Борьба с умами: вреден ли глутамат натрия?

Пищевая промышленность ежегодно использует более двух миллионов тонн глутамата натрия. Миллионы тонн! Нужно ли нам начинать бояться глутамата или все не так страшно? Давайте по порядку.

Что такое глутамат натрия?

Глутамат натрия — это мононатриевая соль глутаминовой кислоты, которая может как образовываться естественным путём, так и быть синтезирована. Глутаминовая кислота входит в состав белка, то есть содержится в любой белковой еде — в мясе, яйцах, молоке, бобовых и т.д. Если в продукте есть натрий, то глутаминовая кислота вместе с ним и образует тот самый глутамат натрия. Он есть в томатах, сырах, мясе, треске и многих других, вполне привычных нам продуктах.

Синтетический глутамат получают из бактерий и соединяют с солями натрия. Получается добавка Е621 — белый порошок, который добавляют в еду для усиления вкуса. В пищевую промышленность его ввёл Кикунаэ Икэда, который писал: «Внимательный дегустатор найдёт нечто общее между вкусами помидора, сыра и мяса. Тонкий своеобразный вкус, который нельзя отнести ни к одной из существующих вкусовых категорий. Он довольно слабый и затмевается другими, более сильными, а потому распознать его не так просто». Именно этот вкус сейчас называется умами, или пятый вкус.

Куда добавляют глутамат натрия?

Sodium-glutamate1

Было бы неправильно говорить, что глутамат натрия улучшает вкус любой еды. Он усиливает вкус умами в тех продуктах, где уже присутствует натуральный глутамат. Например, натуральный глутамат есть и в сое, и в мясе. Поэтому в соевое мясо могут добавлять глутамат, чтобы соя стала более «мясной». Рекордсмен по дозе глутамата натрия — чипсы с различными мясными и сырными вкусами. Надо сказать, что они действительно вредны, но глутамат здесь играет далеко не первую роль.

Так как глутамат натрия не способен перебивать вкусы и запахи, но его нельзя использовать для «маскировки» протухшей или прокисшей еды, он просто неспособен справиться с этой задачей. Ошибкой также было бы считать, что чем больше положить в еду глутамата, тем вкуснее она будет. Для достижения нужного вкуса требуется не более пяти грамм на килограмм продукта, да и это предел. Если же производитель хочет сделать вкус ещё сильнее, то использует для этого инозинат и гуанилат, которые действуют на глутаматные рецепторы языка.

Всё это значит, что в день мы можем съесть где-то до 10 граммов глутамата. Предельной суточной нормы употребления при этом не существует, комитет ВОЗ по пищевым добавкам решил, что она не нужна, сочтя глутамат натрия нетоксичным.

Вызывает ли глутамат натрия зависимость?

Sodium glutamate2

В медицинском понимании — нет. У глутамата нет свойства попадать из кишечника в кровь и вместе с ней поступать в мозг, воздействуя на него. Но существует привязанность людей к ярким вкусам, которые им нравятся. Это довольно широкая проблема, и решается она умением человека составлять разнообразное меню, не зацикливаясь на одном продукте.

Кроме этого, есть версия, что особую привязанность к глутамату чувствуют люди, которым не хватает белка. Парадокс: если вас безудержно тянет на чипсы, возможно, вам стоит почаще есть стейки.

Вызывает ли глутамат аллергию?

Существуют эксперименты, в ходе которых учёные пришли к выводу, что аллергические симптомы могут проявляться при употреблении глутамата в очень больших дозах, более 5–10 граммов за раз. Участники эксперимента съедали по 5 грамм глутамата в виде порошка и действительно жаловались на странные ощущения. Жалобы, впрочем, были достаточно разнообразны и даже противоречивы.

А слепоту, ожирение и рак?

Кроме этого, проводились исследования, в ходе которых крысам вводили глутамат подкожно, после чего они растолстели в два с половиной раза и ослепли. Спустя время это исследование не раз подвергалось критике, и было проведено повторно, только в этот раз крысам давали глутамат вместе с едой. На этот раз у грызунов не возникло ни ожирения, ни слепоты.

Никаких опубликованных исследований, которые доказывали бы связь употребления в пищу глутамата и развития рака, пока не существует.

Вместо вывода

Глутамат натрия — не страшная «химия», которая убивает всё живое.  Но его часто кладут в неполезные продукты, так как иначе они были просто безвкусными. Конечно, не стоит каждый день питаться лапшой быстрого приготовления. Но не потому, что там есть глутамат натрия, а потому, что такой рацион сам по себе далёк от здорового сбалансированного питания.

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