It may make our food taste good, but it turns out this common flavor enhancer is no good for you. So, check that label again for MSG!
To get a little science-y, MSG stands for Monosodium glutamate. It’s a common additive in foods like Chinese cuisine, soups, canned vegetables and processed meats. It occurs naturally in some foods like tomatoes and cheeses, but is largely manufactured for adding to many foods we eat every day. According to the Mayo Clinic, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) says the additive is “mostly safe” but has several concerning side effects. “Mostly safe?” Who wants to eat something that’s only mostly safe?
The side effects of consuming MSG can include: headaches, flushing skin, sweating, facial pressure, chest pain, fluttering in the chest, nausea and weakness among others. Bring on the heart attacks! No, thank you. But just to be fair, researchers say there’s no definitive evidence to connect the side effects listed to consuming MSG. But numerous studies (including many blind studies) have been able to link the side effects listed with consuming the product. A few researchers even say the effects of MSG are cumulative, so even if you aren’t feeling them now, it’s highly possible that you might later. So, are you a gambler?
You might also be wondering how to know if there is MSG in your food. The FDA requires MSG to be listed on the ingredient panels of your foods, so make sure to check the labels. The only caveat to this are the foods that MSG occurs naturally in like mentioned before – mostly tomatoes and cheeses along with different types of yeast and soy extracts.
While MSG won’t necessarily kill you, it’s certainly not one to add to the list of things that are good and healthy for you. Next time you pick up your package, make sure to check that label twice.