Vegemite in Australia
-not applicable to those who know they don’t tolerate vegemite, you guys can scroll on!
Vegemite lovers grab a coffee and some vegemite toast and have a seat!
I don’t eat or like vegemite- I think there are better tasting yeast spreads out there.
But I chose vegemite for this post cause it’s so Australian!
Yeah I’m doing it, a post on Vegemite, you have probably never seen vegemite through the eyes of a skeptic. Its food for thought. You don’t have to take all your favourite foods out to be healthy. Especially since they may make no meaningful difference.
I’m not going to go as far as saying it’s a health food.
Do you ever feel like you read posts on health/natural Facebook pages and websites and feel like they are not quite telling you the whole truth? Although you may take what is being said at face value. People tell you what they think you want to hear, people tell you because they read it somewhere, kind of like Australian vegemite whispers- or perhaps they didn’t really research it properly as they should have to bring you the whole truth?
-Bottom line is-
If it causes you no ill effect and you like it, eat it. That’s it. A 5g serve of vegemite is not going to be something I am going to lose sleep over. What you should focus on is what you should be eating more of, like lots of vegetables!
Do you avoid a food just because someone said how “bad” it is??
Always try to think of any foods you eat if they will have a REAL LIFE effect, meaning if you are already eating vegemite and you are ok then it is likely this food is ok for you. (Vegemite is not gluten free) You only have a very small amount regardless.
If you react to it, don’t eat it. If you like it and don’t want to stop eating it then don’t. I think there are way more important things to worry about in your diet than a small component of it, like vegemite.
When people report some of the ingredients they are only reporting the effects at high doses, which you would never be consuming in a 5 g serve, so why bother pointing it out? To scare you of course, if there is something in your food that has been proven safe at the dose in which it is meant, for that specific product, then it is deemed safe (more the majority of the population).
Yeast Extract (from Yeast Grown on Barley), Salt, Mineral Salt (508), Malt Extract (From Barley), Colour (150c), Flavours, Niacin, Thiamine, Riboflavin, Folate.
In vegemite there is 1431 mg/100g- (72mg per 5g serve) – this is 0.072 of a gram of free glutamates- this is a small amount of glutamates.
Let’s be clear, yeast extract is NOT MSG, just because someone said it is, it doesn’t make it true. Many people have claimed that certain food ingredients, such as autolyzed yeast and hydrolyzed protein, are MSG in disguise. They are not. Autolyzed yeast and hydrolyzed proteins, among other ingredients, are completely natural ingredients that happen to be have substantial amounts of glutamates, but nowhere near the concentration found in MSG. Autolyzed yeast (containing the cell walls) or autolyzed yeast extract consists of concentrations of yeast cells that are allowed to die and break up, so that the yeasts’ endogenous digestive enzymes break their proteins down into simpler compounds (amino acids and peptides). You find this in products like vegemite.
Nori (seaweed) =1378mg/100g
A 2006 consensus statement of a group of German experts drawing from animal studies was that a daily intake of glutamic acid of 6 grams per kilogram of body weight (6 g/kg/day) is safe. From human studies, the experts noted that doses as high as 147 g/day produced no adverse effects in males when given for 30 days; in a 70 kg male that corresponds to 2.1 g per kg of body weight. Total intake of glutamate from food in European countries is generally stable and ranged from 5 to 12 g/day.
Someone who may have trouble metabolising glutamates may have GAD deficiency. Glutamate decarboxylase or glutamic acid decarboxylase (GAD) is an enzyme that catalyzes the decarboxylation of glutamate to GABA, so instead of forming calming GABA the glutamates hang around and excite the cells instead, party time!
E508- Potassium chloride
This will be reported as; “Associated with gastric ulcers, circulatory collapse, nausea, liver toxicity” E508 is used as a gelling agent, a stabiliser, thickener, flavour enhancer.
Yes, in high doses that you will not be consuming!
Potassium chloride is extensively used as a potassium supplement, both by physicians as a therapeutic modality and by the general public, mostly in the form of salt substitute.
Remember that salt is SODIUM CHLORIDE and most people are having that.
There is 173 mg sodium per serve (5g) in vegemite.
