This long-standing favorite of the natural foods crowd has recently come under scrutiny regarding its composition. The label does not mention any salt in its ingredients, but it is salty. What some people noticed was that they felt poorly after consuming it. Once the rage for those who were trying to reduce their consumption of sea salt and use an alternative to soy sauce, some questions have arisen--questions that Bragg’s has yet to answer. Is MSG a byproduct of its manufacture?
The following was written by Griselda Blazey who has a B.S. in biology, a M.S. is biochemistry, and a post-doctorate in endocrinology. She also has a degree from the now defunct College of Dietary Therapy in England. She authored a book, Food Matters, and a workbook called Nutritional Transformation. She taught cell physiology, metabolic disorders, and nutrition at Life Chiropractic College West, in San Leandro, California:
“...how Bragg Aminos are made. ...here’s an armchair biologist’s answer, meaning that I don’t know this for sure, but it’s the only thing that makes scientific sense. If I were given some vegetable protein and were asked to make it into amino acids without spending a lot of money on it, I would boil it up with some hydrochloric acid. This would break it down to amino acids, but of course it would be too acidic to be palatable. So I would then neutralize the acid with baking soda, causing the reaction mixture to look like this: 2HCl + Na2CO3 ===> 2NaCl + CO2 + H2O.
So the salt gets made by mistake as it were. Now someone followed up on this and contacted the Bragg company to ask if this was how they did it, and they denied it. However, they didn’t disclose how they do actually do it, so in the absence of correct information, and with an extremely salty taste in their product, I still consider the above process to play at least some part in their procedure.”
MSG is the sodium salt of the AMINO ACID glutamic acid and a form of glutamate. Labeling laws permit it to be hidden in everything from soap to vitamins to condiments to food. Hydrolyzed proteins or protein hydrolysates are acid treated or enzymatically treated which contain salts of free AMINO ACIDS. MSG can aggravate existing conditions or cause burning sensations, rapid heartbeat, asthma and neurological damage. That’s just within three hours of use. The most common hiding places are in ingredients called hydrolyzed proteins and amino acids.
Until Bragg’s is willing to reveal its manufacturing process or at least provide a credible explanation of how it’s saltless product is salty, we can only assume that the chemistry explained above is correct and Bragg’s Liquid Aminos contains a glutamate.