5 Foods You Didn't Know Contained MSG

MSG, monosodium glutamate or E621, is a chemical that is used for flavor enhancements in a variety of foods. While the FDA classifies MSG as a food that is generally safe for consumption, many people experience adverse reactions to MSG, including headaches, sweating, facial tightness, heart palpitations, chest pain and nausea. Even in foods that are labeled “No MSG added” and/or “MSG Free,” glutamate has been added, in hopes of “tricking” the consumer. While most people are aware that a lot of Chinese food is prepared with MSG, there are many more foods that contain it. There are thousands of products that contain MSG. For optimal health, familiarize yourself with the list below, which contains food products that you might not have known to contain MSG.

1. Salad Items

While the vast majority of people are under the impression that a salad is a healthy meal option, MSG is commonly added to foods that are found in salads. The most common culprits of hidden MSG in a salad include:

  • Bacon bits
  • Croutons
  • Salad dressings
  • Deli meats
  • Deli cheese
  • Parmesan cheese

2. Canned Goods and Prepackaged Foods

Although there are many canned foods and prepackaged goods that are recognized as having added MSG, some products have been flying under the radar for quite some, only catching the attention of researchers and nutritionists recently. A variety of canned goods have added MSG, including:

  • Canned meats (tuna, chicken, etc.)
  • Clam chowder
  • Soups (even the forms that claim to not have MSG)
  • Gravies
  • Dip mixes

3. Fresh Fruits and Vegetables

Some people may expect MSG to be found in any type of processed food, but would you expect MSG to be found in fresh fruits and vegetables? If you’re like most people, this will come as a surprise. The fact of the matter is that free glutamic acid, or MSG, is being sprayed directly onto fruits and vegetables as they are growing. The EPA has approved the use of MSG as a treatment method for crop growers.

4. Dairy Items

Most people would consider fat-free or reduced-fat milk a safe option. What about yogurt? The following dairy products are likely to contain MSG:

  • Ultra Pasteurized Products
  • Powdered Milk
  • Cottage Cheese
  • Fat-free Milk
  • Yogurt
  • Reduced Fat Milk
  • Ice Cream

5. Baby Formulas and Baby Foods

Baby formula and baby foods might come as quite a shock here, and many people do not realize that baby products contain MSG. Nearly all powdered infant formulas contain processed milk and or/soy proteins, which are broken down into MSG during the manufacturing process.

Hidden Names Being Used for MSG

Food manufacturers have gotten wise as the general population continues to gain knowledge regarding unhealthy additives commonly found in the foods we purchase. Below you will find a list of common names that food manufacturers will put on their labels, to avoid actually saying that the product contains MSG. If you see one of the following names, you can be assured that the product contains MSG:

  • Gelatin
  • Yeast Extract
  • Calcium Caseinate
  • Sodium Caseinate
  • Autolyzed Plant Protein
  • Glutamate
  • Glutamic Acid
  • Hydrolized Vegetable Protein
  • Hydrolized Plant Protein

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