Gum Thickeners — Are these Protein Additives Healthy or Harmful?

Gum Thickeners — Are these Protein Additives Healthy or Harmful? - Explosive Whey

When was the first time you heard about Gum Thickener? Well, if you aren’t a professional athlete, you might be hearing about gum thickeners for the first time ever!

According to Statista, the global Sports Nutrition Market is estimated to grow up to $85.7 billion by 2030.

In recent years, there has been a rise in the popularity of unauthentic powders, packaged in plastic tubs and perceived nutrition, followed by an equal increase in the popularity of all the less appealing components, such as gum thickeners. But, what are “Gum Thickeners” and what’s the buzz around it? Let’s find out!

What is Gum Thickener?

Gum thickeners are a special type of ingredient used in the food and beverage sector to enhance a product’s stability and texture. These compounds act by making liquids viscous, which thickens and makes them flow more slowly. It is mostly used in protein supplements, lotions, cosmetics, toothpaste, salad dressings, and also in ice creams.

Types of Gum Thickeners

There are several types of gum thickeners, these includes:

Guar gum

Guar gum is a naturally occurring substance derived from the seeds of the guar plant. It is commonly used in foods such as ice cream, sauces, and soups.

Xanthan gum

Xanthan gum is a synthetic substance made by fermenting food with microbes. It is a popular gluten-free thickener substitute and is frequently used in gluten-free products.


Carrageenan is a seaweed-based ingredient that’s often used in dairy products such as milk and yogurt.

Locust bean gum

Natural ingredient locust bean gum is created from the carob tree’s seeds. It is frequently used as a thickening agent in processed foods and is a well-liked substitute for gluten.

Gellan gum

This is a synthetic ingredient made through a fermentation process using bacteria. It is frequently used as a gelatin alternative in vegetarian and vegan products.

Why is Gum Thickener used in Protein Powder?

Over the last few years with technological advancements in the food and beverages industry, it can be challenging to differentiate between protein that is sourced the right way vs protein bolstered by using additives based on taste.

Many brands tend to opt for heavily built indulgent flavours with poorly sourced protein powders resembling the popular desserts like:

  • Peanut butter
  • Chocolate
  • Vanilla flavoured desserts and more

While businesses make big money selling proteins containing gum thickeners, health benefits of thickeners can be marginal for consumers. The cost of manufacturing is cheaper compared to any authentic protein supplement and the profit margins are crazy.

If you are wondering that the protein’s with gum thickeners are the next superfood, you need to rethink! Gum thickeners are more of an anti-superfood rather than a superfood.

Additionally, there are more innovative brands who emphasize on raw flavour by using higher quality ingredients to offer the best products for its customers.

Why Does My Whey Smell Bad?

If your whey protein smells bad over a period of time, you might want to look into the product label. Whey protein is in powder form (concentrated & dried), oxidizes depending on the heat and oxygen exposure and fat content.

Here are things to consider:

Best Case Middle Case Worst Case
Packaging Material Alox / Foil Pouch (air tight) Plastic Tub (not airtight) Cardboard / Kraft tube (Breathable)
Packaging Options Vacuum Sealed (No Air) Gas-Flushed (Oxygen Displaced) Air Filled Tub (Full of Oxygen)
Fat % Whey Isolate (no fat) Protein Blend Whey Protein Concentrate
Sourcing Grass-fed Organic Factory Farmed
Storage Cool & Dry Room Temperature Hot & Humid

What Are the Benefits of Thickeners?

The benefits of thickeners can be:

  • Improves taste and stability
  • Improves the texture
  • Increases the shelf life of protein powder

Are there any Downsides To Using Xanthan Gum or other Thickeners in Protein?

There are several side effects of having gum thickeners:

  • Allergic reactions
  • Passing large volumes of stools
  • Increased gas
  • Abdominal pain
  • Lethargy caused by altered gut bacteria
  • Constant feeling of fullness
  • Chemical Contaminants
  • Artificial Sweeteners

Is Xanthan Gum or Gum Thickener Healthy or Safe?

For most people, protein powder with gum thickener may not lead to any health or safety risks.

However, when you are an athlete or a fitness buff, you need to be extra careful about what you put in your body. A high-quality protein in your diet helps you gain muscle mass, improve performance and faster recovery. Explosive Whey offers a range of Athlete Standard Protein and sports nutritional supplements (gum thickener free) suitable for Athletes and fitness enthusiasts.

Reading next

If you are a cricketer.. here is how you should choose the right type of whey protein - Explosive Whey
Substandard protein supplements : How to spot and avoid them? - Explosive Whey

Leave a comment

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.