Unveiling the MSG Mystery: A Journey Through Flavor, Health, and Options

msg.png

March 27, 20240

Unveiling the MSG Mystery: A Journey Through Flavor, Health, and Options

Hey there, fellow food enthusiasts! Today, we’re embarking on a flavorful exploration into the realm of MSG—monosodium glutamate. If you’ve ever pondered the magic behind your favorite dishes or questioned the buzz surrounding this mysterious ingredient, join us as we uncover the savory secrets of MSG.

Getting to Know MSG

MSG, or monosodium glutamate, is like the hidden gem of the culinary world. Discovered over a century ago by a savvy chemist in Japan, it’s the unsung hero that adds an extra dose of yum to your meals. You might spot it in your pantry, disguised as a fine white powder, ready to work its flavor-enhancing magic.

Why Chefs Swear by MSG

Imagine biting into a juicy burger or slurping a steaming bowl of soup, and suddenly, your taste buds come alive with flavor. That’s the power of MSG. It’s the secret weapon in every chef’s arsenal, elevating dishes from good to downright irresistible. With its ability to enhance savory notes and deepen flavors, it’s no wonder chefs can’t get enough of it.

Tasting the Umami Goodness

But what does MSG actually taste like? Well, on its own, it’s pretty mild—almost like a culinary chameleon. But when it joins the party in your cooking, it’s like adding a burst of savory goodness that takes your taste buds on a flavor-filled adventure. Umami, here we come!

Navigating the MSG Controversy

Now, let’s address the elephant in the room—the controversy swirling around MSG. Some folks claim it gives them headaches or leaves them feeling off-kilter, but the jury’s still out on that one. While organizations like the FDA and WHO consider it generally safe for consumption, everyone’s palate is different. If you’re sensitive, it might be worth treading lightly.

Can MSG Tip the Scale?

So, does MSG have a dark side when it comes to weight gain? MSG itself isn’t a calorie bomb, but it’s often found in foods that are, well, downright delicious. And let’s face it—when something tastes that good, it’s easy to go back for seconds (or thirds). Plus, it tends to cozy up to processed and restaurant foods, which can pack a punch in the calorie department. So, it’s not about the MSG itself but more about the company it keeps.

Exploring Alternatives

For those seeking alternatives or wanting to shake things up, fear not! There’s a world of flavor waiting to be explored. From yeast extracts to soy sauce to mushroom powders, there are plenty of options to add that umami kick without the MSG baggage. It’s all about finding what tickles your taste buds.

In Summary: Finding Balance

At the end of the day, MSG is like the seasoning of life—it’s all about balance. A sprinkle here and there can take your cooking to new heights, but too much of a good thing? Well, that’s a recipe for disaster. So, embrace the flavor, experiment with alternatives, and most importantly, savor every delicious moment!

Here’s to exploring the wonderful world of flavor, one savory dish at a time!


kokumi.jpg

July 31, 20230

The newest taste buzz is Kokumi! We all know the “Big Five Tastes” – Sweet, Sour, Salty, Bitter and Umami. Well, Kokumi is said to the be the newest taste sensation and potentially the sixth taste on our pallet. While it doesn’t have a taste of its own, it does provide a rich texture. Kokumi is a Japanese word which roughly translates to “rich taste” and/or “rich mouthfeel.” It’s kind of like the experience you get from drinking skim milk versus whole milk. You get a much richer and fuller taste drinking whole milk. It leaves a coating on your tongue and makes foods taste richer. It also rounds out sweet, salty and umami tastes.

Scientists have found that the Kokumi sensation is not owed to one molecule, but rather depends on an interaction or activation between various receptors and peptides. Researchers with the Ajinomoto Group managed to determine the chain of amino acids responsible for the sensation of kokumi, noticing that calcium receptors are activated by kokumi foods. As a result of the activation, the signals to the brain regarding textural mouthfeel, complexity, and duration of flavors are magnified. The Ajinomoto Group was then able to isolate the compound and create a powder that can be added to food, increasing its richness, roundness, and savoriness. A heightened experience of kokumi can be created by adding the powder to foods. However, it is also naturally present in protein-rich foods and fermented food such as alcohol, soy sauce, and fish sauce.

