Is MSG Really That Bad?
When you hear the words monosodium glutamate or MSG many people think of Chinese or Japanese food but the truth is American food has been using it for decades they are just better at disguising it.
What is MSG or monosodium glutamate?
According to World Book encyclopedia monosodium glutamate comes from glutamic acid, which comes from wheat. But I’ve since read that it can also come from seaweed as well as tomatoes or beets. This white granular substance has little flavor of its own but brings out the flavor of other foods. It is not a new additive and has been around for many years. Your grandmother probably put it in her meatloaf and you didn’t even know it. She probably didn’t either because it wasn’t labeled as such. Back then we didn’t have a long list of ingredients and it simply said flavor enhancer on the label.
Some articles have said that food companies will hide this ingredient calling it hydrolyzed food protein, HVP, yeast extract or glutamate. If you have a wheat allergy or sensitive to wheat products you should probably avoid anything with these ingredients in them just in case.
Ac’cent flavor enhancer, a product used in many American homes is glutamate, basically the same thing. You may have a bottle sitting on your shelf right now.
Is MSG or monosodium glutamate harmful?
According to the Mayo clinic there have been no definitive tests showing it to be harmful to everyone however if you are allergic to wheat you should stay away from this additive. If you have had a reaction after eating foods with MSG in it you should stay away from it.
Most people are fine eating it. Like many things you hear about in the news these days a few people have a problem like those with Celiac and the rest of the population becomes overly cautious. Few people have a problem with gluten or other wheat products and few people have issues with MSG.
If you want to discontinue use to be on the safe side that is fine but don’t worry too much if you eat out and find out later the restaurant used it on your beef unless, like I said, you have an allergy to wheat.
Chinese and Japanese restaurants aren’t the only ones using it. It’s an inexpensive flavor enhancer and many use it to make the food taste better, not to harm lives. That would be bad for business.
You’ve been eating it your whole life
Food companies have been using it in foods since Kidunae Ikeda invented it in the early 1900’s. American soldiers stationed in Japan developed a taste for it and brought it home after World War II.
Monosodium glutamate enhanced the flavor of canned foods as well as boxed and frozen entrees. After freezing those TV dinners, so popular in the 50’s, would have lost much of their flavor if not for MSG.
Low fat and fat free foods need something extra to give it taste so they add MSG.
Reported side effects
Most people can eat foods flavored with MSG without any problems but some have reported the following symptoms.
· Facial pressure or tightness
· Numbness, tingling or burning in face, neck and other areas
· Rapid, fluttering heartbeats (heart palpitations)
· Chest pain
When you look at these symptoms they could just as easily be the cause of something else such as food poisoning, an overheated room, heart burn, indigestion, a stomach bug, or other common illness. To be on the safe side if you have concerns after eating foods with MSG you should see a doctor.
Better safe than sorry.
Oddly enough this is called Chinese Restaurant Syndrome even more strange is that the first person to ever report any issues was a Chinese American doctor. He wrote a book on the matter.
Nothing like a good disorder to help sell books.
And of course suddenly previously healthy people across the nation were also reporting this same mysterious malady.
I personally love Chinese and Japanese food and using MSG isn’t going to keep me from eating at these restaurants. I’m more inclined to check the restrooms for cleanliness at any restaurant than I am to worry about what seasoning they use. If they are clean, the food and service is good, I’ll be back.
It has been speculated that the use of peanuts, shellfish and other known allergens could be responsible for the symptoms.
Not to sound harsh but some are hypochondriacs and create ailments in their head. The mind is a powerful organ that controls every part of our body.
I am a health food advocate and eat healthy everyday. If someone shows me clear evidence on the contrary I’ll discontinue eating MSG. I don’t buy it or use it on foods at home but when I eat out I’m certain I’ve had it many times.
If MSG is really that bad why aren’t all Japanese citizens walking around with headaches?
- Keeping On A Doctors Patient List
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