It is high in sodium so I will caution with this one. But remember the serving size is small so keep it in context. The upper limit for sodium for a 1-3 year old is 1,000 mg/day going right up to 2300 mg/day for adults. The upper limit is based on population studies showing low levels of hypertension (less than 2%) and no other observed adverse effects in communities with intakes below this level. The UL was also based on experimental studies. The AI (Adequate Intake) is a value based on observed or experimentally determined approximations of nutrient intake by a group (or groups) of healthy people—used when an RDA cannot be determined.
THE AI FOR SODIUM IS 200–400 MG/DAY FOR A 1-3 YEAR OLD AND UP TO 460-920 MG/DAY FOR AN ADULT.
LD50 = 3020 mg/Kg for potassium chloride- table salt is 3000 mg/kg
-The "LD50" is the dose of a substance that will kill a selected species of experimental animal 50% of the time.
Caffeine (coffee, tea, cocoa) LD50 of 200mg/kg
Nicotine (smokes) LD of 50mg/kg
Sodium Chloride (table salt)- LD of 3000mg/kg
Ethanol (alcohol) LD of 7000mg/kg
Caffeine is more “toxic” than E508! And just as “toxic” as sodium chloride (salt)
The colour (150c)
This is what is reported;
“Is thought to be genetically modified is prepared from ammonia compounds is linked to gastrointestinal and liver problems”
Does VEGEMITE contain genetically modified ingredients?
A. VEGEMITE, as well as all our products, does not contain genetically modified material. We only use food ingredients that meet our strict criteria of safety and quality conform to all relevant legal requirements and importantly, respond to the preferences of our customers and consumers.
What this caramel 150c is as confirmed by vegemite;
Caramel colour is typically produced from the heat treatment of carbohydrates or sugars. The colour (150c) used in Vegemite is a natural caramel food colour and is derived from maize. Vegemite state “ no artificial colors or flavors”
Usually people say the flavors are made up of 48 chemicals including solvents and diactyls but this is not confirmed for this product, and since vegemite do not disclose this info you don’t know- you are only guessing. Vegemite say “no artificial flavors”, so what is the opposite of artificial?
I rang vegemite to discuss what the flavours were and they were not allowed to disclose it due to its secret recipe! Lol They also could not disclose the % of flavors nor the company in which they source their added vitamins from, and the form the vitamins came in. So that’s a bit of a bummer. I did find on vegemite history pages that celery and onion extracts were used, but I cannot confirm that this is the “flavor” used now. Vegemite claim “no artificial flavors” so it may well be still be onion and celery extracts. I don’t know and neither does anyone else except maybe the boss!
Added Vitamins-To add; Conversion efficiency in some people may differ due to genetic variances.
One of my questions I had for vegemite when I spoke to them was are the vitamins naturally occurring or are they added? I can confirm they are added. There is Thiamine (B1) Riboflavin (B2) Niacin (B3) and Folate (B9) So people thereby say;
“Oh they are synthetic vitamins and your body doesn’t use them in the same way, they are bad!”
I always think bananas in pyjamas when I see B1 and B2, hehe
Data on the bioavailability of thiamin from food are very limited.
About 80% of thiamin in the adult human body is in the form of thiamin diphosphate (TDP; also known as thiamin pyrophosphate), the main metabolically active form of thiamin.
Most dietary thiamin is in phosphorylated forms, and intestinal phosphatases hydrolyze them to free thiamin before the vitamin is absorbed. The remaining dietary thiamin is in free (absorbable) form. The most commonly used forms of thiamin in supplements are thiamin mononitrate and thiamin hydrochloride.
One study concluded that “high blood levels of thiamine can be achieved rapidly with oral thiamine hydrochloride. Thiamine is absorbed by both an active and unsaturable passive transport mechanism up to 1500 mg.”
