In spite of anecdotal accounts of people's adverse reactions to MSG, there is no real scientific evidence that it is actually unsafe. In fact, historians believe that racism may actually be the root of all the MSG hate since Europeans and Americans mostly encounter it in Asian restaurants.
The latest research has found that people who allow such scaremongering to affect their diet weren’t just missing out on amazing flavor, but are also a lot more likely to fail to lead a healthy diet.
Dr. Miguel Alonso-Alonso of Harvard Medical Center carried out an experiment which tracked people's behavior when presented with a buffet meal including neuroimaging of brain responses and computerized eye-tracking.
Dr. Alonso-Alonso found that participants who consumed MSG made far healthier choices at the buffet, including eating a lot less saturated fats. The most prominent effects were seen among women who were prone to binge eating and were lacking in self-control.
The eye-tracking results proved that consuming MSG made participants more focused on the meals they had chosen, instead of being distracted by other buffet options, or even switching between portions.
The results also showed that after eating MSG, a person's brain shows more activity in the left prefrontal cortex, which is the area of the brain that has been linked to self-control, especially where food is concerned.
The team of researchers believe that such an effect may have stemmed from glutamate sensing in the stomach, rather than its umami taste. They also concluded that further research needs to be done to assess the possibility of becoming tolerant to these effects since only a single meal was analyzed in this experiment.