12 Jul What’s the Deal with MSG?
Most of us are familiar with four basic tastes: sweet, sour, salty and bitter. There is one more ‘Umami’. Pronounced oo-mom-me. Umami means ‘delicious’ in Japanese.
Where did Umami come from?
It begins with Glutamate a very common amino acid found in many foods naturally. Including milk, tomatoes and tomato products, mushrooms, cheese, red wine, soy sauce, all protein, potatoes, sesame oil, corn AND MSG!!!!
Special receptors on the tongue are a perfect fit for glutamate. When found in food, the tongue hangs on for dear life creating the wonderful, delicious sensation called ‘umami’. The more glutamate, the richer the flavor. Example, aged cheese has more glutamate than young cheese, ripe tomatoes more than green, cure meats more than fresh meats, etc….
Another way to enhance that rich taste experience is to sprinkle on ‘MSG’, which stands for monosodium glutamate. Basically a complicated way of saying glutamate with sodium (salt). Don’t miss this, MSG glutamate is exact the SAME as what’s in food. The body process and re-acts in the same manner when the receptors on the tongue are stimulated. Some call this the purist form of Umami.
MSG Gets a Bad Rap!
What about all the years of negative press regarding hives, headaches, the “Chinese Restaurant Syndrome.” All of the negative press started as speculation and grew bigger than life over the years.
As we learn more about glutamate, scientific evidence simply does not add up to support the negative hype. Simply put, Glutamate is Glutamate whether it comes from parmesan or the MSG shaker.
Blind studies reveal that for most people, if they don’t know MSG is in their food the symptoms mysterious don’t appear. This is the reason groups like the World Health Organization and the US FDA having given MSG the “Safe” stamp.
The bigger issue is the “amount” used in restaurants. Way too much for healthy consumption.
Summary on MSG
MSG comes in different forms and go by different names, glutamate ingredients like MSG have been enjoyed for centuries in different countries, cultures and civilizations.
Go ahead and indulge your palate. Add flavor to your dishes. Your tongue is designed to react to all five tastes, not just one or two.