What is MSG?

Monosodium glutamate, or MSG, is a salt of the amino acid glutamic acid.  This product has been around and used since 1909 when it received its original patent.  MSG is used in many different foods as a flavor enhancer. Its main job is to make food taste better. 

Chemical Make Up

Monosodium glutamate is a salt of the amino acid known as glutamic acid.  A salt, in simple terms, is the chemical name for a molecule that is held together by two opposite charges.  So for MSG, one sodium atom is held together, or stuck together, to an amino acid called glutamate. 

Creation

MSG celebrated its 100th anniversary in 2009.  With its creation and patent in 1909, this is a product that has been around for a long time and has evolved over time. It was first introduced to the United States in 1947.  When it was first created, MSG was made from wheat gluten.  Currently, it is created from a bacterial fermentation process.  This is done by fermenting starch, sugar beets, sugar cane or molasses using bacterial or yeast species. 

Usage of MSG

MSG is a product that is used by both individuals as well as businesses.  Currently, a  lot of fast food restaurants use MSG in at least some of their products.  A lot of the processed foods used in these restaurants also contain MSG. 

Foods with MSG

There are so many foods with MSG in it that it is harder to find a product without it.  Some of the more common foods to find MSG in are stock foods such as bouillon cubes.  Many condiments, such as barbecue sauce or salad dressings, contain MSG and this helps them last longer.  The majority of foods that come in a can will have some amount of MSG.  This helps to make their shelf life longer and keep the flavor in. 

Studies on MSG

With the abundance of MSG in our food supply, many studies have been done on the effects that it has on the human body.  The Food and Drug Administration concluded that MSG is safe for most people when it is consumed in regular amounts.  Additional studies were done and it was found that people can have an MSG intolerance.  Because of this, food manufacturers are now making foods that do not contain MSG. These foods are harder to find but they are available. 

 

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