Xanthan Gum — Is This Food Additive Healthy or Harmful?

While xanthan gum is safe for most, there are a few people who should avoid it.

People With Severe Wheat, Corn, Soy or Dairy Allergies

Xanthan gum is derived from sugar. The sugar can come from many different places, including wheat, corn, soy and dairy (16).

People with severe allergies to these products may need to avoid foods containing xanthan gum unless they can determine what source the xantham gum came from.

Premature Infants

Simply Thick, a xanthan gum-based thickener, was added to formula and breast milk for premature infants.

In several cases, the infants developed necrotizing enterocolitis, which is a life-threatening disease that causes the intestines to become inflamed, damaged and start to die (17).

While Simply Thick is safe for use in adults, infants should avoid it since their guts are still developing.

Those Taking Certain Medications or Planning Surgery

Xanthan gum can lower blood sugar levels (5).

This can be dangerous for people who take certain diabetes medications that can cause low blood sugar. It can also be dangerous for people who are planning to have surgery soon.

These people are fine to consume some foods with xanthan gum, but they should avoid large amounts of it until its effect on blood sugar is better understood.

Summary:

Premature infants and people with extreme allergies need to avoid xanthan gum. Also, those at risk of low blood sugar levels should avoid large doses of it.

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