Kokumi has a bright future since it magnifies flavors and increases mouthfeel. The flavors pop and it also balances out flavors like salt does or increases sweetness in reduced sugar products. Imagine something tasting better and having less salt and/or sugar. It would be much healthier. In addition, it can be used to increase flavor in nutritious foods given to malnourished people and make food more appetizing for elderly people who have a diminished taste sensation.

(For more information on tastes, read our previous blog: “How Many Flavors Do We Taste?”)


Add_A_Little_Spice.jpg

April 2, 20230

Consumers are growing more health-conscious than ever before. Because of this, the demand for health and wellness products is on the rise. Spices and herbs are replacing sugar, salt, and artificial additives. Consumers want natural flavoring, organic foods, and safe dietary supplements.

Spices and herbs have been in use for centuries both for culinary and medicinal purposes. They enhance the flavor of our food, and provide aroma, texture, and color to feed our senses. We use them to preserve foods, and many contain incredible nutritional and health benefits that protect from acute and chronic diseases. According to the National Institutes of Health, there is now ample evidence that spices and herbs possess antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antitumorigenic, anticarcinogenic, as well as glucose and cholesterol lowering activities, and they contain properties that affect cognition and mood.

According to Medical News Today, the top ten healthy herbs and spices are as follows:

  • Turmeric
  • Ginger
  • Cumin
  • Peppermint
  • Echinacea
  • Cinnamon
  • Chili Powder
  • Parsley
  • Oregano
  • Cardamom

Spices and herbs not only improve the taste of food but are also a good source of vitamins B and C, iron, calcium, and other antioxidants. It’s like having a medicine cabinet in your cupboard.

Why not add a little spice to your life today?


Dressing_Properly-1280x853.jpg

September 21, 20220

Dressing Properly

The last few blogs we’ve talked about healthy foods, specifically salads, that taste good and provide vital nutrients that our bodies need. We also talked about how salads can quickly become unhealthy with the wrong salad dressing. Let’s dig a little deeper…

What doesn’t taste better on a salad than a flavorful and creamy salad dressing? It’s like the icing on the cake. We enjoy the creamy texture and mouthfeel, as well as the flavors that pop from herbs and fruits, the crunchiness of toppings such as nuts and seeds, and wrap it all up with robust and savory smells that enhance the flavor. This is like sensory overload. Are you getting hungry? I am.

To maintain the health benefits of eating our salad, we look to top it with a salad dressing that tastes good and is equally healthy. Well, here’s the thing… we’ve been conditioned over the last few decades to believe that food labels such as: light, low-fat, calorie-free, and sugar-free are good for us. So, a salad dressing with a label such as these should be okay to put on our healthy salad, right? In many cases, this is completely wrong. Several salad dressings with these labels add tons of calories, sugar and inflammatory vegetable oils. This defeats the whole purpose of eating that healthy salad. You might as well eat a candy bar.

The number one salad dressing in the US is ranch. We like to put ranch dressing on everything from salad to fries, chicken wings, sandwiches and more. It makes everything taste good! Unless you make it homemade, many ranch dressings contain heart-stopping saturated fats and salt. In fact, a lot of salad dressings with the labels used above contain large amounts of salt and fat. If it is fat-free, sugar or high fructose corn syrup are added to improve the taste. Your salad dressing could have more sodium in just one serving that you would get if you ate two bags of Lay’s Classic Potato Chips, not to mention the high fat content. Pass the chips.

Check out our two-part blog, “Boost your health with a salad each day,” for ways to keep your salads healthy and taste good. The healthiest dressings will be vinaigrette based with balsamic or vinegar and oil. Olive oil is considered be one of the healthiest oils to top your salad with. If you prefer creamy salad dressings, swap out the mayonnaise or cream with Greek yogurt. Homemade dressings will always be your best bet.

If you are a manufacturer of salad dressings, we have an alternative. Reach out to us for samples of our products. We have plant- based flavor solutions, sensory enhancers, and clean label solutions to reduce the salt and fat in your salad dressings while maintaining a great taste! It’s a win-win.

Contact us for a sample of our LifeWise SimplySodium Reducer which has the capabilities to reduce sodium by 40%!


iStock-500702917-1280x853.png

August 12, 20220

Consumers today are very concerned about health and wellness. They want to eat healthy and exercise to improve their lives. More and more people read the nutritional information on food packages and they choose healthy foods and beverages. However, taste is still the # 1 most important food attribute and consumers are not willing to compromise. Half of consumers say that descriptors such as low salt, low fat and low sugar.

