This Food Scientist Says MSG Is Actually Good For You
Ah, the notorious MSG. The additive - best known for its uses in Chinese restaurants - has gotten a bad rap for more than 50 years, but that negative reputation may be reconsidered if food scientist Steve Witherly is to be believed
Witherly says MSG (Monosodium Glutamate) - a sodium salt of glutamic acid, which is a non-essential amino acid - is actually good for you. Calling it a 'supersalt", he often uses it in his cooking for his children.
“I like to encourage my kids to eat a little healthier, so I’ll sprinkle a little supersalt in there. That stuff is really powerful.
For example, I had a whole-wheat pizza - and my kids hate whole wheat - so I put a little supersalt in the tomato sauce, and they sucked that whole thing down. Broccoli is tremendous if you add butter, garlic, and supersalt,” Witherly told Business Insider.
Witherly, who has a Ph.D in Human Nutrition, says the often maligned MSG is perfectly safe to consume
“We had research at UC Davis, when I was there, where we drank tumblers of it at about 25 grams, and nothing happened. MSG is pretty darn safe." he said.
Witherly also insisted that MSG is healthy for kids, because a dash of it can encourage them to eat more vegetables. And contrary to most people’s perception, MSG occurs naturally in tomatoes, mushrooms, cheese, and other food - it is known to enhance flavour and packs an umami blast.
If that's the case, why has MSG been heavily criticised for decades?
As it turns out, a report dating from back to 1968 seems to be the root of MSG’s bad rap. It blamed something called “Chinese Restaurant Syndrome."
The report blamed MSG for making people feel sick. In the decades since, however, there has been little support for the claim that MSG has prevalent negative effect.
But Witherly says recent studies have not found anything wrong with MSG and the American Chemical Society agrees, “MSG can temporarily affect a select few when consumed in huge quantities on an empty stomach, but it’s perfectly safe for the vast majority of people.”
So there you have it, just avoid scarfing down cup noodles when you're starving, you should be alright. As for cooking with MSG, it is perfectly fine for most people in moderation.