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MSG in Food and Preservatives in Food: What's the Deal?

Have you ever wondered what the notorious MSG side effects are? Learn about MSG, preservatives and why it's better to make homemade recipes here.

By: Chelsea Scarnegie, Editor, AllFreeCopycatRecipes.com

Do you ever feel intimidated when you hear the acronym "MSG" or the word "preservatives?" With so much talk about healthy eating, it can be difficult to wade through the terms used to describe what's in our food. Learning about MSG in food is about more than MSG side effects - you must also know what it is and why it gets put in our food in the first place. Learning about preservatives in food is just as crucial to your journey in becoming a well-educated shopper. Some of the information provided below might just surprise you.
This article, MSG in Food and Preservatives in Food: What's the Deal? is here to provide a crash-course in the world of food additives. While there are benefits to having preservatives in some foods, there are also plenty of drawbacks that it is important to be aware of. After reading through this article, you should be convinced that the best way to ensure a healthy lifestyle is by sticking to primarily homemade dinners. Not only does they taste better, but they usually do not contain the same chemicals as store-bought food. Copycats, you've come to the right place!

What is MSG?

  1. MSG stands for Monosodium Glutamate, which is a salt of the amino acid glutamate.

  2. Those who are against MSG label any added glutamate as “bad” and any natural glutamate found in our bodies as “good.” Those who sell MSG argue that MSG is identical to the glutamate found in the human body, so it is “good.” However, too much naturally occurring glutamate often causes diseases and is accepted as a problem by neuroscientists.

  3. MSG manufacturers can chemically create MSG as well as pull it out of glutamic acid from foods.

  4. MSG is neither a meat tenderizer nor a preservative. Taste buds detect glutamic acid as protein, so your body accepts the food as being nutritious.

  5. MSG triggers the pancreas to make insulin, which causes you to be hungry again an hour later.

What are Preservatives?

  1. Preservation is the method used to keep food looking and tasting the way it initially does, as well as prevent damage from oxidation, temperature, light, or microorganisms. Preservation is sometimes achieved by canning, drying, smoking, freezing, packaging, or adding antioxidants. If these measures were not taken, food would be spoiled and become toxic from bacteria, yeast, or molds.

  2. Substances like sulphites are used to stop the growth of bacteria in wine, dried fruits, or vegetables in vinegar. Sorbic acid preserves potato products, cheese, and jam. Nitrate and nitrite compounds are added to sausages, hams, and other meat products to prevent toxic bacteria from growing. Benzoic acid is used in foods like pickled cucumbers, dressings, and condiments, and prevents bacterial and fungal growth.

  3. Although rare, some preservatives like sulphite and benzoic acid have been reported to cause allergies or trigger asthma.

Why Make from Scratch?

  1. Making food from scratch means that you know exactly what is going into it. You don’t have to worry about the food being processed or laden with dangerous additives because you’re in control.

  2. Being in control means that you can also prepare the food however you need. If you’re on a low-salt diet, you have the freedom to skip the salt. If you want your food a bit spicier, add some Tabasco or chilies.

  3. While making homemade food is fairly easy, it is often a fun activity that families can do together. If you grow your own vegetables, you can set aside a bit of time to work together to can them for the season. These make for unique memories with a satisfying result.

  4. There is something about the taste of fresh, homemade foods that you just can’t get at the store. Don’t believe it? Try making some homemade food yourself! 

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This is really helpful information! I've heard a lot about MSG, but I never quite understood what it was before.

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