Did you know MSG is Actually Gluten-Free?

Article-_Eat_clean_be_awa-000-e1442825623395-960x300.png

The impact of MSG on health has been debated in more than a couple of medical journals and health-related publications. There may be sound evidence supporting the adverse effects of MSG that may be enough reason for you to stay away from it. But having gluten is not one of them.

Why is this fact important for the gluten-free intolerant?

Recognize that especially in the Philippines, MSG is everywhere. The fact that flavor enhancers like Maggi Savor and Ajinomoto are pantry staples is just one of the signs. Typical restaurants that put flavor first will use some form of flavor enhancer that contains MSG. We have to ask if we’re putting ourselves at risk if we need to stay away from gluten, but find MSG stealthily appearing in most food items we buy.

aji-brands-retail-ajinomoto
Photo credit: Ajimoto.com.ph

If the absence of umami is driving you crazy (well, not crazy, it’s just that it’s not exactly convenient to be paranoid about all food items), know this: MSG is gluten-free.

msg structure

Aside from sounding similar, glutamate and gluten are two different substances. First, monosodium glutamate (MSG) is a sodium salt of glutamic acid, an amino acid that is present in all protein-containing food like cheese, and meat. It occurs naturally in some food, and is commonly used as a flavor enhancer, and is responsible for the umami that can be more descriptively referred to as a savory, brothy or meaty taste. Gluten, on the other hand, is a protein that is found in wheat, barley, and rye.

MSG is produced by fermentation using various sugars and starches, such as sugar cane, wheat and rye not being on the list.

knorr
Sinigang, a Filipino dish typically MSG flavored. Photo credit: Knorr.com.ph

Why is there a talk, first and foremost, of MSG (monosodium glutamate) being linked to gluten?

A source of controversy is that glutamic acid was first isolated in the year 1866 from wheat protein gliadin. And in 1909, MSG was isolated from wheat flour. This was the primary source of MSG until the 1960s, when other methods of deriving MSG were developed, including chemical synthesis and fermentation process.

Other sources since then have been used, which no longer use wheat.

So, if you are staying away from gluten, it can be a big burden off your chest to know that MSG is one less thing you have to worry about when you have gluten sensitivity.

Looking for gluten-free food? You can browse online shops such as  GERALD.ph for a selection of gluten-free items for delivery.

Sources:

Celiac.org https://celiac.org/blog/faq/what-is-gluten/

Sano, Chiaki. History of Glutamate Production. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. 2009;90:728S-732S. Available at: http://www.ajcn.org/content/90/3/728S.full

Thompson, Tricia, MS, RD. Monosodium Glutamate! . Gluten Free Dietitian. 2011. Available at http://www.glutenfreedietitian.com/monosodium-glutamate/

Raising A Child With Celiac Disease

It is normal for any parent to experience a roller coaster ride during feeding time with their kids. Remember those TV commercials where moms are chasing their kids with a whole entertainment production just to get their child eating a proper meal? It’s not really surprising that these happen in real life. Moms out there can testify.

But what we don’t know is that there are parents who have to make even more effort than others, especially when their kids have special dietary needs. This is perfectly the case when a child has Celiac disease.

image00

Though most of the symptoms of Celiac disease are identical to both adults and children, some are more generally observed with children. These include growth problems, delayed puberty, dental problems, and iron deficiency anemia (IDA).

If you have a child who has Celiac disease, here are some tips to consider:

  • Always check the food label of your groceries. It would really be helpful to scrutinize the ingredients indicated before serving those to your child. Good thing that the law requires that allergens such as gluten should be specified in the food label to help concerned consumers track the ingredients they are avoiding[2]. It pays to know what to watch out for since gluten sources are not always readily recognizable. 
  • Personally prepare their baon to school. That way, you will be able to make sure that your child will be eating the right food.
  • Teach your child what gluten is and its sources. That way, they will understand even at a young age why it is important to be more watchful with what they eat. Encourage them to gradually adjust to a different lifestyle, for them to be able to cope easily with the non-conventional approach to food as they grow up.
  • Always listen to your child when they share something about their condition. No one would know what they really feel but themselves. And it will be showing them the support they need.
  • Medications recommended by the physician should be strictly monitored. It would also be beneficial to you and your child if they would develop the habit of tracking meds time.
  • Did you know? Even some children’s toys may contain gluten especially play doughs[3]. So better make sure that their play area is also a safe spot for them. 

image01

Celiac disease in children might be rare to a lot of us. However, if you think that your child is experiencing some discomfort and irritation, diagnosing Celiac disease or as other allergies or food intolerance should be considered.

Moms and dads, would you like to share some other tips and your experiences while raising a child with celiac disease? Leave us a comment below!

Sources:

1.)  D. Hill, MD, Ivor, and Ann Roland Lee, EdD, RD, LD. “Celiac disease in children.” uptodate.com. n.d. Web. 25 Nov. 2016.

2.)http://www.fda.gov.ph/attachments/article/194724/AO2014-0030%20-%20Revised%20Rules%20and%20Regulation%20Governing%20of%20Prepackaged%20Food%20Product

3.) Adams, Jefferson. “More kids’ toys going gluten-free.” Celiac.com. 17 Apr. 2013. Web. 25 Nov. 2016.