What's The Truth About MSG

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By Annabel Wyatt

So what’s the truth about MSG? For so long we’ve been told to avoid it and that it’s addictive and bad for us, but why then is it still in our foods? And what’s it actually doing to us? Soothe-me investigates…

Monosodium Glutamate, or MSG, is a component originally from seaweed in the form of L-Glutamate and has been used regularly in Asian cooking ever since a Chinese professor singled out the component monosodium glutamate as a flavour called ‘Umami’, the compound was sold and distributed world wide as a flavour enhancer (like salt or pepper to make food more “tasty”) used in Chinese cooking, crisps or chips, canned meats and vegetables, processed meats and frozen foods.

People have often reported to feel just plain ropey after eating foods containing MSG complaining of symptoms such as: headaches, hot flushes, aching muscles, tiredness and mood swings. Research on the subject has been varied and has never reported a definitive answer to the link between feeling ill after eating and MSG there have also been claims that MSG increases obesity but again, there has never been definitive proof. MSG is still labelled as safe to eat by the FDA (Food and Drug Administration); and some people will feel no side effects at all.

So what’s best when an ingredient is said to be harmful but the effects can’t be proven? Well, just like with any other artificial flavouring, you can avoid it all together with a diet free from processed foods and flavours. The best advice seems to be (as ever) if in doubt, say no to processed foods! Look out on the labels of foods for MSG – which has to be labelled says the FDA but some manufacturers try to conceal this with hidden labelling under different names (check this article if you’re unsure). So stick with a natural diet of whole foods, fruit and veg and all that whenever possible to be sure; the great thing is they taste better than MSG anyway! Hop over to the recipe pages of our site for more ideas!

Let us know below if you suffer from any symptoms relating to MSG and what you do to feel better x

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