Why are we so in love with salt? Simple, it makes things taste so much better, and it makes things taste more like themselves! It makes flavors pop. It is one of the most desired tastes by humans. It’s like magic. Salt can intensify sweetness and yet counteract bitter flavors. It even releases certain molecules in food to bring out some of the ingredients’ best flavors and make it more aromatic.

We need salt to survive, keep us hydrated, promote vascular health, support our nervous system, and even help us sleep.

All of that sounds great! But like most good things, too much is not good for you. An overabundance can cause problems. Too much salt causes kidney disease, obesity, inflammation, high blood pressure, auto-immune disease, water retention and even some cancers. According to the World Health Organization, we are encouraged to eat 6g of salt each day. The average person consumes 9g – 12g per day. Much of the salt we eat each day is “hidden” for the very reasons we are in love with it. It is added to food to enhance the flavor.

We have an alternative for you! Let’s look at something as simple as tomato sauce. Tomatoes typically require more salt to balance the acidity and bring out the taste of the tomatoes. One way to reduce the salt in this product is to use our SimplySodium Reducer. It is natural and GMO-free. SimplySodium Reducer enhances the salt perception and brings out the flavor of the tomatoes – making them pop!

Click here for more information on the application of our products.


iStock-1218991937-1280x854.png

June 13, 20220

In last month’s blog, we shared how eating a healthy salad each day can help you to obtain the daily amount of vital nutrients, fiber and good fats that you need. The big question was, “Is this too good to be true?” Perhaps. There are actually a few common mistakes you can make with salads that reduce the health benefits, the primary culprit being salad dressing.

Salad dressings are like the icing on the cake. They add lots of flavor and encourage us to consume more fruits and vegetables, hence “A salad a day can boost your health!”

In an attempt to minimize the number of calories you consume you might choose a fat-free salad dressing with the thought that less calories in will maintain or create weight loss. Fat-free dressings are just that – free from fat, and they are primarily made up of water. Without the oil molecules, your intestines won’t absorb certain vitamins like A, D, E and K. Bottom line is that you need fat to absorb the nutrients from the vegetables and fruits you consume. It also helps to increase your fat satiety so you’re not hungry right after you finish that salad with fat-free dressing.

If you’re looking for less calories and fat, but still want flavor and all the health benefits of eating those delicious fruits and vegetables, you may want to opt for a light dressing versus fat-free, or make your own salad dressing from scratch. There are two primary types of salad dressings: creamy and vinaigrette. Creamy has a base of mayonnaise, sour cream, yogurt, heavy cream, etc. Vinaigrette has a base of oil and vinegar. The latter is probably your healthiest option, and it becomes even more flavorful with herbs and seasonings.

If you consume a light salad dressing, you may notice high acidic notes, a reduced fat mouthfeel or increased levels of sugar and/or salt. Bottom line, you want a flavorful taste, good mouthfeel and you want to absorb all of the vitamin and nutrient benefits from your salad. That’s why, at LifeWise Ingredients, we produce a variety of flavor modifiers to create a great flavor profile, improve mouthfeel, while reducing acidic notes, salt and sugar and all this while our product lands on the ingredient declaration under ‘Natural Flavors”. A salad a day can boost your health and taste good too!

Eat your salad today!


iStock-1359853828-1280x855.png

April 30, 20220

Most of us are health conscious these days. We want to be healthy, not just from a weight and/or fitness perspective, but healthy throughout our entire bodies.

Evidence suggests that eating five servings of fruits and vegetables each day is good for your health and lowers the risk of many health conditions. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), only one in ten American adults actually eat their recommended amounts of fruits and veggies each day. We could, however, easily include a salad each day to meet or exceed this recommended guideline.

According to the Harvard School of Public Health, “A diet rich in vegetables and fruits can lower blood pressure, reduce risk of heart disease and stroke, prevent some types of cancer, lower risk of eye and digestive problems, and have a positive effect upon blood sugar which can help keep appetite in check.”

