Is MSG Healthier Than Salt?

Is MSG Healthier Than Salt?

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What is it that KFC and McDonald’s chicken and other renowned fast food joints have in common, apart from the fact that they’re incredibly tasty? 

That is MSG, also known as Monosodium Glutamate. It is present in all fast food products and many more, even in ketchup.

MSG also referred to as Ajinomoto, is a flavor booster commonly used in Asian culinary techniques to provide an Umami or lip-smacking flavor. MSG is a chemical, formed of two organically occurring materials; Sodium and Glutamate, and it makes it sound like stuff out of a scientific lab. 

Sodium is a mineral that everyone is no doubt accustomed to. It is glutamate that bothers people. Glutamate is among the most common, dispensable, and inessential amino acids found in nature. Protein is made up of amino acids, which are the foundation stones of the molecule. Glutamate is a genetically occurring amino acid that can be found in hydrolyzed vegetable protein, autolyzed and hydrolyzed yeast, yeast extract, soy extracts tomatoes, and Cheese. Table salt or any other concoction of edible salt, on the other hand, is a sodium and chloride combination.

Table salt, similar to MSG, is used to improve flavor. As a result, MSG and salt both include sodium. And, while sodium is an essential element for survival, too much salt can raise blood pressure, leaving people in danger of cardiovascular problems and brain mishaps. Regrettably, because sodium is buried in a majority of manufactured foods, most individuals are taking too much salt without recognizing it. To check how salty those are, simply check in your pantry and turn over a couple of ketchup bottles.

When compared to table salt, MSG carries 67% less sodium. so should you’re trying to cut back on sodium, using MSG to enhance your meal can help you do that.

MSG is thought to induce Migraines, Paralysis, Trembling, Irregular Heartbeat, Breathlessness, Vomiting, and Face burning, among other things. Simply Google “MSG” to get a variety of terrifying tales.

Nevertheless, there seemed to be zero scientific proof and findings to back up such allegations, and the World Health Organization, The Food and Drug Administration, and the European Union all declare MSG to be harmless. Marketers are now advertising their MSG-containing goods as something 100 % Healthy and Natural, pushing it as a means to reduced-sodium options, in an effort to dismiss the negative reputation linked with MSG. It’s identified as E-621 in the substances listing on the rear side of the packaging of the products.

MSG is included in a variety of meals sold in supermarkets and diners worldwide. The flavor enhancer, which could be found in umami additions, is used to enhance the taste of meals such as fast foods, crackers, stews, chips, and street foods.

Following are 5 MSG-containing foodstuffs to be conscious about;

  • Seasonings – Glutamate is a taste booster, so it’s no surprise that it’s found in a variety of spices used on steaks and in soups. Taco seasoning sachets, for instance, are commonly used to flavor up meat.
  • Fast food– MSG grew well due to its extensive usage in Chinese, Korean, Thai, and other South and Southeast Asian cuisines. As well as it is also found in fast-food items, such as fried chicken and street foods.
  • Soups– A further spot to look for MSG is in the grocery store’s soup section. The substance is applied to boost the taste and saltiness of the food. Among the oldest popular soups, Chicken Noodle Soup alone has MSG in addition to 910 mg of salt.
  • Dressings and Sauces– MSG has been found in sauces such as Tomato Ketchup, Mayonnaise, BBQ sauce, Soy sauce, Fish sauce, Oyster Sauce, Mustard, and all Salad dressings to enhance the taste.
  • Chips and snacks – MSG is used in a variety of crisps and snack foods to intensify the savory, meaty qualities that they’re renowned over.
Is MSG Healthier Than Salt

What Happened to MSG Inside the Human Digestive System

The umami flavor is caused by glutamate, an amino acid. It can be present in a number of foods naturally, or it can be added by flavoring dishes with MSG. Monosodium glutamate has the same physiological effects as glutamate found naturally in the body. Glutamate aids digestion by boosting saliva production, communicating the presence of protein in a meal, and providing energy to Gastrointestinal cells.

