Xanthan Gum Benefits + Side Effects

By Adriane Marie •  Updated: 03/03/22 •  8 min read
xanthan benefits and side effects

HEALTH

Energy: xanthan gum is good for / helps minimize blood sugar spikes
Longevity: xanthan gum is good for / helps possibly fight and prevent cancer
Appearance: n/a

Xanthan gum is…

ENVIRONMENT

Water footprint: unknown

Carbon footprint: low, 0.1 kg CO2e to produce 1 kilogram or 2.2 pounds of sugar and sweeteners, a car driving equivalent of .25 miles or .5 kilometers

Destruction: unknown

Xanthan gum is…

ANIMALS

Kills: none, xanthan gum production does not require any animals to be killed

Harms: chickens, if egg whites are used

Indirectly kills or harms: ecosystems and wildlife, if egg whites are used

Xanthan gum is…

LABORERS

Health and safety: varies, overall, agriculture continues to be one of the most dangerous industries, farmworkers may be subject to dehydration, heat stroke, unprotected exposure to harmful, toxic chemicals and pesticides, unsafe machinery and clean drinking water may not always accessible

Living conditions: varies, laborers are often exploited, they may face tough working conditions including long hours in the sun and heat performing physically exhausting tasks, labor laws and rights may or may not be in place, even if worker protection exists, employer violations may go unreported, refugees and migrant workers are especially vulnerable to abuse and mistreatment, fearing consequences of job loss or deportation

Wages: varies, generally farmworkers earn meager wages, there are many cases of underpaid agricultural workers, wage theft and no overtime payment or benefits

Xanthan gum…

Is xanthan gum nutritious?

Xanthan gum is a carbohydrate and a source of fiber.

gluten free foods and what to eat on a gluten free diet

xanthan gum is gluten free.

Is xanthan gum gluten free? Yes, xanthan gum is gluten free. Xanthan gum does not contain gluten.

While celiac disease may not be as rampant as many marketing trends lead us to believe, you may have a gluten sensitivity…

Celiac and gluten sensitivity symptoms are similar and may include: recurring abdominal pain, chronic diarrhea, constipation, tingling, numbness in hands and feet, chronic fatigue, joint pain, unexplained infertility and low bone density (osteopenia or osteoporosis).

There are hundreds of potential symptoms, many of which are also symptoms of other conditions.

Going gluten-free easier than ever with this: Gluten and Gluten Free Foods List

xanthan gum may be a common food allergen: wheat or soy.

the most common food allergens include milk, wheat, soy, fish, tree nuts, peanuts, eggs and crustaceans

Is xanthan gum a common food allergen? No, xanthan gum is not a common food allergen. Some people may experience allergic reactions to xanthan gum but it is relatively rare by comparison.

A group of the eight major allergenic foods, AKA the Big-8, include:

These foods account for about 90% of all food allergies in the United States.

Severe food allergies can be life threatening. Following ingestion of a food allergen, a person with food allergies can experience a severe, life-threatening allergic reaction called anaphylaxis. 

Persons may still be allergic to and have serious reactions to foods other than the eight foods identified by the law.

Be aware of common dietary restrictions and food allergens with this: The Big 8 Most Common Food Allergens List

xanthan gum has a low carbon footprint.

carbon footprints of food and food emissions

Does xanthan gum have a high or low carbon footprint? Xanthan gum has a relatively low carbon footprint compared to other foods.

What is the carbon footprint of xanthan gum? It takes around 0.1 kg CO2e to produce 1 kilogram or 2.2 pounds of sugar and sweeteners, a car driving equivalent of .25 miles or .5 kilometers.

Food not only has a water footprint but also a carbon footprint, known as CO2e, which stands for carbon dioxide equivalent. Since carbon measurements are a bit more difficult to comprehend, it is common to equate CO2e to the distance which a car drives in miles or kilometers.

When calculating carbon emissions, some factors may include…

There are a number of steps we can take to reduce energy output. According to Oxford Martin School researchers, if the world went vegan, eliminating animal-derived products, it could reduce greenhouse gas emissions by two thirds and avoid climate damages of $1.5 trillion.

But that’s not all!

