Saturday, December 10, 2005

MSG?

A friend of mine sent a new luching spot. The menu listed (*contains MSG). I didn't know what MSG was and so did a little research.

MSG is listed as a toxic substance that can cause overstimulation of brain cells. It's used in food substances as a flavor enhancer. My friend said he used to add kaju to some of his food items to make it taste good - of course cashews are not health-detrimental. I guess MSG is something like that.

This link details why MSG is harmful. Strangely, this link details why MSG is good for your body. One of the arguments in the second link is that "improving taste improves nutrition". Strange!! My guess is that MSG causes a tongue-craving that makes people want more of what they're eating. Even if tast improves nutrition, why can't we improve taste without adding MSG? I used to wonder why a flavor of the potato chips I eat often made me want more of it - I guess MSG is the answer. Of course the website of the second link belongs to the Glutamate Association which is an association of manufacturers and food marketeers. Why would they say anything -ve about MSG - especially when it is such an effective means to cause food-craving?

Even assuming whatever they're saying is true, I guess as responsible entities, they should probably highlight this clearly for everyone. FDA knows about adverse effects from MSG - of course "they were unconfirmed by controlled testing". If a mandate to discontinue MSG is too much, they should at least clearly highlight the problems with it's intake. Fortunately, there's a mandate to list MSG as an ingredient on consumer food packages - though there are tricks followed here too.

As consumers, we probably need to start researching on ingredients used in processed food and skip those that are detrimental to our health. A profit-minded approach to business mars all ethical values in big corporations. I guess we need to wait for a miracle to tip the scale to over 200 in these entities.

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