We at Foodie Fuel invite you to taste your food—not chemicals that mimic food. Get to know what the natural sweetness of coconut sugar tastes like. And the from-the-ground umami flavor found in sunflower seeds. Food that satisfies hunger and stimulates your taste buds—naturally. Just say no to lab-engineered chemicals and simulated sweeteners that provide a false sense of fullness and a phony sense of satisfaction. It’s your right to choose what you fuel your bodies with, and we’re here to help guide the way.
Not sure how to spot a chemical taste enhancers? Wondering about the worst offenders and how to avoid them altogether? Eloise Nelson, nutritionist, co-founder, and formulator of Foodie Fuel Snacks, breaks it all down for you here.
The Importance of Taste and Flavor
As one of our five senses, taste plays an important role in not only enjoying our food, but also in digesting it. Today, Western Science now recognizes five distinctive tastes, including: sweet, bitter, sour, salty, and umami. Umami—also known as savory—is a term derived from the Japanese word meaning “tasty,” and can be found in foods like mushrooms, truffle, and Parmesan cheese.
While taste is a sense that’s recognized by our tongue’s finely tuned taste buds, flavor is actually a combination of multiple senses—including taste, smell, and thermal and tactile sensations. Humans have been using naturally occurring taste enhancers such as salt for thousands of years to enhance food’s flavor, making meat more savory and bitter vegetables more palatable. And, in fact, for many of our hunting-and-gathering ancestors, taste was key to survival—bitter plants were likely poisonous, salty food indicated nutrients and minerals, and sweetness supplied the brain with glucose.
The History Behind Chemical Taste Enhancers
Here’s a bit on the background before we dive right in. It actually wasn’t until the turn of the 20th century that humans turned to chemical taste enhancers—lab-made food additives that enhance taste without adding a taste of their own.
The world’s first chemical taste enhancer was created by Japanese biochemist Kikunae Ikeda in 1908. In an attempt to remedy his country’s poor diet, he sought to create a “good, inexpensive seasoning to make bland, nutritious food tasty.” With that goal in mind, he isolated pure glutamate from sea kelp and paired it with salt to create monosodium glutamate—otherwise known as MSG.
Since their creation, chemical taste enhancers like MSG have been widely used for their ability to make bland, inexpensive foods flavorful. But only recently have consumers been catching on to their distasteful truth.
Overfed and Undernourished
To understand why chemical taste enhancers are so harmful, you must first understand the science behind them.
First, please understand what chemical taste enhancers do: their purpose is to suppress chemical bitterness in processed foods by enhancing sweet and savory flavors. In doing so, chemical taste enhancers trick your taste buds into thinking that they have touched something not only delicious—but also nutritious. Your taste buds then send that misleading, misinformed message along to your brain.
That message in mind, your brain thinks it’s been satisfied, when actually the exact opposite has happened. Chemicals—not nutrients—have been consumed. Over-stimulated brain cells die and are incapable of shutting down appetite, and the result is an insatiability that causes food cravings and overeating. Thus, we are overfed and undernourished.
Why and How to Avoid Chemical Taste Enhancers
Chemical taste enhancers are in processed foods everywhere—especially two of the worst offenders, MSG and aspartame. MSG is most common in soups, cereals, salad dressings, condiments, snack foods, diet drinks, and processed meats, while aspartame can be found in more than 6,000 foods, including sweetened drinks, chewing gum, table-top sweeteners, cereals, jellies, and jams. You’ll even find aspartame in vitamins and both prescription and over-the-counter drugs!
So, I’ll break the bad news to you first. MSG and aspartame are really silent killers. MSG not only destroys taste buds, but also brain cells, disrupting brain chemistry and balance. And, like MSG, aspartame is a neuro excitotoxin—a substance that over-stimulates and kills brain cells. According to the FDA, aspartame is a “very slow poison” that, with long-term use, has actually been proven to perpetuate chronic illnesses, such as multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease, epilepsy, diabetes, Alzheimer’s, brain tumors, lymphoma, fibromyalgia, attention deficit disorder, chronic fatigue, and arthritis.
The good news, though, is that it is possible to avoid chemical taste enhancers. Buy whole foods as much as possible. If you do buy processed or packaged foods, be sure to scan the nutrition labels before purchasing—if the ingredients include chemical taste enhancers, then don’t buy them.
Choose Sustainable, Organic Coconut Sugar
We understand that it’s unrealistic for one to eat straight from the farmers market at all times, so that’s why we at Foodie Fuel have created a delicious packaged snack food that’s completely free of chemical taste enhancers. Foodie Fuel Snacks contain USDA certified organic, certified non-GMO, vegan extracts that are 100 percent derived from foods, herbs, and aromatic fragrances.
Foodie Fuel Snacks are sweetened with coconut sugar—a smart substitute to artificial sweeteners and regular sugar for so many reasons. Not only does coconut sugar contain nine vitamins, 13 minerals, and 16 amino acids, the coconut sugar we source to produce Foodie Fuel Snacks is also organic, non-GMO, and sustainable. Every shipment Foodie Fuel purchases is third-party tested by our supplier guaranteeing that our certified organic coconut sugar is pure.
Environmentally and socially friendly, the coconut palm tree produces a whopping 50 to 75 percent more sugar than cane sugar using just 20 percent of the resources required by cane sugar. Plus, most cane sugar, unless it’s organic, has been heavily sprayed with chemicals, is overly processed, and is void of nutrients. Genetically engineered sugar beets source most sugar on the market today.
The reason that coconut sugar is better for your body than chemical taste enhancers and artificial sweeteners is because it’s 70 to 79 percent sucrose and is only 35 on the glycemic index. This means that coconut sugar gets metabolized slowly through the bloodstream and it doesn’t spike blood sugar and insulin levels the way that table sugar does.
In Good Taste
I’ll leave you with this: choose your foods wisely. To me, “wisely” means consciously—when it comes to your food labels (if they have one) and to your food’s sustainability factors.
Avoid chemical taste enhancers at all costs, especially if you have a serious disease, such as those mentioned above. Your body will thank you, and you will live well knowing that you’ve taken all the steps necessary to foster good health and optimal wellbeing.
Be well, my friends,
Nutritionist, co-founder, and formulator of Foodie Fuel Snacks