CarolCooks2…Friday Food Reviews… Monosodium Glutamate(MSG)

Welcome to Friday Food Reviews where I will be covering a different food or product each week and looking at… what are they?  where do they grow, what can we substitute them for in a recipe, are they safe to eat, how to store them, how to use them, cook them, anything connected to that food. or product..all the why’s and the wherefores…it will, of course, be mainly my own opinion or a known fact…good or bad…there may even be a tried and tested recipe…or three…

This week it’s…Monosodium Glutamate or MSG…

What is MSG and is it really bad for you??? Monosodium glutamate, otherwise known as MSG, has been on a rollercoaster ride with its reputation over the years. It went from being all the rage in the 1930s to being one of the most feared foods in the 1960s and 1970s. These days, fewer people talk about MSG, but those who do tend to do so in a negative way…

So what is in MSG…MSG is a combination of ONLY two substances: sodium and glutamate. Sodium has long since been accepted as an important part of our diet…Taken in moderation…

Glutamate is an amino acid that can be found in many plant and animal proteins. It has been shown to help our digestion, muscle function, and immune system…not all bad then?

Some foods naturally contain monosodium glutamate, and here are some of the most common ones we use frequently in our diets:

Ultimately… glutamate tastes great. It has a specific, savoury flavour that can be found in foods such as mushrooms, cheese, tomatoes, and broth…so why the villainization?

After all, it gives our food that “Umani” taste that everyone raves about…it is now an integral part of the 5 basic tastes…in the 1930’s it was an instant success a kitchen staple (and ) still is in many Asian kitchens but it wasn’t confined to Asia it became popular around the world…until 1968 when a doctor called Robert Ho Man Kwok fell ill after eating a Chinese meal and wrote to a prestigious Medical Journal and inferred that it could have been the MSG that caused his symptoms…what ensued was widespread panic and vilification of MSG…

The demands began calling for an investigation into the produce…what followed was no more than a witchhunt based not on solid research but hunches and suppositions…plus prejudice against Asian food…totally unrelated to this my father used to tell us that the Chinese restaurants used cats instead of chicken…totally unfounded and based on gossip…

Then of course, in the 1960s as they do the journalists stepped in…the rest is history really based on very little research, supposition and gossip…there were also many doctors again with theories which were not based on research that MSD was dangerous…in the 1960’s and 1970’s anyone who had a headache and had eaten in a Chinese restaurant blamed MSG thus called “Chinese Restaurant Syndrome”…

Fast forward to the 21st century when common sense and observance of verified research have prevailed although, of course, you will get cases of people who have had an adverse reaction to MSG as there has been for other products…Whether or not MSG consumption is safe for each and every individual is hard to guess, as people react differently to foodstuffs and additives. but used in moderation it is no more dangerous than and maybe less dangerous than slathering your processed dinner with ketchup every night…That my friends is why using MSG in moderation is imminently better than all the sugar, salt and chemicals some are consuming with no moderation…. my personal opinion of course…

Do you use MSG in your cooking?

Thank you for joining me today…as always I look forward to your comment…I hope you all have a great weekend I hope you will join me here again next week xx

28 thoughts on “CarolCooks2…Friday Food Reviews… Monosodium Glutamate(MSG)

  1. acflory

    Isn’t it odd how these fads go viral? lol Just realised that ‘go viral’ was not a phrase we used back then! I’ve never used MSG and probably never will, but I totally agree about the moderation in all things. I’ve cut out a couple of things from my diet and feel better for it. Great post. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. CarolCooks2 Post author

      Unfortunately, Liz I grew up with the same view.. But after researching found out much of the bad press was unfounded and not based on proven facts.. I use it sometimes now in some of my Asian recipes..

      Liked by 2 people

  2. Pingback: CarolCooks2 weekly roundup… 12th -18th June 2022-Monday Musings, Health, Food Review “Real food v Processed Food” and Saturday Snippets where “Art” is my one word prompt. | Retired? No one told me!

  3. beetleypete

    Sorry I am late, Carol.
    We stopped using our local Thai last year, because of MSG. It was too thick, sweet, and shiny, and ruined the flavour of the food by overpoweing the natural flavours.
    Best wishes, Pete. x

    Liked by 2 people

  4. petespringerauthor

    I remember my mom talking about MSG a lot when I was a kid. She avoided it at all costs. This was back in the 60s. She was always careful about what went into our bodies, though I wasn’t always the most receptive audience at the time. I’m much more conscious of what I eat now.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. CarolCooks2 Post author

      I’m the same , Pete and it was only my son who told me to check it out a while ago as much of it was just scaremongering or I still would be thinking that about MSG ….

      Liked by 1 person

  5. pfiddlergal

    This was fascinating. Didn’t know any of the story including the MSG’s resuscitation (is that the right word.) I do know that since the mid-60s my Mom has claimed a headache from MSG. I never had a problem with it so I thought she was allergic. Really enjoyed this post Carole.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Running on Fumes

    My husband uses it in some of the dishes he makes. He calls it “flavoring salt”. His grandmother has an allergy so it’s not used when she’s over for dinner but the rest of us rather enjoy it.

    Liked by 2 people

Comments are closed.