What is Monosodium Glutamate (MSG) and its Side Effects

Monosodium Glutamate (MSG) or Ajinomoto has been used as a food additive for decades. It is a flavor enhancer commonly added to Chinese food, crackers, canned soups, meats, salad dressings, frozen dinners and much more. MSG enhances the flavor of foods, makes processed meats and frozen dinners taste fresher and smell better, salad dressings more tasty, and canned foods less tinny. Although FDA has classified MSG as a food ingredient that’s generally recognized as safe, ‘the use of MSG remains controversial.

MSG was invented by kikunae ikeda (a Japanese man) in 1908. MSG is approximately 78 per cent free glutamic acid, 21 per cent sodium, and up to 1 per cent contaminants.

Umami in Japanese means ‘deliciousness’ and is the taste of glutamate, which is a savory flavor, found in many Japanese foods, bacon and also in food additive MSG. it is because of umami that foods with MSG taste heartier, healthier and generally better to a lot of people than foods without it.

What is MSG

What are the Side Effects of MSG:

MSG is believed to be an excitotoxin, as it has the ability to over stimulate cells to death causing brain damage in varying degrees and possibly even triggering or worsening learning disabilities, Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, Lou Gehrig’s disease etc. other risks associated with consumption of MSG are:

‘Short-term reactions’ also known as MSG symptom complex is common in certain groups of people, especially suffering from asthma.

What are the Symptoms of Short-term Reactions:

  • Tingling
  • Numbness
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Burning sensation
  • Facial pressure
  • Weakness
  • Headache
  • Nausea
  • Chest pain or difficulty in breathing
  • Drowsiness

Also Read: Amazing Health Benefits of Lemon
Also Read: Health Benefits of Basil Leaves

Food Products rich in MSG:

  • In a restaurant:
  • Sausage and chicken products
  • Parmesan items
  • Flavored salty snack chips
  • Fries with any kind of seasoning on them (except salt)
  • Dipping sauces
  • Ranch dressings
  • Soups (especially Chinese)
  • Caesar salad
  • Fish sauce

Processed Foods:

  • Soy protein used in baked goods, hot dogs
  • Powered cheese used in chips or other snacks
  • Malted barley used in bread of beer
  • Hydrolyzed protein used in canned tuna, canned and dried soups
  • Powdered milk (especially used in baked goods and low fat milk)

To Avoid MSG:

  • We must read food labels carefully
  • Processed foods are generally rich in MSG
  • Be careful in restaurants; ask for MSG-free items on menu
  • While buying packaged foods, be sure of the ingredients.

To avoid MSG, one must stick to whole, fresh foods. It does take a bit more planning and item in the kitchen to prepare food at home, using fresh, locally grown ingredients. But it is worth it for pure, toxin free food, and for overall health.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *