MSG

4 Aug

What is MSG? You may see signs at restaurants that say “No MSG.”  What you may not know though, is that MSG is in many snacks and foods that you eat all the time. So what is MSG anyway?

One thing I have noticed doing all of my research on food additives and preservatives is that typically the names are shortened or abbreviated to make them sound less foreign and “chemically.” MSG, BHT, BHA, etc. all are easy to refer to.  Perhaps a long scientific name is a bit intimidating and alarming.

What does MSG mean? What does MSG do?

MSG means monosodium glutamate.  While it is not a preservative like BHT and BHA, it is an additive that makes food “taste better.”  In reality, MSG has a profound affect on your taste buds.  Ever wonder why you always want to eat that entire bag of Doritos because it tastes soo good? It opens them up and makes you want more! No wonder why companies and restaurants add it their food! The more food you eat with MSG, the more you want to eat, the more $ they make.

 

Where is MSG found?

The most common place that I believe MSG is found is in flavored chips–Doritos or other flavored chips, soups, flavored meats.  It is also found in many Asian foods, such as Siamin or Ramen noodles.  You can find it labeled most commonly as MSG on food labels,  but according to Wikipedia it is also can be found as part of other names such as including hydrolyzed vegetable proteins, autolyzed yeast, hydrolyzed yeast, yeast extract, soy extracts, and protein isolate, which must be labeled with these common and usual names. Also, it may be called by the food additives disodium inosinate and disodium guanylate.

It is almost impossible to tell if what you eat a restaurant has added MSG. Surprisingly, you can buy a bottle of MSG from the supermarket if you really want to add it to all your food.

 

Is MSG safe to eat?

Many people have reactions to MSG, and some people are allergic to the point where they cannot eat anything with MSG.  About.com cites the FDA, noting that “Suffer from asthma? The FDA admits that people with asthma may have trouble breathing after consuming MSG (scroll to 4th paragraph from the end). Is that safe? Maybe, maybe not — depending on how high a priority one sets on breathing.”

As someone with asthma, I avoid MSG.  If you don’t have asthma, there still may be side affects though.  Some of those include obesity, hyperactivity, and migraine headaches.

Wonder why you don’t feel so great today? Take a look at what you ate.

My advice would be to read the label, and don’t eat it if you can’t pronounce some of the ingredients–and avoid it if you see MSG listed.

 

 

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