Q1. What is glutamate?
Glutamate is an amino acid found naturally in protein-containing foods such as meat, vegetables, poultry and human breast milk. The human body also produces glutamate in large amounts. The muscles, brain and other body organs contain about four pounds of glutamate, and mothers’ milk is rich in glutamate, compared, for example, to cow milk. Glutamate is found in two forms:“Bound” glutamate (linked to other amino acids forming a protein molecule) and “free” glutamate (not linked to protein). Only free glutamate is effective in enhancing the flavor of food. Foods often used for their flavoring qualities, such as tomatoes and mushrooms, have high levels of naturally occurring free glutamate.
Q2. What is monosodium glutamate?
Monosodium glutamate (MSG) is the sodium salt of glutamic acid (glutamate). MSG is a flavor enhancer which has been used effectively for nearly a century to bring out the best flavor of foods. When MSG is added to foods, it provides a similar flavoring function as the glutamate that occurs naturally in food. MSG is comprised of water, sodium and glutamate. When eaten, MSG is separated by the body into a small amount of sodium and glutamate.
Q3. How is MSG made?
MSG is usually produced through fermentation process. It is similar to that used in making, soy sauce, vinegar and yogurt. The process begins with the fermentation of corn, sugar beet or sugar cane. The finished product is a pure, white crystal which dissolves easily and blends well in many foods.
Q4. In which foods is MSG used?
Q5. How much is MSG limited to use per day?
Q6. Does the body metabolize MSG added to foods differently from the glutamate occurring naturally in foods?
Q7. How much sodium does MSG contribute to food?
MSG’s low sodium content represents a minor contribution to the overall sodium level of a typical diet. By way of comparison, MSG contains about 12% sodium while table salt contains 39%. And, MSG is used at levels lower than salt.
Q8. Is MSG safe?
Yes. MSG has been thoroughly studied by various independent international organizations in clinical and scientific studies which have all come to the same conclusion. MSG has been proven to be SAFE time and again.