During April 2016 I will be blogging about Childhood Memories from A to Z . These challenge posts will also be found at Random Thoughts and Tender Mercies http://marcysrandomthoughts.blogspot.com/

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Xanthan Gum

Xanthan Gum is a common thickener or binding agent made from fermented corn sugar (or sometimes wheat or soy) that is used in foods, medicines and cosmetics.  I first remember hearing about Xanthan Gum in my college Food Science classes, where I learned that it is used to help make certain food products such as Ice Cream smooth and creamy.  Of course, I have always loved Ice Cream, so that didn't seem to be a problem to me.  You can read more about the many uses of Xanthan Gum here.  You can also read about its possible side effects.  I don't remember learning about the side effects in college, which can include:

•Abdominal pain
•Upset stomach after eating
•Increase in blood pressure levels
•Headache
•Temporary changes in brain chemistry leading to confusion
•Diarrhea, bloating and nausea, as the gum can act as a laxative.
•Severe allergic reaction, though very rare, may exhibit anaphylactic shock symptoms like breathing difficulty, swelling, difficulty swallowing, skin rash or hives.

The side effects of course would be worse for people with allergies to corn, wheat and soy.  I just did a quick check of several products in my freezer and refrigerator.  The Ice Cream did not contain Xanthan Gum, but did contain Guar Gum.  However, the salad dressing did contain Xanthan Gum.  Sigh.  Sometimes it can be a bit depressing to know how many of the convenient and delicious foods that we know and love can cause so many problems. 

5 comments:

  1. Stinks doesn't it. Many times if I get headaches of pains I look to what I eat as the cause and it usually is!! Great post, very insightful.

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  2. I usually am not bothered much by food allergies or reactions, but I have family members who are. It can sure limit our voices sometimes.

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  3. Yikes! I don't read labels. I'm in trouble. :(

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  4. I'm starting to read them more than ever. We're trying to cut back on sodium, and boy is that ever difficult!

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