Aromat, one seasoning that can make anything taste good. From scrambled eggs, roasted maize to boiled beans. But what exactly is Aromat? Have you ever stopped and wondered, why food just “doesn’t taste the same” without it? Aromat is a good “crutch” for our taste buds, I know I used it for a long while to prepare what I considered as delicious meals. But what is Aromat really? Is it healthy for me?
What is Aromat?
Aromat is a food flavour enhancer. It gives food that added extra yumminess. To put it frankly Aromat is nothing more than yellow MSG with a lot salt and a little garlic.
Aromat manufactures are completely honest, they do not try to hide or sell their product by giving it any nutritional index. Why? Because the nutritional value is minimum due to the key ingredients used to make this product.
Next time you are at a supermarket and shopping just pick a box or container of Aromat and turn it around to see what ingredients are used. Now an important thing to note is that manufactures usually label ingredients from highest content to lowest content. The fact that MSG (monosodium glutamate) is third in this ranking list is a little unnerving to say the least.
Zoom in on the ingredients
Aromat is made from the following ingredients:
- Maize Flour
- Monosodium Glutamate
- Yeast Extract
- Anti- caking agent (E551)
- Flavour enhancers ( E631, E627)
- Soya lecithin
Looking at these ingredients you might think, hey that’s not so bad. But do remember that these are ranked from highest content to lowest content. So let me break down the unusual ingredients for you.
MSG / Monosodium Glutamate
This is the sodium salt of glutamic acid, it has an E number 621 (Be careful with E numbers and ensure that you read the information regarding a specific E number on a product, some E numbers are made from foods found in nature such as peppers while others are artificially created in labs). MSG on its own has no taste until combined with something savoury. It then works as a flavour enhancer to that. Giving your mouth the sensation that scientists have coined umami, your tongue is tricked into believing that its eating something delicious. The approved amount of MSG for daily consumption is a very small quantity of less than a gram. Symptoms associated with overconsumption of MSG include chest pain, nausea, weakness, numbness and heart palpitations.
MSG is also known as a excitotoxin- this basically means that it interferes with the functioning of the endocrine system resulting in the body not being able to monitor itself. The appetite is over excited, resulting in people not wanting to stop eating even though they are satisfied. And you wonder why the obesity pandemic just keeps on reaching new heights.
Yeast extract is a form of processed yeast used as an additive for flavour enhancement. It is sometimes referred to as a hidden source of MSG as it contains some glutamate.
Yet another type of additive used to improve the flavour of food. There are flavourants made from natural ingredients but the trick here is that most companies do not specify whether the flavourants used are natural or artificial and what ingredients are used to create these flavourants. Exposure to artificial flavourants, over time, has been known to cause headaches, nausea, dizziness hyperactivity and various allergic reactions depending on ingredients used and what an individual is sensitive to.
This is an anti-oxidant, with the scientific name tertiary butlyhydroquinone, used to increase the shelf life of any product. Anti oxidants are good for you in general but this is true only in the form of naturally occurring anti-oxidants found in fruits and vegetables, ruling this one out. TBHQ oxidises and forms tert-butylquione, which puts the liver under strain. According to http://bit.ly/1oq6hVw 1 gram of TBHQ can cause symptoms ranging from nausea to collapsing while 5 grams can be fatal. The FDA has a approved a limit of 0.02%, to be added to meals. It seems small enough, but why would you want to expose your body to an ingredient that has the potential to harm you?
Anti caking agent E 551
Also know as silicone dioxide, it is used to prevent products from forming lumps and for easy packaging, transporting and consumption of product.
Flavour Enhancer E631/627
Scientifically known as Disodium Inosinate and Disodium Guanylate. These are salty additives. They are known to cause an itchy rash for people who are allergic. It is also recommended that people who suffer from asthma avoid these flavour enhancers.
Soya Lecithin E322
Used as an emulsifier to keep ingredients in a product together. Commercial soya lecithin is extracted from the soya bean using hexane ( hexane in large quantities is toxic to the nervous system). Over exposure to hexane has been known to lower an individuals blood pressure this can result in dizziness and fainting. People with soya allergies might also want to avoid soya lecithin.
The garlic in a Aromat is a very good thing, but since its at the bottom of the ingredients, it is overshadowed by all the other ingredients. Well there you have it, all you need to know about Aromat. Aromat will always be alluring and make your food taste a tad bit better. But the question you should be asking yourself, is it worth it, risking your health for your taste buds?