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Kitchen Notes: Additives
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an anonymous reader
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 10, 2005 6:51 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Also, MSG is not derived from seaweed anymore, although that was the original source. It is produced by fermenting molasses or starch hydrolyzate into l-glutamic acid, which is then neutralized with sodium hydroxide. Before this, wheat gluten was used, which contains upwards of 25% MSG by weight.
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an anonymous reader
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 10, 2005 6:52 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

1) Umami is considered a specific flavor. There is much evidence to support that human tongues have receptors for Glutamate.

Rather than cook with MSG, celery is a good source of it-- that's why Celery tastes like water but makes food much tasty.

2) Nobody is allergic to "aspartame" per se, it's a sensitivity to phenylaline. Those that have this condition are required to be vegetarians (as meat contains it as well). I think Aspartame has a far worse reputation than it deserves, but I'm still a sucrose man, myself.

3) Chocolate doesn't contain caffeine (unless added). Chocolate contains a compound called Theobromine, which indeed is related to caffeine.

Theobromine's properties are much more positive in my opinion, it's processed much slower, it's a mood enhancer, and its stimulant properties are much more relaxed. And dogs can't handle it so don't give your dog chocolate.

4) Lecithin is found in chocolate and considered to be very healthy. Turmeric (Curcumin) also has healthy properties.

I find it impressive (and frightening) how many food colorings are derived from petroleum!
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Jeff Dougan
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 10, 2005 6:52 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

On lecithin: Also found in egg yolks; it's the phospholipid that makes eggs such great emulsifiers.

On MSG #1: Although most people aren't particularly sensitive to it in normal-to-moderate doses, there are some people who are especially sensitive to glutamates in general.

On MSG #2: The glutamate sensitive should also keep their eyes on ingredients for "hydrolyzed vegetable protein" or similar phrases. Hydrolysis is the process that breaks proteins down into their component amino acids, and some glutamate will invariably be released in the process. (P)HVP's will usually be used as a way to add glutamate and the corresponding umami taste to a product.
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an anonymous reader
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 10, 2005 6:52 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

>Personally, once I got a bag of Ranch Corn Nuts, devoured the bag, and immediately got a headache and even nausea. I checked the ingredients, and there was MSG pretty high on the list.

I always get a headache when I eat 'ranch' flavoured anything and I don't think it has anything to do with MSG (in fact I suspect that it is psychological) but some flavouring in it does not agree with me. If I think its psychological does that rule it out...?

I often get a headachy feeling when I eat yellow, green or orange candy. I can't figure out if it's the colouring or the flavouring. I only have trouble with certain candies, and never with pop or other processed foods. It's always the gummy chewy sticks to you teeth transparent candies, like sour keys. Red candy I never have a problem with.


I don't see what's wrong with having seaweed in ice-cream. It's not like iced is a natural state for the cream anyway.
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an anonymous reader
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 10, 2005 6:53 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

3) Chocolate doesn't contain caffeine (unless added). Chocolate contains a compound called Theobromine, which indeed is related to caffeine.

I am curious to know more about this... I personally have an allergic reaction to caffeine. (This is document by several different doctors- not something I self diagnosed.)

I have always been told that the caffeine in chocolate comes from the coca bean used to make the chocolate. I always check for coca bean or coca butter prior to purchasing a product. Needless to say- I don't eat much chocolate since almost all chocolate items contain one of these ingredents. I have found some white chocolate that does not contain either of these, but it is a rare find.
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Michael Chu



Joined: 10 May 2005
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Location: Austin, TX (USA)

PostPosted: Wed Aug 10, 2005 6:54 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

re: cocoa and caffeine

Almost all chocolate has caffeine added. The question I'm wondering is whether or not cocoa naturally has caffeine. My sources say yes - about one tenth of the amount of theobromine, but nonetheless it does have caffeine. Now a number of internet websites claim there is no caffeine in processed cocoa (unless added), and some even cite scientific papers which I have been unable to find. In short, I don't know if cocoa has caffiene, but every piece of printed literature I've been able to find says "yes" and there are more than a handful of websites that say "no, it's another food myth".


Last edited by Michael Chu on Wed Aug 10, 2005 6:55 am; edited 2 times in total
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 10, 2005 6:54 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm not a doctor or chemist, however, I would say that it would be worthwhile to consume a decent amount of chocolate at some point and find out if you actually do have a sensitivity to it the same way you get with caffeine.

I do apologize for my mistake, apparently cocoa does contain small amounts of caffeine, 17mg per liter, which is the same as a cup of decaf tea, and less than 1% that of espresso.

If caffeine is added to chocolate, I would imagine that it would have to be labelled as such.
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drink recipes
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 10, 2005 6:54 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Wow, I gotta say, this is a really nice complete list of all the stuff that we put in our body.

