Is MSG bad for you?

Focus-Science and Technology - - Q & A - ERICA EVANS,

MSG, or monosodium glu­ta­mate, cer­tainly has a bad rep­u­ta­tion, con­jur­ing up images of takeaways and highly pro­cessed foods. But this ‘umami’ flavour en­hancer – first ex­tracted from seaweed in 1908 – con­tains only sodium (one of the in­gre­di­ents of com­mon ta­ble salt) and glu­tamic acid, which is nat­u­rally found in foods such as mush­rooms, toma­toes and Parme­san cheese. A pop­u­lar be­lief is that MSG can cause headaches and a gen­er­ally ‘icky’ feel­ing known as ‘Chi­nese restau­rant syn­drome’. But this is a myth: sci­en­tists have found no ev­i­dence link­ing typ­i­cal MSG amounts to headaches, or any other health prob­lems for that mat­ter. Just like salt, a sen­si­ble amount is per­fectly safe, and tasty too.

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