Why Do We Call it Betsin/Vetsin ?

Have you ever thought vetsin (betsin) is a common name for monosodium glutamate, MSG? I thought it was!

The right term is Ve-Tsin, not vetsin or betsin. It is a trade name, like the very popular Aji-No-Moto. It is manufactured by Tien Chu Ve-Tsin Chemical Limited. A Chinese chemical company that was established in 1929. So there is a strong possibility that Chinese merchants were responsible for bringing the vetsin here in the Philippines. It became popular to our elders long before the Aji-No-Moto was introduced. People called it vetsin and continue calling it such even after Aji-No-Moto ate the competition.

Some products are so popular that we use its trade name to refer to similar products of different brands.

The customer says:

– May I buy colgate, preferably Close-Up? Why is he buying a Close-Up colgate?

– Please xerox my notes! The establishment only have Canon photocopiers so how can he do xerox ?

vetsin imagesIn can is Vet-Tsin Gourmet Powder, by The Tien Chu VE-Tsin (Hong Kong) Company Limited. The other two are manufactured by other companies.

MSG is known around the world as (msgtruth.org):

– In Japan, MSG is labeled as or – Ajinomoto
– In China, MSG = wie jing
– In the Phillipines,  MSG = Vetsin
– In Thailand, MSG = phong churot
– In Germany, MSG = Natriumglutaminat
– In Europe – MSG = E621, E620-625  also contain glutamate
– In the US – “umami”, MSG, glutamate, free glutamic acid

Salt and MSG Replacement Dilemmas

salt in open jarCutting on salt intake but never want to sacrifice food flavor? Well, a good salt replacement is MSG. As in use MSG instead of salt. The flavor loss by removing salt can be covered by the mentioned substance.

There is more explanation to this than what your senses could perceived. According to wiki, the taste of low-salt foods improves with MSG even with a 30% salt reduction. The sodium content of MSG is roughly a third of the amount (12%) than in sodium chloride (39%). A nice sodium reduction figure. Thanks to good interaction of MSG and salt.

Menshealth.com also pointed out that salt is indeed a better salt alternative. It helps keep your salt intake low and makes your food tastier. MSG consist of sodium and glutamic acid. The latter is a naturally according substance in variety of agricultural produce. It  explains why some foods in its original or slightly modified state are naturally flavorful. The case of mushroom.

After ditching out the salt and using  MSG for sometime, you realized that you also need to eliminate the latter. Someone from Yahoo Answers said that a fair substitute for MSG is a 50/50 mix of salt & sugar with a dash of fish sauce per teaspoon of the mixture.

Several friend of mine and my very own wife also uses dash of sugar as replacement for MSG. I think they are adding salt to taste plus a dash of sugar.

Ask.com recipe labs recommends to use of fish sauce as the best direct substitute. Worcestershire sauce or soy sauce will also do.

A good replacement of salt is MSG and the replacement for the latter is the first. Maybe it is better not to use both.

Fitday.com suggest other alternatives like, aged cheeses, meats, seaweeds, mushrooms, tomatoes, red wine, asparagus, anchovies, sourdough bread and walnuts. If one of these is naturally part of the recipe, then it is fine. Subject to experimentation if not.

I personally use onion to replace both salt and MSG. Always adding twice number of heads whenever the recipe needs it. Onion is almost always available.

sources: 1, 2 ,3 ,4, 5

Is MSG Causing You Migraine Too?

I am not a fan of MSG but I am starting to believe that it is generally safe for human consumption.  It has been in circulation since 1908 and still going strong. There are thousands of studies regarding monosodium glutamate but none pointed out conclusive danger to human health. Advertisements connecting MSG  to the fifth basic taste, umami, were widespread lately. Particular ads were emphasizing, it is safe and will make every cooking taste better.

I guessed I was too convinced and forgot two things. 1) Any food company will not say anything that could lower their product reputation. and 2) Any popular product if not proven dangerous is considered safe, even if they do cause harm.

Recently, friend asked if the “nilagang baka” on table had MSG. Me and our other friend couldn’t tell but said it was perhaps dropped with a pinch. He got some meat but only took a little soup.

After awhile, he confirmed that the “nilagang baka” we had eaten was indeed mixed with MSG. His head began aching and was thankful he only got a sip of soup. He has hypersensitivity to MSG, experiencing migraine after consumption.

He discovered this after eating at the same chinese restaurant several times and experiencing headache every after meal. The connection: MSG causes migraine, Chinese restaurants are know users of…

Headache is one of the mentioned dilemmas among the MSG symptom complex. This website is well organized and has explanations regarding connections of MSG to migraine and other diseases.

msg in dispenser bottle

Instant Noodles: MSG Becoming Toxic and Hard to Digest Wax

While checking my daily facebook news feed, I saw this issue posted by General Knowledge. The issue about instant noodles,  warning its lovers who are pond of it at least three times a week. Maybe it is true and some good Samaritans want to stop the spreading danger.  Or maybe a haux, a smear campaign against instant noodle manufacturer and the famous MSG manufacturer, Ajinomoto.

The article’s idea:

1) The current cooking instruction printed on instant noodles label is wrong. Maybe the manufacturer should bother changing it.

2) Boiling the separately packaged flavors in water changes the MSG to toxic form. It should be added after removing the softened noodles from fire.

The bad effects of MSG has been a debatable issue for decades. Still unproven these days. MSG represents the fifth basic taste called umami. MSG was previously known to make tongue more sensitive to four basic tastes.

3) The dry and crunchy noodles contains wax. The water should be discarded after boiling. It contains wax – able to stay inside body for four to five days. Then transfer the noodle and dissolve the flavor to another set of hot water.

Why add wax to food? Wax acts as invisible food protection. A function similar to other packaging material. Keso de bola outer surface is covered with wax. A thin coating is applied on candy to prevent melting. Fruits and vegetables for export are covered with it to retard rapid water loss and high respiration rate. Perhaps your favorite apples were subjected to wax treatment. Wax for food use are edible but not digestible.

Dangers of MSG / Monosodium Glutamate

The following is a part of my post about, “No Preservatives Added Declaration“.

2. Monosodium Glutamate – It is a flavor enhancer made by fermentation of carbohydrate. Popular for giving food the umami flavor. I heard many testimonies about its bad effects but there are no solid evidences yet.

JL was very kind and gave me two links about evidences that using MSG is bad for our health. The two videos are really convincing, they  bravely mentioned products with MSG and the brand Ajinomoto.  Eating foods with MSG is highly discouraged due to its affects to our health, both mentally and physically. umami

This video is considering MSG as “Excitotoxins: The taste that kills”. Excitotoxins  act by making the brain cells very excited to the point that it become exhausted and dies. In short, they are relating MSG to development of various brain diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease.  It also affects other body parts. [http://bit.ly/LiJuT]

This one is a documentary of 700 Club Asia. It states that MSG can cause obesity, diabetis, heart attacks, migraines, brain damage, epilepsy, diarrhea, joint pain, depression, dizziness, slurred speech, ADHD, insomia, anxiety, etc. Their featured products are Knorr, Campbells and Ajinomoto. [http://youtu.be/cZ3HVoH-MsM]

We are still using MSG for our daily cooking activities. We are now planning to stop. I am not encouraging anyone to avoid such products. You still have the freedom to believe or not. You may still search for other proofs.