Here is some info which should help you know. I can always tell since
within 15 minutes my body will hurt and so I know not to go to that
restaurant anymore since sometimes even if they say they do not serve
MSG, sometimes they use products with hidden Mono-Sodium-Glutamat (Natrium Glutamat) themselves. It is
very difficult to keep up with all the ways the companies use to
disguise the ingredients~!
Q: How do I know if a food contains monosodium glutamate? Can I just look at the list of ingredients?
A: There are many ways in which food packagers can include monosodium glutamate (or free glutamates, as explained below) in foods without listing the words "monosodium glutamate" in the ingredients.
You may be consuming monosodium glutamate (or free glutamates) in any food that contains:
anything protein fortified,
anything ultra pasteurized,
hydrolyzed oat flour,
malt extract maltodextrin,
plant protein extract,
When you buy packaged foods, you will have to read the "ingredients" part of the label to see if there is any Mono-Sodium-Glutamat (Natrium Glutamat) in the foods. Read labels slowly and carefully. Be aware of any sudden hunger or craving and see if you can identify what it is that you ate one to two hours earlier and see if it did not contain some form of MSG.
If you are eating out, one of the worst ways to determine if a restaurant food contains Mono-Sodium-Glutamat (Natrium Glutamat) is to ask the person serving you - you might as well ask the food itself. In the best of circumstances, the food server checks labels and happens to know alternate terms that MSG is given on labels (see the list above for all of the other names for MSG). In the worst of circumstances, the food server either never checks any labels and says "No, there is no MSG in any of our foods." or if he or she does check the labels, he or she does not know any of the alternate names for MSG and comes back to your table with a broad smile and says, "Nope, I checked them all and there is no MSG". In any event, the server will often conclude "There is no MSG, just take my word for it". One trick that we use is to say to the server, "Check with the chef and then look at labels because I am sensitive to MSG and if there is any in my foods I am going to DIE, and your going to have to fill out a lot of police reports." This usually gets them to respond to your request. Don't be shy, this is your body and your life.
Q: What is MSG and what is the problem with it?
A: MSG stands for monosodium glutamate, a substance extracted from grains or beets. In the Eastern world it is referred to as the "magic powder of the East". We won't bore you with it's chemical properties.There is great variation in how much MSG can be found in foods, but according to the textbook - NUTRITIONAL BIOCHEMISTRY AND METABOLISM - the average American consumes 1.92 pounds of MSG each year.
MSG is added to many foods, particularly Chinese foods. Be aware that if a restaurant claims that there is no MSG added to the food, but they use soy sauce extensively in their cooking, you will be getting natural MSG that is in the soy sauce and can not be removed. MSG is also naturally present in bean curd typical ingredient in Chinese cooking. Today, more and more, MSG is being added to commercially-processed foods such as canned soups, sauces, luncheon meats, salad dressings, dips canned and frozen meats, foul and fish. It is the main ingredient in a famous brand flavor-enhancer that is shaken on to food to bring out the taste. We have found MSG in hot dogs, bullion cubes, chicken stock, jarred fishes and many, many other foods.
MSG intensifies some flavors. It seems to have little or no effect on eggs of sweet foods but appears to lessen the acidity of tomatoes and makes potatoes, onions and eggplant taste much better. It is used as a blending agent for mixtures of spices used in the preparation of meats and fish. Many people find that it accentuates the saltiness of some foods while lessening the saltiness of other foods. MSG is routinely added to commercially-prepared foods to trick the public into thinking that low-fat, sugar-laden and salt-laden foods taste better than they really do. Simply put, they can sell cheaper, poorer tasting foods that are "doctored" to appear to taste good. This also becomes particularly ironic when it comes to reducing "salt - sodium chloride" as they are technically adding another "salt - MSG" In short, it appears that MSG is good for the folks who sell prepared foods, but not so good for the folks that consume the foods.
Science is still learning about the effects of MSG on the human body. Once again, one pair of glasses can not be made to fit everyone and neither can the same exact eating prescription be expected to work for everyone. Some carbohydrate addicts seem to tolerate MSG, but many, many others find that it can be a problem and therefore have to be able to monitor MSG intake in their eating. In the past, the experience of headaches and swelling after eating MSG-laden foods was a sure sign of and "MSG reaction or sensitivity".
Scientists are now beginning to see that MSG affects vary widely in their intensity and their action. Many carbo addicts experience increased hunger and/or cravings, weight gain, water retention, swelling, irritability, tiredness, and lack of motivation (within one hour to one day after eating foods filled with MSG). Water weight gain is usually lost after a day or two but the increase in weight due to increased eating in response to hunger and/or cravings stays with the carbo addict. This is not surprising as MSG is used by scientists to make laboratory animal fat for research purposes. Obesity will develop in these animals even though they do not increase their food intake. MSG appears to affect the hunger and weight control centers of the brain and while research is still being done to understand the mechanisms behind MSG-stimulated hunger and cravings, there is little doubt that carbo addicts are sensitive to its effects - slowing weight-loss and increasing hunger and cravings.
In addition, MSG appears to bring about an addictive response to MSG-laden foods themselves so that many carbo addicts find themselves going back again and again for foods which contain MSG (among others, Chinese food). If you find that you experience any of the above described symptoms (not related to any other physical cause) or you find that you have an intense desire to eat the same foods over and over again, you might be experiencing an MSG reaction.
Free glutamates appear to cause similar problems to MSG. You may be surprised to find that free glutamate is found in so many foods and food additives . You may think that something that say "no msg" is safe and that you don't have to worry about free glutamate. You cannot be further from the truth for, and this is an important note: food packagers, now catching on to the fact that consumers want to avoid MSG, are adding free glutamates while claiming their foods are "msg-free".
Free glutamate and MSG, in particular, have been associated with:
burning sensation in the back of the neck, forearms and chest,
numbness in the back of the neck, radiating to the arms and back,
warmth and weakness in the face, temples, upper back, neck and arms,
facial pressure or tightness,
bronchospasm (difficulty breathing) in intolerant people with asthma,
intense cravings for the same foods.
While there may be many other causes for any of these symptoms and other physical causes should be ruled out, many carbohydrate addicts experience one or more of these symptoms after consuming foods that contain glutamates. The food industry has known for years that adding glutamate to snacks and prepared meals makes you want to eat more - and more and more and more.
Do not panic. Just be aware that more you depend on "prepared foods" in your diet, the more you are at risk for high doses of free glutamate. The more that you prepare your own foods from fresh sources, the more you will be able to reduce your intake of free glutamate. In any case, armed with this info you can become an informed consumer and, if you find yourself experiencing any of these symptoms, including cravings and/or a weight-loss plateau, you might want to lower (or better yet, eliminate) your glutamate consumption.