MSG is short for monosodium glutamate. It is a food additive that is commonly used in condiments such as soy sauce and is also a constant flavoring ingredient in Chinese dishes.
The term umami is a Japanese loanword that roughly means “savory” and is the word used to describe the taste of MSG or any dish that is laden with this distinct flavor. The taste is ascribed to the glutamate component of this food additive. The tongue actually has receptors for this specific compound which differentiates umami from the other basic tastes.
In the early years of its production MSG was made by hydrolyzing wheat gluten. A second method used afterwards was direct synthesis of MSG component substances through the use of acrylonitrile, a chemical used in the fiber industry. Today the food additive is made through bacterial fermentation. The glutamate is filtered from the amino acids secreted by the bacteria and then sodium is added at a later stage.
The Superhuman Food Pyramid recommends that you avoid including MSG in your diet. Despite its tempting flavor, there are certain health risks that MSG components can present.
Read on to know about the negative effects of MSG and why it won’t help you Become Superhuman. Continue reading
The complete name is acesulfame potassium, thus, the artificial sweetener is also called acesulfame K or ace K (K being the symbol for potassium). You may have encountered it as the brand names Sweet One or Sunett.
Acesulfame is non-saccharide which means it is neither a form of sugar compound nor a derivative of sucrose. It is in terms of chemical structure a potassium salt. The manufacturing process involves transforming acetoacetic acid and combining it with potassium. Its degree of sweetness is similar to aspartame, around 200 times that of ordinary table sugar.
Just like all the other artificial sweeteners discussed in the Superhuman Food Pyramid, acesulfame suffers the same setbacks of being non-nutritive, is commonly used in empty-calorie commercial food and drinks, and has potential health risks.
Continue reading about the possible negative effects of acesulfame to know why it can’t help you in your quest to Become Superhuman.
Sucralose is another artificial sweetener just like aspartame. The difference is that this particular sugar substitute at least started out as sucrose. After much processing, however, the end product does not really resemble anything found in nature.
To turn a molecule of sucrose into sucralose, three of its hydroxyl groups (hydrogen-oxygen pair) are substituted with chlorine. It’s a complex process which involves regular sugar being treated with a number of chemicals at various stages. Given its actual composition and structure, there is some contention that a more accurate name to call this sweetener would be “trichlorogalactosucrose”.
But of course its current label is easier to market as it sounds like the artificial sweetener is a natural derivative of regular sugar.
Sucralose is measured to be around 600 times sweeter than ordinary sugar and this is perhaps its only positive trait. The Superhuman Food Pyramid categorizes it as something to be avoided because it offers no nutritional value or any other health benefit to the consumer.
Read on to find out what potential risks are associated with sucralose and why it contributes nothing to your quest to Become Superhuman.
Aspartame is an artificial sweetener which is to say that it is not derived from any natural or raw food. It is synthesized and processed completely in a laboratory or a food manufacturing factory. It was invented in 1965 and has since been used widely as a substitute for regular sugar in various commercial food and beverage products.
This sweetener is described as non-nutritive and non-saccharide. That means it contains no nutritional substances and is not some form of sugar compound. It is in fact mostly made up of two particular types of amino acids. The brand “AminoSweet” is a more accurate name for it than the popular “NutraSweet”.
The Superhuman Food Pyramid recommends that you avoid using aspartame. There are far safer and less controversial natural sweeteners available. A food additive that supplies nothing but sweetness won’t help you achieve your goals of Superhuman health.
Besides having no nutritional value whatsoever, aspartame has also been consistently linked to a few negative health effects. Continue reading so you can make a more informed decision about this artificial sweetener.
Agave syrup is derived from the plant’s sap. One specific species of agave commonly sourced is Agave tequilana, the same plant from which the alcoholic beverage tequila is made.
The plant needs to reach a certain maturity, around 7-14 years, before it is ready to be harvested for its sap. The main carbohydrate found in this nectar is called inulin which is a complex sugar (polysaccharide) mostly composed of fructose. To turn the nectar into the sweetener, the complex sugar compounds need to be separated from the other component substances and broken down into simple sugar.
