Dealing with any allergic reaction is stressful, but an accumulative MSG allergy/intolerance, which is unpredictable, is really a challenge! In this article is a list of Monosodium Glutamate (MSG) and some of its derivatives, or products / ingredients (which may or may not include MSG – love that terminology). Evidently some foods are approved to be sold containing small amounts of MSG which “may or may not” be listed in the ingredients!
Monosodium Glutamate Information
- There are about 45 derivatives of MSG used in our food products today.
- There are over 1,500 products labelled with MSG / derivatives (If you have time check many of the packaged products in your local supermarket)
- MSG is used in a variety of products from processed flour, snack foods to tinned vegetables. (Note : as stated before, not all products show they contain MSG)
- 1.5 million TONS of MSG are sold each year – that’s 33,600,000 POUNDS – Staggering ! (in 2001 see Wikipedia reference below)
- At the time of writing MSG is sold for $1.30 per pound
Guidelines for Food Shopping
- It is well-known, the “safest” way to food shop is around the edge of a supermarket as usually the fresh produce, dairy and bakery are located around the perimeter.
- Avoid packaged food items containing MSG. This sounds logical – but many people do not read ingredient labels. Due to time restraints it is difficult to do this 100% of the time and MSG is in so much of our processed food. Try to cut packaged (processed) food items which come into your home.
- Also avoid products with a large numbers of unrecognizable chemical ingredients
- If the label printing is so small it is unreadable, again, best left on the shelf
- Generally it seems that prepared food products that contain “protein fortified” or “flavoring(s), “enzyme modified”, “fermented” or “enzyme” or “hydrolyzed” ingredients should set off alarm bells!
- Even the word “natural” is not indicative of wholesome food and manufacturers have had to recall products with wording “No MSG” as in fact there was MSG in the product.
- Another example of ingredients to avoid would be any ending in “ite” or “ate” such as sulphites which are banned in the United States.
- If you buy or consume a product and have one or more of the following symptoms : headache, nausea, skin rash, swelling of tongue or neck, difficulty breathing, asthma symptoms or have some form of an allergic reaction, that may be a warning not to buy that product again.
- It is recommended you seek medical advice if you have any reaction (and if a first time occurrence and breathing difficulties arise call 9 – 1 – 1 in Canada)
- Keep a health log of any reactions to foods including amounts, date, time, etc.
Some of these guidelines may seem very simple and logical, but obviously “millions” of people buy products containing MSG and its derivatives. Even though MSG has been around for 50 to 60 years plus, the effects on humans is perhaps just beginning to surface. Is this a reason so many children have allergies in North America today, other medical concerns are on the increase such as cancers and obesity (apart from the demographics of aging boomers with too many birthdays!)
Because of non definitive answers to many of our questions, our personal solution is to return “back to basics” as much as possible, when it comes to what we eat and how we live. When we find a product we are happy with, we add it to our “acceptable” list. So I urge you, especially if you have children and grandchildren, to continue on this journey, and not to be discouraged.
I am personally concerned about the (lack of) health of young children today who will be living a life which includes food supplements, additives and preservatives. Just so many chemicals. The final decision to buy any product is solely yours and mine.
Links & References
~ Some of the above information from e.how on MSG
Be cautious of the following (list is neither complete, correct or exhaustive):
Bouillon and Broth
Natrium glutamate (natrium is Latin/German for sodium.
Natural beef flavoring,
Natural chicken flavoring
Natural pork flavoring
Soy protein concentrate
Soy protein isolate,
Soy sauce extract
Whey protein concentrate
Whey protein Protease
Whey protein isolate
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MSG : Where is it?
Hopefully the information contained in this article will not be too conflicting. It has been incredibly difficult and frustrating to search for reliable information on MSG (Monosodium Glutamate).
It is also very time-consuming to research every ingredient of every product, and it has been personally overwhelming to find out the full usage extent of MSG in our lives. There appears to be little or no consistent information about labelling of MSG (and derivatives) such as amounts, daily limitations and little or no conclusive independent testing in recent years.
The information I believe to be as correct as possible. Thanks for your patience! Liz