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Monosodium Glutamate (MSG) – sometimes yes to it, many times no!

Posted Nov 21 2008 4:34pm

MSG is now not a new words for anyone in the world, especially for the people who love eating! Amazingly, when it was introduced almost fifty years back, it was considered as a ‘best ever food enhancer’. This was used for seasoning (like a table salt or black pepper) to turn any kind of normal recipe to mouthwatering delicious food. Processed meats, frozen dinners, salads dressings were few of the matters that carry significant role of MSG in improving taste of the food.

Over the times, along with an advancement of the technology, especially in medical field, MSG turned to be harmful for humans. The enhancer was used abounding quantity in Chinese foods and hence, there was a major consideration to give up Chinese foods at one juncture. There is something called ‘Chinese Restaurant Syndrome’ that gives you intense headache after having some Chinese foods. The researches reveal that the food that contained MSG produced the headache and hence, monosodium glutamate was thought to be the main culprit.

The Americans link MSG more with Chinese foods. However, MSG has been used in many other foods apart from Chinese dishes. Many food packet manufacturers started avoiding MSG in their foods and some of them avoided labeling it onto the product pack. Some of the smart companies started hiding MSG under some names that are unrecognized by the consumer; for instance, instead of writing MSG, they would label it as hydrolyzed soy protein! The word ‘protein’ mesmerizes the consumer and the product gets sold though it had MSG!

One should understand that MSG will always present in some of the foods we consume very frequently. Few of them are Gelatin, Yeast Extract/food/nutrient, Calcium caseinate, Autolyzed yeast, Glutamate, Textured protein and Hydrolyzed proteins. Few of the other foods generally contain MSG such as; Soy protein/sauce, seasoning, malt extract/flavoring, Barley Malt, Whey protein/concentrate, pectin, maltodextrin etc.

There is nothing wrong consuming MSG and you will not at your ‘death bed’ overnight by consuming MSG! What is advised is to restrict over intake of MSG in any form since it is considered to be a neuro-toxic substance and can depress the mood over the times. Regular and heavy consumption of MSG can alter the brain’s chemistry and can disturb the overall hormonal levels in the body.

In the year of 1995, The Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology – FASEB asked a group of scientists to review and report the safety of MSG. The report revealed that MSG, if consumed at normal levels, is safe for general population. There are no evidences reported that MSG brought some long-term and chronic diseases. Overcoming all the controversies, it had been declared that MSG does not link with Alzheimer’s disease, Huntington’s disease or any other chronic brain diseases. Monosodium also did not cause any brain lesion or damage the nervous cells in humans when studied carefully. On the other hand, MSG produced some of the symptoms (known as MSG Symptom Complex) that can result in numbness, burning sensation in chest/stomach, headache, increased heartbeat, nausea, abdominal cramps etc.

The recent research gets us some hint between sudden cardiac failure and MSG since Dr. Russell Blaylock, a famous author and neurosurgeon stated that a group of excitatory amino acids might cause sensitive neurons to die in the brain giving the brain shock.

To be on safer side, we do not deny MSG totally and neither we should be a ‘die-hard’ fan of it. ‘Too much is always too bad’ and hence, MSG containing foods are to be consumed, but with precaution and not regularly. Take little of it, keep certain gap between two MSG containing foods (once or twice in a month) and live happy!

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Thursday, February 7th, 2008 at 7:23 pm
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