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Monosodium Glutamate (MSG) and its use in Poland

Polsyr Activity: 6 / 907
Joined: 19 Sep 2011 ♂
 
11 Jun 2015  #1

Monosodium Glutamate, in short MSG, or E621, in Polish glutaminian sodu, as a chemical that is often added to foods as a "flavor enhancer". What it actually does is increase the sensitivity to taste, especially saltiness.

In Poland, E621 is nearly always added to the following foods:
1. Ham, sandwich meat (Wędliny).
2. Sausage products (Kiełbasa).
3. Ready soup mixes and soup seasoning, both in dry form and liquid form.
4. Flavored chips (crisps per European English). Virtually anything other than plain salted has added E621.
5. Seasoning mixes, especially for meat.
Plus many other food products.

Some research supports that E621 has negative health effects. In particular increased blood pressure (hypertension) and irregular heart rhythm (Arrhythmia). Some individuals are more sensitive than others, reporting immediate reactions, while others feel no reaction at all.

The Polish food industry has defended the use of E621 (among other chemicals) claiming it was necessary to obtain an "authentic" or "classic" Polish flavor. I find this laughable since E621 came to Poland mainly after the fall of communism so nothing about it is authentic nor classic.

Some Polish companies however have chosen to buck the trend and go without artificial flavor enhancers like E621 - and I for one am a big fan of their products.

There is an actual commercial reason why the industry likes to use E621. It reduces the cost of the product. When MSG is added, it allows them to use less of every other seasoning ingredient.

I invite you to share your experience and feedback on this subject.

DominicB Activity: - / 1,457
Joined: 28 Sep 2012 ♂
 
11 Jun 2015  #2

When MSG is added, it allows them to use less of every other seasoning ingredient.

Poles use A LOT less seasoning ingredients, herbs and spices, when they cook at home. Less than a tenth of what Americans use, and a hundreth of what Mexicans or Indians use. Often little more than salt and pepper. They generally abhor foods with an assertive taste. Compare Polish "gulasz" to Hungarian gulyas, for example. They use microscopic amounts, actually. I remember one vegetable stand lady being confused because I used to by hot chile peppers by the kilo. They compensate by using MSG (Vegeta) and a lot of salt, either as table salt or as Maggi. Soups are essentially a solution of Vegeta and Maggi, with a few vegetables and a little meat thrown in.

Remember going to a friends house and being treated to his moms version of lecso. It tasted like oatmeal. We tinkered with it with the mostly long-outdated spices they had in the cupboard to make it somewhat palatable.

But the reason for using MSG isn't to save on herbs and spices. It is primarily due to the fact that Poles eat primarily low umami meats like chicken and pork, rather than beef. And factory-raised chicken and pork is particularly devoid of umami flavor, especially since they are killed when very young, before they develop any flavor. Compare chicken broth made with a storebought chicken with broth made from an old, free-range rooster you buy at the farmers market.

MSG and salt are cheap and easy ways to make an extremely bland diet somewhat palatable.
Polonius3 Activity: 979 / 11,644
Joined: 11 Apr 2008 ♂
 
11 Jun 2015  #3

Can't agree more. MSG enables the producer to use poorer quality ingredients that still taste roughly palatable. A big problem is the huge volume of fake foods on the market -- the synthetic aroma syndrome. Cherry-flavoured this or mushroom-flavoured something else are one example. Most of the ingredients never came near an orchard or forest but where concocted in a lab by men in white coats. I bought a syrup at Biedronka labelled "Malina", not sok or syrop malinowy, just malina. The only fruit extract was chokeberry, the rest was various chemicals including fake raspberry aroma.

The 64-złoty question: is it possible to produce real, natural, less-chemicalised foods without pricing them sky-high?
OP Polsyr Activity: 6 / 907
Joined: 19 Sep 2011 ♂
 
11 Jun 2015  #4

DominicB I didn't say anything about domestic use of MSG. I was talking about commercial food industry - and industry uses it primarily to reduce cost, and to make a more "appealing" product at a lower cost. But I agree with you in that I have seen extensive use of it in homes as well.

By the way, Maggi is loaded with MSG.

