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People nowadays go to a lot of trouble to eat food with “no MSG added”.

MSG is monosodium glutamate. MSG enhances the taste and flavor of savory foods, by itself, and in combination with some other food ingredients.

MSG is the sodium salt of glutamic acid, which is a naturally occurring amino acid. The human body produces glutamic acid, and most natural foods, like meats, dairy, vegetables, grain, and fruit, also have it.

Glutamates are not harmful at all unless they cross the blood-brain barrier. When they do, they may result in excessive stimulation of nerve cells.

The reality is that there is no evidence whatsoever that MSG is harmful in the amounts that are typically added in food. It takes quite a lot of MSG to cause brain stimulation effects (excitotoxicity).

There is also no evidence that long term consumption causes any damage.

MSG is glutamate, a class of substances that are abundantly found in natural foods anyway. They are not at all harmful unless consumed in excess, which is unusual.

Glutamates make savory food tasty. In India, added MSG is one of the reasons for the popularity of “Chinese” food. That chicken manchurian or paneer chilly you ordered last night is so tasty, partly because of Umami taste made possible by the added MSG.

In countries like Japan and Korea, the average consumption of MSG is a high 1.5 grams per day. And both countries are known for healthy people who live long. 

At foodnetindia, we see no reason for people to insist on “no added MSG” in food. Please go ahead and enjoy the Umami brought about by MSG. It is unlikely that you will add too much of it. A gram or so is quite harmless for most people.

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