MSG, Gluten and This Thing Called FODMAPs

A couple years ago, I posted a series called The MSG Files, which gave the inside scoop on the science, history and social constructs around the food additive everyone loves to hate: MSG. Business Insider recently published a short video by Will Wei that hits on a bunch of the points I discussed in those original posts.


If that piqued your interest and you want to learn more, you can check out the five parts to the MSG Files below:

The MSG Files Part I: What is Monosodium Glutamate?

The MSG Files Part II: Natural Sources of Glutamate in Our Bodies and Food

The MSG Files Part III: Umami

The MSG Files Part IV: Chinese Restaurant Syndrome

The MSG Files Part V: Public Relations

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P.S. While we’re on the food sensitivity theme, if you’ve ever wondered about the deal with gluten, here’s another Business Insider video that discusses how gluten-intolerance may, like MSG sensitivity, have more hype than substance. In fact, the researchers who published the first crucial study linking gluten with non-celiac digestive problems later debunked their own findings with a follow-up study suggesting that non-celiac gluten sensitivity is probably more psychological than anything else (as an aside, I wonder what research has been done on how gluten tolerance might vary across regional and hereditary backgrounds). Furthermore, a gluten-free diet that is rich in processed foods with high fat and sugar content might accomplish little other than expanding our waistlines and slenderizing our pocketbooks.

If gluten is out, what’s in? Well, those same scientists who changed their minds about gluten offer up another possible culprit: Fermentable Oligo-Di-Monosaccharides and Polyols, or FODMAPs. Some major FODMAPs are fruits, artificial sweeteners, dairy, onion, garlic, beans/lentils/legumes and wheat. A low-FODMAP diet has long been known to help people with persistent gastrointestinal problems, like irritable bowel syndrome. As for whether or not the FODMAP diet will become the next big yuppie craze, we will wait and see.


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