Is Bragg’s Liquid Aminos a healthy version of soy sauce? The label boasts a wide range of amino acids, that must be a good thing, right??
I’ve personally never been a fan of Bragg’s. After countless clients asking me exactly why I felt this way, I put my head down and researched. As a Holistic Nutritionist, this is what I do; spend hours pouring through nutritional books and googling online. Then I pull everything I find into something that you, the health-conscious reader, can understand.
Here’s what I found so far:
Bragg’s Liquid Aminos
This certified, non-GMO liquid protein concentrate is made from soybeans and contains both essential and non-essential amino acids. This product is not made with any added salt. Bragg’s is becoming more popular by those who want an alternative to soy sauce.
Bragg’s is alcohol-free, un-fermented, and wheat-free. A lot of people like this stuff, especially those who need to reduce salt in their diet or someone on a Candida Cleanse like The Body Ecology Diet (B.E.D)*, where it’s recommended to avoid anything fermented for the initial three months on this special diet.
Recently, Bragg’s has come under scrutiny with people asking questions like “is MSG a byproduct of Bragg’s manufacturing process?”, “why is Bragg’s salty but the label says it doesn’t have salt?”, or “why don’t I feel good after using Bragg’s?”.
How it’s made
Bragg’s hasn’t revealed the process which they make Liquid Aminos, yet Griselda Blazey made it her business to find out. Blazey has a B.S. in biology, an M.S. in biochemistry, a post-doctorate in endocrinology, and teaches cell physiology/nutrition at Life Chiropractic College West. She believes that Liquid Aminos are made with the following process:
“Soybeans are treated with hydrochloric acid to create free amino acids. Any remaining acid is neutralized with sodium bicarbonate This creates sodium chloride. Which produces a salty taste. This modern bio-reactor method produces a product by rapid hydrolysis. Rather than complete fermentation. This process takes just 2 days. It uses an enzyme called glutamase as a reactor. This means that the final product contains large amounts of a kind of un-natural glutamic acid found in monosodium glutamate (MSG).”
Problems with MSG
Monosodium glutamate (MSG) is addictive and a brain stimulant that can cause a variety of issues (i.e. rapid heartbeat, tingling, depression, chest pain). Asthma too. As a life-long asthmatic, I have learned this one the hard way. When I eat food with MSG, my lungs get tight and my jaw locks up.
MSG is not good for anyone; especially kids under 12 yrs. old because their blood brain barrier isn’t fully developed and MSG can travel up into their brain. This can cause headaches, fatigue, eye damage, and neurological issues. If that child (or adult) has an autism spectrum disorder then the symptoms can be even more intense. Adults can have a thin blood brain barrier too, so watch out for MSG …. it’s sneaky and in a lot of foods that might surprise you (i.e. protein isolate, hydrolyzed vegetable protein, soy extract).
MSG in Bragg’s
Bragg’s used to have a “No-MSG” label on it, but has been removed. Hopefully one day, Braggs will reveal its manufacturing process and explain how Liquid Aminos is salty without containing salt. Until then, Blazey’s chemical explanation appears to be correct in that Bragg’s Liquid Aminos contains MSG.
I continue to recommend wheat-free tamari for those who are gluten-free and Nama Shoyu/traditional soy sauce for those who can eat gluten. Other helpful alternatives might be mock soy sauce or substitute soy sauce.
*Note: Bragg’s isn’t recommended during the initial stage of The Body Ecology Diet (B.E.D). I’m a Holistic Nutritionist and work with individuals ready to use B.E.D to heal a yeast, bacterial, or viral related health issue. I personally followed this way of eating for many years and now lead others step-by-step with individualized support.
Fallon, S. (2001). Nourishing Traditions. Washington, DC: New Trends Publishing, Inc.
Sue, A. (2011). Soy Sauce/Salt Substitutions. Retrieved online at http://nouveauraw.com/special-raw-ingredients/soy-sauce-salt-substitutions/
Pro Liberty (1998). Bragg’s Liquid Aminos. Retrieved online at http://proliberty.com/observer/20091104.html
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May all bellies be happy!