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We all know someone who is sure to sputter out those words shortly after ordering from a Chinese restaurant. Well, after reading today’s frightening food sleuth investigation into the food additive called MSG, that person just might be YOU!
Monosodium Glutamate, which is commonly referred to as MSG, is best known as a flavor-enhancer for Chinese food. But that’s only the tip of this iceberg.
Warning: Before you sink your health with an unplanned run-in with this stuff, read on for the facts about this harmful chemical additive!
MSG’s Rap Sheet
MSG is a junk ingredient at the top of eBrandAid’s Most Wanted List! This nefarious ingredient is known to hang out on many processed food labels and is guilty of causing nasty side effects like migraines and seizures in some people. Some experts believe that MSG may be a contributor to the rise in obesity!
But here’s the scariest part – MSG has many “aliases” and can be difficult to detect on a food label.
The following bulletin details MSG’s criminal record, common hideouts and aliases, to help you avoid any brands entangled with this food fugitive!
What the heck is this stuff?
MSG, or free glutamic acid, is a fine white powder, like sugar or salt, formed when legumes or grains are subject to a complex fermenting process. Alone, MSG has no flavor but it reacts with other foods to produce a yummy meaty flavor. In other words, it’s a cheap, lab-produced chemical additive that gives flavor to many unhealthy, tasteless foods.
What are the potential side effects?
Asthma, headaches and seizures are just a few of the side effects that have been attributed to MSG. Research has shown that MSG may stimulate the appetite (eek!), making consumers feel hungrier after they’ve eaten something with MSG in it. It may also be addictive, causing over-consumption of many unhealthy foods. It’s almost impossible to eat one Dorito, right?
Some children have actually been treated for MSG disorders, which include seizures and ADD. While some adults may not notice any effects from MSG, exposing children to this additive should be avoided whenever possible.
Why do food makers use it?
The fast food industry loves MSG because it allows them to make tasty food cheaply. But MSG can also be found in many processed packaged foods. For instance, you’ll find it hiding in some reduced-fat foods, because when they take the fat out, the flavor oftentimes goes out the door too; so they sneak in MSG to boost flavor! Essentially, they’re trading one evil for another.
Where will you find it?
These flavor-enhanced foods can be found in many restaurants (chains and fast food). Plus, it’s prevalent on grocery store shelves in many foods that are processed, bagged, bottled, canned or frozen.
So if you want to avoid this stuff, just look for food labels that list monosodium glutamate, right? If only it were so simple…
It’s no secret that MSG is bad for our health; but this delinquent ingredient has lots of friends in low places that can be found hiding under innocuous sounding names. Not only do you have to look out for monosodium glutamate on ingredients labels, you also have to learn MSG’s other aliases!
So, before you buy that can of soup or that frozen meal (even the ones that claim “No Added MSG” on the label), check the ingredients list to ensure it doesn’t list any of the following ingredients:
- Monosodium Glutamate
- Hydrolyzed Vegetable Protein
- Hydrolyzed Protein
- Hydrolyzed Plant Protein
- Plant Protein Extract
- Sodium Caseinate
- Calcium Caseinate
- Yeast Extract
- Textured Protein
- Autolyzed Yeast
- Hydrolyzed Oat Flour
(This is a partial list)
All of these ingredients are flavor enhancers that contain MSG and none of them are worthy of being in your food!
Scary fact: Even some products that claim to be “organic” or “healthy” are known to contain one or more of the MSG aliases added to boost taste!
Bottom line: MSG is pretty bad stuff and should be avoided whenever possible. The only way to ensure you’re not consuming this stuff is to quick-scan the ingredients list on the foods you’re buying. And, opt for brands that are created from real, whole food, quality ingredients, not from long lists of chemical additives that you can’t pronounce. Your health and your waistline will thank you for it!
Remember, when you’re armed with a little eBrandAid know-how, you’re in control at the grocery store.