Is MSG Bad For You? [Infographic]

Is MSG unhealthy?Image: iStock

MSG - or Monosodium glutamate to give it its proper name - is widely believed to contain dangerous toxins. The once popular food additive has been shunned by many Australian Chinese restaurants who proudly proclaim their dishes are now "MSG free". But do we really need to be worried? Not according to this infographic from Compound Interest.

MSG has been blamed for everything from blinding headaches to unexplained numbness and it has been lambasted by many nutritionists as a result. However, it seems that this reputation is largely undeserved. The scientific evidence against the additive is scant, at best.

Interestingly, the ingredient is chemically identical to naturally occurring glutamate ions which are found in numerous foods including tomatoes, cheese, mushrooms and potatoes. Furthermore, there are precisely zero scientific studies linking MSG to any known health defects.

With that said, a small percentage of people do experience unpleasant symptoms after ingesting lots of MSG (approximately three grams or more, according to the infographic.) Mind you, the same thing can be said about many foods and liquids. Just because some people have an intolerance doesn't mean it's bad for everybody!

You can check out the full infographic below:

This Graphic Explains Why MSG Isn't a Health Hazard for Everyone

[Via Compound Interest]


Comments

    I often add a little MSG to stuff I make at home like Ramen. It just takes the flavour of the broth up an extra notch. I've never had a problem with it. My ex's mother used to use it a lot in her cooking too (she's Chinese) and neither of them seemed very keen to tell me what it was when I saw her adding it to a dish one time, but I eventually got it out of them. I guess they're well aware of the unpopularity of it among most westernets, but I was glad to find out. I'd never seen it prior to that, and was never even really aware it could be purchased here. I figured it was a thing of the past that would not be sold any more due to its reputation.
    Strange thing is, some brands/outlets tend to disguise it by calling it "Umami", while others just outright say it's MSG.

    I bet there are a lot of people that would love to meet these 3 grams at once victims.

    No study has ever found someone that had symptoms from ingesting MSG. They did have problems when eating Chinese food with no MSG, and no issues with eating Italian loaded with MSG. Basically it's made up.

      I'd love to see the types of people that eat 3 grams of sodium in one sitting and expect to not feel anything..

      It is literally glutamate (naturally occurring) and sodium (electrolyte).. People just used it to justify their racist believes about the all evil "China" and their people.

      Exactly as you said, no one ever questions the amount of msg that goes into Italian food, EVER. I have literally never seen a person in real life mention that, but one hint of going to a Chinese restaurant and suddenly it's "I hate msg". Double standards.

    There was a pretty big health campaign about it in the 80's I think? Since then it has been persona non grata here. Mind you every good Chinese hot pot restaurant will have it as an add in to the sauce right next to salt and soy sauce, etc.

      That's because it was a rubbish campaign built on nothing but fear.

    I knew someone who would get a severe reaction from MSG, yes, even in Italian food.

    It was a bloody pain in the arse. Everywhere we went we had to be cautious.

    It's not a scientific result, obviously, but to say no one has ever has symptoms and accuse people of being racist is just plain stupid.

      I am one of the 2 percent that is allergic to MSG it makes me blow up like a blowfish. Please be mindful that it is manufactured not real why don't we just substitute salt like we did back in the day and use seaweed why does it have to be a GMO food made in a lab. It stimulates your mind and the effects last for days that's why autism is at a all time high. I did a study with my youngest son diagnosed with ADD removed all that from his diet and he became an A+ student. No way is this sh** cool I bet the scientist that make it don't even eat it, don't be fooled.

    The stigma of MSG stems from a small minority having an allergic reaction to it, combined with the sciency name of MSG. I believe its the glutamate that triggers the allergy, but could be wrong. Basically, its no different to people with nut allergies though.

    Difference being, people understand what "contains nuts" means, when they don't understand what "contains MSG" does.

    As MSG is essentially salt (or near enough), its also something that can be hard to identify for those that DO have an allergy to it. One of the problems I see is that because its a stigma born from mostly ignorance, its created the potential for the real sufferers to get caught out when a restaurant lies or misleads about using it.

      People jumped onto MSG because it sounds like a scary chemical (everything is made of chemicals). It occurs naturally in heaps of foods. Double blind tests have found NO connection with people experiencing symptoms and consuming MSG.

        Yeah, I had the scary chem name thing somewhere in my post and cut it out :)

        I worked in a chinese restaurant when I was a kid (best friends parents owned it), and ate plenty of MSG as a result, so when I was older I did a little research into it just to be sure it wasn't doing anything bad to me.

        It wasn't, and in fact was in a lot of other foods we eat without thought. Its the salt version of glutamic acid, which is one of the most common amino acids in nature. Pretty much any protein rich food has it, wheat has it, some vegetables...

        Its in everything we eat you just don't taste it because of sciency stuff.

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