It’s important to be aware of the source of monosodium glutamate (MSG) in your food

Ajinomoto is a brand name of monosodium glutamate (MSG), a common food additive used to enhance the flavor of foods. While for a long time, flavor enhancers have been maligned, chef Ajay Chopra believes that the umami-inducing ingredient can be used in moderation to add flavor. Chopra shared, “Yes! That’s right, Ajinomoto is fine to eat and it’s not as harmful as people make it out to be. But always keep the measure and frequency in check to enjoy the oh-so umami.”

Let’s dive deeper into Ajinomoto and how it is used in our food

“Although MSG has been the subject of controversy for years, it is important to understand that it is generally considered safe when consumed in moderate amounts by most people. MSG is a flavor enhancer that adds the umami flavor to food, which is Often described as having a savory, meaty, or brothy flavor,” said Ankita Ghoshal Bisht, a dietician in charge of Primus Super Specialty Hospital.

Why is it used in recipes?

MSG is mainly used to enhance the umami or savory taste of foods. It can make dishes taste more delicious and attractive, which is why it is commonly used in many dishes, said Dr Nirupama Rao, nutritionist, Rejua Energy Centre, Mumbai.

Ajinomoto is widely used in processed foods, restaurant dishes, and fast-food items.

However, it is important to keep a few things in mind.

Some people experience symptoms such as headaches, sweating, and chest pain after eating foods containing MSG. Dr. Rao explained that this is sometimes called “Chinese restaurant syndrome.”

Additionally, some individuals may be sensitive to high doses of MSG or may have underlying health conditions that make them more sensitive to its effects.

Ajinomoto is rich in sodium, a component of salt. Shikha Agarwal, health and wellness consultant and founder, Nurture, said, “Excessive sodium consumption can lead to high blood pressure and cardiovascular problems, making it a concern for individuals with high blood pressure or those at risk for heart disease. Is.”

Like many food additives, moderation is key. “Although MSG is considered safe for most people, it is not advisable to consume it in large amounts,” Dr. Rao said.

According to Aggarwal, there is some evidence that foods containing Ajinomoto may encourage overeating due to their increased palatability. “This may contribute to weight gain and obesity over time,” Aggarwal said.

“In such cases, it is advisable to limit or avoid foods with added MSG,” Dr. Rao said.

How to keep an eye on MSG consumption?

It is essential to be aware of the source of MSG in your food. “Natural food sources of glutamate, such as tomatoes, Parmesan cheese, and mushrooms, also contain glutamate, and can be part of a balanced diet,” said Ghoshal Bisht.

Ghoshal Bisht emphasized that a diet rich in whole, unprocessed foods is generally considered to be healthier than relying on highly processed foods, which often have MSG added to enhance flavor.

Ajinomoto itself does not provide any nutritional value. “It is merely an artificial flavor enhancer and should not be relied upon as a source of nutrition. Overdependence on such additives may reduce consumption of more nutritious whole foods,” Agarwal said.

Experts urge that Ajinomoto or MSG can be used in your cooking as long as it is used in moderation. “It may enhance the flavor of dishes, but a balanced and varied diet based on whole foods remains the foundation of good nutrition. If you have concerns about MSG or any food additive, consult a healthcare provider or registered It’s a good idea to consult a dietitian for personal advice,” Ghoshal Bisht also said.