What is MSG? If you are like me I have heard of it and know it's not good, but that was the extent of my knowledge. I mainly heard it was in Asian foods, so I tend to steer clear of those foods. Boy was I wrong! In this post you will hopefully understand what MSG is, how to recognize it in foods, and why it is bad.
MSG or Mono-sodium Glutamate, is a man made chemical that appeals to the 5th taste sensation called Umami. According to Dr. Joseph Mercola "MSG is more than just a seasoning like salt and pepper, it actually enhances the flavor of foods, making processed meats and frozen dinners taste fresher and smell better, salad dressings more tasty, and canned foods less tinny". (The Huffington Post) MSG was found to aid in making food for soldiers in WWII more filling and appetizing. The FDA deems MSG "Generally Recognized as Safe", despite side effects that many people have.
Side effects of MSG can include:
Fatigue and disorientation
Further, even the FDA admits that "short-term reactions" known as MSG Symptom Complex can occur in certain groups of people, namely those who have eaten "large doses" of MSG or those who have asthma.
According to the FDA, MSG Symptom Complex can involve symptoms such as:
Facial pressure or tightness
Chest pain or difficulty breathing
I saw these side effects and thought they were pretty mild, then as my research continued I found a great video from neurosurgeon Dr. Russell Blaylock that explains there are more serious side effects from MSG. I would encourage you to watch this video.
Now that I understood what MSG was, how can I find it in my foods in order to reduce or eliminate the consumption. I was so angry to find there are over 40 different names of ingredients that contain MSG. I don't know how this can be legal. Since the FDA will not protect me, I have to do it myself. I put all the names of MSG into a list on my phone so when I go grocery shopping I can know how many ingredients contain MSG. If you do not want to consume ANY MSG then stay away from everything prepackaged. I personally and steering that way but as I have said before baby steps. Currently I am trying to reduce the consumtion for me and my family.
Here is the list of MSG containing ingredients.
Any “hydrolyzed protein”
Yeast extract, Torula yeast
Yeast food, Yeast nutrient
Whey protein concentrate
Whey protein isolate
Soy protein concentrate
Soy protein isolate
Anything “protein fortified”
Soy sauce extract
Anything “enzyme modified”
Anything containing “enzymes”
Bouillon and broth
Any “flavors” or “flavoring”
Citric acid, Citrate
Modified food starch
Lipolyzed butter fat
Brown rice syrup
Reduced fat milk (skim; 1%; 2%)
most things “low fat” or “no fat”
anything “vitamin enriched”
certain amino acid chelates (Citrate, aspartate, and glutamate are used as chelating agents with mineral supplements.)
WOW right? Overwhelming? I know, I felt that way as well, but if you can remember the goal is to eat and live healthier than before then you just need to determine what you are comfortable with in regards to ingredients in food.
I hope this has been informative and please feel free to comment anytime.