If the quest for all-natural foods is a journey toward good health, then consider the search for MSG-free meals as a process to escape the processed.
The foods most likely to contain MSG are just that – processed. Salad dressings, frozen meals and soy sauce. Still, some of the products that contain MSG may surprise you – it is in many foods we consider healthy, including veggie burgers and chicken soup. Let’s explore more on that, as well as how MSG works in your body.
When we formulated Vegy Vida back in 2013, we committed to using no MSG.
What is it?
MSG, which stands for monosodium glutamate, is the product of sodium and glutamate, an amino acid naturally occurring in many foods, including meats, Parmesan cheese and mushrooms. Specifically, MSG is glutamate with sodium added in a fermentation process.
What does it do?
MSG is a flavor enhancer that boosts the tastiness of savory foods including soups, processed meats and snack chips. We are all familiar with the four basic tastes: salty, sour, bitter and sweet. Well, there is also a fifth, lesser-known basic taste that responds to savory flavors, called umami. MSG triggers the umami receptors on your tongue just as sweet foods trigger sweet receptors .
Why is it used in food products?
MSG is an inexpensive way to add a great deal of savory flavor to processed foods, resulting in “craveability,” which in turns entices people to eat more.
Is it harmful?
MSG has been reported to cause negative side effects, including headaches, nausea, general weakness, chest pain, even heart palpitations. Even more concerning is that MSG can essentially get us to eat more, by stimulating the pancreas to produce insulin, resulting in low blood sugar and an increased appetite.
Further, if there is an over-abundance of glutamine in the body, the body changes the excess into a chemical known as GABA, which has addictive qualities. GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid) has a calming effect on the body creating a vicious cycle: the good feelings that result from eating processed food encourage more consumption of that food. And so on.
Do You Trust That Crouton?
The first step to healthy eating is by choosing foods with ingredients you understand and trust. Those who become regular label readers would be surprised by how many products contain MSG, including vegetable soups, some brands of salted nuts, malted barley flour and croutons. More can be found at msgtruth.org.
We crafted Vegy Vida with all-natural ingredients and no MSG because we believe great taste should come from a kitchen, not a lab. It is a journey, and we hope you join us.
Written By Heather Flee