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Old 08-11-2006, 10:44 AM   #1
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Is there a difference between guar and xanthum gum?

I was at the health food store yesterday looking for xanthum gum. I saw 'guar gum' next to it for much, much cheaper. Is there a difference between the two products? Thanks!
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Old 08-11-2006, 10:51 AM   #2
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One works better in hot liquids and one in cold, but I can't remember which is which - I'm sure someone else will have that info.

Personally, I prefer Thicken Thin Not/Starch which is a blend of gums/fiber, it whisks in more easily than the straight gums. It LOOKS expensive but it doesn't take much to thicken stuff up so a little goes a very long way!
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Old 08-11-2006, 10:54 AM   #3
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Yes, there are quite a few differences. Xanthan, ounce for ounce, creates a thicker sauce. I don't have my tables in front of me, but I think it's twice as powerful. Some brands of guar have a beany aftertaste, whereas xanthan is always neutrally flavored. Guar takes quite a bit longer to thicken than xanthan. Heat helps guar thicken faster, but with xanthan, no heat is necessary. Generally speaking, xanthan is a better choice between the two.

That's if you're dead set on only buying one. Xanthan and guar have a synergy with each other. When used together, a thickening boost is achieved. This is one of the reasons why thickenthin not starch works so well- the synergy of multiple thickeners.
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Old 08-11-2006, 12:37 PM   #4
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I use guar gum/xanthan gum in baked goods. It lightens the texture. The guar gum I bought recommended using 1/2 teaspoon for each cup of non-gluten flour.
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Old 08-12-2006, 05:58 AM   #5
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I have to disagree with Scott123 in regard to the taste of xanthan gum. I find that it has a slightly sour taste. However, it's not usually noticeable unless you're thickening something that has a very mild flavor.

The trick is to use as little xanthan gum as you can get away with and still get the desired thickening. In the time I've been using it, I've found that it will thicken some foods more easily than others. For example, I've been using it in my protein smoothies and when I add something acidic to the blender the xanthan doesn't thicken as well or at least not as quickly.

I have no experience with guar gum.
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Old 08-12-2006, 09:50 PM   #6
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Linda, it's all relative. Compared to the taste of guar, xanthan is a lot more neutral tasting. I'm also guessing, that, like different brands of guar, the taste of xanthan varies from brand to brand. I use Bob's Red Mill, which I've never been able to detect any sourness from.

I'm not sure why the xanthan is reacting to acids. It shouldn't be. For commercial applications, xanthan is the gum stabilizer of choice in low pH environments. Other gums, such as guar, are much more acid sensitive.

Xanthan exhibits a strange phenomenon when blended. The molecular strands align with each other and the liquid thins out. Once you stop blending, the strands become tangled and the liquid returns to it's previous viscosity. This is called 'shear-reversible.' This could be what's occuring with your smoothies.

Are your smoothies dairy based? Adding acid to dairy could curdle it. Curdling will definitely result in a loss in viscosity as well.
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Old 08-12-2006, 09:52 PM   #7
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Btw, it's too late to change my previous post, but I checked my chart and I had it reversed. Guar provides about the twice the viscosity of xanthan.
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Old 08-13-2006, 05:37 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by scott123
Linda, it's all relative. Compared to the taste of guar, xanthan is a lot more neutral tasting. I'm also guessing, that, like different brands of guar, the taste of xanthan varies from brand to brand. I use Bob's Red Mill, which I've never been able to detect any sourness from.

I'm not sure why the xanthan is reacting to acids. It shouldn't be. For commercial applications, xanthan is the gum stabilizer of choice in low pH environments. Other gums, such as guar, are much more acid sensitive.

Xanthan exhibits a strange phenomenon when blended. The molecular strands align with each other and the liquid thins out. Once you stop blending, the strands become tangled and the liquid returns to it's previous viscosity. This is called 'shear-reversible.' This could be what's occuring with your smoothies.

Are your smoothies dairy based? Adding acid to dairy could curdle it. Curdling will definitely result in a loss in viscosity as well.
Like I said, I've never used guar gum so I can't compare the flavor with xanthan gum. I also use Bob's Red Mill xanthan gum.

My basic smoothie recipe is whey protein powder (Designer brand), about a tablespoon of cream, 1/4 cup Da Vinci syrup, 1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum, water and ice. It's when I add either some True Lemon powder or Kool Aid powder that the xanthan gum doesn't seem to want to thicken. Could it be the maltodextrin that's causing that rather than the citric acid?
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Old 08-14-2006, 05:59 AM   #9
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Thanks for the responses! I bought the Guar Gum b/c it cost $2.91 on sale as compared to about $11.00 for the Bob Red Mill's Xantham Gum!

I have used the Guar Gum in my smoothies and I love it! No aftertaste and it thickened quite nicely. I just sprinkled a little bit of it in.
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Old 08-24-2006, 08:02 PM   #10
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So does Guar Gum have the more off taste but it thickens twice as much as Xantham Gum?
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Old 08-24-2006, 08:30 PM   #11
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Kayecat, some brands of guar have an off taste, but not all. The brand I bought, NOW brand, tastes pretty beany. And yes, it thickens twice as much as xanthan.
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Old 08-06-2013, 11:20 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lehgrad View Post
Thanks for the responses! I bought the Guar Gum b/c it cost $2.91 on sale as compared to about $11.00 for the Bob Red Mill's Xantham Gum! .

Wow, its so upsetting to see the price differences for us Aussies - we have to pay $26.95 for the same sized package of Bob Red Mills Gum, and postage aswell, since its only generally purchase online within australia...

i cant wait for australia to catch up with low carb products, but until then its still works out cheaper to purchase from netrition (when ordering "bulk" products) and paying the $100 shipping, than what it would if we purchased per item plus postage within australia LOL .... its expensive to be thin
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Old 08-07-2013, 12:12 AM   #13
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I've only used NOW brand Guar gum and I've been very happy with it. I put it in a old clean spice shaker and I shake a thin coating over the entire top of my pot of food, stir well and wait a full 2 minutes before deciding if I need to repeat.
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Old 08-07-2013, 05:31 AM   #14
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I have and do use them both. Individually, guar seems to me to have more a pudding like consistency while xanthan is slimy. Together, they work well. Only a tiny amount is needed in most cases so start small and work from there. (I mix the two together 50/50)
I do not notice any actual taste with either (thankfully).
Jennifer Eloff has a thickener mixture recipe if you want to check it out.
Also, I have used Agar in the past. It seems to produce a jelly like consistency. Do not know about carbs though.
Guar is actually a soluble fiber so it expands.
Good luck!
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Old 08-07-2013, 10:00 PM   #15
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thanks for the comments - im more confident about doing a 50/50 mix of the two now, and the salt shaker idea is PERFECT, as i just purchased alot of herbs in bulk, along with two herbs/spice rotating racks for the kitchen, so im sure i can spare one for a thickener sprinkler!!

thanks!!
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