To answer Polonius3, yes it is possible, and I exclusively buy products free from MSG and have a 100% MSG free kitchen.
Polonius3 Activity: 979 / 11,644
Joined: 11 Apr 2008 ♂
 
11 Jun 2015  #5

But are they free from the syntehtic aromas (fake flavouring) which rule the food industry these days?
OP Polsyr Activity: 6 / 907
Joined: 19 Sep 2011 ♂
 
11 Jun 2015  #6

Yes entirely free from all artificial colors, flavors and preservatives. Otherwise I don't buy. I admit I often have to put in some extra effort to find what I am looking for, but it is worth it.
eh?  
11 Jun 2015  #7

Vegeta has a version that's bez MSG.
Polonius3 Activity: 979 / 11,644
Joined: 11 Apr 2008 ♂
 
11 Jun 2015  #8

t is worth it.

I agree. Where do you find such products? Are they not pricier than the regular off-the-shelf stuff?
Marsupial Activity: - / 740
Joined: 19 Oct 2014 ♂
 
11 Jun 2015  #9

Msg isn't nice. Not that I am going to criticise it from here where I live where we have massive obesity problems, fatness being the major cause of death now and hospital burden, where a nutjob government gave the food industry its own regulation powers and the same for junk adverts to kids. The junk food ads have doubled kids are fatter ands its costing billions. They were quick to tax smoking due to health but haven't got the gonads for the food industry. Its an utter failure. So if you are there and licked blocks of msg daily you would still be better off than here where apparantly 33% of daily calorie intake of so called adults comes from utter junk. In fact poland should use australia as an example of failure in this department and study it so they can avoid it. What use to be a bronzed ozzie is now more like a bronze whale.
OP Polsyr Activity: 6 / 907
Joined: 19 Sep 2011 ♂
 
11 Jun 2015  #10

I believe I am seeing more and more "heavy" people in Poland with time...
Marsupial Activity: - / 740
Joined: 19 Oct 2014 ♂
 
11 Jun 2015  #11

You can't escape completely but you can minimize so it doesn't become like here a major burden on hospitals. Not to mention how miserable life must be as a whale without flippers and not in water to offset the weight. Heart and organs sure. But dont forget legs knees hips. It all suffers. The fatter one gets the more junk one craves. It's a circle. The info out now suggests that by stuffing up kids now with junk crap adverts they will be worth about 100k$au in their life from now to their early grave to the junk peddlers. Pffft...msg....who cares....
jon357 Activity: 53 / 10,844
Joined: 15 Mar 2012 ♂
 
11 Jun 2015  #12

One issue here is that during the PRL there were a lot of pressures due to centralised planning and some really nasty processed food (though not much of it) and that when the shops started to sell much more, anything that was a convenience food in a nice shiny packet looked appealing to the tired housewife. Plus people do like the taste that MSG etc give.

That and the fact that a lot of this stuff is (or seems) cheaper. People are getting more clued up though, however the quickest, cheapest, shiniest and easiest will always appeal to a lot of people. Hard to blame them, but not good for the health.
johnny reb Activity: 10 / 2,189
Joined: 30 Jul 2014 ♂
 
11 Jun 2015  #13

Msg isn't nice. Not that I am going to criticise it from here where I live where we have massive obesity problems, fatness being the major cause of death now

The obesity is not causes by the MSG.
What Polsyr said is;

Some research supports that E621 has negative health effects. In particular increased blood pressure (hypertension) and irregular heart rhythm (Arrhythmia).

Obesity is being caused by fructose which is fake sugar. There is the REAL problem.
Anything ending in "ose" is horrible for you.
Fructose is much more dangerous to a humans body then MSG is.
They are both bad for humans however.
Being there are three corporate food companies (monopoly) that sell over 80% of the food answers the question to "Why" is the government intentionally poisoning the people........here's the answer.

where a nutjob government gave the food industry its own regulation powers

It is called 'very powerful lobbiests' for not only the food companies $$$$ that sell the poison to make us sick but for the 'very powerful lobbiests' for the pharmaceutical companies $$$$$ to make us well.

