It is really important to know what is hiding in your food, especially if you are eating a certain item regularly.
So, today we are talking about the infamous MSG. It has its detractors, but also its supporters.
Having done a bit of door-to-door research in hawker centers and casual dining restaurants, we were surprised by the number of establishments that openly admit to using it daily. There is some confusion regarding MSG and most people just believe what they have seen online - that MSG is a natural additive. Well, not exactly. MSG does occur naturally in many foods (cheese, tomatoes, seaweed, etc.) but that doesn’t mean that the MSG that gets added to your food has been extracted naturally. It’s the equivalent of saying that the sugar contained in a can of coke is natural because many fruits naturally contain sugar. That logic doesn’t exactly pan out, right?
To clear up any misconceptions, we did some digging and found this explanation from the team at The Nutrition Clinic in Singapore quite helpful:
“MSG is an excitotoxin, which means it overexcites your cells to the point of damage. Beyond what it potentially does to our cells, there are a lot of studies that show eating MSG can affect the satiety hormone (Leptin) by interfering with the hypothalamus. Recent studies have shown that MSG can trigger a 40% increase in appetite over time”
MSG is used because it has the power to make bland food taste great. But it adds this great flavor in a very consistent, similar way. Have you ever noticed that many times, different foods have the same savory flavor?
So health impact aside, we don’t like it because it’s like taking a shortcut. Why spend hours simmering a broth overnight… when you can add 10 spoons of magic powder and get a similar result?
Cooking requires effort and time, and we should avoid chemical additives which compensate for lack of preparation.
If you agree, next time you go out for lunch, ask if the food contains MSG… and start making healthier choices!