Monosodium Glutamate: Is It Bad For You?

By Laura Moncur @ 10:00 am — Filed under:

Monosodium Glutamate from Aji-No-Moto by LauraMoncur from FlickrWhile we were out at yard sales last weekend, we found this great can that used to have MSG (or monosodium Glutamate) in it. It was actually from the famous Ajinomoto Corporation of Japan, who patented MSG in 1909. MSG is a flavor enhancer, so it can make boring food taste really good. Sounds like a dieter’s dream, right? If you’re eating bland food, it can taste wonderful if you sprinkle on some magical MSG.

Unfortunately, many people have reported that MSG is bad for them. Is it something you should avoid?

MSG as a food ingredient has been the subject of health studies. A report from the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology (FASEB) compiled in 1995 on behalf of the FDA concluded that MSG was safe for most people when “eaten at customary levels.” However, it also said that, based on anecdotal reports, some people may have an MSG intolerance which causes “MSG symptom complex” — commonly referred to as Chinese restaurant syndrome — and/or a worsening of asthmatic symptoms.

Subsequent research found that while large doses of MSG given without food may elicit more symptoms than a placebo in individuals who believe that they react adversely to MSG, the frequency of the responses was low and the responses reported were inconsistent, not reproducible, and were not observed when MSG was given with food. Review of Alleged Reaction to Monosodium Glutamate and Outcome of a Multicenter Double-Blind Placebo-Controlled Study — Journal of Nutrition

While many people believe that MSG is the cause of these symptoms, a statistical association has not been demonstrated under controlled conditions, even in studies with people who were convinced that they were sensitive to it. Adequately controlling for experimental bias includes a placebo-controlled double-blinded experimental design and the application in capsules because of the strong and unique after-taste of glutamates. ScienceDirect – Food and Chemical Toxicology : Monosodium L-glutamate: A double-blind study and review

MSG FRESHLY PACKED IN LARGE JARS at Amazon.comSo, for most people, MSG isn’t a problem. If that’s the case, why can’t you just buy it in any grocery store? Well, you CAN. MSG is an ingredient in MANY spices on the market today. It is hidden under different names because so many people have been scared of MSG for no scientific reason. You can find MSG hiding under the following names:

  • Monosodium Glutamate
  • Hydrolyzed Vegetable Protein
  • Hydrolyzed Protein
  • Hydrolyzed Plant Protein
  • Plant Protein Extract
  • Sodium Caseinate
  • Calcium Caseinate
  • Yeast Extract
  • Textured Protein
  • Autolyzed Yeast
  • Hydrolyzed Oat Flour
  • Malt extract
  • Bouillon
  • Broth
  • Stock
  • Flavoring
  • Natural Flavoring
  • Natural Beef or Chicken Flavoring
  • Seasoning
  • Spices
  • Carrageenan
  • Enzymes
  • Soy Protein Concentrate
  • Soy Protein Isolate
  • Whey Protein Concentrate

If you would like to make your food taste a little better and you know that you have no sensitivity to MSG, you can buy it in the grocery store or at Amazon.com:


2 Responses to “Monosodium Glutamate: Is It Bad For You?”

  1. Renee Says:

    I love the flavor it adds to food but have found from personal experience that it has contributed to asthma problems for me. So I steer clear of it.

  2. James Says:

    I am tired of these groups of people out there trying to ban very thing with unproven information! It was the same thing with trans fat!

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