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Xanthan Gum and Guar Gum Keto Friendly

author avatar Dr. Eric Berg 03/23/2020

You’ve probably come across the ingredients xanthan gum or guar gum while you read labels at the grocery store.

Strange terms, right? You may have wondered what they are.

And if you’re on the Healthy KetoTM diet, I’m sure you’ve become quite scrupulous about the ingredients in the food you eat, to ensure that you stay in ketosis and continue to experience all the benefits of keto: weight loss, more energy, and improved mental clarity.

So if you’re cautious about these curious-sounding ingredients, I don’t blame you.

In this article, I’ll explain:

Let’s talk about these two products, and whether or not they’re keto-friendly for those of you who’ve switched to a keto way of eating.


Xanthan Gum

Let’s start with xanthan gum.

Xanthan gum is an additive used in many different foods as a thickener, or to provide texture. Some of the food products it’s commonly found in, include salad dressings, ice cream, gum, and sauces. It’s also used in gluten-free bread, as a gluten replacement. None of these are particularly keto-friendly, so you’re right to ask if xanthan gum is permissible.

a photo of gluten-free flour with xanthan gum

Here’s the problem with it, and it’s not what you may be assuming it is.

It’s usually made from corn, glucose, or even soy. That’s not the problem. The issue is that these three ingredients are often genetically modified. If you’re going to consume xanthan gum, please ensure it’s made from ingredients that aren’t genetically modified.

Xanthan gum is named after the bacteria that creates it: Xanthomonas campestris. This bacteria ferments the corn, glucose, or soy, resulting in a gum. Yes, Xanthan gum is also an ingredient found in most chewing gum but for the most part, you can chew gum on keto without knocking yourself out of ketosis.

So far, so good. But is it permissible on the keto diet?

1.5 teaspoons of xanthan gum contain one gram of carbohydrate. However, it also contains one gram of fiber - which means it effectively has zero net carbs. In other words, it won’t affect your blood sugars. So, if you come across a keto recipe calling for xanthan gum, rest assured it really is okay to eat while you’re on the keto diet.

Some people experience gas and bloating when they consume xanthan gum. If this is you, the remedy is simple: avoid it.

To summarize: yes, it’s keto-friendly. Just make sure you use a non-GMO product.


Guar Gum

Next, let’s examine guar gum.

It’s made from the guar bean. One-half teaspoon contains one gram of carbohydrate, but also one gram of fiber. Again, as with xanthan gum, this results in zero grams of net carbs.

a photo of guar beans

As with xanthan gum, you may experience side effects; most commonly, loose bowel movements. Again, the remedy is simple: avoid guar gum.

But overall, guar gum is also completely permissible on the keto diet. And you don’t need to be concerned about the beans being genetically modified; they aren’t a crop that is subject to genetic modification.


Two Ingredients That Get The Keto Thumbs Up

I know it can sometimes feel like so many ingredients are off-limits when you’re on keto. Isn’t it good to find two useful ones that are completely fine to eat?

Both xanthan gum and guar gum are handy for use when you’re cooking with keto. I’m glad to let you know that they’re safe.

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Disclaimer: Our educational content is not meant or intended for medical advice or treatment.

Editor’s Note: This post has been updated for quality and relevancy.

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