MSG surely gave cuisine a new perspective and took the culinary arts by storm. It became a sure ingredient in many platers. Soon with turning heads, many questions started rising. Debates about MSG being harmful became the talk of the town. It stirred unease, not only amongst Cordon Bleus but also the foodies.
So here we are, ready to calm down your nerves and give you actual insight if MSG is yea or Nah! Or if MSG is bad for you? Let’s read to know more.
What is MSG used for?
Before diving into the pros and Cons, we must know all about it and most importantly what is Monosodium glutamate used for?
Well, In simple, MSG is a name for monosodium glutamate. It is found naturally in many ingredients and can be obtained synthetically too. Also,it can be used as a “substitute” for salt and is used in many dishes for its distinctive taste.
The word “Substitute” is a careful choice here because many cooks all over the world are using different saltish ingredients to replace normal salt. This way they ensure healthier and tastier food.
Also, MSG is a great seasoning ingredient and gives an irresistibly savory taste to foods. As it contains less amount of Sodium than traditional salt, it seemed rather a wise choice to use it in food items.
Is Monosodium glutamate bad for you?
MSG is inevitable in many dishes. It has commercial value. Many common food items like ketchup or mayo use it as a taste enhancer. However, it is also present naturally in many food items.
As it contains less amount of Sodium so people who ought to go sodium-free, would prefer MSG. The FDA, the food regulatory authority in the USA, has also approved MSG as a “safe” ingredient to consume in edibles.
But where does the problem begin? Why suddenly so “loved” MSG is not so good for you?
Well, MSG is a most powerful substitute for normal salt but many people found themselves allergic to it. Some studies show MSG is a harmful product and must not be used in food items.
In research, MSG was found to cause obesity, and brain and heart problems. According to studies, it also has adverse effects on the reproductive system and causes insulin intolerance in individuals.
There is also a syndrome called Chinese food syndrome in which blisters can appear on the face and arms after the consumption of MSG. So there is a lot to advocate for why Monosodium glutamate is not good.
Are Monosodium glutamate side effects for real?
Evidence shows that many people got allergic reactions instantly after consuming Monosodium glutamate-rich food. Light MSG side effects included headaches and severe ones included Chinese food syndrome. Also, in a long run, consuming it has adverse effects on health. So it’s safe to say that MSG poses serious health threats to many consumers.
What are the effects of MSG on the digestive system?
Apart from instant effects, eating Monosodium glutamate is not good for stomach health. It adversely alters the stomach’s functioning. In a case study, it was tested on rats. With frequent and regular doses for up to 30 days, rats showed the signs of Chinese restaurant syndrome and Ulcers.
The same could happen to people. As large consumption affects the stomach juices so it can also cause obesity and gastritis.
Some possible symptoms of side effects after consuming it can include
- Tingling sensation in limbs
- Facial tightness
- Racing heartbeat
- Vomiting and nausea
The unfavorable effects of Monosodium glutamate on the brain
Although many scientists refused the idea that MSG can cause neurotoxicity. Especially if consumed in a short amount. This statement doesn’t eliminate or negate the threat at all. There is still a possibility that MSG can cause brain damage. That is why we advise children and pregnant mothers to limit their consumption.
About MSG addiction
There is no scientific “term” for MSG addiction. However, we as a consumer know how its usage in different foods makes us fall in love with those cuisines. Though not strongly or scientifically, one can’t deny being addicted to its taste. For some people, there is no going back after tasting monosodium glutamate.
What is the point of being a foodie at all, if you are not to eat your favorite meal again and again? So in a way, this is an addiction and many restaurants use their “special” meals to attract customers. This is where we say “frequent use” happens which is the start of many problems to come.
What are the Pros of using MSG?
Come on, the whole world is using MSG. There must be a good side as well. With restrictive use, we can reap the benefits of Monosodium glutamate.
- MSG is a great flavoring agent and can make food delicious and savory.
- As it is a natural ingredient, it poses well effects on intestinal health.
- Low sodium makes it a safe choice for foodies that can’t compromise on taste.
- We all know, there are four basic tastes, salty, spicy, bitter, and sweet. To your amusement, Monosodium glutamate is known to be 5th enhancer called Umami. It has both a saltish and savory flavor that makes it irresistible.
MSG vs Salt; what to choose?
Excessive salt in any form is bad for health. Whether it be sodium chloride or monosodium glutamate. Monosodium glutamate is naturally present in many foods like tomatoes, meat, etc. Chefs use MSG as an enhancer whereas sodium chloride is more of a “necessary” ingredient in food items that require a saltish taste.
We need to limit sodium intake but why specifically Monosodium glutamate? Because it doesn’t add that traditional salty flavor to the food. So we can easily replace it with other items like soya sauce or beef stock.
However, along with Monosodium glutamate, one should also use sodium chloride in a limited form. As we said, too much salt is bad for health.
Is MSG ban a threat to the food industry?
Despite people claiming its adverse effects, there needs to be more evidence to “ban” MSG. As MSG enhances food taste and gives it a different aroma, we could be assume that banning MSG could cause great “loss”.
In our opinion, your health matters and there is no compromise in it. Who will decide which person is going to have allergy or side effects of MSG?.
We must tell here that many good restaurants like Fresh element restaurant in Pakhora are offering MSG-free food for their customers. If one can have the best dining experience without worrying about health issues, why not?
The benefits of Monosodium glutamate seem less compared to its side effects. Especially when there are other options available. Till the world realizes what they are dealing with, we suggest dining in Fresh Element restaurant. You will surely have a great experience with all-natural, MSG-free Food.