I’m fascinated by the “Soup Wars” (see previous post). The New York Times has a full-page ad today from Progresso: “Campbell’s has 95 soups made with MSG. Progresso has 26 delicious soups with no MSG (and more to come).” Then it adds in small print, “Except that which occurs naturally in yeast extract and vegetable proteins.” I thought people considered high fructose corn syrup to be the new trans fat (get rid of it!), but maybe it’s MSG?
Pity the poor makers of canned soups. Canning blands out the taste so they add grams of salt to cover the blandness. But less salt is healthier, so the companies add MSG (monosodium glutamate) instead.
Because MSG is the sodium salt of glutamate, a normal amino acid constituent of body proteins, it ought to be safe but health concerns about it go on and on (Wikipedia has a quick review). Lots of people tell me they are sensitive to it and that MSG gives them headaches or makes them dizzy. The research on MSG is so inconsistent that I can’t make head or tail of it. My guess is that we will be hearing a lot more about MSG, especially with Campbell’s and Progresso facing off about which soups use less. Stay tuned.
And here’s an account of what’s going on with this.