buy.
Keep in mind, although it is rare when represented in the limited quantities found in a single serving of a protein powder, the documented side effects of consuming xanthan gum in protein powder include:
- Needing the toilet more often
- Passing larger volumes of stools
- Increased gas
- Abdominal pain
- Lethargy caused by altered gut bacteria
- Constant feeling of fullness
Certain individuals may suffer from intense adverse reactions, while others may not experience any negative effects. If you usually have digestive issues, it could be a good idea to stay away from xanthan.
The great thing is that it’s easy to identify and turn around the effects of using xanthan by ceasing to ingest it. If you are taking a protein powder that includes xanthan, watch out for any stomach-related problems.
Xanthan gum has been seen to keep levels of blood sugar stabilized, which most likely is due to its power to reduce the speed of digestion. However, those already being treated for diabetes may experience a considerable decrease in their blood sugar levels if they take this medication.
Consuming xanthan present in most foods should be generally safe, however if you are at risk of having low blood sugar levels it’s advisable to not consume large quantities of xanthan at once.
Xanthan gum results from a fermentation method involving Xanthomonas campestris, and it is a source of carbs.
Carbohydrate may come from different sources, such as corn, barley, or whey. If you’re allergic to corn, wheat, or dairy, it could be a good idea to find out what the carbohydrate source used for fermenting is.
Uses for Xanthan Gum
Xanthan gum can be employed in a variety of ways and can vastly improve gluten-free and low-carb dishes when it is used correctly in recipes. Some common uses of xanthan gum include:
Xanthan can be used to increase the body and texture of sauces, soups, and smoothies. When following a keto diet, other thickeners such as bananas, arrowroot, and tapioca must commonly be avoided because they are high in carbohydrates.
Xanthan can be used to make liquid-based cuisine more viscous.
Emulsifiers make it possible for oil-based ingredients to become mixed with water in a food system. Contemplate a salad dressing that is prepared in your own home with oil and vinegar. If not tampered with, the oil and vinegar will spontaneously divide.
Using an emulsifier will enable the combination of two ingredients to be successful. Xanthan gum is a substance that can be used as an emulsifier and is found in food items such as salad dressings and frozen desserts.
Xanthan gum works wonderfully as a substitute for gluten in baked items. Gluten often gives food its delicious soft and chewy consistency. Xanthan gum serves to bind the components of a recipe, giving a texture similar to that of gluten.
Simultaneously, it ties your components together in a manner that enables cavities of air similar to gluten. This provides a leavening action on baked goods.
At times when you are on the keto diet, it is essential to be artistic with the food items you utilize.
Xanthan gum is an excellent replacement for gluten and high-carb ingredients typically utilized for thickening, sticking together, and blending. Using it is wonderful for making a gluten-free keto flour, or throwing some in a shake to make it thicker.
Despite sounding more like a substance used in a laboratory than something you would eat, xanthan gum is a safe and suitable ingredient for those following a keto diet.
If you are particularly particular about using whole food items, then using psyllium, chia seeds, ground flax, or egg whites can achieve a similar result.