Chinese food is usually the first cuisine that comes to mind when anyone mentions MSG, and this is because it was commonly added to Chinese dishes to enhance flavors and make foods taste fresher. Even MSG Symptom Complex, which is a term used to describe short-term reactions to MSG, was called “Chinese Restaurant Syndrome” for some time in the United States.
It is, however, completely unfair to only point the finger at Chinese restaurants when it comes to MSG.
This food additive, which I can confidently say is one of the absolute worst on the market, is used in canned soups, crackers, meats, salad dressings, frozen dinners and much, much more. It’s found in your local supermarket and restaurants, in your child’s school cafeteria and, amazingly, even in your baby’s food and infant formula (another reason why breastfeeding is vastly superior).
One of the best overviews of the very real dangers of MSG comes from Dr. Blaylock, author of the highly recommended Excitotoxins: The Taste that Kills. He explains that MSG is an excitotoxin, which means that it overexcites your cells to the point of damage or death, acting as a poison.
Aside from harming your brain, MSG has also been linked to:
Food manufacturers are not stupid. They’ve caught on to the fact that people like you want to avoid eating this nasty food additive. As a result, do you think they responded by removing MSG from their products? Well, a few may have, but most of them just tried to “clean” their labels. In other words, they tried to hide the fact that MSG is an ingredient.
How do they do this? By using names that you would never associate with MSG. Fortunately, you can get a full list of ingredients that contain MSG at MSGMyth.com. For instance, the ingredients below all contain MSG:
Hydrolyzed Vegetable Protein (HVP)
Rice Syrup or Brown Rice Syrup
In general, if a food is processed you can assume it contains MSG. So if you stick to a whole, fresh foods diet like the one in my nutrition plan, you can pretty much guarantee that you’ll avoid this toxin.
The other place where you’ll need to watch out for MSG is in restaurants. You can ask your server which menu items are MSG-free, and request that no MSG be added to your meal, but of course the only place where you can be entirely sure of what’s added to your food is in your own kitchen.
But to be on the safe side, here is a list of ingredients that ALWAYS contain MSG: