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Glutamate: what you should know before consuming it


Glutamate is a very present ingredient in the food industry. It is in fact able to give flavor to different foods. Let’s find out its properties and why it is considered dangerous.

When dealing with glutamate, one must think of an additive that in the food industry, as well as in the kitchen, is used as a flavor enhancer . If, on the other hand, one wonders what glutamate is, from a technical point of view, this is the salt of glutamic acid which is nothing more than an amino acid among the many that give shape to proteins and which is therefore present in many protein foods. and fermented. But why is its transformation into sodium glutamate considered so harmful? Let’s find out more.

Glutamate: is it bad or good? Here’s what you need to know

Let’s start by saying that the birth of glutamate as a powder additive is due to a Japanese chemist who, after obtaining it from algae, patented a way to produce it starting from wheat gluten.


From this ingredient comes the famous term umami that identifies those foods with a round flavor.
With the passage of time it has come to a chemical realization of the same. Which made it all more natural. Where is glutamate found, then? This ingredient is present in all products that usually require a strong and savory flavor. Just think of chips, bouillon cubes and many industrial products that owe their flavor to its presence.

As for the common belief that monosodium glutamate is harmful, the EFSA (European Food Defense Authority) has established that in small concentrations this ingredient is not dangerous.
So why is glutamate toxic? It can be said that it becomes so only if consumed often and in high concentrations. Furthermore, there may be people who are particularly sensitive to this ingredient and who can therefore develop adverse reactions to its intake.
That said, it is not even a food that is good for you and this is because it is rich in salt and usually used in foods that, regardless of its presence, are still unhealthy.

How to avoid glutamate? Foods that contain it

For those who follow a healthy diet based on natural foods, avoiding glutamate is often a real life choice. To do this, however, we must pay attention to the many names with which it is inserted in various foods.
In addition to the classic wording , it can in fact be found as a yeast extract, hydrolyzed proteins, protein plant extract or with the initials E620 and E625.

Going to the foods that are often rich in it we remember the potato chips in bags, the condiment sauces, the instant noodles, the canned soups, the cube , the surimi, some spices, the frozen pizzas and even some drinks.
Paying attention to the labels is therefore essential for a careful and safe diet.

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