Many have heard of the flavor enhancer known as monosodium glutamate or MSG. Commonly known as a flavoring in Chinese food, the artificially made MSG is also found in many processed foods. Here's the truth about msg
Health and science experts have been going back and forth for years about the potential harm of MSG. While there is no definitive answer to their debate, certain information leads us to understand a little more about what MSG is and where it stands in our diet.
Glutamic acid is a necessary amino acid that occurs naturally in our body, while monosodium glutamate is the sodium salt component of that acid. This is not what lies in question. The crux of the MSG argument revolves around the synthetically produced versions of MSG that come from fermenting starch, sugar cane, sugar beets, and molasses.
According to the FDA, the first person to patent and produce MSG was Kikunae Ikeda, a Japanese professor that extracted the naturally occurring glutamate from seaweed broth in 1908. It leads one to taste a savory flavor, which is why MSG is found in many processed foods today. In a way, MSG tricks your taste buds into thinking that you are ingesting high-protein foods.
So far, there hasn’t been substantial evidence to say that MSG is linked to certain health problems. However, there have been instances of sensitivity to the ingredient that lead headache, nausea, sweating, tightness of face or chest, and flushing. This also has not been directly linked to MSG, but researchers continue to study the effects of this widely used ingredient such as obesity and weight gain.
If you are trying to reduce your MSG intake, be wary of labeling. The FDA requires manufacturers to include “monosodium glutamate” on their list of ingredients, but since some ingredients naturally contain MSG, the FDA does not require them to list MSG since it is secondary to the primary ingredient.
Here are a few ingredients that contain MSG that you can keep an eye out for:
hydrolyzed vegetable protein or yeast