I have taken a package of food from the supermarket shelf, and I often see the words "Xanthan Gum, Gelatin, Pectin, Guar Gum, Gum Arabic, etc." on the packaging bag, which does not give people a good feeling. , especially the word "increase", which seems to be adulterated. With so many varieties of thickeners, it can be found in so many foods. Why is there a place for a modifier on the list of food additives? What is it? What does it contain?

Thickener: Stabilizes food quality

The so-called thickener is a substance that can greatly increase the viscosity when added to water. Many foods, especially beverages, have some insoluble substances dispersed in water, such as pulp in juice and fat particles in milk. These insoluble substances have different densities from water, and are very unstable to float up and down in water. We want the juice of the drink to be homogeneous. The sensory stability of the food after sedimentation is stable and harmonious rather than lumpy. Technically, the instability of the material floating up and down is slowed down by increasing the viscosity, and different thickeners are used to stabilize the food material, so as to obtain the best taste that is warm and palatable.

China also has a lot of thickening practices in traditional food production. The most common kitchen production is the use of starch. The purpose of starch agent and starch paste is to make the seasoning of the dishes form a stable and uniform distribution, and there will be no stratification of light and heavy, and the juice flavor is disconnected. For example, West Lake Beef Soup, if you don't use starch to increase the viscosity of the soup, the ground beef will sink to the bottom of the bowl, and it looks like it's just soup instead of soup. Many soups in the north, such as hot and sour soup, and mullet egg soup, also use similar operations, so that all kinds of raw materials appear in the soup bowl, which looks beautiful and pleasing to the eye, without layering of raw materials, loss of senses and taste. tasty. Some countries use starch as a food additive, but it is still used as a food raw material in my country, not as a food additive.

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Types and applications of thickeners

There are 39 kinds of thickeners approved by the state recently, which can be divided into animal glue, vegetable glue and microbial glue according to the source. The most commonly used and relatively safe food thickeners are the following:

1. Gelatin

This is a kind of pure food-grade glue, which was recorded in the "Ben Cao Feng Yuan" in the Qing Dynasty. Gelatin is made from boiled bones, skins and tendons of pigs and cattle, which are degreased, boiled, filtered, steamed, preservative, condensed, sliced and pulverized. Gelatin is usually used to make various dairy products, fruit wine, beer, jelly, ice cream, and can be made into thick soup, canned meat, salad, etc. in catering, and can be used in pills and capsules in medical treatment. Gelatin is made into plasma.

2. Guar Gum

Guar gum is made from the seeds of leguminous guar beans after peeling and degerming, pressurized, hydrolyzed, dried and pulverized. Guar gum is the most affordable and widely used hydrophilic glue in the world. It is odorless and tasteless. It can be dispersed in hot or cold water to form a viscous liquid, preventing product stratification and precipitation, and keeping the product in good condition. Slippery taste, mainly used for the following foods, such as noodles, instant noodles to prevent sticking, water retention, increase muscle strength: stabilizing in soy products, tofu, soy milk: binding, refreshing and increasing volume in meat products: sauces And salad dressings in canned food make the organoleptic qualities even better.

3.Arabic Gum

Gum arabic is a natural vegetable gum, which is made from the sap of the acacia tree, a kind of legume. The powdered gum arabic obtained through the refining process is more convenient to use. Gum arabic does not generate heat, and is a good water-soluble dietary fiber. It can be degraded into beneficial cellulose in the human large intestine, which is very suitable for healthy food. Require. This stability is good. Its high fiber properties make it a good raw material for food additions. Gum Arabic is mainly used in the manufacture of gummies, chewing gum, soft and hard candies and frozen foods, beverages, bread and baking in cooking.

4. Sodium Caseinate

It is based on high-quality high-altitude consumption milk as raw material. Refined by scientific production technology. It contains various essential amino acids required by the human body, is a nutritional supplement and protein, and is an emulsion stabilizer and thickening agent. Baked food, beverages, medicine, tobacco, cosmetics, daily chemicals and other industries. Sodium caseinate has foaming properties, emulsifying properties, and has a special aroma, and is mainly used in minced meat products. In order to increase the elasticity and water holding capacity of the meat, and improve the utilization rate of the meat.

5. Carrageenan

Carrageenan, also known as carrageenan, is a hydrophilic colloid extracted from red algae seaweed by marine biotechnology. Its chemical structure is composed of polysaccharides calcium, potassium, sodium and ammonium salts. Carrageenan has the properties of soluble dietary fiber, which can form a soluble conjugate with fibrin after being degraded in the body and become an energy source for probiotics. As a good coagulant, carrageenan can replace common agar, gelatin and pectin, and is mainly used in beverages, ice cream and candy.

6. Xanthan Gum

Xanthan gum is a kind of pure natural biosynthetic gum. It is made of starch as the main raw material, which is cultured, fermented, refined and dried by microorganisms. The main components are mannose and gluconic acid, which is more environmentally friendly. Xanthan Gum is currently the international integration of thickening, suspending, emulsifying and stabilizing. The most superior biological glue. Mainly used for: juice drinks, ice cream, soy sauce, oyster sauce, frozen desserts, baked goods, seasoning. Instant noodles, sausages, canned meat, cakes, breads and dehydrated foods In addition, agar and pectin are all naturally made from seaweed, a medium in plant cell membranes.

Most of the above food crystal thickeners are not digested and absorbed by the human body after entering the human body. Pectin, guar gum, carrageenan, etc., have a similar effect to dietary fiber. A few thickeners, such as gelatin, are mainly composed of protein. After digestion, they will be decomposed into amino acids, which are involved in human metabolism and are nutrients that can be absorbed and utilized by the body. So no matter what kind of thickener it is. It is not compatible with the viscosity of blood, so you can eat it with confidence.

Beware of misuse of industrial glue

The country has strict regulations on the manufacture of edible and medical gelatin: it must be processed with fresh animal bones or raw skins that have undergone strict quarantine and have not undergone any chemical treatment, and must be dried and crushed in a fully enclosed assembly line. , In the black workshops of some unscrupulous traders, the situation is far beyond our imagination. In Fucheng, Hebei, some reporters found bags and piles of blue silky leather scraps on the open-air site of the processing plant. These blue silks and industrial hides were actually raw materials for gelatin. Qingdao News also reported that black workshops used industrial glue to make edible pigskin jelly. In other cities, it has also been found that some den bosses also use industrial gelatin to make fin silk, soak fin silk, hoof tendons and other foods in formaldehyde for preservation and weight gain, and then add caustic soda and industrial hydrochloric acid to make it bright in color and volume. , its bad behavior directly endangers the health and life safety of consumers.

Standardized food thickeners, from the perspective of chemical composition and source, are useful ingredients derived from animals, plants or microorganisms, just like starch and protein. The approved food thickeners have undergone many safety tests, and their safety is no less than that of staple food rice and flour. "Thickeners" legally added to food labels are our best friends. What needs to be vigilant is that because many high-molecular polymers in the original chemical industry can also play a very effective thickening role, some criminals have the opportunity to use industrial raw materials to manufacture fake and inferior products. When we are suspicious of the taste of food that is too chewy, especially the stickiness, we must be extra careful. Be vigilant.

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