A Profile of MSG

I was standing in the shower thinking about my next article when it dawned on me that I’ve become increasingly sensitive to MSG. I would say I’m sensitive and can taste it on the palate, but not extreme enough to experience dizzy spells, fainting, asthma type symptoms, headaches or even brain damage. Do you know what MSG is?

What is MSG?

(Excerpt from Mayo Clinic) Monosodium glutamate (MSG) is a flavor enhancer commonly added to Chinese food, canned vegetables, soups and processed meats. Although the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has classified MSG as a food ingredient that’s “generally recognized as safe,” the use of MSG remains controversial. For this reason, when MSG is added to food, the FDA requires that it be listed on the label.

MSG has been used as a food additive for decades. Over the years, the FDA has received many anecdotal reports of adverse reactions to foods containing MSG. These reactions — known as MSG symptom complex — include:

  • Headache
  • Flushing
  • Sweating
  • Facial pressure or tightness
  • Numbness, tingling or burning in face, neck and other areas
  • Rapid, fluttering heartbeats (heart palpitations)
  • Chest pain
  • Nausea
  • Weakness

However, researchers have found no definitive evidence of a link between MSG and these symptoms. Researchers acknowledge, though, that a small percentage of people may have short-term reactions to MSG. Symptoms are usually mild and don’t require treatment. The only way to prevent a reaction is to avoid foods containing MSG. (Excerpt from Mayo Clinic)

Monosodium Glutamate looks like a white crystalline powder that look like salt. Many people claim that it’s natural and safe to use because it’s found in seaweed, sugar beet or sugar cane molasses. There’s no real way to find out if your food is tainted with MSG other than asking the kitchen staff. Otherwise, you can expect to experience the symptoms listed above.

You’re wondering why the heck I’m posting this information when it should be Wine & Food, Travel. Well kid, I’ll tell you that MSG is dropped into a lot of food these days. It’s not just limited to fast food, but also in unassuming cooked foods that may seem healthy.

  • McDonalds has been catching flack for using MSG in multiple items on their Fast Food menu thereby causing you to get addicted. And you thought McD’s was naturally good! Umm… yeah, right!
  • Vietnamese Pho noodle soup can sound refreshing and light, but most of the time is has MSG which will leave a burning sensation on your tongue.
  • Chinese food often times uses MSG to make their food taste better.
  • Can you think of anything else that has MSG in it?

The thing is, I love my health more than anything. You are what you eat. The truth is, well cooked foods don’t need extra enhancing so why consume MSG?! Take care of yourself, love your body and live longer.

I love you, man!


MSG – Slowly Poisoning America
What to Eat? Facts on MSG – Monosodium Glutamate
MSG Side Effects

Sonya Lee

Since a child, Sonya has been traveling from the corners of Canada to the far east Asia. Born in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, she led a normal family life with her brother, mother and dad. A well received job opportunity in Hong Kong for her father put the compass in action from a young age. Sonya loves good food, and I mean GOOD simple food. She loves an occasional drink, be merry and enjoy the good times. Having recently healed herself from a large ruptured cyst, her favorite foods include fresh carrot juice, grilled vegetables, sauteed portabello mushrooms and truffle french fries. Her philosophy? Healthy food makes a healthy body. Read more on the Editor page. When she's not fretting over WAFT, she runs a small design agency called mowie media and shares the good times with her dog, Monster and 3 cats Sabi, Kaeli & Misty.

1 Comment
  1. I just noticed that I started this article with “I was standing in the shower…” and ends with “I love you, man!”

    HAHA! What was I thinking?

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