Hidden MSG


A couple years ago I was making my favorite vegan cheese sauce I developed from a bunch of other recipes on line.  It was for my “healthy” mac n cheese casserole baked with crumbled sour dough croutons on top…mmmm!  The main ingredient in that sauce is the all purpose seasoning for vegans called nutritional yeast.  You’ll see it in the bulk section of natural food markets as a light yellow fine powder or flakes.  I always knew that it had good beneficial properties as a supplement, but I wasn’t sure what it did.  I figured since I’ve been using it for years in recipes I should know what it does for me so I went on line to find out.  I found mostly good stuff such as containing 18 amino acids to form a complete protein, and high in B vitamins, but…something caught my eye in a more obscure form of a blog.  One person was saying that nutritional yeast contained MSG!  I thought no, it can’t be; it’s so delicious and I can’t give it up!  So I frantically tried to find more info on whether that person was right or not.  It’s too bad that I can’t find the same sites as I did before.  But what I gathered wasn’t very much.  Exploring for many hours I kept running into dead ends, with mostly blogs and not actual articles containing facts.  There were pretty much mixed reviews on whether it did or not.  One small article I found at the time mentioned that the heating process turned the yeast into a form of glutamate, but another one mentioned that if it’s processed with low heat then it doesn’t change.  It mentions to look for a light yellow color that dissolves easily in water.  Thanks to say that what I buy from New Seasons does have a light yellow color and does dissolve easily.  So since I did not find hard conclusive evidence whether nutritional yeast does or does not have MSG I decided that I like it way too much in my recipes to give it up.  If I can fool myself for just a little longer…maybe that’s why it tastes so good!  I have always been sensitive to the taste of MSG.  Even foods that didn’t list it as an ingredient seemed to have a taste explosion in sort of a surreal, but not all that pleasant way.  Then I found the more conclusive evidence of hidden MSG disguised in ingredient names you would never suspect.  Anything saying autolyzed or hydrolyzed, etc. are forms of glutamic acid(MSG).  I was always frustrated in going to Asian grocery stores and finding that 90% of their products seem to have MSG.  I thought I was doing good for a while finding non MSG products until I realized that it comes in many disguised names.  Not to mention a lot of natural food products like what we have been discussing in class.  Now, I am very limited to only finding products listing ingredients that don’t sound like a chemistry textbook.  It used to take me 2 to 3 hours to go shopping, reading every label for all the choices I had for one ingredient.  Now though I have found my products and know what to buy, so the only reason why I’m at a grocery store for that length of time now is because it is simply the best eye candy I can think of!  So if anybody finds out more info about MSG in nutritional yeast I would love to hear about it!

-Anne-Marie

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1 Response so far »

  1. 1

    aaronsun said,

    Wow awesome topic. I did not know that MSG came in different forms and its kind of scary looking on the back of the food labels now.


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