It’s important to eat a variety of fruits and vegetables, diverse, and all colors of the rainbow. By doing so, you will receive a wide array of minerals and nutrients. If you eat a salad every day, the primary side effect you will notice is a huge boost in nutrient consumption. Here are just a few examples of some of the health benefits:

Leafy greens, fruits, vegetables, whole grains and legumes are all common in salads and they are a great source of natural fiber which helps to reduce your (LDL) cholesterol and control blood sugar levels, as well as avoid constipation.
Citrus, berries, bell peppers broccoli, tomatoes and carrots are rich in vitamin C which serves as an antioxidant to protect your cells against damage and improves the integrity of tissues, like skin and blood vessels.
Raw or roasted seeds added to your salad will aid your intake of healthy fats. Olive and avocado oils found in salad dressings help as well.
Spinach, watercress, kale, broccoli, and Brussel sprouts are rich in vitamin K which plays a key role in bone health and proper blood clotting.
Spinach helps to improve the performance of mitochondria that is found in our cells to help produce energy, and to inform and power our muscles.
Romaine lettuce provides two key ingredients that help protect the heart muscle: folate and fiber. High levels of folate have been shown to assist in the prevention of stroke and cardiovascular disease.
The water found in vegetables hydrates our bodies and is necessary for youthful skin tone and basic bodily functions.

Let’s face it, eating a salad every day is healthy because you get vital nutrients, fiber and good fats. And, one of the great things about salad is that you can be creative and make it with whatever you have on hand, including: lettuce, vegetables, proteins, herbs, sprouts, toppings and a dressing. Not only that, but they are cool, crunchy, and fun to eat with lots of textures, colors, and flavors. They are delicious, attractive, easy to make, easily ordered at a restaurant, and are good for you.

Sound too good to be true? Well, there are a few mistakes people make with salads. The primary culprit is the salad dressing. Stay tuned for next month’s blog to find out how you can enjoy a delicious dressing on your salad without the added calories, sugar or fat.

Eat your salad today!


Bloody_Mary.jpg

August 10, 20210

Brunches and tailgates are just two of the many occasions where the Bloody Mary reigns supreme. The concoction has many variations and optional garnishments, including the Bloody Maria (with Tequila), the Bloody Joseph (with Scotch), the Bloody Maru (with sake), the Bloody Snapper (with gin), and the Bloody Caesar (with clam juice) to name a few. But the traditional or classic Bloody Mary is made with vodka, tomato juice, horseradish, Worcestershire sauce, Tabasco sauce, and a dash of lemon juice and celery salt resulting in a complex blend of umami, sour, salt, and trigeminal sensations.

Although there are several variations on its origin, most accounts attribute Bloody Mary’s creation to bartender Ferdinand “Pete” Petiot, who concocted the drink in the early 1920s while working at the famed Harry’s New York Bar in Paris by combining vodka with canned tomato juice. Petiot brought the drink to the states after Prohibition ended, when he became the head bartender at the St. Regis Hotel’s King Cole Bar in Manhattan. Because some customers found the drink too bland, he adjusted the taste to be more savory.

How the Bloody Mary got its name also is uncertain with accounts ranging from Queen Mary Tudor, who executed hundreds during her reign in the 1500s to Chicago’s Bucket of Blood Saloon where a waitress named Mary worked prior to Prohibition, to a lady who would frequent Petiot’s bar and wait for a lover who would never show, to the late actor George Jessel who, in 1924, spilled it on a woman’s white dress. The woman’s name was Mary and she said, according to Jessel’s account in his autobiography, “Now you can call me Bloody Mary, George.”

No matter what the true origin of the name is, the Bloody Mary is a drink that has never lost its popularity. Cocktail aficionados can find Bloody Mary mixes ranging from the traditional to bold & spicey, to thick & savory. But the tomato-base in the drink does pose some challenges for beverage makers with its acidic notes.

A solution is to use a flavor modifier to mask the acidity. LifeWise provides SimplySavorT for not only tomato juice and Bloody Mary mixes, but tomato sauces, pizza sauces, salsa mixes, hot sauce, canned chili, and soups.

SimplySavorT is GMO free and free of allergen-label requirements. No added MSG, HVP, gluten, soy nucleotides, yeast, or other common allergenic ingredients.

Besides masking acidity, SimplySavorT brightens flavor profile, heightens tomato notes, increases savory profile, and enhances salt perception.


LifeWise Ingredients, LLC

3450 N 126th Street, Suite D
Brookfield, WI 53005 USA
T: 262.788.9141
F: 262.788.9143
E: info@lifewise1.com

Contact Us

Sign up for our blog “Dishing With LifeWise”

We team with our customers to bring solutions!

We team with our customers to bring solutions!