By: Nikki Nies MSG-Peter-Tsai-Photography

Many Chinese take out restaurants and menus clearly state their foods are not cooked with MSG.  While such restaurants have eliminated MSG from their food, monosodium glutamate (MSG) has not been completely eliminated from other food industries.

When I was researching MSG, I was shocked to hear how many products still contain MSG.  Well, what’s MSG? MSG is a flavor enhancer used in flavored crackers and chips, lunch meats, salad dressings, canned vegetables, tomatoes, cheeses, gravy mixes, hot dogs, seasoning salt, bouillon cubes, instant soups, meats and fast food.  It is composed of the amino acid, glutamic acid and is created through the fermentation of molasses, starch, sugar and/or sugar beets.

Although, MSG is Generally Recognized as Safe (GRAS) product, the MSG Symptom Complex has emerged in recent decades.  Negative Impacts of consumption of High MSG products:

  •  Headache
  •  Flushing
  • Facial pressure or tightness
  • Sweating
  • Chest pain
  • Heart Palpitations
  • Numbness
  • Nausea
  • Intense Thirst
  • Tingling in mouth
  • Ringing in ears
  • Dizziness
  • Weakness/Lethargy

A high MSG product is defined as anything that exceeds 3 g/1 teaspoon of MSG.

So, how can you decrease your risk of MSG Symptom Complex?  Look at the nutrition fact label AND ingredient list. MSG can also be listed “naturally” as hydrolyzed vegetable protein, autolyzed yeast, hydrolyzed yeast, yeast extract, soy extracts, and protein isolate.  While initially time consuming, you’ll get the hang of analyzing food products the more you become accustomed to reading labels.

Photo Credit: The Open Mind


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