Is MSG bad for your health?
When it comes to food intolerances, I get asked a lot of questions. Whether it’s about the difference between an allergy and an intolerance, the types of foods people should stay away from or how the foods you eat can affect your energy levels and wellbeing, the list can go on. So when I had one of my patients recently ask about MSG , what it is and whether all the concern about it is legitimate, I thought it could be useful to write about since it’s such a common query.
MSG or Monosodium glutamate is a flavour enhancer designed to make your next mouthful that much more enjoyable. In the same way that we know about sweet, salty, sour and bitter taste sensations, the Japanese introduced umami as a way to describe the taste often associated with MSG and other foods containing glutamate (usually meats).
Whilst it naturally appears in meats, tofu, mushrooms and a few other foods, it’s the additive form that has given MSG a bad reputation. Commonly found in Chinese food, the additive is also included in many other fast food options and packaged or processed snack food (especially from the USA).
This is where things get tricky. You see, from a food safety standpoint, FSANZ (our Australian food regulator) has determined that it’s perfectly ok to use in foods, provided it’s for the intended purpose and that the quantity is capped at the amount set by the regulator. The willingness to include MSG in food is because from research to date, studies have been unable to show a direct allergic reaction with a response detected in immunoglobulin levels, opting instead to label it as an ‘intolerance’.
However, just because it isn’t causing an allergic reaction, doesn’t mean it’s good for you. In fact, a 2016 study found that MSG is genotoxic which means that it causes damage to genetic material in your cells, especially lymphocytes (white blood cells). Furthermore, even though studies haven't shown it to cause allergic reactions, it is widely accepted that many people can have an intolerance to foods containing MSG.
If you find that eating foods with MSG leaves you feeling unwell, it’s probably a good idea to try and avoid them.
For those with an intolerance to MSG, typical symptoms include:
• Runny nose/congestion
• Hot flushes/sweating
• Digestive problems
• Itchy/scratchy throat
• Mood swings/irritability
As an advocate for natural, healthy, clean foods, ideally I’d recommend staying away from foods with added MSG. The good news is that because of all the publicity around MSG, it’s now a lot easier to identify and avoid. Since it must be labeled on packaged foods and many restaurants now promote the fact that they do not use MSG in cooking, all you need to do is ask or check. So if you find that you typically feel a bit under the weather after a Chinese takeaway dinner that tasted oh so delicious, consider whether MSG may be the cause.
Wishing you great health,
Poor gut health may be the underlying reason for fatigue, anxiety, depression, back pain or skin problems. Find out about assessment, testing and treatment possibilities...Read More
What is your gut trying to tell you?Read More
Gut problems are common. Read on to find out more....Read More
Read about how supermarkets influence your shopping decisions in this blog.Read More
There are some foods that can help boost your mood. There are also other foods that can trigger anxiety,sadness and depression. Read more in this blog...Read More
Presentation, mindfullness and mood influence eating.Read More
Is MSG bad for your health?Read More
This blog introduces some benefits of the popular Paleo Diet. Read more below...Read More
Parrots thrive by eating clay. This blog discusses how people can also benefit from clay. Click below to read more.Read More
Health problems often start in your digestive system. Read about leaky gut in this blog post by clicking below.Read More
Do you craves sweets or chocolate? Click below to find out more.Read More
This blog discusses 7 warning signs of dehydration and 3 benefits of drinking water. Click below to read more.Read More
Bloating is a common problem. Click below to find out moreRead More
How to create the perfect paleo shopping list. The paleo diet focuses on everything natural which means that it logically includes some fruit., vegetables, meat and protein, herbs and spices.Read More
Green smoothies in moderation can be a great way to get extra vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. But, excessive intake of green smoothies may increase your levels of oxalic acid and this can lead to aching muscles and joints, gout, kidney stones and other health problems.Read More
Gallbladder problems are common and gallstones affect 15 per cent of adults over the age of fifty. So how do you know if you might have gallstones, why do some people get gallstones, what does your gallbladder do, and what can you do to improve gallbladder function?Read More
Winter is a challenging time for health and often results in winter flus and colds. But, before you pop into the chemist to stock up on cold and flu tablets or to book in for a flu shot, did you know that there are natural remedies to keep you healthy during the colder months? Here are some of the best herbs and spices to throw into your diet which can help boost your immune system and lessen any symptoms of colds:Read More