MSG. Its back, but is it safe?

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Posted: Monday, November 18, 2013 5:05 pm | Updated: 5:21 pm, Mon Nov 18, 2013.

Many restaurants say they don't use it, but, that could be changing.Now the long shunned additive MSG might be making a comeback in restaurant kitchens.

Your Szechuan shrimp may not be as savory and your kung-pow may not pack quite the punch without it which may be why MSG is showing up once again in restaurants, packaged foods and recipes, but, what does it do to your food and, is it safe?

"Research has shown that MSG can contribute to migraines, obesity, macular degeneration, brain damage and many other things as well." said R.D. Bonni London of London Wellness in Sarasota.

Monosodium Glutamate the flavor enhancing additive has been here more than a century, but lost popularity in the sixties after the New England Journal of Medicine published an article on its negative side effects

Louis Cohen, M.D. of Lerner Cohen Healthcare said, "Even though it is classified by the FDA as an additive that is generally regarded as safe, there are of course people that can have sensitivities to it."

Ayako Tamaki of Joto Japanese Restaurant chooses not to use MSG on her menu. She said, "Using so many chemicals, you lose the taste bud for the natural food." She knows people who react to the additive. "MSG they have the cramps for the stomach, they cannot digest." Said Tamaki.

MSG may be hiding in many items in your pantry, without you knowing, warned London.

"Every day snack foods that people take for granted like cheezits and Dorritos, certainly soups, sauces, and also a lot of seasonings like soy sauce, Lawry's seasoning."

Some may remember when MSG became unpopular. It was called "Chinese Restaurant Syndrome" and eventually, many restaurants had signage saying NO MSG. But now signs arent as common.

By FDA definition, the ingredient monosodium glutamate is natural but so is hydrochloric acid. so is arsenic. natural doesn't always mean safe. Perhaps we should stick to foods that we can easily pronounce.

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Welcome to the discussion.

1 comment:

  • kayetaylor posted at 3:48 pm on Tue, Nov 19, 2013.

    kayetaylor Posts: 1

    I was disappointed to see that a world renowned metroplex like Sarasota would only rely on “locals” who are clearly misinformed about a safe food ingredient like monosodium glutamate (MSG). Why? Independent scientists and regulatory authorities worldwide have all found MSG to be safe. Scientific studies conducted in multinational laboratories have failed to show any connection between MSG and negative health effects. Despite common misconceptions that are held by some health professionals who are not experts in food science, MSG is one of the most extensively researched substances in the food supply and has repeatedly been proven to be a safe and healthy food additive.

    The amino acid glutamate, one of two components of MSG (the other is sodium) is also naturally present in food and is identical to that found in MSG. The human body does not distinguish between the two. Regardless of whether you consume foods naturally rich in glutamates (like tomatoes, parmesan cheese, mushrooms); or consume foods with added MSG, the glutamate in each is digested the same.
    While it is always possible that some people might be sensitive to MSG, it is not unlike sensitivities to any other foods and food ingredients. And it definitely is not an allergen according to the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology.

    For an excellent Q&A by the FDA, which helps put into proper perspective some of the outrageous, unsupported claims in this article, I encourage your readers to visit http://www.fda.gov/Food/IngredientsPackagingLabeling/FoodAdditivesIngredients/ucm328728.htm .

    You can also visit the blog www.msgdish.com for more information about MSG and the unique “fifth” taste – UMAMI – that it imparts.

     

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