One of my very good friends just found out she is pregnant. YEA! Along with many other changes soon to come to her body and life, she wants to make healthy diet choices including limiting and/or avoiding MSG. I remembered an article I had read that listed other names MSG "hides" under. So in an effort to help her identify foods with this flavor enhancer I started doing research on the subject. Oh boy! Now my head is spinning. I have some bad news for her. MSG, at first glance, seems to be in EVERYTHING from canned soup, lunch meats, snack foods, salad dressings all the way to the more obvious Chinese food and Doroitos. What is this thing called MSG? MSG or Monosodium Glutamate is a flavor enhancer that can be extracted from grains or beets. Of course it is also synthetically produced and used in many prepared and packaged foods that we eat. Is MSG bad for you since it is found in nature? This is where the debate begins. Of course the manufacturers of MSG argue that the synthetic version is exactly like the glutamate found in our bodies and therefore cannot be "bad" for us. However, some people encounter problems even with naturally occurring glutamate, not too mention that most synthetic products contain contaminates of some form. And this is just the beginning. Others link excessive MSG consumption to such health concerns as Diabetes, migraines and headaches, Autism, ADHD and Alzheimer's Disease. So rather that present both sides of the argument (that goes on and on...), I will leave you with a couple of websites that I found to give clear and concise information. I will provide the list of key words to look for on labels if you are trying to avoid this product. Some words of encouragement. There are delicious food choices that are MSG free. It takes a little research, deligent label reading and a willingness to cook at home. Salud!
Foods ALWAYS contain MSG when the following words appear on the label:
MSG, Monosodium Glutamate, Monopotassium glutamate, Gluatamate, Glutamic Acid, Gelatin, Hydrolyzed Vegetable and Plant Protein (HVP and HPP), Autolyzed Plant Protein, Sodium Caseinate, Calcium Caseinate, Textured Protein, Yeast Extract, Yeast food or nutrient, Atolyzed Yeast.
Below are useful websites that provide great information: