MSG Culprits: How Monosodium Glutamate May Still be in Your Diet

MSG Culprits: How Monosodium Glutamate May Still be in Your Diet

It was because of the Chinese food industry’s overuse of monosodium glutamate (MSG) that first brought to light its potential dangers. Since then scores of scientific studies have been performed refuting the detrimental effects of this additive. Yet, certain people still suffer reactions to MSG or foods that inadvertently contain MSG turning such reactions into confusing health issues.

Knowing where MSG lurks and how to avoid it may be another responsibly healthy eating choice that benefits you. Regardless of what Big Corp and many of their inconspicuously funded studies report, simply cutting MSG out of your diet may help you find out if it is a hidden trigger to one or more of your adverse health issues.

The Side Effects of MSG

MSG began as a flavor enhancer first referred to as umami or “delicious taste”. Studies as well as the FDA claim that MSG is safe to consume, even in high quantities. However, many people still report side effects after consuming MSG or foods that unknowingly contain it.

Some of these side effects as reported by Natural News (8/3/15) include:

  • Skin problems like hives, rashes and intense itching.
  • Digestive problems like nausea and vomiting.
  • Neurological problems like headaches and migraines, or more serious issues like seizures.
  • Musculoskeletal problems like weakness and jaw pain.
  • Cardiovascular problems like a rapid or weak heartbeat.

Foods that Contain MSG

Simply cutting out Chinese food may not be enough as many other foods contain MSG. Below are some of the main offenders however the list is long so getting into the habit of checking ingredients should be practiced. Look for hydrolyzed protein, autolyzed yeast, glutamic acid and yeast extract, as these are common ingredients used to hide monosodium glutamate.

Some foods on this list naturally contain MSG and may not create a side effect. However, if you are particularly sensitive you may want to avoid as many MSG foods and slowly re-introduce the natural ones to see if you have a reaction.

  • Potato chips, Doritos® and Cheetos®
  • Fast food burger or chicken dishes
  • Potatoes
  • Peas
  • Tomatoes and tomato juice
  • Mushrooms
  • Grapes, grape juice and other fruit juices
  • Processed meat and meat cold cuts
  • Frozen dinners
  • Ranch dressing
  • Parmesan and Rocquefort cheeses
  • Soy sauce
  • Fish sauce
  • Gravies
  • Accent® food enhancer which basically is MSG

Ways to Avoid MSG

Checking ingredients for the above mentioned hidden MSG additives is the first line of defense when determining if foods contain MSG.

Free glutamate, L- glutamic acid or glutamate is another ingredient to look for as this is a compound formed through the break down of protein. It can sometimes be found in the ingredients which technically means that there is no MSG. However, when free glutamate combines with free sodium, MSG is formed.

Eating in some restaurants can be short of taking your life into your own hands. Always check the bathrooms as this is a sign of overall cleanliness, or lack thereof. When it comes to MSG you  can look for ‘No MSG’ on the menu or simply ask the wait staff to assure you none is used in their food preparation (other than those that are naturally occurring of course).

Other items to avoid that either contain glutamate or aspartame acid which fits into the same receptors that react to MSG are: tobacco, chewable vitamins, chewing gum, diet soda, quick dissolve breath strips, malted barley, hydrolyzed protein, powdered milk, and many foods that contain high amounts of sodium.

Food Addiction Trick

One more danger of MSG in foods is that it has been shown to trigger eating addictive.

Livestrong reports that,

“According to “Contemporary Nutrition,” the food additive industry readily admits that MSG has addictive properties and can cause people to gain weight,…Glutamate, the main component of MSG, is the primary excitatory neurotransmitter in the brain, and it has been linked to neurological symptoms when taken in excess.” (3/22/11)

Add in other addictive food ingredients such as corn syrup, high fructose and other processed sugars and most people don’t have a chance. This could be one of the major factors of the American obesity epidemic.

Eat as many “live” vegetables, fruits, grains and legumes before succumbing to lazy, packaged often MSG heavy choices. It just may make a difference in the long run.



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