10 Things You Should Know about Monosodium Glutamate (MSG)

1. Glutamate is the purest taste of umami, the fifth basic taste. Umami taste receptors have a special affinity for free glutamate.

2. We consume between 10g and 20g of glutamate from our diet, of which glutamate from seasoning (monosodium glutamate) or condiments is less than 10%.

3. What is MSG? It is the sodium salt of an amino acid found abundantly in protein.

4. Monosodium glutamate brings nothing new to the diet. The body treats glutamate in exactly the same way whether comes from the food we eat or is added as seasoning.

5. Glutamate is important for healthy metabolism; however, most of the dietary glutamate we consume is used as fuel by the cells of the digestive system.

6. Increasing the umami taste in food by increasing the level of free glutamate can result in reduced sodium (salt) and fat-reduced recipes which still taste satisfying.

7. Replacing table salt with MSG will reduce the sodium content of recipes, as MSG contains one-third of the amount of sodium.

8. Only a small amount of added glutamate is required to optimize umami taste; using more won’t do you any harm but, as with salt, the food might not taste as good.

9. The extensive body of research which exists about glutamate has been reviewed by independent scientists and regulatory authorities around the world — all have found MSG to be safe.

10. Numerous well-conducted scientific studies have failed to show a connection between MSG and adverse health effects. In fact, MSG gives the benefit of umami taste.

 IFIC Fact Sheet: “Monosodium Glutamate (MSG): From A to Umami.”

“Has there ever been a taste that you enjoyed, but couldn’t quite explain? Perhaps you are noticing what has been coined as the fifth taste, “umami“; a taste attributed to foods containing glutamate, an amino acid that is one of the building blocks of protein.”