It’s best to keep the following in mind when grocery shopping:

Find out how much carbon your food emits with this: Carbon Footprints of Foods and Ingredients List

xanthan gum is likely sustainable.

sustainable shopping, for eco friendly brands and products good for the environment

Overall, is xanthan gum eco friendly? Is xanthan gum sustainable?

Xanthan gum production is likely sustainable since there is no significant damage to air, water, land, soil, forests, etc. as long as pesticides have not been used. Be sure to buy non GMO/organic, as toxic, chemical pesticides contaminate air, water, soil, etc. when using regenerative practices.

A 2018 Oxford University study – which is the most comprehensive analysis to date of the damage farming does to the planet – found that ‘avoiding meat and dairy is the single biggest way to reduce your impact on Earth’ as animal farming provides just 18% of calories but takes up 83% of our farmland.

Consuming animal products and byproducts is not environmentally friendly and is one of the worst things for the Earth. Not only is meat production wasteful, it causes enormous amounts of pollution. The industry is one of the biggest causes of climate change.

A 2010 United Nations report said that a global shift towards a vegan diet is vital to save the world the worst impacts of climate change.

xanthan gum is typically vegan unless egg whites or other animal sources are used.

vegan and non vegan foods and their impact on animals like chicken and chicks

Is xanthan gum vegan? Typically, xanthan gum is vegan. Xanthan gum is made from fermented sugars and bacteria and not an animal product or byproduct, therefore making it a vegan food. However, egg whites and other animal-derived ingredients may be used. Be sure to check product packaging for specification.

According to Sentient Media, “more than 200 million land animals are killed for food around the world every day. Including wild-caught and farmed fishes, we get a total closer to 3 billion animals killed daily.”

Animals of factory farms and the livestock industry are suffering. They live in horrific conditions that often include confinement, physical abuse and unnatural environments…so much so that they need to receive antibiotics to keep from getting ill or spreading disease. They’re also injected with growth hormones to become fatter faster and live short lives, being slaughtered as soon as they finish growing and are killed prematurely, well before their natural lifespan.

Because we cannot see for ourselves how these animals live and what they endure does not mean it isn’t happening. The meat, poultry and dairy industries do everything they can to distance us from knowing how our food comes to be in order to keep us in the dark about what we support each time we buy animal derived products and byproducts.

Go vegan for animals!

It’s the best way to help animals and it’s not as difficult as you may think. Speak for animals with your actions, for they cannot speak at all.

Going vegan is easier than ever, at a glance with this: Vegan and Non-Vegan Foods List

xanthan gum is a product that may or may not have labor issues.

labor rights, human rights and workers rights issues

Is xanthan gum a product with laborer concerns?

At this time there have been no major concerns with xanthan gum production but that doesn’t mean it isn’t happening!

It’s important to stay aware of human rights concerns and worker exploitation that may come with specific brands.

Did you know the single largest employer in the world is agriculture? The labor involved behind each and every product cannot go unrecognized. 

Sadly, many labor concerns exist around the world in both developed and developing countries. We must be vigilant to ensure what we buy is not contributing to industries that are unfair to their valuable workers. Some known problems include workplace health and safety, child labor, gender inequality, inadequate pay, wage theft and exploitation. Workers can even experience harassment, humiliation and violence and unfair employers often fail to provide laborers with access to shade, drinking water, restrooms and breaks. Consequently, laborers can face nausea, dizziness, heat exhaustion, dehydration and heat stroke -the leading cause of farmworker death! 

Such mistreatment is like modern day slavery. Workers are often afraid to report issues because they fear it will result in losing their jobs or deportation. 

Fair trade organizations fight to ensure better social, environmental and economic standards. 

We can improve people’s lives with foods we eat every day simply by buying products that are certified fair trade. 

Sources:

xanthan gum – FoodData Central – USDA

xanthan gum – USDA

Glossary Search Results | NAL Agricultural Thesaurus

Adriane Marie

Grocery Guru, Material Maven, Conscious Consumer Connoisseur. I organize ethical info for us to comprehensively see how purchases impact people, animals and the planet. I hope you find HEALabel helpful! Use it for personal and global improvement and empowerment.