Approximately 30 years ago, food manufacturers were competing against the American Homemaker for consumable dollars. Women, traditionally prepared food fed to the family and the food prepared came fresh and cheap!
Food scientists knew then that we have glutamate receptors on our tongues. Humans are driven to eat foods containing glutamates, even when we can't taste them. Glutamates can enhance taste or the sensation of taste, but it also causes a chemical reaction soon after the glutamate receptors are activated.
Monosodium glutamate (MSG) and other glutamates (called free glutamates) can appear naturally in foods or may be included as additives by manufacturers in order, among other reasons, to increase the popularity of their products.
When glutamates are added to foods, they can release high levels of insulin, which cause changes in the metabolism. In a report written by Drs. N.A. Togiyama and A. Adachi and published in the medical journal Physiological Behavior, applying monosodium glutamate to the tongues of animals will release high levels of insulin within three minutes.
The hunger that follows such an insulin response could increase cravings, cause weight gain, and if repeated over tine, increase the likelihood of adult-onset diabetes.
Check you ingredient listing. Glutamates can go under a variety of names, including:
Anything enzyme modified
Anything protein fortified
Hydrolyzed oat flour
Hydrolyzed plant protein
Hydrolyzed vegetable protein
Natural flavors (or natural flavoring)
Plant protein extract
D.S. Epperson is the top formulator for Home Blend Gourmet / South Pacific Health, a leader in the functional food industry in the U.S. With 20 years of experience in Nutritional Biochemistry, she has written reference books on botanicals and manufacturing of medicines from botanicals, and published articles on health, fitness and foods. She has formulated over 240 formulas and inventions for health, the environment and agricultural uses, and continues to research and study microbial advantages in nutraceuticals and functional foods.