Antinutrient #6: Glutamates

Yay!! I’ve lost 25.6 pounds total so far with 54.4 pounds to go to reach my goal!  My BMI has dropped from 36.9 to 33.1 and my goal BMI is 24.9.

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Antinutrient #6: Glutamates

Now we move on to our pal glutamates, most frequently talked about as monosodium glutamate, or MSG.

Many people mistakenly think MSG is a preservative.

Were that the case, it might actually have a semi-plausible excuse for being in food.

No, glutamates are “flavor enhancers.”

Glutamates do exist in natural foods like cheese and meat.

But the low levels of “bound” glutamates in natural foods are nowhere near the levels of “free” glutamates being exploited by the processed-foods industry.

You’ve chowed on MSG in everything from canned raviolis, soups, and canned tuna to bouillon, ice cream, and ranch dressing.

A recent New York Times article noted Doritos have 5 kinds of glutamates.

Glutamates are produced by hydrolyzing proteins, a process that “frees” the glutamates from the protein.

When added to foods, glutamates enhance the savory taste experience – we probably have taste receptors for glutamates just like we have taste receptors for salty, sweet, bitter, and sour tastes.

Sounds good, right?

But it turns out high levels of free glutamates also mess with your brain chemistry.

Glutamates are a form of excitotoxin, which studies as far back as the 1950s have shown to be devastating to your nervous system.

Excitotoxins dive into your brain with relative ease, excite brain cells, and can rapidly cause permanent brain damage and eventual cell death.

One area of your brain particularly vulnerable to excess glutamates is the hypothalamus, ground zero for hunger hormones like neuropeptide Y.

Although the debate about MSG’s safety remains heated, some researchers assert animals fed MSG sustained damage to their hypothalamus, which led to obesity and endocrine problems later in life.

One possible reason is MSG damages your leptin receptors, causing your body to produce more, while simultaneously creating leptin resistance in your brain.

The worst part?

Some processed foods not only have one form of glutamate, they may have 2, 3, or even 4 kinds.

As with all of these scary chemicals, who’s to say what their synergistic effects could be?

By padding their foods with several varieties of glutamates, food companies want you to love their food, so you’ll keep coming back for more.

Just say no!

The government has decreed anything with monosodium glutamate in it must say “Contains MSG.”

Does that mean if your food doesn’t have the label, it doesn’t have glutamates?

Absolutely not – it just doesn’t have that particular glutamate.

Don’t be fooled by the words “natural flavor” or “spices” either.

Foods with natural flavors or spices could, in fact, be jam-packed with glutamates, and you’d never know it!

Check out this list of code words for hidden free glutamic acids in your processed foods.

Likely sources of MSG:

Autolyzed yeast

Calcium caseinate



Glutamic acid

Hydrolyzed corn gluten

Hydrolyzed protein (wheat, milk, soy, whey – any protein that’s hydrolyzed)

Monopotassium glutamate

Monosodium glutamate

Natrium glutamate

Sodium caseinate

Textured protein

Yeast extract

Yeast food

Yeast nutrient

Hormone HomeworkAs you eliminate as many glutamates as possible from your diet, also explore ways to boost the natural flavor of foods.  Fermented foods, wine, soy sauce, Parmesan cheese, anchovies, and ketchup are all naturally flavorful.  Also, roasting, smoking, or slow grilling makes foods taste rich and savory.  And seek out the organic versions and enjoy without fear!

Come join me on my weight loss journey!  I’d love to have you along!

Have an awesome day!

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Dick and Lenay

email: – 715-431-0657

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