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From: Clo (
Subject:         Re: MSG in soy products
Date: September 15, 2006 at 11:57 am PST

In Reply to: MSG in soy products posted by AJ on September 13, 2006 at 8:50 am:

Hydrolized soy protein is not a form of MSG. It contains "free glutamates". Chemically, MSG is one of these, a family of substances derived from glutamic acid, which in turn is one of the building blocks of proteins.

"Free glutamate" like MSG is released by breaking down protein molecules. Some foods, including fresh tomatoes, tomato paste, and Parmesan cheese, naturally contain free glutamates. MSG is the monosodium salt of glutamic acid, an amino acid that is found throughout the human body. It's also naturally present in protein-rich foods such as cheese, meat, fish and human milk, and also in vegan foods such as peas, corn, potatoes, spinach, carrots, onions, and mushrooms. Free glutamates are what add rich "umami" flavors to foods, such as in the case of miso, soy sauce, mushrooms, etc.

"Free glutamate" also is present in various flavorings, including hydrolyzed vegetable protein, calcium caseinate, sodium caseinate, soy sauce, and autolyzed yeast.

It's a good thing to avoid the concentrated MSG powder or granules, added to foods, but eating would be very dull if we avoided all foods containing free glutamates.

For a lengthy explanation (but easy to read) read the first chapter of "Was it Something You Ate?" by John Emsley and Peter Fell, a book about food intolerances (your library may have it).

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