You can find xanthan gum in products like toothpaste, pharmaceuticals, chocolate syrup and in gluten-free baked goods, where its ability to bind food particles together makes up for its lack of gluten. But is xanthan gum vegetarian?
Yes, xanthan gum is vegetarian! Xanthan gum is extracted from the fermentation of wheat, soy, or corn, which are all plant-based products, making it vegan-friendly.
Now, let’s quickly look at exactly what xanthan gum is and the other things you need to know about the product!
What Is Xanthan Gum?
Xanthan gum is a food additive made by fermenting simple sugars, majorly glucose in corn, with a bacterium known as Xanthomonas campestris. Fermentation converts the sugars into the gooey broth, and then isopropyl alcohol is added to solidify the sugary syrup.
Xanthan gum helps in the texture and structure of food and personal care products by increasing their life span. When mixed with water, xanthan gum makes a gel-like substance. It is also a superb thickener as it maintains its viscosity even at room temperature, which helps products pour well.
The solid is then dried and ground to powdered form and then rehydrated again to form a thickener and stabilizer industrially.
What Is Xanthan Gum Made Of?
Xanthan gum is made from sugars that were fermented with a particular bacterium. Xanthan gum is a popular food additive added to foods as a thickener or a stabilizer. When the goo-like sugary syrup is made, alcohol is added to solidify it.
Is Xanthan Gum Vegetarian?
Since xanthan gum comes from plant-based sugars and bacteria, neither of which are animal products and meets vegan food’s requirements, vegan food, therefore it is considered vegan food.
Even if xanthan gum could be processed with egg whites, it is vegan. Xanthan gum is sometimes used with egg whites in recipes with ingredients likely to separate as a binding agent.
How Do You Know If Xanthan Gum Is Vegan?
Earlier, some arguments came to the table that xanthan gum should not be considered vegan because it is manufactured in a factory where eggs are produced.
Still, this claim was later cleared out that the xanthan gum is not cross-contaminated with egg products. In several cases, xanthan gum is considered vegan because it is gotten from soy, wheat, or corn fermentation.
Is Xanthan Gum Natural or Synthetic?
Xanthan gum is a polysaccharide that cannot be found in nature and has to be manufactured, making it not natural but manufactured.
Is Guar Gum Natural or Synthetic?
Guar gum is made from guar beans and is 100% natural. Guar gum is used in ice cream and also as a stabilizer. It gives ice cream the desired texture by forming coarse ice crystals, and it also gives stability during freeze-thaw cycles.
Guar gum provides the desired viscosity and stability with a savoury appearance to sauces, soups and beverages. Guar gum helps retain moisture and keeps the bread smooth and fresh for longer.
Is Guar Gum and Xanthan Gum Vegan?
Guar and xanthan gum are both vegans usually used as additives in vegans and non-vegan dishes. Guar gum is made. Foods prepared with xanthan gum are not considered vegan by most communities because they say it is processed on whey.
However, not all xanthan gum is processed on whey. Even though xanthan gum is considered suitable for vegan consumption, it is a bit of a grey area.
But unlike xanthan gum, guar gum is doubtlessly 100% vegan as it is not associated with any scandal.
What Is Xanthan Gum’s Alternative?
Xanthan gum is readily available, but if it is not found around your area, here are some alternatives for xanthan gum.
1. Psyllium Husk
It is made from the husk of Plantago ovata seeds and is majorly sold and used for baking purposes. It helps in lowering the blood pressure, and while baking, substitute xanthan gum with psyllium husk in the ratio of 1:2.
2. Chia Seeds and Water
When it is soaked, it forms a gel-like xanthan gum. These seeds are also very nutritious as they are packed with fibre. Since chia seeds can be used whole, they add a bit of crunch to your recipe. Chia seeds can be used in place of xanthan gum in a ratio of 1:1.
Other substitutes include ground flaxseed and water, cornstarch, unflavored gelatin and egg whites.