What You Need to Know About MSG – A Series

Like most people, I always assumed MSG was something labeled as “bad” and to be avoided. When I moved to the United States, even though I enjoyed making recipes, I noticed that food didn’t taste like my mother’s cooking from back in Peru. Coincidentally, I discovered that my mother had always cooked with Ajinomoto, a brand of MSG. Therefore, I decided to give this ingredient from my childhood a chance and investigate. Based on what I found, I created this series about “Debunking The Myths and Mysteries Behind MSG” to educate, so you too can make your own decision on MSG despite what you’ve heard in the past.

Most people know about the basic tastes humans can experience: sweet, sour, salty and bitter. However, did you know there is also fifth taste that you experience regularly and probably don’t even know it? It’s called umami and, in this video, I show you how you can experience it.

So, what does MSG have to do with umami? In this video, I explain what MSG is made up of, natural sources of these components, how it relates to your fifth taste receptor and how MSG is made to give you a better idea of its natural elements.

MSG has been demonized in the past and, to some extent, in the present as well. Many people associate it with side effects such as headaches and nausea. Others have no idea why they avoid it, but know that many foods are marketed as having no MSG. So, how did MSG end up with such a bad reputation? I give the full history in the final video of the series.

So there you have it. I hope now you have a better idea of what MSG is about and can now enjoy your fifth taste sense, umami. It is always your prerogative to make your own decisions about the foods you eat and the ingredients they contain. However, as a registered dietitian, I believe it is my duty to educate you on foods, so that the decisions you do make can be informed ones.

Disclaimer: I got the pleasure to be invited to Japan by the Ajinomoto team to learn about Japanese cuisine, umami and MSG.  After this enlightening trip I decided to film this series of videos. All the opinions expressed in the videos are my own.

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