MSG, or Monosodium Glutamate, is found in almost all processed foods today. It’s all over the grocery store in its many forms and in every fast food restaurant (from what I can figure out). A short explanation of it is that it’s a neurotransmitter that stimulates all the systems in your body. Companies put it in food because it excites your senses for something like two hours and is supposed to make you think your food tastes better than it really does.
The makers of MSG say it isn’t bad because it does occur naturally in all foods. Basically, the more flavorful it is, the more glutamate it has in it. In people who are highly allergic to MSG, foods high in glutamate can bother them, but shouldn’t be avoided by most people. Some foods high in glutamate are Parmesan cheese, peas, corn, and tomatoes.
But the naturally-occurring MSG is different than man-made MSG. If you’ve read my blog before, then you know that I am against all man-made ingredients. Our bodies were not made by man so our bodies just have a hard time digesting man-made ingredients.
Why is it bad?… it excites your whole body and can make any sensitivities worse. For example, I am allergic to MSG by itself because of what it’s made from – but if I eat it with something else I am allergic to, it makes it a lot worse because it makes my body get a lot more excited than it would have otherwise.
Some MSG symptoms include:
Now, I think this list is a little overboard – but I believe if you have other health issues and weaknesses in these areas, then MSG will make all these things a lot worse.
What is MSG made of? I can’t even figure that out for sure. That’s because it’s made from a lot of different things. Generally, they take something that is perfectly healthy for you, like corn and extract out the naturally occurring glutamate. Strong acids, alkalies, enzymes, bacteria, and heat are used to hydrolyze animal, vegetable, or milk products. So, manufacturers claim it’s “natural” all the time since it starts from natural sources, but since they change it so much, that’s not natural to me.
If you ask me, our bodies are really only meant to process things in the forms that Heavenly Father put them on the earth. Our bodies aren’t programmed to recognize man-made things and, as a result, we have a lot of symptoms that build up over the years so we don’t even know that it’s the MSG. (see this link)
Here are the names of things to look for on the labels if you want to avoid MSG (basically anything that doesn’t occur in nature should be avoided):
Hidden Names for MSG:
Note – I will email you a free, printable PDF of the two charts below when you sign up for my Paleo Living mailing list at the top of the page.
Foods always contain MSG when these words are on the label:
Foods made with the following products often contain MSG.