Everyone prefers to have strong flavoring in their food. Who wouldn’t want to have food which is delectable and it doesn’t hurt if you get some extra little flavoring on the side. Is MSG harmful?

This is the main question we will be looking into and answering with this article.

However, how true is this really?

Monosodium glutamate (MSG) is considered as a controversial food additive. It is definitely one which allows you to enhance the flavor of your food. But is it really worth it? MSG use has for years been a rather debatable topic.

Many people consider it to be an association to Asian cuisine as it is mainly used in their recipes and ingredients.

However it is also used in many other kinds of food items too.

This includes processed foods, soups as well as different kinds of fast food.

So with it having so many uses, why does it come under the radar as being harmful?

In this article I am going to be looking into and sharing details on why MSG is not something many health experts encourage to add into your diet. And how some of these assumptions may not be actually correct.

So let’s start:

What is MSG?

identifying MSG usage

We will begin with answering the first and most basic question- what is MSG anyway? It is actually a form of glutamic acid.

This is a kind of amino acid which helps in performing the many functions of the body. This includes and is not limited to how it works greatly to form proteins.

It is actually existing already in our central nervous system and plays and important role in sending out a signal calming sign.

The research regarding the use of MSG is still in its infancy stages however it is proven to have many uses to the system.

Now let’s talk about whether MSG is even safe for use or not?

Is MSG Harmful?

So while there have been various claims and suggestions on how you should limit the use of MSG, as it turns out the FDA claims MSG is actually safe for usage.

This is because according to recent research there is no solid ground which creates a direct link between MSG consumption and what are the adverse reactions that come with people using it.

Researchers have been continuously trying to figure out ways on which they can determine how MSG links to sudden health reactions and what can be done to make it consistent.

Measuring Safety Levels

When talking about the use of MSG, the adverse reactions that come with it are constantly being monitored and determined.

In the research, many have come with the prognosis that those who have shown very strong reactions may have been due to already suffering from certain sensitivities.

This means they have a limitation on how much of MSG can they consume.

Such cases may get confused and question is MSG harmful to their diet and health but as it turns out there may be some other linking devices to it.

Now for those who may be unclear, here’s looking into and getting an understanding of what MSG looks like.

How MSG Looks

appearance of MSG

MSG appears like salt. It is actually like white powder but that is where the similarity ends.

It has its own very distinctive taste.

And is made when you are fermenting starch as well as sugar cane and even molasses. The fermentation process is such that it will be giving you a distinctive taste.

This process works in the same way as it would when you are creating vinegar, wine or even yogurt.

A natural way of producing MSG happens and this will be purifying and drying out the ingredients in the long-run.

You will notice that the resulting crystalline structure will start to dissolve and this is the final form you have that you add to foods.

It is going to be enhancing the flavors of the dish even more, making it a delicious food spread for you and your family.

Uses in Food

So how do we make use of MSG?

It has been found that MSG is actually been used in food for a very long time.

Many Japanese dishes make use of it as it intensifies the flavors.

But that isn’t the only cuisine you will be finding it in.

In fact it is also available in dishes that originate from Japan, China and even some South Asian places.

But is it found in the common, frozen food?


It is actually available in abundant amount and when these foods are consumed on a regular basis, they will be impacting your health significantly.

MSG in food

Some of the frozen meals and processed foods which contain it include:

  • bacon
  • pastrami
  • pepperoni
  • sausages
  • cold cuts
  • salami
  • smoked meats

Also it comes in certain sauces and dressings. These include:

  • ketchup
  • mayonnaise
  • salad dressing
  • mustard
  • soy sauce
  • soup bases

This just comes to show how common MSG really is. It is a major food element that is known to bring forth harmful impact to your health if you don’t have a control on how much you are consuming.

Now that we have gotten to know what is MSG, is MSG harmful and its form and where we use it, let’s now talk about the kind of health concerns that come with it.

MSG and Health Impact

how MSG is made

So for years people have been scratching their heads on how is MSG harmful and how its impacting their health.

While there is not much evidence on how it impacts your health, some investigators have been looking into how MSG is actually impacting people when consumed on a regular basis.

One thing that was determined is that it may trigger and lead to certain brain damage if consumed on a regular basis.

It can allegedly damage the hypothalamus and this is a major part of your brain.

But there is not much evidence which can prove this hypothesis.

A Link to Obesity?

Now this is yet another thing people wonder about. Is there a link between how obesity and MSG come together?

As it turns out, according to certain studies, MSG can cause you to suffer from obesity.

But the study also suggests that this increase in weight may be due to the fact that when you are consuming too much food, it may cause a person to overeat.

And this in turn relates you to having excessive weight gain.

Since MSG makes food taste better, it directly relates to tempting people to consume more food than usual. It may be triggering you to consume unhealthy food all the more often.

A Trigger of Headaches?

Many people who consume MSG have suggested that it can lead to people suffering from headaches.

But again this is a conclusion which is not based on any solid ground.

This view can be considered as being totally anecdotal.

It still needs strong research to ensure that the results are coherent and are stable.

One another thing people should know is that some people who consume MSG on a regular basis state that it actually is responsible for triggering asthma in certain patients.

This is yet again another unproven theory which may hold certain weightage but it isn’t confirmed if it really happens so.

Also when talking about these effects, it isn’t clear whether these high doses of MSG are actually pertaining to all such cases and it may or may not hold certain weightage.

Regular Symptoms

While the above suggested concerns are those that pertain to certain reach. It seems there are some regular symptoms and issues that can arise from taking on MSG in a regular manner.

These symptoms are:

  • feeling bloated- you may feel extremely bloated and this is a condition which is common and can happen in many cases
  • having gas is yet another issue- you may feel overwhelmed and sick and there is painful gas issue as well which just wouldn’t go away on its own
  • in some cases, it is common to have an onset of headaches. These can be either mild or in some cases. they can become overpowering
  • abdominal pain is also one of the conditions people may suffer
  • stomach cramps can come and go and you wouldn’t be able to identify the reason
  • tingling tongue is also one of the symptoms which can take over and you wouldn’t be able to identify the source for it


This article was a complete overview on understanding what is MSG and is MSG Harmful? It is one of the most common and popular food flavorings however it comes with its set of concerns.

However in this article we looked into what those are and how to know what is a myth and what is the actual cause of concern.

The major symptoms relating to MSG were also looked at.

Also a listing of some of the leading food sources which consist of MSG were identified.

You get a complete picture on a food flavoring and how dangerous is it really based on research and evidence.