Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Free Glutamates - "No MSG" Doesn't Tell The Whole Story

MSG is shorthand for processed free glutamic acid, i.e., glutamic acid that has been manufactured or freed from protein through processing or bacterial fermentation. It is a toxic substance.

Our normal digestive process slowly breaks down natural or "bound" glutamic acid and it is then delivered to glutamate receptors in our body and brain. Broken down this way, it is harmless.

In a factory, however, the bound glutamic acid in certain foods (corn, molasses, wheat) is broken down or made "free" by various processes (hydrolyzed, autolyzed, modified or fermented with strong chemicals, bacteria, or enzymes) and refined to a white crystal that resembles sugar. This substance is known as monosodium glutamate or MSG. This factory made version causes sensitive individuals more serious reactions than any other form of glutamic acid. It is important to understand that in "monosodium glutamate," glutamic acid will be the only amino acid present. If there were other amino acids present while the "monosodium glutamate" was being manufactured, they would have been cleaned out. When any product contains 79% free glutamic acid (with the balance being made up of salt, moisture, and up to 1 per cent contaminants), the product is called "monosodium glutamate" by the U. S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and must be labeled as such.

Since free glutamate can be a component part of certain food additives, such as autolyzed yeast or hydrolyzed protein, the FDA allows it to go into food unlabeled as MSG. A label may say "yeast extract", "calcium caseinate", or "beef flavoring", but the product still contains varying amounts of "free" glutamic acid. This makes it very difficult for consumers who are trying to avoid it. It is also very dangerous for those who suffer severe reactions to it.

There are over 40 food ingredients besides "monosodium glutamate" that contain processed free glutamic acid. Each, according to the FDA, must be called by its own, unique, "common or usual name." "Autolyzed yeast," "maltodextrin," "sodium caseinate," and "soy sauce" are the common or usual names of some ingredients that contain free glutamic acid. Unlike the ingredient called "monosodium glutamate," they give the consumer no clue that there is free glutamic acid in the ingredient.

The processed food industries are always on a quest to disguise the MSG added to food. Below is a partial list of the most common names for disguised MSG.

“Hydrolyzed” anything
“Autolyzed” anything
Natural Flavorings
Yeast Extract
Soy, wheat or whey protein
Corn byproducts: oil, starch, syrup, etc.

Free glutamates accelerate the metastasis of cancer, which is why oncologists prescribe glutamate blockers to patients undergoing chemotherapy.


At 9:55 AM, May 28, 2008 , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I thought soy sauce was healthy...or at least made from soya which is supposedsly healthy?

At 12:37 PM, May 28, 2008 , Blogger Intellectual Insurgent said...

There is research that brings the healthiness of soy into question -


At 8:36 AM, May 29, 2008 , Blogger Capt. Fogg said...

I married into a Chinese family and so I know a lot of chronic soy and MSG eaters who remain healthy and are riding bicycles in their 90's. Large parts of Asia eat tons of MSG - are the Japanese really sicker than Americans?

I do avoid the stuff though, although I've never had any reaction to it. I just don't perceive any enhanced taste benefits as it's claimed.

We keep hearing about the adverse and carcinogenic effects of all kinds of things, but they never tell just what the risk is. Does "doubling the risk" from one in a million to two in a million really matter all that much?

I won't argue that it's not true, but I don't see any reason to panic when our life spans continue to rise. I'm much more afraid of the way people drive in Florida!

At 3:46 PM, June 04, 2008 , Blogger RR said...

I'd bring up the same point Fogg... my dad's side of the family is from Hawaii -- we use a lot of the stuff... as do most of our friends and relatives in the islands.

It may increase the risk of disease - - but it sure isn't showing up in mortality/cancer rates in Asian countries.

I worry more about the pesticides and other "residues" on our food than this particular additive.

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