Veg Topics: Health: MSG

What is M.S.G.?

Monosodium Glutamate (MSG)

MSG is a fine white crystal substance that looks like salt. It is used as a flavor enhancer in many foods, especially in pre-made soups, broth, bouillon, natural chicken flavoring, sauces, dressings, and processed foods. Restaurants in Asia are notorious for using it, out of habit and lack of knowlege about it. The processed food industry, however, is notorious for using it with full knowledge of its making and effects.

The problem with MSG is that some people experience adverse reactions within 1 hour after they taste it.

Reactions include numbness in the tongue and face, burning sensation in the neck, facial pressure or tightness, headache, fatigue, drowsiness, asthmatic symptons, chest pain, and nausea.

MSG is made by either a bacterial fermenting process, protein hydrolysis (a breaking of protein into its constituent amino acids), or by synthesis. When a product is 99% pure MSG, the product is called "monosodium glutamate" by the FDA and must be labeled as such. However, when a hydrolyzed protein contains less than 99% MSG, the FDA does not require that the MSG be identified.

Many food products manufacturers advertise "No MSG" on their food packages, but this is misleading. MSG is simply disguised as "hydrolyzed vegetable protein," "glutamic acid," "enzyme modified," "natural flavor," "yeast extract," "contain maltodextrin," and "autolyzed yeast."

For more in depth information about MSG, its toxic effects, and where MSG is hidden in food, cosmetics, and drug, please contact the Truth in Labeling Campaign, PO Box 2532, Darien, IL 60561 or visit:

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This information is not intended to replace the diagnosis, treatment and services of a physician. Any recommendations and indications are at the user's discretion. For severe or life-threatening conditions, always seek immediate medical attention. While we work to ensure that product information is correct, and list only products containing vegetarian ingredients, on occasion manufacturers may alter their ingredient lists. Actual product packaging and materials may contain more and/or different information than that shown on our Web site. We recommend that you do not solely rely on the information presented and that you always read labels, warnings, and directions before using or consuming a product. For additional information about a product, please contact the manufacturer. assumes no liability for inaccuracies or misstatements about products.

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