What foods contain monosodium glutamate (MSG)?

Stephen H. Atkins, PhD
Integrative Medicine
Hidden Sources of Processed Free Glutamic Acid (MSG)  
The MSG reaction is a reaction to free glutamic acid that occurs in food as a consequence of manufacture. MSG-sensitive people do not react to protein (which contains bound glutamic acid) or any of the minute amounts of free glutamic acid that might be found in unadulterated, unfermented food.

These ALWAYS contain MSG:
  • Glutamate
  • Glutamic acid
  • Gelatin
  • Monosodium glutamate
  • Calcium caseinate
  • Textured protein
  • Monopotassium glutamate
  • Sodium caseinate
  • Yeast nutrient
  • Yeast extract
  • Yeast food
  • Autolyzed yeast
  • Hydrolyzed protein (any protein that is hydrolyzed)
  • Hydrolyzed corn gluten
  • Natrium glutamate (natrium is Latin/German for sodium)
These OFTEN contain MSG or create MSG during processing:
  • Carrageenan
  • Maltodextrin
  • Malt extract
  • Natural pork flavoring
  • Citric acid
  • Malt flavoring
  • Bouillon and broth
  • Natural chicken flavoring
  • Soy protein isolate
  • Natural beef flavoring
  • Ultra-pasteurized
  • Soy sauce
  • Stock
  • Barley malt
  • Soy sauce extract
  • Whey protein concentrate
  • Pectin
  • Soy protein
  • Whey protein
  • Protease
  • Soy protein concentrate
  • Whey protein isolate
  • Protease enzymes
  • Anything protein fortified
  • Flavors(s) and flavoring(s)
  • Anything enzyme modified
  • Anything fermented
  • Natural flavor(s) and flavoring(s)
  • Enzymes anything
  • Seasonings (the word “seasonings”)
In Addition...
The new game is to label hydrolyzed proteins as pea protein, whey protein, corn protein, etc. If a pea, for example, were whole, it would be identified as a pea. Calling an ingredient pea protein indicates that the pea has been hydrolyzed, at least in part, and that processed MSG is present. Relatively new to the list are wheat protein and soy protein.

Disodium guanylate and disodium inosinate are expensive food additives that work synergistically with inexpensive MSG. Their use suggests that the product has MSG in it. They would probably not be used as food additives if there were no MSG present.
Ms. Ashley Koff, RD
Nutrition & Dietetics
Foods always contain monosodium glutamate (MSG) if any of these are in the ingredients list:
  • Autolyzed plant protein
  • Autolyzed yeast
  • Calcium caseinate
  • Gelatin
  • Glutamate
  • Glutamic acid
  • Hydrolyzed plant protein
  • Hydrolyzed vegetable protein
  • Monopotassium glutamate
  • MSG
  • Sodium caseinate
  • Textured protein
  • Yeast extract
  • Yeast food or nutrient
Foods often contain monosodium glutamate (MSG) if any of these are in the ingredients list:
  • Annatto
  • Barley malt
  • Boullon
  • Broth
  • Caramel flavoring (coloring)
  • Carrageenan
  • Citric acid (when processed from corn)
  • Corn syrup and corn syrup solids (partly depends upon process used)
  • Cornstarch
  • Dough conditioners
  • Dry milk solids
  • Enriched
  • Flavoring seasonings (most assume this means salt and pepper or herbs and spices, which it sometimes is)
  • Flowing agents
  • Gums
  • Lipolyzed butter fat
  • Low or no fat items
  • Malt extract or flavoring
  • Malted barley (flavor)
  • Maltodextrin
  • Milk powder
  • Modified food (or corn) starch
  • Natural chicken
  • Pectin
  • Protein-fortified anything
  • Protein fortified milk
  • Rice or brown rice, syrup
  • Soy protein
  • Soy protein isolate or concentrate
  • Soy sauce or concentrate
  • Soy sauce or extract
  • Spice
  • Stock
  • Ultra-pasteurized anything
  • Vitamin enriched
  • Whey protein isolate
Mom Energy: A Simple Plan to Live Fully Charged

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Mom Energy: A Simple Plan to Live Fully Charged

       From celebrated dietitian Ashley Koff and fitness trainer to the stars Kathy Kaehler comes Mom Energy, an exciting new way for moms to tap into their own natural and renewable sources of...

Continue Learning about Nutrition



Eating a variety of foods each day that are low in fat and calories ensures you get proper nutrition and nutrients like folate, magnesium and iron. Calcium, fiber, potassium and selenium are other nutrients essential for wellness, ...

growth, development, cell repair and disease prevention. Colorful foods, such as fruits and vegetables, are often the richest sources of nutrients. Taking a multivitamin once daily is a good way to supplement your diet.

Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.