Riboflavin must be converted to its active form – riboflavin 5'-phospate or Flavin mononucleotide (FMN) – in order for it to be utilized by the body. Supplemental riboflavin is found in the free form or riboflavin 5'-phosphate (FMN)
Most of the riboflavin in our foods occurs as the nucleotides FAD/FADH2 and FMN/FMNH2 in a complex of food protein. This is released as free riboflavin by digestive enzymes in the small intestine and absorbed into the bloodstream. The bioavailability of riboflavin is high, probably about 95%
“Niacin in mature cereal grains is largely bound and thus is only about 30 percent available; alkali treatment of the grain increases the percentage absorbed (Carpenter and Lewin, 1985; Carter and Carpenter, 1982). Niacin in the coenzyme nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide/nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide phosphate (NAD/NADP) form in meats appears to be much more available. NIACIN ADDED DURING ENRICHMENT OR FORTIFICATION IS IN THE FREE FORM AND THUS HIGHLY AVAILABLE”
“The bioavailability of folate ranges from about 100 percent for folic acid supplements taken on an empty stomach to about 50 percent for food folate”
“When consumed under fasting conditions, supplements of folic acid are nearly 100 percent bioavailable (Gregory, 1997). Daly and coworkers (1997) reported incremental increases in erythrocyte folate in response to graded doses of folic acid, which provides evidence for the high bioavailability of supplemental folate.”
So even IF synthetic vitamins were less absorbable it doesn’t mean they are bad for you. Of course it doesn’t mean relying on supplements in lieu of a good dietJ I am pretty sure no one is going to be relying on vegemite for their vitamin intake. Although in saying that certain groups of people (alcoholics) and people with very poor diets this may be a valuable source of vitamins for them.
Malt extract-from barley
Malt is germinated cereal grains that have been dried in a process known as "malting". The grains are made to germinate by soaking in water, and are then halted from germinating further by drying with hot air. Not much to report here. Does contain gluten.
Today I wanted to talk about additives, we always see everyone avoiding them at all cost. What are E numbers? What do they do? Are they safe? I think hearing about the other side of additives is interesting, hope you find it interesting also.
Whatever additives you are wanting to avoid, do you know the reason why you are avoiding it? Some people avoid because they react to specific additives, this is a good reason to avoid right? Yep. Because the food with the additives may not be that nutritious? Yep.
Then there are people avoiding them because they just think they should be, because other are, because pages they follow say they should. These are the pages that will pick a product and then point out all the E numbers and then continue to scare you by how “bad” they are. In reality they are not bad in the dose that you would consume. You also get a dose of guilt, food shaming or making you feel like a bad parent. I hate this. I know these peeps mean well, but it’s not really telling you the whole story.
What is actually going on is a mixture of; thinking they are doing the right thing by you, not understanding E numbers or toxicology or anything like that. Might I add the additive webpages don’t always have it right, where do you think they get THEIR info from? They will only tell you a worst case scenario, not what happens to the average bearJ
or they just THINK they understand, or there is plain old scaremongering and exaggeration. You see this all the time, yeah…I mean when you really look at pages and are looking for it you see it more. Many people are even making lots of money telling you all the things you shouldn’t eat. People don’t always want to know all the things they shouldn’t eat they want to know, “well, what the hell CAN I eat?”
I would like to add I was one of these pages, in honesty I didn’t know better, I actually thought I was helping people, in reality I didn’t really research it at all, I looked up an additive website, presented what they said and took that as fact without context of a real life situation. That’s not to say there are not exceptions as there are people who do not tolerate some additives-this isn’t about those people. Just like with any food there is always someone who cannot have it. Doesn’t mean it’s a bad thing, it’s just a bad thing for you.
What is being presented to you is what happens at doses that will never be consuming, animals studies (not so bad) I know I sound like a broken record, but the poison is in the dose, if you are not consuming it is toxic amount then it is deemed harmless, like salt, caffeine, zinc, iron, vitamin A…water….this is what some people are not grasping the concept of.
Well, let's start with a short explanation of what E numbers are. E stands for Europe, and the E number code relates to a set of EU rules about which foods can contain them and how much you should be able to consume in a day.
The European Union legislation defines them as " any substance not normally consumed as a food in itself and not normally used as a characteristic ingredient of food, whether or not it has nutritive value, the intentional addition of which to food for a technological purpose in the manufacture, processing, preparation, treatment, packaging, transport or storage of such food results, or may be reasonably expected to result, in it or its by-products becoming directly or indirectly a component of such foods."
