MSG Free For All

Monosodium glutamate. When you call it by its full name, it doesn’t seem to cause nearly the same maladies as it does when referred to by its abbreviation, MSG. For decades, it’s been linked to symptoms and side-effects ranging from headaches and numbness to dizziness and heart palpitations. But was the anti-MSG hype based on reality? “The concerns with MSG originated in 1968, when someone purporting to be a Chinese American physician, writing in The New England Journal of Medicine, described feeling generally ill after eating Chinese food, which he suggested could be because of MSG. Other researchers quickly produced studies that seemed to substantiate this claim, and MSG became a public-health villain. In the ’70s, the Chicago Tribune ran the headline ‘Chinese Food Make You Crazy? MSG Is No. 1 Suspect.'” These and other related health concerns have long since been debunked. Not only is MSG safe, but as Yasmin Tayag explains in The Atlantic (Free Article), it may be the perfect flavor enhancer to help us lower our intake of a table staple that really is bad for us: Salt. MSG Is Finally Getting Its Revenge.

+ MSG is the most misunderstood ingredient of the century. That’s finally changing.

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