Monosodium glutamate (food additive E21) is only a flavor enhancer that stimulates appetite, so the only negative consequence of its use is a possible desire to eat more than it should, Kruglova said in an interview with journalists of the online publication.
The expert added that, in principle, food additives that can cause serious harm to health are not used in Russia. They are not used in other countries, including the United States and European countries.
“Prohibited additives are not used in Russia. Manufacturers use safe analogues, they are identical to American and European ones, they do not take risks. There should not be too many of them, they play a supporting role, and they have a certain cost, ”explained Kruglova.
The nutritionist explained that the additive can act as a stabilizer so that the product retains a certain consistency during storage, or ensure the microbiological safety of the product. There are additives that help preserve the color of the product during heat treatment or perform other functions, Kruglova added.
To classify food additives in the EU countries, back in the middle of the last century, a system of indices was developed, starting with the letter “E”. Now it is distributed all over the world and is recognized, in particular, by the World Health Organization (WHO). At the same time, the “E” index has many of the “ordinary” substances used in the food industry. For example, E1510 is ethyl alcohol, E948 is oxygen, E1400-1405 is different types of modified starch.
E621 is a food additive that gives the taste of “umami”, characteristic of high-protein foods. As a separate substance, glutamic acid salt was first obtained in the early twentieth century by the Japanese chemist Ikeda Kikunae from algae, on the basis of which the Japanese cook dashi broth. At the same time, glutamic acid itself is found in many products – any meat and cheese, tomatoes, spinach.
The Code of International Food Standards (Codex Alimentarius) does not contain an indication of the recommended daily dose of monosodium glutamate, which should not be exceeded (unlike, for example, salt). At the same time, the experimentally established semi-lethal dose for monosodium glutamate is lower than for many “less terrible” substances that are constantly found in food. For monosodium glutamate, it is 16 grams of a substance per 1 kg of body weight, for ethanol – 7 grams, for salt – 3 grams, for caffeine – 0.2 grams.
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