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Other labels for monosodium glutamate


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My son came home from college last week and won't eat some things I bought at Whole Foods, like a bottle of ginger marinade to use in a pinch.

He tells me there are ingredient names that hide the existence of MSG in foods that say "all natural" on the label, like "hydrolized yeast," "spice extract" and things like that.

Do any of you know what the names of the hidden MSG ingredients are?

Thanks in advance for your help.

Eileen

Edited by etalanian (log)

Eileen Talanian

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Some of the foods with the highest glutimate content are mushrooms, seaweed, tomatoes and of course Accent is made of beets...you can look up foods with high Glutimate content on Google or just tell him to buy his own food.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Some other names/things that always contain MSG are: glutamate, glutamic acid, calcuim caseinate, sodium caseinate, yeast nutrient, yeast extract, yeast food, autolyzed yeast, hydrolyzed protein, hydrolyzed corn gluten.

Things that OFTEN contain MSG: carrageenan, natural pork/beef/chicken flavoring, bouillon and broth, stock, whey protein, maltodextrin, barley malt, malt extract and flavoring, soy protein isolate, soy sauce, soy protein concentrate, teh word 'seasonings', anything enzyme modified, enzymes anything.

Go to www.truthinlabeling.org/hiddensources for more in depth info.

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MSG is a specific, refined product. Monosodium glutamate is a sodium salt of glutamate (meaning that it is glutamate plus a sodium atom), which is the commonly occurring anion (negatively charged ion) of glutamic acid, which is a common and important amino acid having the chemical formula C5H9NO4. Under FDA rules, when MSG is added to a food in its refined form, it must be listed on the ingredient list as "monosodium glutamate."

All these other so-called "sneaky ways to get MSG into the food" are, in fact, not additions of monosodium glutamate (the sodium salt of glutamate). Rather these are ingredients that are high in free glutamates. That said, many of the things listed by Athena1963 are added to processed foods precisely because they contain lots of free glutamates, and they don't particularly contribute other flavors (of course, the same might be said about the kombu kelp traditionally used in making dashi). But it would not be accurate or appropriate to characterize them as "adding MSG."

When monosodium glutamate is dissolved in water, it dissociates into free sodium and glutamate ions, much the same way that table salt dissociates into free sodium and chlorine ions. There is, then, no difference between the glutamate ions that come into your body from monosodium glutamate and the glutamate ions that come into your body from other sources of free glutamate.

You can increase the concentration of glutamate ions in a food by adding traditional ingredients that are high in free glutamtes (soy sauce, kombu, parmesan and other aged cheeses, tomato concentrate, etc.), or by adding nontraditional ingredients (hydrolyzed protein, autolyzed yeast, etc.) or by adding refined monosodium glutamate. The fact remains, however, that unless you are someone who has a bad reaction from foods that are naturally high in free glutamates like dashi, soy sauce, parmesan cheese, and so on, you are not going to have as bad reaction from eating foods that contain either the nontraditional ingredient sources of free glutamate or simply straight MSG.

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Kinsey is right on this one. Glutamate itself isn't dangerous. However, I tend to have a feeling that people have adverse reactions because of one of three reasons:

1. Too much sodium

2. Too much glutamates

3. Too quick of an absorption of glutmates

Unless MSG "sickness" is a placebo effect or a cause of something else, it may have to do with the fact that MSG is REFINED glutamates as compared to naturally occurring glutamates. I'm basing this theory off of common knowledge of complex and simple carbohydrates, but I could be very wrong.

Edited by takadi (log)
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takadi, your "refined glutamates" idea doesn't work. There is no chemical difference between the glutamate from powdered MSG and the glutamate from aged cheese and the glutamate from kombu (etc, etc, etc.).

It is entirely possible that, for some people, foods high in glutamates trigger migranes or have other health effects. But these people should have the same problem from eating a big hunk of parmesan cheese that they have from eating a handfull of Doritos that they have from eating a cup of Chinese soup.

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There was a letter in the most recent issue of the Art of Eating claiming that there is a difference. I post this not because I think it's true, but rather because I'd be interested in understanding the issue better. What the letter, from a gentleman in Italy, says is:

While the first is a nonessential amino acid, found in plant and animal protein and inside the human body in the form of a single amno acid (L-glutamic acid), the latter is produced industrially through controlled bacterial fermentation, and it invariably comes in the form of L-glutamic acid bound with D-glutamic acid an other contaminants, which may include pyroglutamic acid, mono- and dicholoro-propanols, heterocyclic amines, and peptides.

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
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That is interesting, and I have in the past speculated that some of the issues certain people have with MSG might have to do with contaminants in the industrial process. However, it should be pointed out that this would only apply to actual MSG, and not to things like hydrolyzed protein, autolyzed yeast, etc.

