Is MSG truly harmful?

Asians are no strangers to MSG, also known as monosodium glutamate, which is often used to enhance the taste of our condiments. Almost every Asian dish, especially in restaurants and hawker stands, is enhanced by MSG to bring out the best of its flavours so we can enjoy a mouthwatering savoury dish.

So is it good or bad?

Ask any Asian household, we’re often told that MSG is bad news. It’s often blamed for headaches, heart palpitations, nausea, and high blood pressure. In addition to health risks, MSG consumption is frequently associated with excessive thirst, hair loss, ageing, and hormonal changes.

However, there isn’t any concrete evidence or study that proves MSG is linked to these symptoms. Excessive thirst and discomfort are usually the results of the salt and spices added to the dish. According to Dr. Merlin Thomas of the Baker IDI Heart and Diabetes Institute (Australia), most clinical scientists do not see the risk of consuming MSG and agree that it’s safe for human consumption. MSG is naturally found in tomatoes, seaweed, fish, mushrooms, cheese, and even milk. It’s not an artificial substance, as many claim it to be.

Having said that, like anything you put in your mouth, the keyword here is “moderation.” MSG should not be consumed in high concentrations as it may affect some people for a short period of time. It’s the golden rule when it comes to anything we put into our bodies.

If you are still cautious and worried about it, but can’t keep your hands off MSG-filled dishes, just hydrate between meals. Eat as fresh as possible and drink enough water.

Certified in Nutrition and General Fitness, Surin was a Tae Kwan Do instructor and a kickboxer before finding his footing in fitness writing. He also coaches on muscular fitness and assists in formulating specific training and meal plans for those looking to achieve physical wellness.

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