Avoiding MSG

Avoiding MSG

Monosodium Glutamate (MSG)

What is MSG?

Monosodium glutamate is an amino acid, glutamic acid. In the most basic form, it is a flavor enhancer. It makes beef taste beefier, or pork porkier, or chicken chickenier.   The FDA has marked MSG as “Generally Recognized as Safe (GRAS),” which means it can be used in many foods, although it needs to be on the label.  MSG is a savory taste enhancer, hence why it is used in meat dishes.

How does it work?

MP900442633It does this by exciting the nerves at a higher threshold. This tells your brain that this particular food tastes better.

Why is it bad?

Starting somewhere in the 1970’s there was something that became known as “Chinese Restaurant Syndrome” which involved some of the common side effects of MSG. These include numbness or heart flutters, or headaches, or even asthma.

This “higher threshold” of nerve excitement is not good news. What it really does is push our system beyond what it was designed to do. Here’s an example. If you take an airplane wing, and push it beyond the safety margin of what it is designed to hold, it’s gonna snap. Same goes true with our taste buds. There is a limit of what we can taste, and MSG helps put us at or above that limit more often.

Furthermore, MSG is what’s called an excitotoxin, a neurotoxin. It can cause symptoms such as anxiety, slurred speech, loss of taste, ringing in ears, memory loss, vertigo, muscle spasms, rashes, depression, fatigue, vision problems, and the list goes on and on. With that it could cause brain tumors, MS, epilepsy, Alzheimers, Parkinsons, and many more health problems.

Where can it be found?

Box with a Hamburger and French FriesThe problem is that it is added to nearly every processed food. It makes all the snack chips taste better, the chicken nuggets better, the soups better, the pizza better, everything. Why do manufacturers add it? Simple. Their food tastes better than their competition so it sells more. Then the competition adds more so that theirs tastes better so they can sell more.

It’s frequently found in chinese food (duh), soup, chicken broth, vegetable broth, sausage, pepperoni, gravy, cheese flavored corn chips, cheese flavored corn puffs, anything with cheese powder, salad dressings, all those seasoning packets, soup mixes, ramen noodles (very high amounts), and much more. It does occur naturally as well.

MSG has many names:

Monosodium Glutamate (MSG)
Hydrolyzed Vegetable Protein
Hydrolyzed Protein
Hydrolyzed Plant Protein
Plant Protein Extract
Sodium Caseinate
Calcium Caseinate
Yeast Extract
Textured Protein
Autolyzed Yeast
Hydrolyzed Oat Flour
Corn Oil
Glutamic Acid










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