MSG: What, where, and how much?

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October 16, 2012 by thehealthyheartcenter

Monosodium Glutamate also known as MSG is a common food additive which enhances the flavor of food. It is the sodium salt of the non-essential amino acid, glutamic acid. It is made from an industrial fermentation process. MSG can also be called hydrolyzed protein, sodium caseinate, calcium caseinate, autolyzed yeast and yeast extract. It is commonly found in gravy, chips, soups, luncheon meats, chicken products, and sauces.

Since 1959, the FDA has deemed MSG as “GRAS”, hence, generally recognized as safe.  It has received thousands of complaints in comparison to any other additive in the American diet.  Side effects include headaches, nausea, and dizziness. In 1995, these side effects were recognized by the FDA; the FDA now classifies some individuals as sensitive to MSG, but otherwise, labels it as a safe ingredient.

According to the European Food Information Council, “Monosodium glutamate is one of the most extensively studied food ingredients in our food supply. Hundreds of studies and numerous scientific evaluations have concluded that monosodium glutamate provides a safe and useful taste enhancer for foods.”

Here’s the bottom line – MSG is found in processed food items.  Considering that we should be eating REAL food that is wholesome, we can generally eliminate MSG in our diet and in our children’s diet.  Hence, regardless of what a mom’s group or the FDA says about MSG, whether we are “MSG sensitive”, we should be eating real foods (fruits, vegetables, whole grains, etc.)  There are exceptions when it comes to eating outside of your home and in a restaurant.  While eating out, be your own advocate and ask the server about the ingredients of your meal.  

Comments?  Feedback?  We are always listening!

References: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22696342, http://www.eufic.org/article/en/artid/monosodium-glutamate/, http://www.moms-inc.com/MSG.htm

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Authors

Dr. Wali Gauvin

Kendra Fink RD CPT

Jessica Griffin: Intern

Julianna Yi: Intern

Marielle Mangano: Intern

Jackie Page: Intern

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