And being the lobbiests are the ones that grease the wheels to the government you now have the answer
to why we are legally being poisoned.
side note:

that I am going to criticise it from here where I live where we have massive obesity problems, fatness being the major cause of death

When I brought a friend to the United States (for the first time ever being out of Jamaica) the
very first words out of her mouth in the airport in Atlanta was, "Look at all the fat people" !
jon357 Activity: 53 / 10,844
Joined: 15 Mar 2012 ♂
 
11 Jun 2015  #14

Obesity is being caused by fructose which is fake sugar. There is the REAL problem.

Fructose is bad for you too - even fruit juice isn't as healthy as it looks. The corn syrup they use in America is responsible for a lot of harm too.

When I brought a friend to the United States (for the first time ever being out of Jamaica) the very first words out of her mouth in the airport in Atlanta was, "Look at all the fat people" !

Poland is getting like that, especially the men rather than women who tend to diet more.

Kielbasa is a particular baddie. Traditional, but still preserved meat and processed food (and usually crammed with chemicals).
Polonius3 Activity: 979 / 11,644
Joined: 11 Apr 2008 ♂
 
11 Jun 2015  #15

more "heavy" people

I read somewhere a while back that PL is the European leader in terms of overweight kids and growing.
johnny reb Activity: 10 / 2,189
Joined: 30 Jul 2014 ♂
 
11 Jun 2015  #16

That's because of grandma's Polish cooking with real butter and cottage grease.

even fruit juice isn't as healthy as it looks

Most of it is loaded with fructose (sugar) as is soda pop.
Yet fruit juice is advertised as a healthy alternative. :-(
Most of the sport drinks are loaded with sugar and are bad for you also.
The magic of sublimatable advertising. (Legal lies)
They then tell you to drink diet soda pop which is much much worse for you then regular soda pop
with all the extra chemicals in it.
Breakfast cereals are loaded with fructose yet advertised as healthy food as is yogart.
Some yogarts are loaded with sugar which make you fat.
We are being lied to by advertisers for processed foods.
Pick up almost any canned vegetable or soup and check out the MSG and sodium content. WoW !
Switch to sea salt if you need salt.
OP Polsyr Activity: 6 / 907
Joined: 19 Sep 2011 ♂
 
11 Jun 2015  #17

I have not read anything about obesity in Poland, but I speak based on what I see outside on the street. More overweight people and definitely more overweight kids too. Possibly more men than women suffering from obesity as jon357 said, especially in bigger cities where women are more likely to diet in order to remain slim.
johnny reb Activity: 10 / 2,189
Joined: 30 Jul 2014 ♂
 
11 Jun 2015  #18

Remember that we rode our bicycles for entertainment and played outside.
The kids today have computers to SIT at and cell phones to SIT and text with.
We walked everywhere and now everyone has a car. EXERCISE !
Times a changin' including the foods we now eat.
tictactoe  
11 Jun 2015  #19

neurope.eu/article/toxic-time-bomb-illegal-pesticides/

You shouldn't be too worried about what you know is in your food, instead be much much more worried about what you DON'T know is in it.
englishbird  
11 Jun 2015  #20

yes I agree with Johnny, these days you are only considered a good parent if your kid is escorted by you everywhere that they go.

Forget about free play with friends and neighbours in the park or street!
These days kids sit indoors on their 'Xbox' or 'Playstation'.
However I do think the obesity crisis has been caused by a combination of factors - transfats and glucose fructose syrup and aspartame all play a part IMO.

I have spent a LOT of time in supermarkets over the last 16 years, and can tell you that if someone's shopping cart is filled with 'diet' fizzy drinks (eg full of aspartame and saccharine) almost invariably they will be morbidly obese......

Do diet drink s make you fat? it is definitely a possibility.
Last night a friend suggested a new cause for the obesity crisis - what are the animals being bred for meat fed on? Steroids that is what.....
jon357 Activity: 53 / 10,844
Joined: 15 Mar 2012 ♂
 
11 Jun 2015  #21

real butter

Butter is actually good for you as well as delicious. It's the margarine producers' lobby capitalising on a misunderstanding about complex fats by dieticians back in the 70's that caused it to be demonised.

Breakfast cereals are loaded with fructose yet advertised as healthy food as is yogart.

