Monosodium glutamate is the sodium salt of glutamate, and has been used to enhance and balance the savory taste of food for more than a hundred years.
The human body does not distinguish between the glutamate found naturally in foods and the glutamate in MSG.
Whether you select glutamate-rich foods and ingredients like tomatoes, Parmesan cheese, mushrooms, walnuts, MSG or soy sauce, the glutamate in each is the same.
Glutamate is found naturally in protein-containing foods such as meat, vegetables, poultry and milk. Glutamic acid is one of the 20 amino acids which are the building blocks of proteins in the body. Produced naturally in the body for a variety of essential functions, glutamate is an important building block of protein.
The umami taste receptors on the tongue are uniquely receptive to glutamate, which explains why free glutamate is effective in enhancing the tastiness of food. Monosodium glutamate (the sodium salt of glutamate) is a self-limiting substance, so once the proper amount is used, adding more contributes little to food flavor. We consume between 10 g and 20 g of glutamate from our diet, of which glutamate from seasoning or condiments is less than 10%.
Although virtually every food will contain some amount of glutamate, there are some foods that are rich in glutamate and can easily be combined in your favorite recipes to make more savory foods.
Taste receptors on the tongue recognize five basic tastes, including umami which is often described as the savory taste. MSG is umami seasoning — the simplest, purest way to add the umami taste to food.
Since its discovery in 1908, monosodium glutamate (MSG) has been used safely and effectively to enhance the taste of foods.
The extensive scientific research on glutamate, umami and monosodium glutamate has been reviewed by scientists and regulators worldwide. The U.S. Food & Drug Administration and regulatory agencies around the world have concluded that MSG is safe for everyone.