Is MSG In Your Food Actually Bad For You?

There’s a good chance you’ve heard of MSG – monosodium glutamate – a naturally derived chemical compound that has been commonly used in Asian cuisine for decades. It’s been a prominent (and not-so-prominent) part of Asian fast food here in the U.S. for some time now, but many of us probably know it best from the “No MSG” signs at our favorite local Chinese restaurant.

You see, MSG’s gotten a really bad rep over the years for allegedly causing a whole host of symptoms, ranging from headaches to heart palpitations. It’s a bad reputation that many people swear is well-earned, but might actually be somewhat undeserved.

So what is this mysterious substance, why is it being used in food anyway, and why are so many people so wary of it?

MSG was first discovered and synthesized by Kikunae Ikeda, a Japanese chemist, in 1908. Originally derived from seaweed, it is the essence of umami, the hard-to-define – but essential – “fifth taste” (the first four being salty, sweet, sour, and bitter) that is a critical component of Japanese cuisine.

Ikeda’s discovery eventually came to American markets, but arrived right around the same time that Americans were first becoming aware of the dangers the various (and often toxic) additives and sweeteners being utilized by food manufacturers posed to their health.

In 1968, the New England Journal of Medicine published a letter from a doctor complaining about not feeling well after eating at…

Sasha Harriet

Sasha Harriet

As content editor, I get to do what I love everyday. Tweet, share and promote the best content our tools find on a daily basis.

I have a crazy passion for #music, #celebrity #news & #fashion! I'm always out and about on Twitter.
Sasha Harriet

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