“Brother, while making chowmein, add ajinomoto matal to it”, you must have said this to the brother of the fast food stall at some time or the other. Monosodium glutamate, also known as ajinomoto, acts as a flavor enhancer. It has been added to some food items for many years. It is also used in almost all types of recipes in Chinese recipes.
MSG is considered a bad ingredient and has many disadvantages. But is it really a bad material? The first question is, what is it and can we consume it?
What is Ajinomoto?
Ajinomoto is also called MSG and it is already present in many foods. L-glutamic acid is a non-essential amino acid, which means your body can produce it on its own and doesn’t need to get it from food.
It is a powder that looks like a crystal, which is white and has no fragrance.
To put it in the simplest terms, it is the purest form of umami and it gives a tart taste to the food, which remains on your palate for a long time. MSG is very useful in Asian food. In addition, it is also used in many processed food items in Western catering.
How is MSG made?
Monosodium glutamate was discovered 100 years ago by a Japanese chemist, Kikune Ikeda. It was obtained from Seaweed. They noticed that it has a distinctive taste, which can enhance the flavor.
However, today it is made quite differently. MSG is a vegan product, which is taken from the plant. It is made by fermenting starch, beetroot, sugarcane or molasses.
What are the disadvantages of MSG?
According to a study by the National Center for Biotechnology Information, consuming it in excess has been reported to be harmful. It is believed that its excessive affect a hormone called leptin. Not only that, MSG has also been linked to an increased risk of metabolic disorders.
Glutamate plays an important role in the functioning of the brain. It acts as a neurotransmitter, stimulating nerve cells to transmit signals.
Some studies claim that MSG can highly stimulate nerve cells by increasing excessive levels of glutamate in the brain. Due to this, there is an effect in our brain.
Is it really harmful to consume it?
It is still used in many food items today. Is it really harmful to consume it? If we talk about its use, then it is being eaten as a flavor enhancer since the 1900s. According to many new studies, if it is eaten in moderation, it does not cause harm. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) says MSG is generally considered safe. Global food-regulating bodies such as the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the World Health Organization (WHO) also agree.
Which food items contain MSG?
As we told you that MSG is already present in many food items. It is sure to be included in high protein food. Apart from this, it is also present in many processed foods.
- Animal-based proteins like chicken, salmon, crab, shrimp contain MSG
- Parmesan, Cheddar, Rooffort in cheese
- Processed meats such as sausage, salami, bacon, pastrami, pepperoni
- Canned food items such as tuna, crackers, potato chips, flavored snacks, soups
- In sauces such as soy sauce, ketchup, mustard sauce, mayonnaise, barbecue sauce, salad dressing, etc.
How to eat MSG?
You can add it to your food by reducing the amount of salt a little. You can put it in moderation while making gravy. Apart from this, it can also be used to increase the flavor of pasta, but keep in mind that if you are using ketchup or any other sauce, keep its quantity low. Can also be added to French fries, chocolate chip cookies, salad dressings.