Most people who would consider themselves nutrition-conscious, and certainly self-respecting foodies, would probably deny that they use or eat monosodium glutamate, or “MSG”. It has a bad reputation as being dangerous, harmful, you name it.
Did you know you’ve been eating glutamate forever? Here are a few facts about glutamate:
· It’s the most plentiful amino acid in our bodies.
· Most of the glutamate in our bodies hangs out in our gut.
· When chefs and foodies talk about the thing called “umami”, or the “fifth taste” they’re really talking about glutamate.
Glutamate is nothing to fear and there is lots to relish about it. It’s naturally found in foods like tomatoes, mushrooms, and parmesan cheese, which makes much of the Italian food we love a virtual glutamate bomb – and it’s all OK.
Read more about glutamate in this article I wrote for the MSGdish and The Glutamate Society. Fortunately, chefs are getting clear about the flavor that a little glutamate adds to foods we love, and using glutamate to bring great flavor to foods in new ways.