MSG has a negative image to it. People associate it with headaches, back pains, asthma and even brain damage. I have a friend who claims he can detect amount of MSG whenever he eats it due to the headaches that occur right after! People have varying sensitivity to it but is it really that unhealthy?
MSG was created to produce the elusive 'umami' savoury taste. This is said to be the fifth taste after sweet, sour, bitter and salty. Glutamate is an amino acid that occurs naturally in many food including soy sauce, parmesan cheese and tomatoes. Most Chinese like to use it in their cooking to enhance the taste of Asian cuisine, and if used right, the flavour can reach a level that no other ingredients can match.
Studies after studies were done to verify its toxicity or safety. None so far is conclusive. This "Chinese restaurant syndrome" could actually affect a selected few if consumed on an empty stomach but not to the vast majority.
In high enough dosage, 3g may give some side effects or sensitivity on an empty stomach but in our food, the amount will never reach that high, at most 0.5g or 16% of the limit. The picture below illustrates further.
Thus, we would like to bust this myth that MSG is really bad. Used in certain amount, it could indeed help to enhance your food. I generally do not use MSG in my home cooking, but with the result, I think I will add in some doses just to boost the taste.
I have also started to use more nuts in my recipes so if you have some recipes to share, let us know!