MSG (monosodium glutamate) is a common ingredient in Chinese and processed foods, and several brands claim to be free from it. It is often used to enhance the taste. Healthline explains that MSG is made from fermenting carbohydrate sources such as sugar beet, sugar cane and molasses, and comes in a white crystalline form that can be easily dissolved in water. While myths about MSG claim it is harmful to health, research shows the ingredient’s negative reputation is unfounded.
The misconception that MSG is a dangerous ingredient is largely due to previous research and racial prejudice towards Chinese or Asian cuisine. While there is no current evidence pointing to negative effects of the chemical, unless there is an underlying health concern, Indo-Chinese or Chindian foods in India are often sold without an MSG label. It should be noted that MSG is naturally present in many foods, meats and vegetables.
Deeksha Ahlawat, a nutritionist and professional dietitian, tells Indian Express that the substance, while safe, should be used in moderation and not on a daily basis. The dietitian recommends limiting MSG consumption to 0.55 grams per day and not exceeding that amount. Pregnant women, children, heart patients and kidney patients, on the other hand, should avoid it. “Consuming MSG may promote weight gain and increase hunger, food intake, a group of symptoms that increases the risk of chronic conditions such as heart disease and diabetes.”
According to the FDA, as reported by the Atlanta Journal Constitution, the chemical had been used without problems to flavor dishes for more than 100 years until 1968, when a physician at the New England Journal of Medicine wrote about palpitations and numbness in the stomach. neck, back and arms after eating Chinese food. Recently, however, multiple studies have confirmed that the substance is safe, nutritious and adds umami flavor to recipes. MSG can even help reduce salt intake.
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