5

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Is xanthan gum paleo?

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created September 01, 2011 at 6:16 PM

Fermented by Xanthomonas campestris, xanthan gum can be used as a thickening agent in place of gluten. Since the process is more dependent on technology than whole foods, I was wondering if it should be excluded from a paleo diet (or if there were other reasons for its exclusion).

1a1f7440ba0352b673eb160d3e9daf6c

on June 07, 2012
at 01:36 AM

I started making homemade Frappucinos with coconut oil & grassfed butter. Turns out the secret ingredient in Frappucinos that ensures the mix stays slushy and prevents the ice from caking up is xantham gum. It only requires a tiny dash, though. A tiny amount probably won't hurt.

D10ca8d11301c2f4993ac2279ce4b930

(5242)

on September 04, 2011
at 05:13 AM

The emulsifiers in general seem to cause issues with digestion. Guilty until proven innocent is a wise call.

A968087cc1dd66d480749c02e4619ef4

(20436)

on September 02, 2011
at 12:26 PM

Thanks for the ref. Peat is a very smart guy - even if some of his ideas are totally wacky. Again, there is much that is unknown, even if Peat is correct, it could be discovered that xanthan gum is as bad or worse, but in any case avoiding man-made food chemistry would be prudent. I hesitate to trust people who claim to know everything...

D10ca8d11301c2f4993ac2279ce4b930

(5242)

on September 02, 2011
at 04:43 AM

Degraded carrageenan is a carcinogen and our gut degrades it.This is one area where Peat is spot on: http://raypeat.com/articles/nutrition/carrageenan.shtml

A968087cc1dd66d480749c02e4619ef4

(20436)

on September 01, 2011
at 11:54 PM

"Degraded carageenan may cause cancer" is not the same as a known carcinogen. Carageenan may be worse (much worse) than xanthan gum. But we really don't know the full effects of either. They are both polysaccharides derived from natural sources (bacteria vs seaweed) - that was my point. Avoiding carageenan and xanthan gum and other weird non-evolutionary chemical stuff that you don't know the effects of is just a good precautionary practice. It may or may not lead to better health - but why roll the dice if you don't have to? Even if the govt says they are GRAF (generally regarded as safe).

Ccdf3fbcaec76e025ff94d03cc4daf9a

(536)

on September 01, 2011
at 08:19 PM

Thank you for asking this, the brand of coconut milk I buy has this in the ingredients list and I always wondered.

D10ca8d11301c2f4993ac2279ce4b930

(5242)

on September 01, 2011
at 07:39 PM

carageenan is a known carcinogen so I'd probably call it worse.

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5 Answers

6
A968087cc1dd66d480749c02e4619ef4

(20436)

on September 01, 2011
at 06:29 PM

I assume you mean xanthan gum.

Hmm, a polysaccharide from the coating of a bacteria created in a lab in the 60's (probably not by hippies). Oh yeah! Totally paleo!

All snarkiness aside, I would put it up there with carageenan (another "natural" substance best avoided). It may or may not cause you any particular difficulty - but why would you want to ingest it? The precautionary principle would be "Just say no."

The wiki article notes some people have allergic reactions to it. And large amounts of it are a great laxative - so there's that.

D10ca8d11301c2f4993ac2279ce4b930

(5242)

on September 01, 2011
at 07:39 PM

carageenan is a known carcinogen so I'd probably call it worse.

A968087cc1dd66d480749c02e4619ef4

(20436)

on September 02, 2011
at 12:26 PM

Thanks for the ref. Peat is a very smart guy - even if some of his ideas are totally wacky. Again, there is much that is unknown, even if Peat is correct, it could be discovered that xanthan gum is as bad or worse, but in any case avoiding man-made food chemistry would be prudent. I hesitate to trust people who claim to know everything...

D10ca8d11301c2f4993ac2279ce4b930

(5242)

on September 02, 2011
at 04:43 AM

Degraded carrageenan is a carcinogen and our gut degrades it.This is one area where Peat is spot on: http://raypeat.com/articles/nutrition/carrageenan.shtml

A968087cc1dd66d480749c02e4619ef4

(20436)

on September 01, 2011
at 11:54 PM

"Degraded carageenan may cause cancer" is not the same as a known carcinogen. Carageenan may be worse (much worse) than xanthan gum. But we really don't know the full effects of either. They are both polysaccharides derived from natural sources (bacteria vs seaweed) - that was my point. Avoiding carageenan and xanthan gum and other weird non-evolutionary chemical stuff that you don't know the effects of is just a good precautionary practice. It may or may not lead to better health - but why roll the dice if you don't have to? Even if the govt says they are GRAF (generally regarded as safe).

D10ca8d11301c2f4993ac2279ce4b930

(5242)

on September 04, 2011
at 05:13 AM

The emulsifiers in general seem to cause issues with digestion. Guilty until proven innocent is a wise call.

1a1f7440ba0352b673eb160d3e9daf6c

on June 07, 2012
at 01:36 AM

I started making homemade Frappucinos with coconut oil & grassfed butter. Turns out the secret ingredient in Frappucinos that ensures the mix stays slushy and prevents the ice from caking up is xantham gum. It only requires a tiny dash, though. A tiny amount probably won't hurt.

1
306aa57660d911781231f8090c2a5619

(3808)

on September 01, 2011
at 08:08 PM

I've been baking gluten-free for 5 years and never used the stuff, so I don't see any reason for doing so. Many GF recipes seem to use it pretty gratuitously - it's added to cakes, muffins, cookies and so forth where the whole goal (when working with wheat flour) is to stir as lightly as possible so as NOT to develop the gluten. If I need extra hold-togetherness in a recipe, I use an extra egg or flax-seed meal.

0
34ec65ebb5b27546d61beaf252300bf4

on May 23, 2013
at 10:07 PM

Your question is a good one. with grains and starchy roots forbidden there is nothing left to thicken liquids with. The "good for you" or "bad" is determined by the type of lectin it contains and whether that posses a problem for health. If some people want to make a religion out of eating paleo then by all means they should. I'm interested in health.

That said, the bacteria xanthum gum is derived from is cultured on corn, wheat, dairy or soy. Xanthum gum has been found to contain gluten. As such while xanthum gum in itself may be fine it most probably contains lectins from the growth medium, all of which is a problem.

But if it not a problem for you then it is not a problem. You may find some brands/batches cause ill effects while others do not due to what it is grown on.

P.S. To all Paleo snarks. What our ancestors ate is not known. Mostly is is an educated guess. Some foods are know with certainty (dairy) others not.

0
C43ab9419b86c0522fe6e573d8dce47a

on June 18, 2012
at 10:04 PM

I follow a low carb/specific carbohydratish diet for colitis. Xanthan is not supposed to be legal on scd but I have experimented with and it doesn't cause a flare of symptoms for me. Using very small amounts occasionally as a thickener allows me to have some items that I otherwise couldn't like cobblers or gravies. Having these treats from time to time really helps me stay on my diet and symptom free. I can't tolerate flours or arrowroot or cornstarch.

0
6b8d12fc3e43179f9ae1765a4d1a9dc2

(5914)

on September 02, 2011
at 03:28 AM

If you really have to ask you can assume that the answer will be no.

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