MSG (monosodium glutamate) is a type of the naturally occurring amino acid glutamate, and is used as a food additive to strengthen the taste of food. This flavor enhancer initially extracted from seaweeds and used in Asian cuisines, has now become standard in lots of food products. Research has proven that MSG can result in quite a lot of immediate and long term health issues. It's toxic to your neural functions and may disrupt your endocrine system. MSG can cause headaches, dizziness, nausea, and fatigue, and recurring usage can improve your risk of obesity, memory loss, ADHD and other pancreatic and psychological problems. Although the FDA doesn't prohibit the use the MSG in food products, the discovery of those medical hazards have made the public become increasingly more cautious of this substance. Below are some way to help you keep away from foods with MSG.
Watch Out for Hidden MSG
If you think that confirming with your server that the restaurant doesn't use MSG in it's food keeps you protected from MSG, you're greatly mistaken. The truth is that MSG is practically found in every type of dressing, ready-made mix, broth, sauce and stock you could find in grocery stores.
Manufacturers sometimes use different names to mask the existence of this substance in their product. Some manufacturers use nonspecific terms corresponding to vegetable flavoring, natural flavor or flavor enhancers, that are always made out of MSG. Even food labels that prominently read “no added MSG” don't always mean that the product is MSG-free. Actually, both the FDA and the USDA consider labels such as “no added MSG” or “no MSG added” misleading since many food products with these labels include free glutamate.
MSG is made by protein hydrolysis or bacterial fermentation. Therefore, any mentioning of hydrolyzed protein or yeast within the ingredients checklist signifies the presence of MSG. The next are among the most often used terms that food manufacturers use as substitutions for MSG.
- Monosodium glutamate
- Whey protein concentrate
- Yeast extract
- Vegetable protein extract
- Sodium caseinate
- Hydrolyzed vegetable protein
- Monopotassium glutamate
- Autolyzed yeast
- Glutamic acid
- Textured protein
- Calcium caseinate
- Hydrolyzed plant protein
- Hydrolyzed soy protein
Cook from Scratch
Since MSG is pretty much present in all prepackaged food products, the only certain method of avoiding them is by making every part from unprocessed ingredients.
- Cook your individual food rather than dining out or buying frozen meals.
- Keep away from using canned broths, soup and stocks.
- Purchase your ingredients in their uncooked, natural state rather than canned, processed or vacuum packed. Sausages, deli meats and marinated food nearly always include MSG.
- Use herbs like garlic, ginger, cumin, scallion, chili pepper, turmeric and basil to stimulate your taste buds and intensify the flavor of your food.
- Use basic kitchen condiments, like salt, pepper and sugar, rather than flavored mixes, sauces, soup bases, bouillons and dressings.
Full elimination of MSG out of your diet may be very tough to do. It requires careful and detailed examination of your entire food labels and extra time devoted to food preparation and cooking. However, considering the amount of damage MSG can do to your body, these inconveniences could also be worth it.