Monosodium Glutamate (MSG) has had a bad reputation over the years – it’s notorious for being unhealthful and linked to a number of neurological and physical issues, even though recent research has rendered most of these accusations untrue. While the influence of the media has helped to discard false notions about MSG, there is still confusion surrounding the substance. To understand what MSG really is, and why it can be beneficial, it’s important to learn the truth about monosodium glutamate.
MSG is a flavor enhancer that’s produced by breaking down glutamate, a naturally occurring amino acid, and combining it with sodium. It’s commonly used in many countries around the world, especially in Asian cuisines, as it’s known to bring out the natural flavors of foods. It also helps to improve the palatability of food, and can also be used as a way of adding in flavor without having to increase caloric content.
MSG can be used to season a wide range of dishes, from stir-fries and soups to sauces and marinades. It adds umami, a savory flavor noted for its depth and complexity, as well as a smooth mouthfeel. It also adds a boost of sodium to dishes, which helps to enhance its flavors.
Some of the most popular dishes that would be great with MSG include Asian-style stir-fries, soups, and noodle dishes. MSG can also be used to enhance the flavors of grilled or stir-fried meats and vegetables. In addition, MSG can be a great addition to sauces and marinades, adding an extra depth of flavor and helping to tenderize meats. For a unique twist, MSG can also be used to season popcorn or other snacks for a savory snack. MSG
Myths & Misconceptions
1. MSG can cause headaches and other physical reactions.
This is a rumor that has been floating around for years, however, multiple studies have been unable to confirm that MSG is linked to headaches, allergies, or any other physical reactions.
2. MSG is an unhealthy additive.
While MSG was once believed to be unhealthy, researchers have since found the opposite to be true. In fact, MSG has been found to be a simpler and more efficient way of adding flavor, while its sodium content is relatively low.
3. MSG is artificial.
MSG is almost exclusively derived from natural sources including seaweed and fermented products such as soy sauce. It is probably more accurate to call it a natural ingredient than an artificial one.
4. MSG overstimulates the brain.
While MSG can enhance the flavors of food, it does not overstimulate the brain, as some have suggested in the past.
5. MSG can only be found in processed foods.
While MSG can be found in processed foods, it can also be found in many foods that are not processed, such as tomatoes, soybeans, and parmesan cheese.
Aside from adding flavor to food, MSG is also known to have several beneficial effects. It has been known to help reduce food waste, as it can boost natural flavors in meats, seafood, and vegetables. In addition, it’s a good source of dietary sodium, which is essential for maintaining healthy blood pressure levels. It has also been found to act as a preservative, helping to extend the shelf life of food.
In the end, the truth about MSG is that it’s safe for consumption, and can make your meals much more enjoyable. While it’s best to use MSG in moderation, as with anything else, its role as a flavor enhancer should not be underestimated. Recent research has helped to dispel a number of myths and misconceptions regarding MSG, so that consumers can rest assured that it’s a safe and beneficial ingredient.