MSG Causing Obesity

Monosodium glutamate (Photo credit: theeggyolks)
Monosodium glutamate (Photo credit: theeggyolks)
Monosodium glutamate (Photo credit: theeggyolks)

Mono Sodium Glutamate (MSG) is causing obesity.
This is the headline grabbing so much attention these days. I thought I would take a deeper look into what MSG is, why it is bad for you, what names it goes by, and where you will find it.

So what is MSG?
Mono Sodium Glutamate is a form of concentrated salt of the amino acid Glutamate, used to enhance flavor. It is an amino acid the body naturally produces. The natural form of MSG is very good for the body. However what we find so often in packaged or purchased foods is a highly processed form derived from sugars extracted from beets. This form of MSG is a “free glutamate” which effects your neurotransmitters.

So Why is Manufactured MSG Bad?
The reason that MSG can play such a significant role in the obesity epidemic, is that it tricks the tongue into thinking there are proteins present. This impersonation tells the mind that the food is good for your body through the stimulation of neurotransmitters. The problem is these neurotransmitters are used by other parts of your body as well. Most concerning here is that MSG stimulates the production of insulin, the fat causing hormone. Insulin production is a natural and healthy reaction when there are carbohydrates present. The problem is that natural link is severed with the artificial additive.

The recent claims that MSG is causing obesity is not the first bit of fire the flavor enhancer has come under. For some time the food industry has taken heat that it causes reactions including the following:


  • Rashes
  • Migraines
  • Nausea
  • Depression
  • Headaches


What are the MSG Aliases?
A rose of any other name may smell just as sweet, but manufactured MSG by another name is just as harmful. Considering the very low-cost high return nature of the free glutamate, it is just to profitable for the food industry. If your business involves watching the bottom line you would not be willing to abandon an ingredient that can turn cheap low quality foods into highly craved icons. As a result they have concocted numerous aliases by which the MSG can hide. Here are just a few:


  1. Yeast Extract
  2. Maltodextrin,
  3. Sodium Caseinate


What Foods Contain MSG?
When looking out for MSG, by any name, it helps to know the regular hangouts. Fast food and chain restaurants, sauces, powdered packets, dried mixes, ranch dressing, smoked meats, and hot-dogs are all common foods that contain the flavor enhancer. I know this is easier said than done, but when it comes to avoiding MSG or eating healthy in general, you are better off preparing your food at home and with as little processed ingredients as possible. Here are some popular companies (there are just way to many to list all of them) that include MSG in their products:


  • McDonald’s (uses other free glutamate products)
  • Burger King
  • KFC
  • Taco Bell
  • Doritos
  • Planters Nuts
  • Applebees


The heightened sensitivity to MSG appears to be well founded. Scientific experiments to study obesity often involve MSG induced obesity in mice for the very reason that it is known to work. If you’re looking to eat clean whether you want to lose weight or just feel better, start with cutting MSG. The old adage,”you are what you eat” holds true, if you want to feel well, you need to eat well; Live Fit, Be Fit.

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