You’ve heard it. “If you can’t pronounce every ingredient on the label, don’t eat the food!” When it comes to xanthan gum, those folks would be missing out.
Used in many fruit fillings, candies, frozen desserts, puddings, salad dressings, gravies, soups, and more – xanthan gum is an ingredient found on many food labels. Xanthan gum isn’t a scary mystery ingredient, and it’s not a preservative. Xanthan gum is added to formulas to achieve specific, desirable, functional attributes. Without it, your beloved Ranch salad dressing would be runny or gloppy, water would seep out of certain desserts, and puddings would have a strange gummy texture.
Like other gums, xanthan gum is a polysaccharide (a carbohydrate) and water-soluble (dissolvable in water-based solutions). In a formula, xanthan gum builds viscosity, improves mouth feel, assists in particle suspension, and reduces/prevents syneresis (watering out) in foods. For most applications, the gum is added to the formula at less than 0.5%. Synthesized by a microorganism, Xanthomonas capestris, xanthan gum is even a completely natural ingredient.
Xanthan gum – pronounced Zan-than gum. See? Now you’re good to go.
Source: Genevieve L. Christen, ed and J. Scott Smith, ed. Food Chemistry: Principles and Applications. Science Technology System, 2000.