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The Aching Effects of MSG

Chinese Food
Courtesy of stock.xchng

Do you love Chinese food but find that it always gives you a stomach ache after your meal? That’s because most Chinese food restaurants use MSG in their food. MSG (Monosodium Glutamate) is a type of salt that is added to foods to enhance flavor. Aside from making foods just a little bit tastier, MSG does more harm than good.

Possible Side Effects of MSG

Not everyone is affected by MSG. But if you are, and you eat large portions of MSG at a time, you could get any number of symptoms, including stomach aches, headaches, nausea, skin rash, diarrhea, vomiting and more. However, small amounts of MSG probably won’t affect you at all.

Foods with MSG

Chinese food isn’t the only food that contains MSG. Nowadays most fast food restaurants use MSG in their food as well! You’ll also find this additive in bouillon cubes (small blocks of dehydrated broth), seasoning mixtures, soups, packaged noodles, processed meats, beef jerky, some vegetarian meat products, potato and tortilla chips, barbeque sauce, salad dressing, canned vegetables and packaged prepared food.


Detecting MSG

You can find out if MSG is in the foods you love by reading the label. If it lists Monosodium Glutamate, then it definitely has MSG. For restaurants, you can check out their online nutritional fact sheets or simply ask someone who works there.


Restaurant Beware

Aside from Asian cuisine, the worst culprits for using MSG in their food are KFC, Burger King, McDonald’s, Taco Bell and other fast food joints. Some restaurants deny using MSG in their food (Subway, Tim Hortons, and Starbucks and Panda Express are examples of these). But MSG is often hidden behind the names of other free glutamates, such as yeast extract, any autolyzed or hydrolyzed proteins, sodium and calcium caseinate, gelatin, some natural flavors and more. However, not all of these other free glutamates will cause the same side effects as direct MSG. So if you want to enjoy the food without the ache, just read the list of ingredients.


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