So, I always hear how MSG is bad for you, we should avoid it and that it is in Chinese food. Honestly I did not even know what MSG was until now. I was interested in finding out what was the big issue with MSG, so here goes.
Monosodium Glutamate, also known as MSG, is an amino acid. Amino acids are building blocks of proteins and when it comes right down to it we are pretty much composed out of proteins. Our muscles are made almost entirely of protein. Glutamate is one of the twenty essential amino acids, produced in humans.
The way I see it MSG basically is one of the good guy turned badly. MSG, or manufactured “free” glutamate, has a different structure as compared to the natural form of glutamate. Therefore the body will have a harder time processing it. Also man made glutamate comes with impurities. I kept seeing this word “impurities” and was a little confused at what the meaning was, after looking it up it was obvious–imperfections within the compound that differ from the original structure. MSG always comes with impurities, or contaminants.
MSG is used as a flavor enhancer. Alone MSG is flavorless but when combined with other flavors, it intensifies the flavor of the food. It does not make food taste better it only enriches the flavor that is already in the food. I personally think that fresh foods already have a burst of flavor and I do not see the need to “enhance” the flavor. Although whose to say my “fresh” fruits and veggies that I buy from the market are not “enhanced”. I have learned that moderation is key -an excess of anything can cause adverse affects. This reminds me of the saying “ Too much of a good thing can be bad.”
The most thought-provoking idea that I learned is that MSG stimulates the pancreas. The pancreas releases more insulin and your blood sugar drops. Once your blood sugar drops you become hunger again. MSG deceives your body into feeling temporarily full, which may lead to an excess of food intake. The taste buds are able to detected free glutamic acid (MSG without sodium attached) as a simple way to signal the presence of protein in a food; free glutamate is act as a neurotransmitter.
This is really scary especially since two-thirds of Americans are already overweight. I am at the border of a healthy weight and being overweight myself, so to find out that a food additive can cause overeating is horrifying. I would rather my food not contain flavor enhancers. If I don t like the taste of the food I will just stop eating it, plain and simple.
Not to mention the effects of the sodium aspect of the compound is having on the body, right? Surprisingly MSG is low in sodium as compared to table salt (sodium chloride) with only one-third the amount of sodium. I was really shocked to discover this because typically the food that contains MSG has a lot of sodium.