It's an umami!

schroeder.lilli54

It's an umami!

EATING WELLIt's an umami!M S G—love it or leave it?Sum GomichiMany people are familiarwith MSG—or monosodiumglutamate—as an additivein Asian foods. When askedabout whether or not theyconsume MSG, most wouldrespond that they eat only atestablishments that do notadd this flavour enhancer totheir food.why do most people make a pointof avoiding this ubiquitous flavourenhancer? Are they truly avoiding it bysimply ensuring there is no MSG on theirAsian restaurant food.''Controversy has surrounded MSG tordecades; because the additive has beenassociated with some types of Asianfood, a set of symptoms related to MSGconsumption, first identified in 1968. wascalled "Chinese-restaurant syndrome."Since then, this syndrome has heenrenamed "MSG-symptom complex" toreflect the wide range of effects somepeople experience and because MSG canbe found in many more foods than thoseserved at Asian restaurants.WHAT EXACTLY IS MSG?Monosodium glutamate is the sodium saltof glutamic acid, an amino acid presentin all protein. MSG is manufactured byfermentation of products such as molassesderived from sugar cane or sugar beets,and starch from tapioca or cereals, andappears as fine, white crystals.MSG was discovered in 1908 by aJapanese scientist., Kikunae Ikeda, whoidentified glutamate as the source of aspecific delicious, savoury taste, which />198 april 2008


NO LACTOSENO CHOLESTEROLDIABETIC FRIENDLYMSG-symptom complexA report (or Ihe FDA by the Federation of American Societiesfor Experimental Biology [FASEB! identified two groups• I'i" who may develop a condition they describe asJ L^yiTiptom complex"; those who may be intolerant toMSG when eaten in a targe quantity, and people with severe.poorly cûntrotled asthmaThe FASEB report contained a list ot symptoms related toMSG-symptom complex:burning sensation in the backof the neck, forearms, andchesttingting, warmth, andweakness in the face.temptes, upper back. neck,and armsbronchospasm (difficuttybreathing] in MSG-inlolerantpeople with asthmanumbness in the back of theneck, radiating to the armsand h.Trk• facial pressure or tightness• chest pain• headache• weakness• nauseaSource: ID.! líackarourider. Augu.sí .il.,"FDA andMonüíodium Glutamate (MSG) "• rapid heartbeat• drowsinessTofutti is carried by over1300 major chains,heaith food stores &independentsacross Canadai^j^ inciuding:A&P/Dominion, Calgary Co-op,Capers, Choices, HighlandFarms, IGA, Loblaws, Longos.Overwaitea, Planet Organic.Sobeys, Superstore, Thrifty's,Whole Foods, and Zehrswww.tofutti.ca1.800.956.6624


\Honour YourBODYNurture YourSOI '1.Do you suffer fromaching muscles^poor circulationor dry, unhappy skin?Discover the benefits ofgardener'sDream CreamAll natural, made with loveand pure essential oils.Free of sodium laurel sulp^hate,parabens or harsh preservatives.Available on-line, toH-free orat fine health retailers nationwide.aroma crystal therapyvibrational sciencewww.aromacrystal.comtoll-free: 877-537-92UMention this ad when placing youron-line order and receive 10% off.Valid from April I to May 31, 2008.Made in Canada since 1969EATING WELLhe named umami. He isolated somecrystals from a large amount of kombu(seaweed) broth, a traditional Japaneseflavouring, and realized it would beuseful as an enhancement to other foods.Glutamate is a natural part ofprotein-containing foods such as meat,vegetables, poultry, and milk. It is foundin two forms: bound glutamate, whichis linked to protein, and free glutamate,which is not linked to protein. Only freeglutamate improves the flavour of food. Itis the naturally occurring free glutamatein Parmesan cheese, ripe tomatoes, andmushrooms that gives these foods theirdistinctive flavour.The Glutamate Association, establishedin 1977, is an association ofmanufacturers,national marketers, and processed foodusers of glutamic acid and its salts,principally the flavour enhancer MSG.Among the association's membersare many of the world's largest foodcompanies involved in the manufacturingand marketing of food ingredients; spiceand flavour blends; and canned, frozen,and other packaged prepared foods.The Glutamate Association claimsthat MSG is safe based on regulatoryapproval of the FDA, the WorldHealth Organization, the EuropeanCommunities Scientific Committee forFood, and endorsement by the AmericanMedical Association.A Chicago-based group called Truth inLabeling {truihinlabeling.org) claims thatwhile naturally derived free glutamatehas no toxic effects, syntheticallyproduced glutamate contains toxicimpurities. More alarmingly, theyconnect MSG to the spread of obesityand increased incidence of neurologicaldisorders. Their group is involved inan ongoing campaign to enforce beiierlabelling of food products, whichenables consumers to recognize MSGand other additives that may indícate thepresence of glutamate.The Truth in Labeling Campaignrelies extensively on the research ofDr. Russell Blaylock, a board-certifiedneurosurgeon in the US who describesMSG as an excitotoxin (a substance thatoverexcites neurons in the brain to thepoint of cell death), which causes lesions(injuries) on the hypothalamus.Lesions on the hypothalamus arelinked with abnormal development,including obesity, short stature, andreproductive problems.Carol Hoernlein, the principal writerfor MSGTrutk.org and former foodprocess engineer and food scientist,links glutamate to obesity and type 2diabetes. She claims that higher levelsof glutamate in the blood can cause anincrease in insulin levels that triggershunger, and that continued exposureto high insulin levels leads to insulinresistance and type 2 diabetes.When shopping for groceries, readlabels carefully to determine if a foodcontains MSG (see sidebar "MSG—byany other name"). The more processeda food is, the more likely it is to containsome form of added MSG.Being aware and informed about thepossible consequences of consumingMSG may help us to avoid short-termand possibly even long-term healthproblems. The best way to avoid MSG isto buy fresh, unprocessed foods at healthfood stores, organic food markets, andlocal farmers' markets. 3Suni Gomichi is a Toronto freelance writerM'ho avoids MSG at all costs.


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