A short history of MSG: Japanese scientist Kikunae Ikeda discovered MSG (monosodium glutamate) in 1908 when he wanted to know what gave dashi, a popular Japanese soup base, its delicious flavor. His research led him to the seaweed found in the broth, and his experiments with the seaweed led him to the crystal compound, glutamic acid — an non-essential amino acid, found in our bodies and in many other foods, like tomatoes and mushrooms. After his discovery of MSG– essentially a concentrated salt that enhances flavor – Ikeda began mass-producing it, making it a household basic in China and Japan.
In the late 1960s, MSG came under scrutiny when a scientist discovered feeling unwell after eating food in a Chinese Restaurant. In a rather racist tone, the scientific community called it the “Chinese Restaurant Syndrome.” More studies were done on high amounts of MSG in mice, and in 1969,Ralph Nader, along with other scientists, worked to get MSG removed from baby food. It never was, but its reputation as a headache-inducing, dizzy spell-creating food additive was cemented.
Later studies of MSG in the 1990s found that a person would have to consume over 3 grams of MSG in order to have adverse reactions. Most dishes made with MSG contain .05 grams, well below the number the Food and Drug Administration reports as unsafe.
MSG is one of the most studied food additives in food history and after all of its extensive studies by the Food and Drug Administration, MSG has been categorized by the FDA as “generally recognized as safe” or otherwise known as (GRAS).
How to explain allergic reactions?
According to Dr. Arun Phophalia on JustAnswer, humans can be allergic to just about anything. So the fact that a small percentage of the population does in fact react allergically to MSG is not unsubstantiated, it just doesn’t support the fact that it is harmful to everyone. Or simply put: people are not as allergic to MSG as the hype and history will have you believe.
Final verdict? FALSE. MSG may cause allergic reactions in some people, but for the most part MSG is not a dangerous food additive and can be consumed in small doses.
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