Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Are Bragg’s Liquid Aminos Really Healthy?

More than once someone has recommended Bragg’s liquid aminos as a healthy alternative to soy sauce. Being thorough and just a little obsessive about what I eat, anything new gets researched and so did Bragg’s.

It started with the simplest option, a good old google search which resulted in the manufacturer’s website for nutrition facts, then a few sites selling Bragg’s products. And  just few links down things got a little ugly and the questions started. Does it have MSG? Apparently it does. Is it low sodium? Definitely NOT. Is it a good source of proteins? That’s questionable.

MSG or monosodium glutamate is a flavor enhancer most of us are familiar with. It’s use or value is a highly charged issue which I will not go into here. Some people have an intolerance for MSG, but used in moderation most people are not affected by it. MSG is found in many foods, especially processed foods and condiments like tamari sauce and soy sauce.

Bragg’s liquid aminos had originally been labeled as having no MSG, but the FDA required Bragg’s change the labeling. There is no MSG added to this product, but contains MSG because of the way it is manufactured. For an explanation check out the following link:

A quick look at the nutrition facts on a bottle of Bragg’s might make it look low sodium but there’s a little misdirection going on there. The serving size listed is just one-half of a teaspoon and it contains 160 mg. of sodium, which is 960 mg. per tablespoon or about 40% of recommended daily value of sodium. Compare that to Kikkoman regular soy sauce at about 920 mg. of sodium per tablespoon or lower sodium soy sauce at 575 mg. sodium per tablespoon. This same tablespoon of Bragg’s yields 1860 mg. of protein, but that’s only 3% of the daily recommended protein intake for a 180 pound adult. You can get more protein from one ounce of black beans or one-fifth of an ounce of chicken, neither of which will load you up on sodium.

Is Bragg’s a healthy alternative to soy sauce? It doesn’t seem to be. It tastes similar to soy sauce, but for me lower sodium soy sauce provides the flavor I’m looking for with about 40% less sodium. The very small advantage Bragg’s has with it’s protein content can be overcome with an extra nibble of chicken or mouthful of beans.

For another opinion on Bragg’s check out:

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