What foods should I eat to avoid MSG?

Monosodium glutamate is a flavor enhancer used in many foods and is very prevalent in Chinese food. It can be found on the “Generally Regarded as Safe” list provided by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). 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
To date, researchers have not found a cause and effect relationship between MSG and the above symptoms, however they do acknowledge that a small percentage of the population have short-lived reactions to MSG-containing foods and that treatment is not required. The FDA requires that MSG be listed on the label of a food that contains it. Since the list of foods NOT containing MSG would fill volumes of books, your best bet is to check all labels for MSG and avoid those foods.

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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.