Agave syrup is light colored and less dense than honey. It is used in cooking and baking in much the same way as honey or maple syrup. The fact that it comes from extracted nectar probably makes it easy to misunderstand that agave syrup is a natural sweetener.
Keep reading to know more about what agave syrup really is and its negative effects on your health. Continue reading
Today’s Superhuman Food Pyramid topic is about regular honey and how it can be bad for you. There is a previous article that discussed both the health benefits and risks of raw pollinated honey. It is important to make a distinction between these two broad classes of honey.
Regular honey as used here refers to the commercial kind which is widely distributed in grocery stores. The main difference between raw and regular is that the latter underwent heat treatment or pasteurization. Just like in milk, the purpose is to kill possibly harmful microorganisms and make the honey safer for general consumption.
This process of cleaning up the honey has a trade-off however. It makes the honey far less nutritious and beneficial. The antioxidant and antibacterial properties of raw honey are present because it is mostly left unprocessed.
Read on to find out more about the negative effects of regular honey… Continue reading
High fructose corn syrup (HFCS) is the most frequently used substitute for sugar used in food and beverage products such as breads, cereals, soft drinks and juices. Since the domestic price of sucrose in the United States is higher than in other countries and corn production is subsidized by the government, food manufacturers find it more cost effective to use HFCS as a sweetener.
The process of making high fructose corn syrup starts with corn starch. This is then converted into syrup which is almost completely composed of glucose. Through the action of certain enzymes, some of the glucose is turned into fructose. This stage usually involves fermentation via microorganisms.
There are various levels of fructose concentration that can be achieved. “HFCS 42” for example means that the resulting syrup is 42% fructose with the rest being made up of glucose and water. This can be further processed to come up with HFCS 90.
Just like most highly refined carbohydrates, high fructose corn syrup provides nothing else other than empty calories.
Keep reading to learn about the negative effects of high fructose corn syrup and to understand why the Superhuman Food Pyramid recommends that you avoid it.
Candy is basically sugar dissolved in water and concentrated through boiling. With more heat, more of the water evaporates and the result is generally the hard and brittle types of candies. Soft candies are made in lower temperatures.
In the past candy was used as part of a medicine. It served as the sweet coating that would make an otherwise unpleasant tasting but medicinal herb or spice easier to swallow. As the production of sugar became cheaper and more methods for manufacturing candy were invented and became available, candy and similar products became dessert or snack food on their own.
The Superhuman Food Pyramid recommends that you avoid eating candy as much as possible. Besides providing nothing but empty calories, the sugar and additional ingredients carry certain health risks.
Continue reading about the negative effects of candy and find out why eating such products can only be an obstacle to your goals of achieving Superhuman health. Continue reading
Today’s Superhuman Food Pyramid article and some of the succeeding ones will talk about types of food that should be avoided. Most of them will discuss sweeteners and this first one focuses on the most common of all – processed sugar.
The term, as used here, refers to regular table sugar. But it also includes its other widely available forms such as confectionery, brown sugar, and liquid sugars. The first is the powdered form that is typically used in baking. The second has a little of the molasses content coating the granulated crystals to give it that color. The third is the same processed sugar just dissolved in water and turned into syrup. It is mostly used in the manufacture of sweet snacks and drinks.
Powdered, granulated, liquid, brown or white – they are all just different forms of the same sweet substance that underwent a refining process in order to become pure sucrose. That is the main problem. Processed sugar has really nothing else to offer other than sweetness.
Read on about the negative effects of processed sugar on your health. You’ll understand why consuming it will only hinder your goal to Become Superhuman. Continue reading
Brewer’s yeast is named so because it comes from the same fungus that’s used to ferment and make beer – Saccharomyces cerevisiae.
It is important to understand however that the yeast used for brewing is live while the brewer’s yeast commonly known as a nutritional supplement is deactivated. That means the microorganisms have been killed off through pasteurization or drying but the proteins, vitamins and minerals are still there.
The Superhuman Food Pyramid recommends moderate use of brewer’s yeast because, while it is a good source of nutrients, its very nature carries some possible risks.
Read on to find out the pros and cons of brewer’s yeast and its appropriate use in your quest to Become Superhuman… Continue reading