What The Food is it? WTF is Glutamate and in which food we can find it?
Glutamate is an organic substance among the most important for the organism of living beings, being part of the category of natural amino acids, or the single bricks that make up all proteins, even the most complex. It is also known as glutamic acid and is found in many foods, but is more widely known in the kitchen as the monosodium glutamate additive.
There are so many restaurateurs who add it to their dishes to make them tastier, so as to ensure that customers come back again.
Monosodium glutamate syndrome: does it exist?
“Why do I suffer from headaches every time I eat in some restaurants?”
In some types of kitchens, promoted as natural in cooking methods and ingredients, in reality large quantities of monosodium glutamate are used to improve the flavor of the recipes; many people, however, seem to show a poor tolerance to this additive, often complaining of headaches and numbness of the back of the neck, which can radiate to the arms. Others report slightly different symptoms, among which there is always headache (from mild to severe), sense of constriction in the chest, pressure on the cheeks and jaw, slight changes in mood, weakness, tingling, burning sensations, heart palpitations or sleep disturbances. Some say they have experienced asthma-like symptoms after consuming even small amounts of monosodium glutamate.
These temporary but unpleasant symptoms are often so mild that they go unnoticed, making it difficult to estimate how many people are sensitive to monosodium glutamate. Furthermore, the appearance of ANY symptom should not be associated with the effects of monosodium glutamate; in fact, there is another very frequent complication that causes the appearance of symptoms such as: skin redness, itching, gastrointestinal disorders, hypotension, dizziness, tachycardia and rhinitis with sneezing. It is histamine intolerance, which can manifest itself by consuming foods rich in histamine (such as poorly preserved fish, blue cheeses, beer, wine, etc.) and those that are liberators (chocolate, seafood, strawberries, milk, eggs , alcohol etc).
In case of sensitivity to monosodium glutamate it is necessary to reduce the intake of the additive or eliminate it completely. Doctors have not yet established a maximum safe dose because tolerance is extremely individual. In general, the greater the amount of monosodium glutamate taken with the diet, the more likely the symptoms are to appear. Moreover, as anticipated, those suffering from sodium-sensitive primary arterial hypertension should reduce or better eliminate the amount of monosodium glutamate in the diet.
If the symptoms become so annoying as to affect general psychophysical well-being, it is recommended to consult an allergist and to eliminate all foods containing monosodium glutamate for at least two weeks. This last operation may not be easy, especially for those who often eat outside the home and / or use packaged products; it is recommended to consult the nutritional labels carefully and / or to advise the catering staff about their condition.
Among the homemade ingredients, those that contain the most are the classic bouillon cube and soy sauce.
Beyond its presumed or real toxicity (the debate between health-conscious, consumers, restaurateurs and industrialists is still on today), the use of glutamate remains substantially “a deception for the consumer”, since it is often used to improve the taste of food products prepared with raw materials of poor quality.