Learn More about Monosodium Glutamate or MSG
Not many of us know about the popular MSG in detail and so, through this blog, I have decided to let you learn more about monosodium glutamate or MSG. All we usually hear about monosodium glutamate is that it’s an excellent addition in foods. But, if you learn more about monosodium glutamate or MSG, you will discover this food additive has its own pros and cons. So, if you are game for a good dose of MSG truths, read on to learn more about monosodium glutamate or MSG …
About monosodium glutamate or MSG
Monosodium glutamate is a popular addition in foods because of its flavor enhancing properties. Discovered by the Japanese Ajinomoto Corporation in 1909, MSG is a white colored powder that quickly dissolves in saliva or water. This flavor enhancer comes at a cheap price and that’s what makes it all the more popular. MSG features brightly in the Asian cuisines. Called “umami” by the Japanese and “savory” by the Americans, the MSG is considered by many as the fifth taste after salty, sweet, bitter and sour. MSG is manufactured by bacterially fermenting sugar (e.g. sugar beets, molasses or sugar cane) and starch. The worldwide trade names of MSG are Vetsin, Accent and Ajinomoto.
Foods containing MSG
As you already know and as I have already said, MSG is a flavor enhancer and so, you can well guess that with its current popularity, the additive now features in a wide range of cuisines and different kinds of foods. Initially, it was the Chinese and the Japanese people who used the MSG in their cuisine before it also became popular in the western countries and the rest of Asia. Today, the fast foods rely heavily on MSG. So, your favorite fried chicken and sausages and even your most favored dipping sauces and ranch dressings can contain MSG. What’s more? MSG has also struck up a strong friendship with convenience foods like frozen dinners, processed meats, canned soups, flavored pasta and noodles and breaded items. The spices and sauces too have joined the group and thus, a generous dose of MSG can also be found in flavor mixtures, seasoning mixes, bouillon cubes and all sorts of sauces.
Health concerns relating to MSG consumption
Now that you are still reading on to learn more about monosodium glutamate or MSG, let me also discuss the health risks associated with this “international favorite”! While it’s always good to know that MSG makes food taste yummier, the case is also that all MSG truths may not be to our liking. People who have sensitive digestive systems have been reported to have suffered from adverse effects due to MSG consumption. These included discomforts like flushing, nausea, chest pain, breathing problems, headache, facial tightness, sweating, weakness, heart palpitations and so on. The side effects caused by MSG vary from individual to individual. The MSG caused effects are often collectively called Chinese Food Syndrome or MSG symptom complex. Studies have revealed that prolonged consumption of MSG can lead to asthma, obesity, brain cell damage, neurological disorders, Alzheimer's disease and in rare cases, even temporary paralysis of mouth.
If you think you are allergic to MSG or you have a sensitive digestive system, then, always check the label of the food products before purchasing them. You can easily avoid foods which are labeled with MSG. Even while dining in restaurants, you can always ask if the foods you are to order will be prepared with MSG. In case it’s a ‘yes’, you can always request them to cut that ingredient out. After all, health comes before taste!