Thanks for sharing it with us.
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an anonymous reader
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 10, 2005 6:55 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I must respectfully disagree that "all chocolate has caffeine added". Caffeine is a drug, however common it may be, and you are suggesting that it may legally be added to a food but omitted* from the list of ingredients?
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Michael Chu



Joined: 10 May 2005
Posts: 1622
Location: Austin, TX (USA)

PostPosted: Wed Aug 10, 2005 6:55 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I believe I might have used the wrong words in my last comment. As a base ingredient, most common chocolate contains caffeine. I don't know if it's been added or it's naturally there - but it's there...
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 19, 2005 6:21 pm    Post subject: Additives Reply with quote

Actually, caffeine can be added to an ingredient and not be listed as an additive - if the supplier of the ingredient that normally naturally contains caffeine bumps up the level of it and it is then sold to the manufacturer.

And did you know that caffeine helps minimize and reduce the incidence of cancer? Caffeine is not the horrible culprit that many deem it to be - in the amounts that people drink it in coffee at several huge cups per day, yes it can cause jitters, anxiety, etc. In someone like myself, even in small amounts it can do the same. But caffeine itself actually has some amazing health benefits so having in your product - particularly naturally ocurring and in small amounts - is not necessarily a bad thing. Just make sure you don;t add milk to your coffee or tea - milk proteins bind with the polyphenols (other natural compounds in coffee and tea) that have health and anicancer benefits. So some coffee each day is not a bad thing!

It seems here there is some nit picking about "additives". Guar gum and natural thickeners, such as agar, are commonly used in cooking around the world and are very natural. They are ingredients, or natural "additives" not nasty negative "additives". Some actually have health promoting properties such as burdock root. Their use does not mean that a manufacturer is "skimping' on quality items at all - it means that that is what they used in their recipe to create whatever texture, thickness, viscosity, they wanted to - or it can be used to hold things together in solid forms.

Question for someone familiar with Japanese regulations: WHat is acceptable in Japan for use as a release agent or lubricant in candies or tablets other than magnesium stearate (a natural vegetable fatty acid)?

Much obliged!

P.S> MSG makes me sick, plain and simple.
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*morningstar



Joined: 27 Sep 2005
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 01, 2005 7:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

A big part of the reason MSG is associated with Chinese food (and Asian food in general) is because it's found naturally in soy (and seaweed, as a few other people have mentioned) and also because it was common for Chinese resturants in the US put extra MSG in their food to help bloster the taste of low quality (read: cheap) ingredients. Headaches and nausea caused by MSG are sometimes called 'Chinese Resturant Syndrome.' But really, a lot of cheap foodstuffs have MSG added to them to make the customer think that what they're eating is higher quality than it really is. I've seen many Chinese resturants in my area advertising 'No MSG' in their food to help calm additive-conscious customers.

I agree with Dragnore, there is a distinct flavor that MSG gives to food that can be picked out, although I've never gotten ill from it. I try to avoid foods with MSG added in addition to what's naturally in some foods simply because I don't like unnecessary chemicals in what I'm eating, but it's not the end of the world since it doesn't make me ill.

...

Perhaps MSG deserves it's own article?
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justaguest
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 23, 2006 8:00 pm    Post subject: caffeine in chocolate Reply with quote

Without reviewing my biochem, and that's my background, I believe that it is sloppiness in descriptions that accounts for people claiming the presence of caffeine in chocolate, when in fact, it is theobromine. Theobromine is an analog of caffeine, an analog simply meaning that the chemical or molecular structure is very nearly, but importantly, not, identical to caffeine. So, it can have similar, but not identical side effects on a person. Same as theophyline in tea. People claim caffeine in tea, but theophyline is an analog of caffeine. Anyway, my disclaimer is that I didn't have time to look up to refresh my memory, but, as an ex-professional scientist, I've seen a lot of general sloppiness that causes people to believe something erroneous. Some science mags or sources figure the masses don't need to know the accurate details, so they talk "down" to the masses. However, that being said, there could, indeed, be small amounts of caffeine in chocolate and tea, as well as the analogs I've mentioned. Just not time to research it at the moment.
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beth
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 07, 2006 12:34 am    Post subject: additives Reply with quote

I found this wonderful book at goodwill that explains all these,and I guess you can also buy the book on amazon if you're lucky, but anyone who is truly curious about what's in our food, I would highly recommend this book:Our poisoned earth and sky (Preliminary task force report)
It's old but still very relevant, and it really opens your mind to the fact that nothing you eat anymore is without poison unless you grew it yourself in virgin soil, probably in a greenhouse. Not gonna sell my book though. Smile
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beth
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 07, 2006 12:48 am    Post subject: BHT Reply with quote

I became interested in BHT since I read in the book mentioned previous about what BHT stands for, the T is for tolouene which is also a component of the car paint we sell at my job and that stuff is soooo noxious! I found this site about the properties of BHT and it's really frightening! This stuff is commonly found in gum and hotdogs, and other preserved meat products. They actually call it an Anti-Oxidant! I am getting a little confused lately about antioxidants, cuz some of them are purely lethal, apparently. http://www.inchem.org/documents/icsc/icsc/eics0841.htm
Bht is derived from coal tars which are known to have carcinogenic effects
It would be lovely if they would just sell fresh food in its natural color and leave all this preservative CRAP out of it. It's ridiculous how much undigestible chemicals go into almost all food.
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