MSG: Could It Mean “Maybe Something Good”?


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.

Regulate Sugar? Consumers Need to Be Empowered, Not Made Into Victims

 sugar-browncubesonwhitesugarSugar seems to be the new trans fat – it has really bad press.  I’ll grant you, sugar isn’t angel food, but it isn’t devil’s food either.

There are those who would prefer to regulate sugar as though it were tobacco or a drug.  That gets great headlines but as a clinician, I’m a little more practical.  

Sugar isn’t a new food and we consumed it long before there was an obesity crisis.  Indeed, we’re actually eating LESS of it than we did 15 years ago.  

I want my patients to understand food, not fear it.  Read more of my take on the sugar shakedown in my guest editorial in US News.