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MSG Recipes are Popular on Social Media

recipes with MSG

Among home cooks and chefs alike, umami — that savory taste in food — is all the rage. And based on searches people are conducting on the internet, “recipes with MSG” and “cooking with MSG” as search terms have been trending upward the last few years.

No surprise, since MSG, aka “umami seasoning,” in its crystal form is the purest form of umami.

TikTok is especially popular among foodies looking for recipes using MSG.

And speaking of the internet, you can’t do a Google search about MSG without digging up articles that address the long history of myths and controversy surrounding this food ingredient that’s been safely enjoyed by consumers for more than 115 years.

A recent news item in The Washington Post carries this headline: “MSG recipes are popular on social media. Is the ingredient safe?” And the article subhead notes, “While extensive research has shown MSG is safe, people have debated for years whether it causes side effects in a small subset of eaters.”

The article is written by Lindsey Bever, who is a Health and Well-Being Reporter for The Washington Post. In this well-researched article, she interviewed a number of health and wellness experts to get a scientific perspective about MSG’s use and safety.

Here are a few excerpts from her report:

“MSG is ‘an excellent flavor enhancer that when used in moderation similar to salt or sugar or various fats, can elevate a dish and is a safe way to bring that fifth sense, taste — that umami, that kind of meaty, delicious, almost hard-to-pinpoint flavor to certain foods,’ said Katherine Basbaum, a clinical dietitian at the University of Virginia Health System.”

“Monosodium glutamate is the sodium salt of a common amino acid called glutamic acid, which is found in both plant and animal proteins, said Wendy Reinhardt Kapsak, president and CEO of the International Food Information Council. Glutamic acid is found naturally in many foods that we eat every day, including in tomatoes, cheeses, nuts, mushrooms, seafood and meats. MSG is produced through fermentation using certain ingredients such as starch, sugar beets, sugar cane or molasses, and it contains about one-third of the sodium found in table salt.”

“In the 1990s, the FDA enlisted a group of independent scientists to study the safety of the seasoning. The scientists noted that people who are sensitive to MSG may experience short-term, temporary and non-life-threatening symptoms such as headaches, chest pain, palpitations and numbness and tingling, when consuming high levels of the ingredient — 3 grams or more without food. Most people would never eat that much. (A typical serving of added MSG in foods is less than 0.5 grams.)”

“ ‘In almost every ingredient that’s in the human food supply, whether it’s natural or synthetic, there may be some people who have a sensitivity or an adverse reaction,’ said Roger Clemens, an adjunct professor of pharmaceutical sciences and associate director of the regulatory science program at the University of Southern California. ‘If you look at the population at large, the answer is: It remains to be safe.’ ”

Read the full article in The Washington Post here.

food iconRelated Reading:

10 Things You Should Know about Monosodium Glutamate (MSG)
10 Facts about the popular flavor enhancer, MSG (umami seasoning)

Helpful Hints on MSG in Cooking
8 Tips for Using MSG in Cooking and in Recipes

Do’s and Don’ts of Using MSG in Cooking
Not many Don’ts!

Enhancing Everyday Recipes (video)

Recipes with MSG

MSG in Thai Food? Yes, in Just About Everything!
“MSG’s role in Thai cuisine is to elevate and intensify the umami experience, contributing to the overall balance and depth of flavours that make Thai food so beloved.”

In Praise of MSG, the Unfairly Maligned Kitchen MVP
“It’s time to reclaim the lost American art of cooking with MSG.”

Yummly: Cooking with MSG (recipes)


The MSGdish Team's goal is to provide timely and important information about glutamate, monosodium glutamate (MSG) and the many culinary creations inspired by “umami" while connecting these topics to facts about food, taste, and health. The MSGdish Team is comprised of TGA staff professionals who are recognized as experts in science-based nutrition communications. Read more on the About page.

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