MSG: What Are the Health Risks?

MSG What Are the Health Risks (2)



    – Glutamate: in which foods?

    – How does the body react to glutamate?

    – Dangers of glutamate

    – Glutamate: responsible for the “Chinese restaurant syndrome

    – How to limit glutamate consumption?

Monosodium glutamate, more commonly known as glutamate, is a food additive that enhances food taste.

Due to its low cost and effectiveness, it is now one of the most widely used additives in the food industry (1,500,000 tons produced per year).

It appears on labels under the code E621 and under the name MSG in the United States. This post tells you more about this substance and the risks associated with its consumption.

Glutamate: in which foods?

Glutamate is naturally present in many plants and animal proteins and plays a fundamental role in the flavor of

    – cheeses;

    – meat broths;

    – shellfish.

Among the foods naturally containing glutamate, we find:

    – crustaceans: scallops, crab;

    – fish: cod, salmon;

    – meats: beef, chicken;

    – certain plants: cabbage, tomatoes, peas

    – seaweed;

    – certain cheeses: parmesan, emmental;

    – Soy sauces.

Glutamate: a food additive

Glutamate can also be added to food as a flavor enhancer. It is often present in:

    – potato chips;

    – sauces: bottles of ketchup and mayonnaise;

    – soups;

    – ready meals;

    – flavor combinations in appetizers: “bacon flavour” or “cheese flavour,” for example;

    – cooking aids: stock cubes, sauce bases, and seasonings;

    – spice mixes.

Note: glutamate reinforces the natural taste of the product without altering it. In addition, it contains three times less sodium than table salt.

How does the body react to glutamate?

Glutamate excites the taste buds, but especially the brain:

    – It is notably responsible for the irresistible urge to finish a packet of chips (or any other food containing a high proportion of glutamate).

    – It triples the rate of insulin produced by the pancreas, promoting obesity and the occurrence of diabetes.

    – It can be addictive, just like tobacco or drugs.

Good to know: these effects are because glutamate promotes the excitation of neurons and can even cause their death.

Dangers of glutamate

Glutamate is described by experts as an “excitotoxin” and can aggravate severe psychological disorders such as:

    – Parkinson’s disease;

    – Alzheimer’s disease.

It can also cause:

    – seizures;

    – allergies (about 1 in 5,000 people in the world are allergic to it)

    – rashes;

    – asthma attacks;

    – damage to neurons;

    – Migraines;

    – swelling;

    – skin rashes or itching;

    – Hot flashes.

Note: These reactions can occur immediately after consumption and up to 2 days later. They usually appear 20 minutes after ingestion and last about 2 hours.

Glutamate: responsible for the “Chinese restaurant syndrome

MSG What Are the Health Risks

Present in very high quantities in Asian cuisine, glutamate would be responsible for a set of symptoms appearing after the meal:

    – skin redness on the neck, face, and upper body

    – burning sensations;

    – palpitations and/or tachycardia;

    – Itching;

    – bloodshot eyes;

    – nausea and vomiting;

    – headaches.

How can I limit my glutamate intake?

Glutamate is present in most processed foods. It is therefore advisable to:

    – to pay attention to the labels;

    – detect and eliminate any ingredient potentially containing glutamate.

Prefer foods stamped “MSG free”, or containing no:

    – glutamate:

        ◦ monosodium glutamate;

        ◦ glutamic acid;

        ◦ monopotassium glutamate.

    – oils, vegetable fats, or hydrogenated proteins;

    – gelatins;

    – sodium or calcium casemates;

    – added yeast or yeast extracts.

Hopefully, this article will be of some use to you. Stay tuned to our blog, as we will be back soon to cover other interesting topics.

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