Other Names for MSG
Monosodium Glutamate (MSG), a salt of the amino acid, glutamic acid, was introduced in the food supply in the 1940's and has been the subject of lively debate ever since. In its pure form, monosodium glutamate is a white, crystalline powder with what may be described as a “pleasant” taste, but most people are familiar with it only as an invisible flavor enhancer and preservative in the foods they buy.
Foods with MSG
MSG is ubiquitous in processed foods, such as soups, luncheon meats, meat tenderizers, seasoning salt, salad dressings, snack foods, fast foods and frozen dinners.
MSG sensitivity can be a problem.
There is no doubt that at least some people have a sensitivity to monosodium glutamate, and need to be able to recognize it in its various forms in the food supply.
According to the FDA
Although the U.S. FDA considers MSG to be “generally recognized as safe,” there is a lot of controversy surrounding this popular food additive. Hundreds of studies have been done by various special interests, without a consensus opinion being reached, that would bridge the gap between those who believe it is safe and those who do not.
Not for babies
It should be noted that, according to FDA guidelines, MSG cannot be added to baby food, since it is considered unsafe for that age group.
The FDA requires that food companies list MSG on the food label, if it is an ingredient in their product. Although this is one way to find the MSG in your food, it also may appear as a component of other ingredients including the following:
Autolyzed plant protein
Hydrolyzed vegetable protein(HVP)
Hydrolyzed plant protein (HPP)
Soy protein extract
Keep in mind that even foods that have a "MSG-free" claim on the label may contain these other forms.
Since MSG is a common additive in Asian food, medical experts coined the term “Chinese Restaurant Syndrome” to describe the reactions that many people have after consuming this food additive. There is some evidence that this syndrome may be due to a Vitamin B6 deficiency, since this B vitamin is required to metabolize MSG. Some healthcare providers have found that supplementing the diet with Vitamin B6 can eliminate the symptoms of MSG sensitivity.
Owners of Chinese restuarants have become aware of this problem, and often will offer MSG free menu selections or have eliminated it from all of their dishes.
MSG not popular with some health experts
There are some health experts that take a very dim view of monosodium glutamate in our food supply, since they consider it an “excitotoxin,” which affects brain health, and a “poison” that is not only addictive but can also be linked to the increased
incidence of autism, diabetes, obesity and even ADHD.