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Can you safely add MSG to food? Here’s what you need to know

Surprisingly, MSG is naturally present in many foods, meats, and vegetables.

By: Lifestyle Desk | New Delhi |
December 12, 2021 3:15:39 pm
Chinese or Chindian cuisine uses MSG as a flavour enhancer. (Source: Pexels)

A highly debated topic is the use of MSG in food. A popular fixture in Chinese foods, it is used as a flavour enhancer, rendering dishes with a delicious taste. While myths surrounding the ingredient claim that it is bad for health, others refute. It brings us to the question: how safe is MSG, and how much can you consume safely?

MSG is ‘monosodium glutamate’ — extremely popular in Asian cuisines. Available in a white crystalline form, it is easily dissolvable in water, and is usually made from “fermenting carb sources like sugar beet, sugar cane, and molasses”, states Healthline.

Previous research and racial biases against Chinese or any Asian cuisine has largely resulted in the myth that MSG was a toxic additive. In India, Indo-Chinese or Chindian food is regularly advertised as having no-MSG tags, even though there is no present research that suggests harmful reactions from the ingredient, unless there is an underlying health concern.

Are you avoiding a delicious plate of noodles over fear of MSG? (Source: Pexels)

Nutritionist and clinical dietician Deeksha Ahlawat told indianexpress.com that the ingredient can be consumed in a moderate fashion and preferably not daily. The nutritionist suggests to keep the intake of MSG to 0.55gm per day and to not exceed that limit.

She, however, advises pregnant women, children, cardiac patients and renal patients to avoid consumption. ”Consuming MSG may promote weight gain and increase hunger, food intake, a group of symptoms that raises your risk of chronic conditions like heart disease and diabetes.”

Surprisingly, MSG is naturally present in many foods, meats, and vegetables. It’s also added to some processed and fast-food items in many countries.

Like all good (read: delicious things) this ingredient must be enjoyed with caution and restraint. Seek your doctor/nutritionist’s opinion if you think you may be allergic. Symptoms may include weakness, flushing, dizziness, headache, numbness, muscle tightness, difficulty breathing, and even the loss of consciousness, according to Healthline. The article adds, “Most people can eat foods that contain MSG without experiencing any problems. However, a small percentage of people have short-term, adverse reactions to this food additive.”

Do you use MSG in your Chinese meals? Let us know!

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