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Thought MSG was Finally Gone? Wrong – Yeast Extract is a Type of MSG and is in Your Foods
MSG (monosodium glutamate) was a preservative used for years. Many of us had allergic reactions to this chemical and eventually, due to public outcry and health problems, MSG became the unpopular chemical additive. But while we may feel better about buying products that state “MSG-free”, there is a word of caution, manufacturers have found their own ways to put a new spin on this term and still add the active forms of MSG in our foods.
The active ingredient in MSG is free glutamate. The legislation that governs correct label information has defined that if there is less than 78% of glutamic acid or free glutamate the label doesn’t have to have the MSG identification. Another sly marketing move on the part of the food industry is to indicate that free glutamate is a naturally occurring chemical. What they don’t tell you is that while it does occur in a natural form, it is in sparing quantities and is called a bound glutamate. The properties of bound glutamates create a benign situation and therefore remove the health and allergic effects.
Every time we go to a popular chain restaurant, I order a salad. If I order a burger I also get lettuce on it. Within five minutes of eating either of the above, my sinuses fill up, I start sneezing and I feel a small bit of stomach upset. It’s because the restaurant used a food additive that includes glutamic acid.
The synthetic form of glutamate is not bound and can add a higher dosage of the glutamic acid. The synthetic form is a much less costlier choice than the natural spice or alternative oils. The glutamate actually tricks your brain into thinking that the food tastes so much better. This makes it a great additive for cheap food with low nutritional value. Simply put – it makes you think the food is great.
Yeast extracts is a term that is often used on a label. This is technically true, but deceiving. The yeast extract contains free glutamates. Other terms that are used include: hydrolyzed yeast and autolyzed yeast. These are found in many of what are called ‘natural seasonings’; some of which you may have on your shelves. The astounding part is that food manufacturers have jumped on the health wagon and conveniently labeled many of their products as ‘organic’ or ‘healthy’; even combining more health oriented contents such as tofu with glutamic acid based chemicals. Even the health food stores carry some of the products that include the free glutamate additives.
The labeling of the additives in this manner is a kind of loop-hole. Food manufacturers were given guidelines but they found an easy way around it to acknowledge no MSG contents, but use the base ingredient in MSG under a different name. The answer to this is the same with everything: read the label. If you are going to a restaurant ask the manager. There is nothing wrong or embarrassing about ensuring what is in the food that they serve to you.
The information supplied in this article is not to be considered as medical advice and is for educational purposes only.