Differences Between MSG and Mushroom Seasoning
Monosodium Glutamate or also known as MSG, is one of the most controversial ingredients when it comes to cooking. While the US FDA has classified MSG as a food ingredient that’s “generally recognized as safe”; some have dubbed it a cancer-causing food or linked to side effects like headaches and high blood pressure. But is it true?
What is MSG?
MSG is a seasoning used to enhance the flavor of food. MSG is widely used in the Asian countries, especially in Japan, South Korea, Thailand and Malaysia. MSG is derived from glutamic acid, a type of protein that can be found naturally in many food, including fruits, vegetables and even in breast milk. MSG is produced through a fermentation process and brings a meaty, savory taste called Umami.
Why is MSG controversial?
- MSG is a processed glutamate (D-glutamic acid)
Processed glutamate is isolated and contains high concentration of glutamic acid that is processed very differently in the body than the natural glutamate.
- Can be easily absorbed by the body and cause toxicity
The free glutamic acid can be absorbed easily as they are not bound to a protein and can increase the levels of glutamte in the blood very rapidly.
- Highly Processed
MSG is produced through refined, fermentation process.
- MSG is an excitotoxin
Overexciting our cells that may cause brain damage linked to Alzherimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease and more. MSG may cause other adverse effects such as obesity, headaches, high blood pressure, eye damage, fatigue and asthma attacks
- May induce hunger and carb craving
MSG may stimulate receptors found in our tongue and digestive tract, triggering the release of appetite-regulating hormones.
Why is Mushroom Seasoning Better?
- Contains natural glutamate (L-glutamic acid)
Glutamic acid in mushroon seasoning is sourced from 100% natural and healthy ingredient – mushrooms.
- Exist as part of proteins
Glutamic acid in mushroom seasonings exists as part of proteins and has to be broken down through digestion of proteins in order for the body to absorb. Natural glutamate is important for healthy metabolism.
- Highly nutritious and used for medical purposes
Not only it’s safely obtained from natural ingredients, mushrooms are classified as highly nutritious food whether for overall wellness or for Chinese medical usage. Mushrooms are high in calcium, vitamin B, vitamin D and is famous for its antiviral and anticancer properties.
- Helps in immune boosting
Mushrooms can help in boosting our immune system and build strong bones.
- Best replacement for artificial flavorings
Can be used to enhance flavours in cooking for its Umami flavor. Not only it’s suitable for vegetarians, it’s also safe to be used for tasty and healthy meal.
It is important to know what we eat on daily basis to maintain our health. To reduce your intake of MSG, make sure you read the food labels, some MSG may be hidden using names like yeast extract, hydrolysed protein, glutamic acid and more. Stick your diet with nutrient-rich whole foods and fresh, or you can even ask for MSG-free menu from the restaurants you’re dining in.
Written by: Jasmine Lim
(Love Earth Nutritionist)
[Bachelor of Science Degree in Dietetics (major) &
Food Science (minor) lowa State University, USA]