MSG vs Salt: Which One To Avoid

MSG vs salt: Similar in terms of appearance, but these two are completely different from each other. Like taste ,purpose in cooking, and effect on the body.

salt in a glass shaker

It is no doubt that the best way to eat food is having it made deliciously and full of flavor. To achieve a flavorful and scrumptious meal, it is a must to involve cooking with different kinds of spices and flavorings. For this article, we will be discussing two of these spices – MSG vs. Salt.

A Short History On The Origin Of Spices

Before everything else, let’s get to see how spices began their journey to becoming a necessity in the world of cooking. The good thing about spices, or what most people refer to as condiments sometimes, is that they have their own uniqueness and flavor. The usage of these flavorings depends on what kind of taste will be preferred whether it be sweet, salty, tangy, spicy, and the like.

Spices may be categorized into two, and it will be based on how they can affect the body in medical means. First, there are spices and flavorings that are known to be beneficial for the body. Great examples are natural herbs and spices.

For the second category, it would be those spices that have strong flavors but they tend to be not too healthy. These spices are known to cause specific health conditions when consumed too much. Some of these spice are:

  • Sugar
  • Salt
  • Monosodium glutamate

It was many years ago since spices began their journey to be where they are now – the kitchen. Before spices were used as additional flavors for dishes, they were once used in many other ways which include their use in terms of cosmetics and even when it comes to embalming their dead relatives. Still, it was as early as those days when they were intentionally used as flavors for meals. The ancient Egyptians may be responsible for the first introduction of spices to the world, but there are traders from different countries who made it possible for spices to become a worldwide phenomenon.

MSG vs Salt


Normally, monosodium glutamate (MSG) and salt are often mistaken to be the other because they are somehow similar in appearance. But how will we know which one is which? There are many differences between the two, and this includes their taste (or for what their purpose is in cooking), what they are composed of, and their effect on the body.

When it comes to their similarity, the most common factor would be their appearance since it is what we will first notice. However, it is also said that both of them contain amounts of sodium and they just differ on how many it is in them. In terms of sodium content, salt is known to have more compared to MSG, but they both have similar purposes which are to add a salty and more pleasing flavor to foods.


All of us may already be aware of what salt is and where it comes from, this just shows how common salt is used in each and every household.

The chemical name of salt is sodium chloride which means that it is a byproduct of the chemical sodium and chlorine. The presence of salt is a natural occurrence to most foods or food ingredients, but there are also derived salt products (such as table salt, which we use almost every day) that are made to add a salty flavor to foods. Therefore, salt became a spice or a condiment to prevent having bland flavors in dishes.

Although salt is completely helpful in providing additional taste and saltiness to food, it is very dangerous when taken in large amounts. There already a lot of cases that involve too much salt intake. One of them results in high blood pressure. Too much salt in the body tends to trap the water inside. This then leads to high blood pressure and other complications such as the heart, brain, and kidneys. If the high blood pressure caused by high salt intake becomes uncontrollable and untreated, the possible outcomes are cardiovascular issues such as heart attacks and stroke, degenerative neurological diseases like dementia, and kidney problems.

MSG or Monosodium Glutamate

Unlike salt, MSG is derived from a non-essential amino acid called the L-glutamate. Also, when it is compared to sodium content, it has a lesser amount than salt. MSG may be referred to as a staple seasoning when it comes to Asian cuisine, where it can be said that it is more used than salt. Unfortunately, MSG has long been associated with negativity ever since it started making a name on its own. Still, studies have cleared the name of monosodium glutamate regarding this issue, giving enough proof that MSG is not responsible for causing side effects such as headaches and stomach issues.

MSG vs Salt: Conclusion

Excessive salt is known to cause serious health conditions, thus it is advisable to consume only limited amounts to prevent this from happening. For MSG, there is no proof yet regarding its supposed side effects which are headaches and stomach problems. However, it is still important to take precautions when consuming MSG. We should not rely too much on the claims and just be safe by only using few and acceptable amounts of either MSG vs salt.

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