Monosodium Glutamate (MSG), commonly known as an enhancer of flavor, has been used widely for approximately 100 years.
Additionally to being naturally present in certain food varieties, vitamin K is frequently added as a food additive in Chinese recipes, canned vegetables and soups, processed goods, and other processed items.
MSG has long been considered an unhealthy ingredient; however, more recent investigations challenge its purported harmful effects on human health.
This article investigates MSG, its health impacts and what evidence exists regarding them.
What Is MSG?
MSG stands for monosodium glutamate.
Flavor enhancers such as L-glutamic acid are naturally found in various food varieties, and do not need to come from food sources alone; the body produces it itself without needing additional aid from external sources like diet.
MSG (monosodium glutamate) is an unflavored white crystalline powder often used as a food additive and known in the industry by its E621 designation. When mixed with water, MSG dissolves rapidly, breaking down into sodium and free glutamate molecules which disintegrate completely over time.
Fermented carbohydrates such as sugar beet, sugar stick and molasses are used as sources for fermentation.
No difference exists between glutamic acid naturally found in some food varieties and that found in MSG; your body therefore cannot differentiate between the two forms.
MSG contains umami flavoring that gives food its distinctive meaty taste, hinting to its protein-rich content.
Other than MSG, umami compounds include inosine 5′- monophosphate (IMP) and guanosine 5′- monophosphate (GMP).
MSG is widely utilized in Asian cuisine and various other handled food sources in the West. Individuals’ daily recommended dosage is estimated between 0.3-1.0 grams.
MSG enhances food’s flavor due to its umami flavor, which stimulates salivary secretion. Simply put, umami flavors make your mouth water and can improve food’s flavor.
Studies demonstrate that umami substances can help curb cravings for salty food sources – another flavor enhancer.
Some research indicates that replacing some salt with MSG may lower an individual’s sodium consumption by 3 per cent without impacting flavor.
MSG may also be used as a low-sodium substitute in products like soup, prepackaged dinners, cold meats and dairy products.
For What Reason Do Individuals Think It’s Destructive?
MSG quickly earned itself a negative image during the 1960s when Chinese-American doctor Robert Ho Man Kwok wrote a letter to the New Britain Diary of Medication declaring his debilitation after consuming Chinese food with MSG added.
He noted in his report that his symptoms could have come from drinking liquor, sodium or MSG; this led to widespread misinformation regarding MSG due to then-present prejudice against Chinese immigrants and their cuisine.
Kwok’s symptoms prompted medical experts to label his illness “Chinese restaurant disorder,” later termed the “MSG Symptom Complex” (MSC).
Later on, several studies validated MSG’s unfavorable reputation, suggesting it to be highly toxic.
Nonetheless, Current Proof Questions The Precision Of Past Research For A Few Reasons, Including :
These issues include insufficient control groups, small sample sizes and methodological flaws as well as inaccuracy of dosage administration.
Use of high doses that surpass what would typically be consumed and administration through means other than oral consumption, such as injections.
Health authorities such as the Joint FAO/WHO Expert Committee on Food Additives (JECFA), Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and European Food Safety Association (EFSA) all consider MSG generally recognized as safe (GRAS).
They have also established an acceptable daily intake (ADI) of 14 mg for every pound (30 mg per kilogram). This amount exceeds what most individuals would consume with an ordinary diet.
Older Vs. Current Research On Msg’s Health Effects
MSG has been associated with obesity, metabolic issues, mind toxicity, and MSC. Therefore, the present investigation must shed some light on these purported drawbacks of using MSG.
Effect On Energy Intake
According to more conclusive evidence, MSG enhances food taste while disguising it with flavor enhancers that block leptin’s signal to your brain that it has had enough food; Leptin is responsible for telling your body when you have had enough. Thus increasing calorie consumption.
However, current data regarding MSG’s effects on energy intake is mixed. Some studies suggest it can decrease appetite; others assert its flavor-improving properties may lead to overeating.
Contradictory results could be the result of differences in meal composition; specifically, when it comes to MSG-fortified and high protein dinners. Studies have linked MSG-enriched, high protein meals with increased feelings of satisfaction while this connection has not been seen when consumed alongside high carb suppers.
Protein may also play a part, since it provides filling macronutrients – this might not affect MSG content directly.
Studies suggest that eating MSG-enhanced meals could make you consume fewer calories at subsequent dinners and decrease energy intake from non-MSG enhanced yet flavorful high fat food varieties.
Further investigation on the relationship between MSG and energy intake is necessary.
Obesity And Metabolic Issues
MSG is linked with increased risks for metabolic issues, due to animal studies linking this additive with insulin resistance, high glucose levels and diabetes.
However, previous research used ineffective means of measuring MSG consumption, such as injecting it rather than eating oral portions; this could cause effects to occur that were unrelated to diet.
Further, current data is inconsistent. Recent creature studies have identified an association between umami substances and anti-obesity effects while other animal and human studies do not show any impact on body weight.
Although the study gives the impression that typical MSG intakes will likely not affect body weight or fat metabolism, additional human studies must be completed in order to verify this conclusion.
Effect On Mind Health
Glutamate plays an integral part in mental function. First and foremost, it acts as a neurotransmitter — a chemical substance which stimulates nerve cells to transmit signals across them — stimulating them in turn.
Studies demonstrate that MSG can cause brain toxicity by increasing glutamate levels to excessively stimulate nerve cells, leading to their death and ultimately cell damage.
However, dietary glutamate likely has very little impact on your mind since only about 1% passes from your gut into blood circulation and passes unimpeded through to the cerebrum.
Studies show that MSG, once consumed, is completely digested in your gut and used either for energy production or bioactive mixture creation.
No reliable evidence suggests that MSG consumption changes mind chemistry when consumed in appropriate amounts.
Some Individuals Might Be Sensitive
Consuming MSG may cause adverse side effects in some individuals due to MSG Symptom Complex (MSC), an estimated condition affecting less than one percent of people worldwide.
MSC can be diagnosed by its symptoms as described by Dr. Kwok in his letter: weakness, flushing, dizziness, headaches, numbness muscle tightness difficulty breathing or even loss of consciousness.
Sensitive individuals usually exhibit short-term and mild symptoms when exposed to 3 grams or more of MSG without food.
However, it should be remembered that consuming 3 grams at one sitting would be highly unlikely; most MSG-rich food items only contain a fraction of one gram at most in each serving; so eating three grams all at once may seem improbable.
MSG can be found naturally in many food varieties, particularly those high in protein. Additionally, it may be added during food handling processes to ingredients or sources that contain MSG.
Normal Food Varieties That Contain Msg Are:
Animal-based proteins: chicken, beef, salmon, mackerel, scallops, crab and shrimp
Sauces and dressings such as soy sauce, ketchup, mustard, mayonnaise, barbecue sauce and salad dressings; as well as premade and packaged foods (i.e. canned soups, tuna cans, frozen meals, crackers potato chips and flavored snacks); are used in most kitchens. Furthermore, seasoning blends, rubs and seasoning blends may also be added for special flavor enhancement.
McDonald’s, Chick-fil-A and KFC all use MSG as an additive in their menu items such as fried chicken, nuggets and fries.