Recipes and Tips for Healthier Living and Smarter Budgeting

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Hidden Sources of MSG

Every pregnancy I experience different aversions and/or cravings, and my current pregnancy is no exception. My first pregnancy I could not tolerate any onions at all--and I normally love them. The second time, I constantly craved fish and potatoes. This time, after a lot of trial and error and paying close attention, I figured out that I can't handle MSG (monosodium glutamate). Like a whole host of other people in this world, MSG gives me headaches, nausea, and a generally yucky feeling. Though for some people the reaction is much more dramatic, my symptoms are enough to steer me clear.

But avoiding MSG entirely, I'm finding out, can be more difficult than I thought (even when eating at home), because of all the hidden sources of MSG. And this is coming from someone who was already consciously trying to avoid MSG and eats almost exclusively home-cooked foods from scratch.

One reason is because "more than 40 different ingredients contain the chemical in monosodium glutamate (processed free glutamic acid) that causes these reactions." Can you believe that?! I had no idea before I started researching. Some of these ingredients include anything with "glutamate," "hydrolyzed," or "caseinate" in the label. (Click here for a more detailed list.)

And, get this: There are 3 ingredients that "work synergistically with MSG to enhance flavor. If they are present for flavoring, so is MSG" even if there is no MSG listed in the ingredients! I found this out when I ate a few croutons that I thought didn't contain any MSG. But they still made me feel yucky, so I investigated. And sure enough, they contained 2 of these 3 ingredients that work with MSG: disodium guanylate, disodium inosinate, disodium ribonucleotides.

Companies are very clever with labeling these days, so we've got to be even more clever.

Knowledge + action = improved health = power


jcgk said...

Very frustrating. Why can't foo just be food?? This reminds me of when I was going to buy bread crumbs...I looked at the ingredient list...why were there 25ingredients for bread crumbs?!?!?!?

Carolyn said...

Wow, companies sure are sneaky.

Katrina said...

Wow, no kidding? That's the sort of thing that frustrates me to no end.


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