  • Glutamate receptors in the mouth are activated when one takes a mouthful of a glutamate-containing meal. They alert your brain to the presence of umami, a meaty savory flavor. In response, the brain instructs the mouth to produce more saliva. Saliva helps us swallow by lubricating the food consumed.
  • Then Glutamate passes down the esophagus and into the stomach as part of the bolus of food. Glutamate receptors can also be found in the stomach. These stimulate the vagal nerve, which alerts the brain to the arrival of protein-rich meals. The brain responds by instructing the stomach to be ready to digest protein. Fascinatingly, glutamate is the only amino acid that activates the vagal nerve; none of the other amino acids do that. When glutamate is found in a string of amino acids which is protein, enzymes break it down into smaller pieces. If the glutamate was already free – as it would be if it originated from an aged or ripened meal or MSG – there was no need to break it down any further.
  • After that Glutamine enters the small intestine following exiting the stomach. If the glutamate was part of a protein, protein digestion will be completed in the first portion of the small intestine, the duodenum, leaving all of the individual amino acids floating about, ready to be used. It’s ready to utilize if the glutamate was previously liberated. The body processes all glutamate in the same way, regardless of its source.

Enterocytes, the cells that cover the lining of the gastrointestinal (GI) tube, utilize almost 95 percent of the glutamate consumed as a source of energy. That is, it is primarily used up in the human gastrointestinal tract and is not distributed into the remaining organs and parts of the human body.

Ultimately, whatever glutamate that remains is taken into the circulation and given to cells for metabolic or protein synthesis. While just a little quantity of glutamate is absorbed into the circulation, glutamate concentrations in the blood stay relatively constant.

Effects of MSG on the Brain Functions

Glutamate performs a variety of functions in the brain. To begin with, it functions as a neurotransmitter, which is a molecule that encourages nerve cells to transfer information. According to certain research, MSG can cause brain toxicity by creating high glutamate levels in the brain, which overstimulate nerve cells and cause cell death. Dietary glutamate, on the other hand, is unlikely to have any impact on the human brain since hardly any of it goes from the gut into the bloodstream and penetrates the blood-brain boundary. In reality, studies reveal that MSG is entirely digested in the stomach once consumed. From there, it’s either utilized as a source of energy, transformed into other amino acids, or employed to make other biological chemicals.

However, there is no strong indication that MSG, when eaten at typical levels, changes brain biochemistry.

Why food is tasty with MSG?

MSG, right off the bat, improves the taste and aroma of high-quality foods, but it does not affect the flavor of low-quality foods.

Simply introducing glutamate to a dish, even a relatively small quantity of MSG can boost the strength of the Umami taste.  MSG can be used to improve the flavor of savory meals. It, on the other hand, makes little or no contribution to sugary or sour foods.

MSG is similar to adding glutamate-rich foods to boost the savory flavor of a meal.  Natural glutamate-rich foods are ripe tomatoes, seasoned cheese, mushrooms, and soup stock. 

There’s no need to use an excessive amount of MSG. After you’ve used the right quantity, adding more won’t improve the flavor of your dish. As with other herbs and spices, too much of a good thing may make food taste bad. An otherwise mouthwatering soup will be ruined by too much salt.

MSG and Umami are the same things and yet they are so different: They both offer us the same glutamate-based taste perception. MSG contains glutamate, which is chemically identical to glutamate found in animal and plant proteins, and human systems digest both glutamate sources in the same way. And Umami does not. Umami is the flavor alone. Consider the concepts of salt and saltiness. Many meals taste salty, but the purest sense of saltiness comes from a sprinkle of salt on the tongue. When you take MSG, just one flavor experience comes to mind, and that is umami.

MSG, an unscented white granular product, has been manufactured by the Ajinomoto Group for over a generation and may nowadays be spotted on kitchen shelves all over the planet.

Is MSG Healthier Than Salt

MSG Side Effects

Despite the fact that it is FDA regulated, a descriptive study has discovered that taking MSG over an extended period of time has far too many negative effects.

High dosages of MSG also have a number of negative side effects. Numerous people believe that MSG causes the following signs:

Furthermore, persons who have had these symptoms after consuming MSG-rich meals frequently describe them as minor or momentary.

MSG truly does enhance the flavor of food, as evidenced by several blind tasting trials. It does not, though, taste nice on its own. People use it, in the same manner, they would a sodium-based spice, with a small amount going a long way.

Monosodium glutamate can also be found in, spice mixes, frozen dinners, broth, processed poultry, and instant noodle solutions.

It’s noteworthy mentioning that MSG has a poor reputation seeing as it’s found in a number of unhealthy foods, leading people to assume there’s a link between MSG and severe health impacts. Unfortunately, many MSG-containing goods are heavily processed, high in salt, and rich in cholesterol.