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Is MSG bad for you? It doesn't bother me but so many people think it's harmful. Thanks!

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Hello and thank you for submitting your question!

According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, monosodium glutamate (MSG) is “generally recognized as safe”(1). Mild symptoms, such as headache and nausea, have been reported after eating foods with MSG; however, there is no convincing data to confirm that MSG is the cause of the reported symptoms so more research is needed.

The reaction to MSG can vary between people. Unless you experience severe symptoms or develop a sensitivity to foods containing MSG, I would not consider MSG as “bad.” In fact, I consider the flavor of MSG found naturally in foods quite tasty! MSG is a food additive that is used to enhance flavor to foods, but it is also found naturally in foods, like tomatoes and cheeses (2). They add a delicious, savory and meaty flavor to my meals.

Try it yourself and make our Tomato White Bean Soup or Whole Wheat Pasta with Lemon (the pasta has parmesan cheese)!

 

Hope this helps!

 

Warmly,

Anna Ng, RD 

 


References:

  1. “Food Additives & Ingredients - Questions and Answers on Monosodium Glutamate (MSG).” U S Food and Drug Administration Home Page, Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research. Updated January 4, 2018. Accessed May 9, 2018. www.fda.gov/food/ingredientspackaginglabeling/foodadditivesingredients/ucm328728.htm.

  2. Dermiki M, Prescott J, Sargent LJ, Willway J, Gosney MA, Methven L. Novel flavours paired with glutamate condition increased intake in older adults in the absence of changes in liking. Appetite. 2015 Jul;90:108-13. doi: 10.1016/j.appet.2015.03.002. Epub 2015 Mar 6. PMID: 25754148.


Anna NgRegistered Dietitian