What Is It? A Look at Strange-Sounding Ingredients in Your Food
What Is Xanthan Gum?
Typically Found In: Low-fat salad dressings, ice creams, toothpastes
What We Discovered: Fermented from glucose by a microorganism called Xanthomonas campestris, xanthan gum is a powdery substance used to thicken salad dressings. It’s also a natural stabilizer that maintains the smooth consistency of ice creams (and toothpastes). Since xanthan gum comprises less than 1 percent of the products in which it appears its nutritional impact is negligible. But increasing the viscosity of lower-fat dressings gives them the richer "mouthfeel" associated with full-fat versions—making it a little easier to reach for the healthier choices.
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