In many nutrition circles, it's important to note that many websites, blogs, diets, and books are incentivized to sell by alarmism and anti-authoritarian narratives. At Ketogeek, our focus is to evolve our Energy Pods using the latest scientific evidence. The thickeners we use currently in Energy Pods are Xanthan Gum and Guar Gum:
Xanthan Gum is a gluten-free binder, thickener, stabilizer, and texturizing agent which is produced by bacterial fermentation of sugar. Generally, it is well tolerated in human beings(1) with a dose of 15grams per day(Energy Pods have less than 0.5g of Xanthan Gum per Energy Pod) with our microbiome adapting accordingly and producing short-chain fatty acids in our body as a digestive by-product. Toxicology studies(2) in animals with very high doses showed no impact on survival, food intake, body weight gain, blood pressure, ECG, hemogram, organ weight, and other markers. In humans(3), very high doses of 10.4g to 12.9g of Xanthan Gum caused no adverse or physiological impact on plasma, blood indices, urinalysis, glucose tolerance, insulin tests, triglycerides, phospholipids, HDL cholesterol, breath hydrogen/methane concentrations, serum immunoglobulins(a marker that shows the status of the human immune system,) and other markers whereas it showed favorable impact on blood cholesterol and stool bulking.
There are other potential benefits of Xanthan Gum when it comes to food and nutrition with research noting anti-tumor activity in mice(4), easing swallowing in patients with dysphagia(5), immunomodulatory and anti-inflammatory effects noted in vitro(6), and providing favorable gut microbial community and anti-inflammatory metabolites in rodents(7).
In a nutshell, when it comes to inflammation, the evidence, as noted by the human trial, is suggestive of Xanthan Gum having no impact on the immune system with several studies noting net benefits.
Guar gum is a food additive, neutraceutical, and thickening agent produced from guar beans and is a long-chain carbohydrate molecule that acts as a soluble fiber, fermented to short chain fatty acids, in our digestive system. FDA considers it to be generally recognized as safe for human consumption in quantities, about 2% maximum(8), found in most store-bought foods. Each Energy Pod currently has less than 0.5% guar gum per Energy Pod.
When it comes to inflammation, currently there are no studies in humans that support that guar gum increases inflammation markers on its own.
However, a low-viscosity derivative of guar gum, partially hydrolyzed guar gum, at upwards of 6g/day, in a double-blind placebo controlled 18 week study(9), showed improvement in journal bloating score with no impact on the severity or quality of life score in Irritable bowel syndrome. These effects even lasted 4 weeks after the administration of guar gum. In another study(10), partially hydrolyzed guar gum was associated with improvements in symptoms, stool form, colonic transit times and laxatives and another double-blind placebo controlled study in humans suggestive of improved symptom control(11).
Direct experimentation with guar gum on its own in a rodunt study(15) show anti-inflammatory role of guar gum against pathologic neuroinflammation. Similarly, in rodents(16)(17), guar gum showed anti-inflammatory effects in the context of colitis with reduction in intestinal barrier. In a contrasting study(18), guar gum did not protect rodents against certain aspects of inflammatory bowel disease when the rodents were pre-disposed to those conditions. Another rodent study(19) showed anti-inflammatory response due to guar gum fiber.
In a nutshell, the evidence that guar gum causes inflammation is lacking with guar gum derivatives showing strong potential in managing inflammatory diseases. Rodent studies are mostly supportive of guar gum but the evidence is still inconclusive on that matter.
The world of sensationlized nutrition gravitates towards alarmism, fear and putting the cart ahead of the horse. Inconclusive evidence is championed to support specific diets and ideologies to merely sell alternative products and services to naive customers and intellects. As science evolves, we plan to evolve our Energy Pods. Help us change the world by bringing Energy Pods into your life so that we can continue to use the latest scientific research to better serve our fellow humans while paving smart products and smart consumerism.