Food additives have been developed over the years to meet the needs of food production, as making foods on a large scale is a very different task to making them in the kitchen at home. Additives are needed to ensure processed food remains in a good condition throughout its journey from the factory to the shop and to the consumer at home.
Preservatives are especially important. Microbial spoilage results in high levels of waste as food is transported from the farm to the table –Without preservatives the rates of food poisoning would be much higher. Food preservation also saves money for consumers – less is wasted because it has spoiled or gone stale. If there are no preservatives in your food what method of “preservation” is there? Salting, sugar, vinegar, drying-these are all methods of preservation. Same thing with “nitrate” free ham, what is preserving it then? These foods are at a high risk for contamination. So they use celery salt because its “natural” it’s naturally full of nitrates which during the curing process form nitrites and its derivative sodium nitrite. Chemically it is the same thing weather it sodium nitrate made in a lab or naturally occurring, and you usually are paying more for “nitrate free” bacon/ham. If they used nothing your smallgoods would be a yukky grey colour and would probably put most people off. I have made my own bacon before and can confirm its colour! If your bacon/ham is not grey there are preservatives in there of some kind. Doesn’t mean it’s a bad thing, better than food poisoning.
Take for example the nitrate free bacon ($34.99kg) from “the free range butcher”
Companies starting making nitrate free small goods due to consumer demand which was based on old studies and myths.
Ingredients of their nitrate free bacon;
Fresh pork, Mineral salts (451) Sugar-Dextrose (Tapioca or Maize) Antioxidant (316)
E451 are triphosphates which are salts of sodium/potassium with phosphates. All are produced synthetically from the respective carbonates and phosphoric acid.
E316 is Sodium erythorbate which is the sodium salt of erythorbic acid, a synthetic isomer of vitamin C (but with only 1/20 of the vitamin activity).
Preservatives, antioxidants and stabilisers all play a role by keeping food in good condition until they are eaten. This reduces waste. We the consumers have partly to lay blame for the additives, we are fussy things, we want food to come from far and wide, we want food to be safe for consumption without getting sick, we want the ingredients evenly distributed, we want creamy mouth feel foods, we want our food to be an appealing color, we want ice cream ready to scoop from the freezer, we want food all year round, we want our food to stay crisp etc etc… in other words we want many things, and they delivered.
Humans have always found ways to preserve their food to stop it spoiling before it can be eaten. Many of the bacteria and moulds that grow on food can be dangerous. Salmonella, listeria and botulism are familiar forms of food poisoning caused by bacteria.
How is the safety of food additives evaluated?
EFSA assesses the safety of the food additives. The substances are evaluated based on a dossier, usually provided by an applicant (normally the producer or a potential user of the food additive). This dossier must contain the chemical identifications of the additive, its manufacturing process, methods of analyses and reaction and fate in food, the case of need, the proposed uses and toxicological data.
The toxicological data must contain information on metabolism, sub-chronic and chronic toxicity, carcinogenicity; genotoxicity, reproduction and developmental toxicity and, if required, other studies.
Based on this data, EFSA determines the level below which the intake of the substance can be considered safe – the so-called Acceptable Daily Intake (ADI). At the same time, EFSA also estimates, based on the proposed uses in the different foodstuffs requested, whether this ADI can be exceeded.
In case the ADI will not be exceeded, the use of the food additive is considered safe.
What are the conditions to authorise food additives?
Thanks to strict regulation and thorough testing, food additives are safe elements of our diet. Importantly, clear labelling adds to consumers' ability to make informed choices about the food and beverages they eat and drink.
Bottom line is;
Many of us avoid additives because sometimes (not always) it’s a food that is almost not really a food anymore and it’s of little nutritional benefit. If there are additives in there, what is the purpose? As in what does this additive do? They have all been deemed as safe as stated above, very strict guidelines have to be met. (Aside from a minority group of people that make react to certain additives)
If something really does what all the alarming website/health bloggers tells you, how is it that the companies are not being sued, complaints, people getting sick, then no one would buy the product, not good for the company. It is in their best interest to make sure they use additives that are proven to be safe at the doses that are used in each specific product.
You do not need to worry about additives at all if you stick to fresh foods, generally this is meat, veg, fruit, nuts/seeds, eggs etc.