Published in FACTS Network / Food Insight, August 24, 2017
Author: Megan Meyer, PhD, and Anthony Flood
These days, there are too many food myths to count. Even with so much noise out there, some common myths continue to capture our attention. Some of these common misperceptions center on monosodium glutamate, or MSG. It’s about time we expose a few of the common MSG myths you may have heard.
“But first, what exactly is MSG? MSG is created when sodium and glutamate (an amino acid that is found in both plant and animal proteins) are combined. It is naturally occurring in tomatoes, Parmesan cheese, walnuts, sardines, mushrooms, clams, meat and asparagus. MSG is also used as a flavoring component in foods to bring out savory, umami flavors to a dish.
Myth #1: “MSG gives me headaches and other problems.”
“Over the years, we have seen anecdotal reports linking MSG to headaches and nausea. Ever since the first incidents were reported, there’s been no strong, medical evidence to support these claims. The FDA investigated some of these claims and has “never been able to confirm that the MSG caused the reported effects.” In addition, the FDA commissioned a group of independent scientists from the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology to examine the safety of MSG in the 1990s. The FASEB report determined that MSG is safe.”