Monosodium glutamate (MSG) is a flavor enhancer commonly added to canned vegetables, soups, processed meats and Chinese food. MSG has been utilized for decades but remains controversial. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has classified MSG as a food ingredient that’s “generally recognized as safe,”.
The FDA has received many reports over the years, of adverse reactions to foods containing MSG.
MSG has been labeled as an excitotoxin because it is thought to have the ability to overstimulate cells to the point of death. Some people link MSG to headaches, flushing, poor concentration and diseases like fibromyalgia. Research has documented effects of MSG causing burning in the mouth, muscle fatigue, stomach upset, obesity and hormonal fluctuations.
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Monosodium glutamate (MSG) Animal studies have found that MSG is toxic to the brain, and researchers believe it causes migraines in people because it dilates blood vessels and impacts nerve cells in the brain.
“In the latest research … [scientists] followed more than 10,000 adults in China for about 5.5 years on average. The researchers measured MSG intake directly by before-and-after weighing of products, such as bottles of soy sauce, to see how much people ate … Men and women who ate the most MSG (a median of 5 grams a day) were about 30 percent more likely to become overweight by the end of the study”.
MSG has been found to contribute to many neurological conditions, such as Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, Lou Gehrig’s disease, stroke, encephalitis, and brain infections.
Foods You Didn’t Know Contain MSG
There are many food products that contain MSG besides the common and well-known offenders. MSG is found in a variety of processed, packaged and restaurant foods.
According to their website, Chick-Fil-A Chicken Sandwich
is seasoned with salt, sugar, spices, paprika, and MSG. Order the grilled chicken sandwich instead, if you would like to avoid the MSG.
Campbell’s Chicken Noodle Soup
gets much of its classic flavor from MSG. Chicken Noodle, Cream of Mushroom to Vegetable Beef, nearly all of the brand’s condensed soups contains it.
Hidden Valley Ranch Salad Dressing
has, you guessed it.. MSG on its ingredients label. This brand and flavor is not the only salad dressing that contains MSG, most prepackaged dressing do.
Many snacks, like chips, contain MSG as a flavor enhancer. Popular snack foods that contain MSG include:
- Pringles chips
- Unilever and Knorr instant dip products
Did you know a container of peanuts could has more than two ingredients (peanuts and salt). It has 13 ingredients, including MSG.
Parmesan cheese is a -must have for most pasta lovers. This prepackaged pasta topping not only has wood pulp (as we discussed this in a previous article) but you will also find MSG on the ingredient label.
Low fat and no fat milk products often contain milk solids that contain MSG.
Did you know that MSG hides in more than 40 other FDA-approved ingredients? Simply because the manufacturer didn’t add an ingredient called “monosodium glutamate,” they can say “No MSG added” on their label.
Ingredients containing MSG may be listed as hydrolyzed protein, autolyzed yeast, glutamic acid and yeast extract. Please check your labels and remember these additional ingredients when trying to avoid MSG.
These are the names of some of the MSG-containing ingredients often found in Health Food stores:
amino acids (They almost invariably contain glutamic acid.)
whey protein concentrate