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The only comment I've stumbled across on this issue comes from Alex Renton's piece in the Observer -- probably the best thing I've read on MSG (though the Steingarten piece was funnier). He says:

The anti-additive movement (check out the excellent and informative www.truthinlabeling.org) admits that 'natural' and 'industrially produced' glutamate are chemically the same, and treated by the body similarly. So why doesn't anyone ever complain of a headache or hyperactivity after a four cheese and tomato pizza (where there's easily as much glutamate as in an MSG-enhanced chicken chow mein)?

Their answer is that the industrial fermentation process introduces contaminants. This is possible, of course, but it ignores the fact that whole swaths of the planet - including East Asia, where I live - do not have any problem with MSG. Here in Thailand, the phong chu rot sits on the table with the fish sauce and the chilli powder where you would have the salt and pepper.

That's not a particularly scientific explanation, though. I'd much rather see a source that says whether or not those "contaminants" do anything.

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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That's not a particularly scientific explanation, though. I'd much rather see a source that says whether or not those "contaminants" do anything.

It's not a particularly scientific explanation, just hand-waving. What are these contaminants exactly, and in what quantity? We'd need to know some specifics of the manufacturing process before we could really hypothesize about potential contaminants that appear in pure MSG, but not in other purified food-grade products like salt, sugar, corn starch, and so forth. This Italian gentleman loses some credibility when he says that we should be worried about contamination by "peptides."

As for the claim about D-glutamate contamination: this is an easy enough hypothesis to test with a simple derivitization/LC experiment. And even if it turns out that off-the-shelf MSG consists of 10% D-glutamate (similar to an E. coli cell), then what? Meat, dairy, and vegetable protein products can easily contain 20-30% of a given amino acid as D-amino acid, and D-amino acids have not generally been shown to posess any greater toxicity than L-amino acids (Man and Bada, Ann. Rev. Nutr. 1987, 7:209-25).

Edited by rxrfrx (log)
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How does that last one support MSG sensitivity? It says:

Blood levels of glutamate associated with lesions of the hypothalamus in the neonatal mouse were not approached in humans even after bolus doses of 10 g MSG in drinking water. Because human studies failed to confirm an involvement of MSG in "Chinese Restaurant Syndrome" or other idiosyncratic intolerance, the JECFA allocated an "acceptable daily intake (ADI) not specified" to glutamic acid and its salts. No additional risk to infants was indicated. The Scientific Committee for Food (SCF) of the European Commission reached a similar evaluation in 1991. The conclusions of a subsequent review by the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology (FASEB) and the Federal Drug Administration (FDA) did not discount the existence of a sensitive subpopulation but otherwise concurred with the safety evaluation of JECFA and the SCF.

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Interestingly, while the first stufy Paul links to says:

"Results of surveys and of clinical challenges with MSG in the general population reveal no evidence of untoward effects."

It also says:

"... large doses of MSG given without food may elicit more symptoms than a placebo in individuals who believe that they react adversely to MSG."

This suggests the possibility of a purely psychosomatic response in some people who are convinced they are "allergic to MSQ" (after all, umami can be tasted).

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How does that last one support MSG sensitivity?  It says:
Blood levels of glutamate associated with lesions of the hypothalamus in the neonatal mouse were not approached in humans even after bolus doses of 10 g MSG in drinking water. Because human studies failed to confirm an involvement of MSG in "Chinese Restaurant Syndrome" or other idiosyncratic intolerance, the JECFA allocated an "acceptable daily intake (ADI) not specified" to glutamic acid and its salts. No additional risk to infants was indicated. The Scientific Committee for Food (SCF) of the European Commission reached a similar evaluation in 1991. The conclusions of a subsequent review by the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology (FASEB) and the Federal Drug Administration (FDA) did not discount the existence of a sensitive subpopulation but otherwise concurred with the safety evaluation of JECFA and the SCF.

it doesn't ... i posted the wrong link!

sorry. these abstracts all look alike.

Notes from the underbelly

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Interestingly, while the first stufy Paul links to says:

"Results of surveys and of clinical challenges with MSG in the general population reveal no evidence of untoward effects."

It also says:

"... large doses of MSG given without food may elicit more symptoms than a placebo in individuals who believe that they react adversely to MSG."

This suggests the possibility of a purely psychosomatic response in some people who are convinced they are "allergic to MSQ" (after all, umami can be tasted).

Yes, that was the conclusion of one of the studies.

This critique would apply to the study supporting msg sensitivity, which i thought i posted.

Notes from the underbelly

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