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Food Hacks — Instantly Thicken Up Your Protein Smoothies With Xanthan Gum

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Image: Running With Spoons 

Welcome to mixology 101. We’re about to upgrade your smoothie game, massively.

Most smoothie aficionados rambunctiously toss bananas, a few dollops of Greek yogurt or almond butter, scoops on scoops of protein powder, or even an avocado into their concoctions in the pursuit of thickness. It’s a widely coveted quality, and one that’s essential for any pro-status smoothie.

Theoretically, those toss-ins should contribute thickness. Sometimes it works out, but they often don’t produce the desired level of consistency. Or they warp the recipe altogether and add unnecessary calories, sugar, etc. in the process.

Lucky for you, there’s a beyond-easy food hack that’ll instantly add viscosity and creaminess to ANY smoothie recipe regardless of the flavor profile; without a hefty nutritional dent.

Guaranteed. Every. Single. Time.

It’s called xanthan gum and it’s about to revolutionize the way you make smoothies. And blow your mind.


What Is Xanthan Gum?

xanthangumDespite its ridiculous name, xanthan gum is nothing more than a tasteless, plant-based fiber—technically it’s a polysaccharide that’s fermented by bacteria—that acts as a thickener and emulsifier.1 For our purposes, it adds creaminess, viscosity, and volume to anything that’s liquid; especially in things like salad dressings, sauces, ice cream, and gluten-free chefery (it imitates gluten).

Take that and apply it to liquified fruit, and xanthan gum magically transforms what would be light & watery into the consistency of a thick, silky-smooth, decadent milkshake. Eat-off-a-spoon good. Not only do smoothies come out significantly more delicious, but they’re FAR more substantial and satiating (which helps cut hunger).

Bonus points — it acts as a stabilizer. Whenever you blend up a massive smoothie in the AM, it’ll still look and taste totally normal later in the day. That’s compared vis-a-vis most recipes that separate, settle, and taste borderline repulsive after a few hours.

Put it to work and throw 1/4 tsp. into your favorite recipe. Just be careful and measure — a little goes a loooooooooooooong way (too much produces a goopy, paste-like sludge). Thank me later and ruthlessly enjoy the deliciousness. Consider your smoothie game upgraded.

Get It: Xanthan gum is available at most supermarkets and health food stores. It’s also on Amazon, $14.00/bag.


Bryan DiSanto

Founder & Editor-in-Chief at Lean It UP
ELLO ELLO I'm Bryan DiSanto. I'm the Founder & Editor-in-Chief of Lean It UP, a CPT/CSN/Fitness Coach, Chef trained at Le Cordon Bleu – Paris, NYU graduate, ex-fat kid, and all-around fitness junkie.

I also contribute to Men's Health Magazine.

When I'm not working on my abs (or somebody else’s), whipping up avocado roses and avocado toast, or running a Tough Mudder, I'm probably yelling at a Carolina Panthers game somewhere.

Come be friends with me on Instagram (@BRYDISANTO) & Snapchat (BRYDISANTO).
Bryan DiSanto
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  1. Xanthan gum biosynthesis and application []
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