MSG is a sodium salt of glutamic acid, one of the most common amino acids (protein building blocks) found in nature. As glutamate, it is present in virtually all foods. MSG is a fine white crystal substance that looks like salt. It is used as a flavor enhancer in many foods, especially in pre-made soups, broth, bouillon, natural chicken flavoring, sauces, dressings, and processed foods. Restaurants in Asia are notorious for using it, out of habit and lack of knowledge about it. The processed food industry, however, is notorious for using it with full knowledge of its making and effects.
Glutamate is found naturally in foods such as tomatoes, mushrooms, broccoli, peas, cheese, meats, fish and even in human milk (20 times more than cow’s milk). Monosodium glutamate is adding flavor to your food, but many researchers believe it is also subtracting years from your life.
MSG has many aliases. Here is a list of some of the other names for MSG:
1. Soy protein, wheat protein, whey protein, anything fortified protein
2. Textured protein
5. Soy sauce
6. Bouillon, pork, chicken, beef
7. Barley malt, malt extract, maltodextrin
9. Corn syrup, corn starch, dextrose
10. Citric acid
11. Monosodium glutamate, monopotassium glutamate, glutamic acid
Many health experts also believe that there are other forms of MSG too, listed below –
Anything that says hydrolyzed (such as hydrolyzed vegetable protein)
Anything that says Autolized
Anything that says natural flavor, or flavors, natural flavoring, flavorings
MSG is made by either a bacterial fermenting process, protein hydrolysis (a breaking of protein into its constituent amino acids), or by synthesis. When a product is 99% pure MSG, the product is called “monosodium glutamate” by the FDA and must be labeled as such. However, when a hydrolyzed protein contains less than 99% MSG, the FDA does not require that the MSG be identified.
MSG is so pervasive in our society that you may not be aware that you are consuming it daily. It is in processed foods, canned, frozen or boxed, restaurants and fast food chains. It is not surprising that you might get shocked to find MSG in almost all the vitamin Scientists now believe that glutamates impart a fifth taste, described as savory and meaty, independent of the four basic tastes of sweet, sour, salty and bitter. When it is added to food, it is perceived to ‘enhance’ the natural flavors present. However MSG cannot improve bad tasting food or make up for bad cooking the supplements. Most consumers are not aware of it because we are being tricked with labeling.