Thursday, 13 August 2009

On the Webb: Debunking the MSG myth

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In an article on the Guardian website yesterday, Jeremy Goldkorn states what I suspected all along: MSG is nothing to worry about.

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The story is based on various articles and academic studies, which all agree that the food additive MSG (monosodium glutamate) in normal concentrations has no effect on the overwhelming majority of people.

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The article also mentions a couple of things I did not know:

  • “Chefs who don't use glutamate crystals use soy sauce in most recipes, and soy sauce tastes good precisely because it's chock full of glutamates.”
  • One quoted article featured a random test where an “MSG complainer” was secretely fed a meal full of the additive. He did not complain, because he did not know he was eating it.
  • Parmasan, Marmite and seaweed is also packed full of glutamates.
I never believed "MSG complainers" - not one of them had ever told me exactly what the stuff is, what it does to you, or even what it tastes like.

15 comments:

tianrui said...

Jen Jen Liu's book "Serve the People, A stir fried journey through China" has a great chapter on MSG also debunking the myth. Is a fun and wonderful read as well.

Alison said...

"exactly what the stuff is, what it does to you, or even what it tastes like."
It's a man-made chemical compound promoted as a 'flavor enhancer,' it tastes like salt, and it makes you retain water and feel bloated like you've eaten too much salt.
(some complain of headaches and other such nonsense that I find dubious. but the too-much-sodium bloat i believe)

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