Monosodium glutamate is the chemical responsible for the fifth taste, or “umami” taste (sometimes called broth)
It is found in many foods, including natural foods such as meats, tomatoes, or cheeses. Many myths circulate about this relationship and its alleged health risks. However, they have no confirmation in science and are based on theories “sucked from the finger”.
What it is?
Monosodium glutamine (MSG) is the sodium salt of glutamic acid. Naturally, it is found in many foods such as meat, broccoli and tomatoes, as well as parmesan, wheat and many others. As a chemical compound that improves the taste of food, it has been known to humans for hundreds of years. Already at least 500 years ago, the Japanese added a certain seaweed to their dishes called “kombu” (that is, the Japanese leaf), and at the beginning of the 20th century, many isolated pure monosodium glutamate from it and began its production as a seasoning. It gives food a special flavor known as umami.
Monosodium glutamate (MSG) is commonly used as a food additive and is designated by the symbol E621. Other names for this supplement include fish meat extract, yeast extract, and protein hydrolysis product. For industrial purposes, it is obtained by fermenting the carbohydrate medium of bacteria, and then isolated from the wort after fermentation.
E621 is found in highly processed foods such as ready meals, instant soups, bouillon cubes, canned meats, cold cuts, canned vegetables, fast foods, and savory snacks or some spice mixes.
Monosodium glutamate – enemy number 1?
Monosodium glutamate has an extremely bad reputation. He is accused of harming health, causing headaches and even addiction to fast food and obesity. It is actually a completely harmless compound that occurs naturally in living organisms and in unprocessed foods. A lot of this substance is found in meat or in long-ripened cheeses.
For years, scientists have looked at this relationship and found nothing wrong with it. The bad opinion about monosodium glutamate has been repeated for many years and on the Internet, videos or articles often appear, citing scientific sounding but incorrect information. Such myths are dealt with by Canadian nutritionist Abbot Sharp in a video posted on YouTube, citing pseudoscientific revelations about monosodium glutamate.
From a chemical point of view, there is no difference between monosodium glutamate, which is naturally found in food, and that which is produced “artificially”. It is one and the same substance and is processed in the same way by the body. It doesn’t matter if you eat it in parmesan, tomato sauce or sausage. Your body will treat it the same way.
MSG is not a neurotoxin
This is not because it does not enter our brain. When we consume monosodium glutamate, this does not mean that it goes straight to the brain. Because the compound does not cross the blood-brain barrier, which has been proven in a series of scientific experiments such as the one published in The American Journal of Nutrition. The brain is isolated from plasma by the blood-brain barrier, which surrounds the entire central nervous system, including the spinal cord. This barrier is essential to provide an optimal chemical environment for the nervous system. There are several layers of cells between the blood and the brain that have been found to be impermeable to MSG. This chemical does not increase the concentration of glutamate in the brain or impair brain function, despite being a “neurotransmitter”, as supported by another experiment described in The Animals of Nutrition & Metabolism.
Is eating monosodium glutamate a direct path to obesity?
We eat too many fatty foods because we like them better due to the taste of umami. But is glutamate the cause of weight gain? This was tested by a group of healthy Chinese people in the INTERMAP study. People who consumed more MSG had a higher BMI and were more likely to be overweight compared to those who did not. They also ate more animal protein, fat, cholesterol, and calories, and had lower intakes of plant protein, carbohydrates, starch, fiber, and magnesium. Subsequent studies in the Vietnamese population have shown that MSG is not associated with excess weight.
There are no studies that in any way link MSG to symptoms of autism.
No scientific evidence has been found to suggest that MSG consumption causes headaches and migraines. The studies subsequently published in PubliMet.gov showed no permanent or serious effects of MSG intake, and responses were not consistent when re-examined. An article published in the journal Clinical & Experimental Allergy states that “decades of research have not shown a clear and consistent relationship between MSG intake and these conditions (including headaches, redness, palpitations, and asthma).”
Scientists and experts who have studied this compound or familiarized themselves with the results of experiments confirm its safety. Hundreds of reliable scientific studies have been conducted on glutamate with a focus on its use as a food ingredient and have been positively evaluated by many food safety authorities. This group includes: the Joint Committee on Food Additives (JECFA) of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization and the World Health Organization, the EU Scientific Committee on Nutrition (SCF) and the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) …
This substance can play a positive role in the diet. The food supplement is recommended for improving the taste of food for the elderly. Over the years, a person often loses his appetite due to a deterioration in the sense of taste. Then he begins to eat worse, which is detrimental to overall health.
In fact, it is not the E621 compound that is harmful, only the food high in carbohydrates itself is dangerous because it contains fewer vitamins and nutrients than natural ones, and also usually contains more sugar, salt or fat.
How much does it actually consume?
Monosodium glutamate added to food to enhance flavor is only a small amount of the total glutamate found in most foods. Typically, a person consumes 10 to 20 grams of naturally occurring protein-bound glutamate per day, be it meat, dairy or vegetables, and one gram of free glutamate added to food. The approximate net production of glutamate in the human body is about 50 grams of the free compound per day.
This chemical compound is produced naturally in the human body and plays a key role in the metabolism of essential nutrients, one of the most important of which is protein recovery and energy production. The human body naturally produces glutamate each