The Truth About Monosodium Glutamate and Food Additives: What You Need to Know

A large number of people experience considerable pressure as they cannot spend much time preparing meals, which is why the intake of ready-made products has grown significantly. Of particular importance in this discussion is the case of; Food additives especially MSG. In particular, despite the fact that MSG is a very popular and commonly used food ingredient, it remains an object of considerable controversy and discussion. This raises the other important question, Is it really bad for you? The goal of this article is to provide information on Monosodium Glutamate and food additives and to demystify some of the myths that are often associated with it.

What is Monosodium Glutamate (MSG)?

MSG, also known as monosodium glutamate, is an additive that has been widely adopted in many food products ranging from soups and snacks to restaurant foods. Alphabetically, it is known as sodium salt glutamate which chemically is part of the family of glutamic acid, an amino acid that is found naturally in foods and in the human body. This amino acid is considered a non-essential one, which means that the human body is capable of producing this essential element even if it is not presented in a diet.

The Role of MSG in Food

MSG is valued most for its capacity to intensify the appreciation of savory tastes and thereby induce the specific taste called umami. Umami, which is often characterized as a taste related to meats or a savory taste, is one of the basic tastes known and classed as one of the five tastes. For these reasons, MSG has become widely used in a variety of food products that are expected to have enhanced sensory attributes emanating from enhanced taste intensity without the need for large amounts of salt or fats. It is often included in Swiss chocolate, processed food, canned soups, crackers, meats, and most Chinese dishes.

Historical Context and Popularity

MSG was initially found in 1908 through research done by a Japanese chemist Kikunae Ikeda who found out that glutamate, which was from seaweed broth, caused the umami taste. It has then been manufactured and marketed and is commonly incorporated in cooking and meals in different parts of the globe. MSG gained its fame in the mid-twentieth century when it was used widely in processed foods and restaurant cooking due to its cheap manner of spicing food.

Is MSG Bad for You?

It is worth noting that the safety of MSG has been a widely discussed issue due to numerous research carried out internationally. Some people experience conditions such as Headache, sweating, chest pain, and numbness after taking MSG, a condition known as Chinese Restaurant Syndrome Some people take MSG, while others get headaches or nausea Others Get Sweating, Chest Pains, Numbness, Some people are affected by what people call ‘Chinese Restaurant Syndrome Some people end up with several health problems such as headaches, sweating, chest pains, and numbness MSG effects include headaches, sweating, chest-p

Currently, the U. S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) considers it as a food additive, classified as ‘generally recognized as safe, (GRAS). For instance, WHO and more recently EFSA have deemed MSG as safe for human consumption, thus dispelling much of the myths. Scientific research has revealed that while there are no negative reactions to even high doses of MSG in greater society, there are a small percentage of people who will experience headaches, sweating, numbness, tingling, dizziness, chest pain, nausea, and weakness after consuming it.

Understanding Food Additives

Apart from MSG, there are numerous substances present in the list of food additives that affect the preservation of taste, its enhancement, and richness in terms of looks. These additives can be natural or synthetic, each serving a specific purpose: These additives can be natural or synthetic, each serving a specific purpose:

  • Preservatives: Preserve your supplies’ shelf life and minimize potential spoilage from bacteria, molds, and yeasts. For example, salt and sugar are widely used preservatives while nitrates are another type of preservative.
  • Colorants: Carry out food dyes which will help in improving or restoring the color of foods so that the foods will end up looking more attractive. Examples of natural colorants are beet juice while examples of synthetic flavors include tartrazine.
  • Flavor enhancers: Like MSG, they act like extended tastes, affording a general boost to the full range of tastes already present in foods.
  • Emulsifiers and Stabilizers: Correct improper mixing and ensure homogeneity in order not to end up with a layered formation. Some examples of the compounds used are lecithin and carrageenan.
  • Sweeteners: Satisfy sweet needs while either providing extra calories or substituting for them. Natural chemos are herbs such as honey while artificial chemos are man-made like aspartame.

Are All Food Additives Safe?

That is the reason why it is suggested that certain food additives are safe to be taken while others are not even safe in minimal proportions. That was so due to the fact that some of them have been found to have side effects on the body in certain group of people or at very high concentrations. For instance, synthetic colors have proved that they cause hyperactivity in children, and preservatives particularly nitrates may lead to cancer in case of high intake.

Adverse effect on the affected consumer The dangers of consuming this product are evident by the fact that one should read the labels before consuming the product. US laws dictate that each manufactured food must be labeled appropriately with its ingredients and additives. These labels assist consumer in decision-making, especially, on the quality of foods they take, or even take substances that have been deemed to be hazardous to their health.

Common Myths and Misconceptions about MSG

  • MSG is a chemical and therefore harmful: Many people who think they are eating junk are actually putting through their chemical systems, pure chemicals. MSG is almost chemically identical to the protein-glutamate naturally found in food products such as tomatoes and cheese.
  • Allergic reactions to MSG are common: It is also important to define that real allergic reactions to this additive occur with an incredibly low frequency. Many of these claimed symptoms are mere testimonies and are not backed up by any studies.
  • MSG causes brain damage: An early observation in the 1960s indicated possible dangerous effects of MSG in terms of being neurotoxic with high doses to rodents. Nonetheless, these observations were made while administering doses considerably larger than any normal human would ingest; later works have not supported these findings in human subjects.

Tips for Managing Food Additives in Your Diet

  • Read Labels: Below is a guide on ordinary additives and some of the impacts they may have on your body. C.I.P stands for ‘Ingredients in the prescribed order’, besides the ingredients are declared in the descending order of the weight present in it, that is in the first few numbers.
  • Cook at Home: Cooking means preparing food from raw materials and this helps the person who has prepared the meals to determine the ingredients they want added. Cook with fresh herbs, spices, and other natural boosters such as garlic, ginger, and other relevant ingredients instead of going for processed food flavoring.
  • Balance Your Diet: Intake of processed foods do not really need any complementation advice because they are already processed, but rather, it is advisable that they be taken in conjunction with the natural fruits and vegetables which are fresh and still in their natural state. It is recommended to consume many foods with additives in moderation if it is not possible to exclude it completely, consuming lots of fruits, vegetables, lean meats, fish, and whole grains will reduce the possible negative effects caused by additives.

With the increase in population and growth of the global population, the use of food additives in the food industry has become a serious matter and the trend of its development in the future depends on the following factors.

Since more and more people pay attention to the quality of foods they consume and increase the share of natural products, the number of ‘clean label’ products and ‘natural’ additives among foods is increasing as well. Recent advances in the field of food science have been focused on the identification of additives that are free from artificial components like natural preservatives and natural colorants. This trend embodies other trends to do with exposing which Different societies embrace diverse trends related to expounding and health-wise food intake.


Currently, Monosodium glutamate and food additives have become imperative to today’s food production by enhancing its taste, preserving, and beautifying its appearance. If you are an MSG-sensitive person or anticipate that you might be, there are some things that you should know: As far as official government-sanctioned health authorities are concerned MSG is not poisonous. It’s important, therefore, to remain as up-to-date as possible and be more conscious of what one takes to the table so that you can still eat out or indulge in various types of foods without always having to worry about an IBS flare.


Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *