I know quite a few of you will stop reading this post because it is *gasp* health related, but for those who may be interested, I am dedicating this post to giving some info about MSG. The fact of the matter is most people have NO idea how much MSG they are consuming. So I figured I would share a few things I have learned over the past few months!
I guess the most important thing to do is to define MSG (aka: Monosodium glutamate & sodium glutamate). It is sodium salt of the naturally occurring non-essential amino acidglutamic acid. It is used as a food additive and is commonly marketed as a flavor enhancer.
And I guess the second most important thing to do is share with you some facts I have come across. So here goes!
- MSG has been hidden in food ingredient list hydrolyzed vegetable protein, autolyzed yeast extract,soy protein isolate, and many other names
- It was once predominantly made from wheat gluten, but is now mostly made from bacterial fermentation.
- Like the sodium salts of other amino acids, MSG is a stable colorless solid that is degraded by strong oxidizing agents.
- MSG is used commercially as a flavour enhancer. Although once associated with foods in Chinese restaurants, MSG is now used by most fast food chains (Burger King, Wendy's, McDonalds, Taco Bell, KFC, Chili's, TGIF, Applebees, Zaxby's, Denny's. The list can go on and on and on) and in many other foods, particularly processed foods. (For example: soups, chips, BBQ sauces, seasonings, salad dressings... just to name a few.)
- A report from the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology, on behalf of the FDA, concluded that MSG was safe for most people when "eaten at customary levels". However, it also said that, based on anecdotal reports, some people may have an MSG intolerance which causes "MSG symptom complex" and/or a worsening of asthmatic symptoms.
- The FDA has set no limit on how much of it can be added to foods.