Xanthan Gum: Pet Food Ingredients A to Z

We continue our Pet Food Ingredients A to Z series with the letter ‘X’. Today's ingredient is Xanthan Gum.

What is Xanthan Gum?

Xanthan Gum L

Xanthan Gum is a polysaccharide (sugar like compound) produced by bacterial fermentation of a sugar-containing medium.  Nutritionally speaking, it is a carbohydrate with about seven grams of fiber per tablespoon.

Common names for Xanthan Gum

The most commonly used name is xanthan.  Other names include xantham gum, corn sugar gum and bacterial polysaccharide.

Why is Xanthan Gum included in pet food?

Xanthan Gum is used as a thickening and suspending agent in wet or canned dog foods.   It has little nutritional value.

Common benefits or risks of Xanthan Gum

Several studies have shown that Xanthan Gum is  ‘safe’ in normal doses, for humans and pets.

Risks: That said, Xanthan Gum requires a ‘medium’ to grow and often the medium of choice is a carbohydrate like corn, soy, dairy, or wheat, all of which are potentially allergenic substances, especially if fed over long periods of time.

Miscellaneous facts about Xanthan Gum

  • Xanthan Gum is used to stabilize and bind cosmetic products.
  • In human foods, Xanthan Gum is most often found in salad dressings and sauces because it helps to prevent oil separation.

Sources and further reading

http://healthypets.mercola.com/sites/healthypets/archive/2013/04/15/xantham-gum.aspx

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9763683

http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/0041008X73901786

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