That's true. It's also a myth (in my opinion) that breakfast is important - your body stores enough carbohydrates to last the morning. Breakfast just mucks with your blood sugar levels and stops you burning the carbohydrates that your body stores as fat. A cup of tea or coffee is enough.

Pick up almost any canned vegetable or soup and check out the MSG and sodium content. WoW !

Salt is worse than MSG (and sugar the very worst) however people do like the flavour. I notice people using a lot of salt in Poland.

One thing about MSG. It's flavour is what's known as Umami (Google it - discovered by Japanese, hence the name) which is similar to breast milk - this contributes apparently to its appeal.
OP Polsyr Activity: 6 / 907
Joined: 19 Sep 2011 ♂
 
11 Jun 2015  #22

I googled. Didn't know Umami was considered a separate taste by itself. Interesting!
johnny reb Activity: 10 / 2,189
Joined: 30 Jul 2014 ♂
 
11 Jun 2015  #23

Do diet drink s make you fat?

Absolutely !
Google 'Diet Pop Health Risks'.
OP Polsyr Activity: 6 / 907
Joined: 19 Sep 2011 ♂
 
11 Jun 2015  #24

Speaking of drinks, some "sports beverages" contain added MSG as well.
Marsupial Activity: - / 740
Joined: 19 Oct 2014 ♂
 
12 Jun 2015  #25

We have a big ice drug problem here. It ties up hospital times and kills australians. Than we have a mc sheit, spew fc and other junk in every single town where its profitable in prominent places. You can't miss them. While the police and other ppl make a big deal of of the drugs 10000 times more people are obese and clogging hospitals. Some body in various governments approved these buildings. One thing poles can do is protest this in the development proposal stages. It has worked in some places.
OP Polsyr Activity: 6 / 907
Joined: 19 Sep 2011 ♂
 
12 Jun 2015  #26

Marsupial I don't understand what you are trying to say. If you will be kind and clarify yourself please.
Marsupial Activity: - / 740
Joined: 19 Oct 2014 ♂
 
12 Jun 2015  #27

What I am saying is government sanctioned death is legal. Also what I have seen work is when they try to develop a junk food outlet in your suburb and the residents protest it often stops construction. I know of several places here where this has worked.
OP Polsyr Activity: 6 / 907
Joined: 19 Sep 2011 ♂
 
12 Jun 2015  #28

Oh ok. Now I understand. Let's hope we don't reach that point in Poland :)
Marsupial Activity: - / 740
Joined: 19 Oct 2014 ♂
 
12 Jun 2015  #29

I should point out some things. If you are going to have some tasty junk once a week as a treat for you or the kids that's good. That's becaue you should. Bit of a naughty treat is great. But if you are addicted and start replacing this for food...look out.

Secondly the real benefit of not having an outlet near you is that it removes you looking at it every day as an option. Every time lots of parents drive past with kids the little ones want to stop there. So it's constant pressure and parents cave in exchange for peace and quiet. If it's not there pressure is reduced and consumption is reduced. There is still a chance to do it like this in poland, to limit approval rate and the position where these shops are located.
Karoru  
9 Jan 2016  #30

Well, I'm Polish so I may be not the best person to write on this board, but I find it really interesting to see the expats point of view about Polish cuisine, and I agree on many topics.

Soups are essentially a solution of Vegeta and Maggi, with a few vegetables and a little meat thrown in.

That's the typical middle-aged housewife style. People are trying to make 1 liter of stock using 1 carrot, few celeriac cubes, one onion and 3 chicken wings. And worst thing is these moms teach their sons and daughters things like "you can't make proper broth without stock cubes" (that's partially true, I also can't imagine a miracle of feeding one person using half a chicken wing boiled in water) so that style passes on. Ladies at meat section in Kaufland look at me funny when I order 5 kg of chicken carcasses;) Things like putting meat/bones/whatever in the cold water if you want to make good broth also are black magic. I've been scolded by my ex-girlfriend that fancied to eat veggies&meat used to make soup something like that: "You're doing it strange, these things are tasteless after you've boiled them".



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Monosodium Glutamate (MSG) and its use in Poland
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