Friday, December 17, 2010

Time to give in to MSG in Singapore?

In the West, we are constantly on MSG (Monosodium Glutamate) alert. We don't want to eat MSG in our food. Plain and simple.
If we see it on the label, the more food savvy of us will probably turn our noses up at it and stick the culprit back on the shelf. The only time we think we might come across it is in the local Chinese take away.

But in Singapore these little white crystals....

are everywhere! And I have been thinking about it lots since I got here.

MSG has been linked to depression, headaches, asthma and Alzheimer. However there is no solid scientific evidence for any of this.

If the above really was true how come all the people here that eat MSG in most of their meals each day aren't a gibbering wreck?

I have to say that I know instantly when I've eaten MSG  - I feel like my brain is on some sort of food high even though the food looks like it shouldn't taste that good, and I will soon have problems breathing.

But could something that is derived of seaweed really be that bad for you? Natural glutamates after all exist in tomatoes, sweetcorn, Parmesan and a whole host of other foods.

MSG is considered safe by every government. Plus an ‘international team of experts' met in early 2007 to review the current knowledge of MSG safety, and concluded that it was ‘harmless for the whole population'.

So if that's the case why do I feel so wrong when I have consumed it? I am probably just hyper-sensitive to it or else all the governments and food manufacturers in the world are on one big cover up. 

But here is the weird thing, after all the backlash, people are now saying it actually has health benefits!

Yes here we go - they are saying that  it reduces the need for added salt. Which I suppose is true. But do they really need to have celebrity chef  Heston Blumenthal banging his drum saying that it adds ‘depth and strength' to a dish when really it's just causing a chemical food-based reaction in your brain?

Well that's alright then if Heston says so while caressing a sprig of rosemary!

I guess like with most things, you can bend it to suit whichever way you want to look at it. But I know I don't really want to feel like a demon on speed every time I just want a regular meal.


Anonymous said...

Hey Talya,

I just wanted to say I am very anti-msg...I've told Wils about it too. It's a neurotoxin therefore it directly attacks to neurons in your brain. Its an excitotoxin which causes your nerve cells to fire over and over again. Overstimulatoin of this brain tissue can only have adverse effects

The only way to avoid it is to cook at home because it's not just Chinese places that use fact most food at the supermarket has it...and don't be fooled...often times they disguise it under a different name such as hydrolyzed vegetable protein, autolyzed yeast extract, soy protein isolate...and many more. The food companies now that people are becoming more informed about the dangers of MSG and so they use these different names.

It's dirt cheap and its makes otherwise bland food taste amazing and therefore sells food corporations alot of money.... so it will be very difficult to outlaw this chemical. It's sad that gov considers this stuff safe.


Ms Demeanour said...

Hey Sandra,

I know it's scary - it comes under all sorts of guises and agree that home cooked food is better. As far as I'm concerned the global officials can say whatever they like but you have to trust what your body tells you! I'm sure it's only a matter of time before the truth is outed on WikiLeaks...