What is MSG? (Monosodium Glutamate)

Umami and MSG are two sides of the same coin. MSG gives food a savory, umami taste, and is considered the purest form of umami.

MSG (monosodium glutamate) is the sodium salt of glutamic acid, one of the most common naturally occurring amino acids. Glutamate acid is produced in abundance in our bodies. It is also found naturally in many foods we eat on a daily basis, like meats, fish, eggs, and dairy products.

In short, both umami and MSG give us the same taste experience. They use the same amino acid — glutamate — to activate our taste receptors. When you eat MSG, it triggers only one taste sensation — umami. Think of salt and saltiness. Many foods taste salty, but a pinch of salt on your tongue gives you the purest taste of saltiness.

What do you really know about MSG? Partnership with BuzzFeed.

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