Monosodium glutamate (MSG) gets a bad reputation, and with good reason. It is a known carcinogen and it is advised that children never be fed foods containing MSG. Noodles and ramen are the most well-known foods containing MSG, but is that all?
There are many other foods that we would never suspect would have MSG in them. being aware of these helps us to be more discerning about our food choices, many of which we make considering their health value. Here are five foods that surprisingly contain MSG.
1. Baby Formula
Seeing as how MSG is a known neurotoxic agent and is thus not recommended for children, it is surprising that one study has found the baby formula to contain MSG!1 In infants, the blood-brain barrier is not fully developed yet, and we may never be able to link back early neural damage to such unassuming causes.
Most packaged soups and broth cubes contain Ajinomoto or MSG. High levels of MSG in these foods cause an increase in plasma glutamate levels that are most commonly observed in people with epilepsy. While soups are good for us, it is best to make them ourselves, at home.2
As much as MSG is used to make foods more flavorful, its actual purpose is to mask the taste of unpalatable ingredients. In breakfast cereal, it is added to mask the bitterness that some grains occur after processing. The coated cornflakes we may be pouring into our breakfast bowls with careless abandon could actually be very harmful to us.3
4. Fast Foods
Fast food is notorious for a lot of things, and MSG addition is one of them. It can be found added to dips, sauces, and dressings or as part of the meat itself. High levels of phenylaniline are found in the bloodstream after eating foods containing MSG. Phenylaniline is closely linked with behavior disorders and neurotoxicity, even in adults.4
5. Diet Foods
In a surprise addition to the list, diet foods are notorious for Ajinomoto quantities. It can be very dangerous for phenylketonurics to consumer products such as diet soda or diet jams, as the MSG can leave their blood loaded with unwanted levels of acetone bodies.5
6. Protein Powder
Next time when you get attracted by a fitness advertisement selling their protein powder, know that it contains harmful quantities of MSG. MSG is not just present in the muscle building powder but also in the weight loss ones too. It is usually contained in hydrolyzed protein or hydrolyzed soy protein.6
7. Soy Products
This cautionary note is for the meat haters out there. If you think your meat alternative, which is soy is completely safe you could not be more wrong. Most soy products such as veggie burger, hot dogs, and sausages contain textured vegetable protein, hydrolyzed vegetable protein, or hydrolyzed plant protein. All these components contain a good amount of MSG.78
So, next time you go to grab these foods from the store, be wary of the dangerous amount of MSG in them.
|↑1||MSG in Infant Formula. The Weston A. Price Foundation.|
|↑2||Stegink, Lewis D., L. J. Filer, and George L. Baker. “Plasma amino acid concentrations in normal adults ingesting aspartame and monosodium L-glutamate as part of a soup/beverage meal.” Metabolism 36, no. 11 (1987): 1073-1079.|
|↑3||Gajewski, Robert J. “Cereal presweetened with aspartame and method of preparation.” U.S. Patent 4,378,377, issued March 29, 1983.|
|↑4||Maher, Timothy J., and Richard J. Wurtman. “Possible neurologic effects of aspartame, a widely used food additive.” Environmental health perspectives 75 (1987): 53.|
|↑5||PKU List of Foods. Health Department of Utah.|
|↑6||Anderson, G. Harvey, Hrvoje Fabek, Rajadurai Akilen, Diptendu Chatterjee, and Ruslan Kubant. “Acute effects of monosodium glutamate addition to whey protein on appetite, food intake, blood glucose, insulin and gut hormones in healthy young men.” Appetite (2017).|
|↑7||Barrett, Julia R. “The science of soy: what do we really know?.” Environmental health perspectives 114, no. 6 (2006): A352.|
|↑8||Skypala, Isabel J., M. Williams, L. Reeves, R. Meyer, and C. Venter. “Sensitivity to food additives, vaso-active amines and salicylates: a review of the evidence.” Clinical and translational allergy 5, no. 1 (2015): 34.|