NY Times Article on MSG, Yes, MSG

I read an interesting article in the New York Times today regarding the infamous ingredients that we all have a love-hate relationship with: MSG, MonoSodium Glutamate. The article supports what I have believed for a long time, that MSG is fine when used moderately just like salt, pepper, or other condiments.

virtually all studies … confirm that monosodium glutamate in normal concentrations has no effect on the overwhelming majority of people

But too much of it can be bad. Even I’ve experienced dry-mouth effects of too much MSG from eating at Pho restaurants where I drank the entire bowl of beef broth, which apparently was spiked with more than the average amount of MSG. Now I know why the broth tastes so good sip after sip.

“Just like salt and sugar, it exists in nature, it tastes good at normal levels, but large amounts at high concentrations taste strange and aren’t that good for you,” Dr. Chaudhari said.

I was often amused by people who claim they don’t like or can’t eat Chinese food because of MSG while they’re chipping away at a bag of Dorito’s or flavored potato chips, which all contain MSG.

So this article is a very informative piece and an interesting read for anyone who wants to understand the real MSG and not the common mis-conception of it. It even made it to today’s most popular e-mailed story on NY Times website.

Link to NY Times Article: Yes, MSG, the Secret Behind the Savor

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1 Response

  1. Claris says:

    Eh, it does bother me even in medium amounts, which is (one reason) why I rarely eat chips, canned soups, etc. Luckily, most Bay Area restaurants don’t use much or any MSG. There are a lot of other ways to get that flavor. And it’s really not traditional (as an isolated ingredient) in Chinese or Japanese cooking–less than 100 years, pshaw.

    But I don’t think MSG is inherently evil just because I don’t react well to it. Anybody can have a bad reaction to just about anything.

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