If you’re a fan of teriyaki sauce, you may be wondering whether this popular condiment contains monosodium glutamate (MSG).
This controversial food additive has been linked to a range of health issues, from headaches and weight gain to brain damage and hormonal imbalances. While some manufacturers add MSG to their teriyaki sauce to enhance its flavor, others use alternative ingredients.
So, does teriyaki sauce have MSG? In this article, we’ll explore the answer to this question and take a closer look at the potential risks and benefits of consuming MSG.
Does Teriyaki Sauce Have MSG?
The answer to whether teriyaki sauce contains MSG is not straightforward. Some teriyaki sauces do contain MSG, while others do not. It all depends on the brand and the specific ingredients used in the recipe.
MSG is a flavor enhancer that is commonly added to processed foods, including many sauces and condiments. It’s used to enhance the savory, umami flavor of foods and make them more appealing to consumers.
However, some people are sensitive to MSG and may experience negative side effects after consuming it. These can include headaches, nausea, sweating, and flushing.
If you’re concerned about consuming MSG, it’s important to read the labels of any teriyaki sauce you plan to purchase. Look for ingredients like “monosodium glutamate,” “autolyzed yeast extract,” or “hydrolyzed vegetable protein,” which are all common sources of MSG.
Alternatively, you can make your own teriyaki sauce at home using natural ingredients. This way, you can control exactly what goes into your sauce and avoid any potential sources of MSG.
What Is MSG And Why Is It Controversial?
MSG, or monosodium glutamate, is a food additive that is commonly used to enhance the flavor of processed foods. It’s made from a mix of salt and glutamate, an amino acid that is naturally occurring in foods like tomatoes and cheese. MSG is used to add or enhance the umami flavor in food, which is the hard-to-describe “fifth taste” alongside sweetness, sourness, bitterness, and saltiness.
Although MSG is approved for use by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and other regulatory agencies, it has been the subject of controversy for decades. In 1968, a man wrote a letter to the New England Journal of Medicine complaining of numbness after eating at Chinese restaurants. This led to the idea that Chinese food was dangerous and caused what was called “Chinese restaurant syndrome.” A 1969 scientific paper identified MSG as the cause of this syndrome and warned of negative health effects such as burning sensations, facial pressure, and chest pain.
However, subsequent research failed to find any objective evidence that MSG was dangerous. In fact, a joint study by the World Health Organization and the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization failed to confirm an involvement of MSG in Chinese Restaurant Syndrome. Many regulatory bodies and scientific groups have concluded that MSG is safe for consumption. The FDA even set up an independent inquiry into MSG in the 1990s, which ultimately concluded that it is safe.
Despite this, some people may still be sensitive to MSG and experience negative side effects after consuming it. It’s important to read labels carefully and be aware of common sources of MSG, such as autolyzed yeast extract or hydrolyzed vegetable protein. Alternatively, making your own teriyaki sauce at home using natural ingredients can help you avoid any potential sources of MSG.
The History Of Teriyaki Sauce
Teriyaki sauce has a fascinating history that spans across different countries and cultures. While the cooking technique for teriyaki emerged in Japan during the 17th century, the sauce itself originated in Hawaii with the arrival of the first Japanese immigrants. These immigrants invented a new marinade by mixing local products like pineapple juice with soy sauce, which eventually evolved into the teriyaki sauce we know today.
Teriyaki sauce began to gain popularity in the United States in the 1960s, thanks to the boom of Japanese restaurants. Nowadays, various versions of teriyaki sauce exist, but all of them contain soy sauce as a main ingredient. The word teriyaki comes from two Japanese words, “teri” meaning “shine” and “yaki” meaning “grill.” In Japan, teriyaki is used to describe a cooking method and is usually used for preparing dishes that include fish. As the fish cooks on the grill, it shines, giving rise to the name “shine grill.”
Today, teriyaki sauce is a staple in many kitchens around the world and is used to marinate meat, vegetables, fish or tofu before cooking. It’s a versatile sauce that adds a sweet and savory flavor to any dish. While its origins may be surprising to some, its popularity is undeniable. Whether you’re ordering teriyaki chicken at a Japanese restaurant or making your own teriyaki sauce at home, it’s important to know its history and ingredients.
Common Ingredients In Teriyaki Sauce
Teriyaki sauce is a mixture of soy sauce, mirin, ginger, and sugar. These four ingredients form the base of most teriyaki sauce recipes. Soy sauce is a fermented sauce made from soybeans, wheat, salt, and water. It’s the primary source of saltiness in the sauce and also contributes to the umami flavor profile.
Mirin is a sweet Japanese rice wine that adds sweetness and depth of flavor to the sauce. It’s similar to sake but with a lower alcohol content and higher sugar content. Ginger adds a subtle spicy kick and a fresh aroma to the sauce. Finally, sugar is added to balance out the saltiness and add sweetness.
Other ingredients that may be added to teriyaki sauce include garlic, vinegar, sesame oil, and cornstarch or flour for thickening. However, it’s important to note that some commercially produced teriyaki sauces may also contain MSG as a flavor enhancer.
Making your own teriyaki sauce at home allows you to control the quality and quantity of ingredients used. This way, you can ensure that your sauce is free from any unwanted additives like MSG. Additionally, you can customize the flavors to your liking by adjusting the sweetness or adding additional spices or herbs.
Health Risks Associated With MSG Consumption
While MSG is generally recognized as safe by regulatory bodies around the world, some human research has shown that consuming MSG may have negative health effects. One study found that consuming MSG may promote weight gain and increase hunger, food intake, and the risk of metabolic syndrome, which is a group of symptoms that raises the risk of chronic conditions like heart disease and diabetes. Additionally, some people may be sensitive to MSG and experience adverse reactions such as headaches, nausea, sweating, and flushing.
It’s worth noting that many of the foods containing MSG, like chips and fast food, aren’t necessarily part of a balanced diet when consumed regularly and can lead to obesity, heart disease, diabetes, and other health risks. Avoiding these unhealthy foods can eliminate a lot of MSG from your diet.
If you want to avoid the potential side effects of MSG, there are a few alternatives you can try instead. One alternative to MSG is salt, but it has been proven to cause conditions like high blood pressure, heart disease, and stroke when consumed in excess. Other healthier alternatives are natural taste enhancers like garlic powder, onion powder, ginger, basil, oregano, thyme, dill, and more.
Benefits Of Teriyaki Sauce Without MSG
Teriyaki sauce can be a delicious and healthy addition to your meals when made without MSG. It contains several beneficial minerals such as magnesium, iron, and phosphorus, which are essential for maintaining good health. The soy sauce used in teriyaki sauce is also high in sodium, making it an excellent choice for people with low sodium levels.
Studies have shown that consuming just one tablespoon of teriyaki sauce every day can provide more than 25% of the recommended daily intake of sodium. However, it’s important to note that overconsumption of teriyaki sauce can lead to higher amounts of sodium in the body, which can be unhealthy.
Teriyaki sauce is also a much healthier choice than most sauces on the market. It has fewer calories, negligible amounts of fat, and lower sugar and carb contents than many other sauces. If you need to have sauce with your meal, choosing teriyaki or soy sauce instead of creamier sauces like BBQ sauce is a much healthier option.
Finally, if you’re looking for a soy sauce substitute that’s free from MSG, you can try liquid aminos. This product is made from concentrated amino acids from soybeans and has less salt than traditional soy sauce while still providing that umami flavor we all love. It’s also gluten-free and vegan-friendly, making it a great choice for people with dietary restrictions.