Pattaya Daily News

26 April 2010 :: 16:04:42 pm 19034

Monosodium Glutamate Flavour Enhancer; Good or Bad

Monosodium Glutamate was developed by a Japanese food chemist around 1907. The development was based on research into the ancient use of seaweed used as a flavour enhancer in Asian dishes with the end result being a man made product. This product is also known as Ajino Moto.
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This chemical is derived from natural amino acid which is one of the building blocks of protein called ‘glutamate’ and is fairly common as practically every living thing contains a certain level of glutamate.  Glutamate is an important chemical in the brain, and it has been said that it is a potential for neurological effects if very high levels of glutamate are consumed.

On its own, Monosodium glutamate is completely tasteless, but when used in cooking, it awakens the taste buds on the tongue.  Critics state that properly seasoned and cooked foods should not have the need for monosodium glutamate (MSG) or any other flavour enhancers.

Although the food safety enforcers have long held that MSG is perfectly safe, there have been many reports of incidents known as Chinese Restaurant Headache.  Numerous people have a natural sensitivity to the glutens found in MSG with similar reactions to wheat allergies or anaphylactic reactions.

Approximately an hour after consuming food that contains MSG, some people may show symptoms like headaches, cramping pains in the abdomen, nausea, a skin rash, a sour stomach or loose stools, or swelling of there hands and or feet. For this reason, many Asian restaurants have voluntarily stopped using MSG. However, researchers have not found any evidence that link the symptoms to MSG.

MSG can be purchased in any shops or supermarkets especially in Asian countries such as Thailand who appear to use the stuff by the bucketful. People who are sensitive to MSG need to look at the ingredients in products such as hydrolyzed soy proteins which also contain glutens and are occasionally added to food that claim to be MSG free.

A test for MSG allergy or intolerance can be done to see how bad the reactions are after which there are several courses of treatments. Most treatments involve the administration of oral medication or injections and in rare occasions the patient may have to be kept hospitalized for observation.

Whether the condition is diagnosed as an MSG allergy or intolerance, there is little doubt that the patient needs to avoid all foods that contain MSG which may involve avoiding certain restaurants that are known to use it in their food preparations, unless you know them well enough to ask them to omit it from your meal during cooking.

Sarah Goldman

Photo : Internet   Category : Health

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