What is MSG?

By January 13, 2020 In the News, MSG
What is MSG

In case you missed this informative article about “What is MSG,” published in the Huffington Post

Author Julie R. Thomson noted: “MSG is one of the most notorious ingredients in the United States. The Japanese ingredient that’s commonly used in Chinese restaurants stateside has been blamed for making people feel ill with symptoms ranging from headaches to asthma. (This reaction came to be known as Chinese Restaurant Syndrome.)”

Many studies have been done to determine a relationship between the consumption of MSG and the symptoms that comprise the syndrome mentioned above, but they have failed to find a link. [emphasis added]

“But that’s not what we’re here to talk about today. We’re here to get to the bottom of what this controversial ingredient actually is.

What is MSG?

“MSG, which stands for monosodium glutamate, is the sodium salt of glutamic acid. Glutamic acid is actually a common amino acid that occurs naturally in a range of foods like parmesan, tomatoes and dried mushrooms, and it’s what makes those foods taste so flavorful and good. It’s also found human breast milk.

“MSG has an intense umami quality ― umami is essentially a savory flavor that doesn’t fall into the salty, sweet, sour or bitter categories of taste. It is basically umami in crystalline form.

“Some of the best chefs today, running some of the best restaurants in the country, use MSG. In fact, Grant Achatz of Alinea in Chicago says it’s one of his top three kitchen staples. David Chang, chef of the Momofuku restaurants, not only uses it in his kitchens but devoted a whole 20-minute talk to the ingredient at the MAD Symposium, a conference focused on food topics held in Denmark.”

Read the full article, What is MSG, and also other recent news articles about MSG.

More quick facts explaining “what is MSG,” and answering common questions:

About MSGdishTeam

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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