I read a very interesting article by Alex Renton about MSG and it's history. I am surprised to learn that
MSG is the sodium salt of the amino acid glutamic acid and a form of glutamate. Glutamate itself is in many living things: It is found naturally in our bodies and in protein-containing foods, such as cheese, milk, meat, peas, and mushrooms.
Yes, glutamate in breast milk! 10 times more than cow's milk! No wonder babies prefer breast milk over formula..because it tastes so much better!
The glutamate found and made in our bodies is natural and safe..but MSG, which is commercially manufactured glutamate, is a killer because of the contaminants in the process.
Why do food companies add MSG to their products anyway?
1. It tricks our tongues into thinking that the food we are eating is high in protein and nutritious
2. Stimulates the pancreas to create insulin. Blood pressure drops and after an hour we are hungry for more food. And 'once we pop, we can't stop' or 'bet you can't just have one!' Eerie!
3. An excess of it will turn into GABA which is addictive and calming. Think VALIUM. Hence the term MSG is nicotine for food.
....more info on the truth on MSG here.
So, we all know it's bad for us but we choose to put it in our mouths anyway? Are we living in sheer denial? And for people who are trying to avoid it...we are shocked to find out that it's an ingredient in almost everything we eat!
Names MSG goes under: monopotassium glutamate, glutavene, glutacyl, glutamic acid, autolyzed yeast extract, calcium caseinate, sodium caseinate, E621 (E620-625 are all glutamates), Ajinomoto, Ac'cent, Gourmet Powder
I have been more aware of purchases at the grocery now and even taught my maid to be wary of ingredient labels. I use Mama Sita's Pang Gisa which claims that it has no MSG. I sure hope that it's not all hype. All the other flavor enhancers reads 'no preservatives' but when you read the ingredients, they all have MSG :P
It's tough cooking without soy sauce too. Our taste buds are so used to the flavor that when we do cook healthier alternatives, they seem bland.
Oh no! It's time to detox those dead tongues. Wake up MSG zombies!