It might be time to think twice before you grab that bottle of soy sauce. More than 25% of Americans react negatively to MSG. In addition, there are reports indicating a potential linking of the common additive MSG (monosodium glutamate) with weight gain. Healthy adults using MSG were found to have a higher BMI (body mass index) than those cooking without it. And that’s discounting calorie intake or physical activity.

MSG is believed to be an excitotoxin, which might intoxicate nerve cells involved in weight control. For decades, people have complained of headache, flushing or sweating, numbness or tingling around the mouth, chest pain or palpitations, shortness of breath, nausea, or weakness after consuming MSG. It is being reported that more than 25 percent of Americans react negatively to monosodium glutamate. It is commonly believed that they and anyone with heart disease (since so many symptoms mimic cardiovascular problems) should avoid MSG.

While the FDA reaffirmed this additive’s safety in 1995, the agency does require that monosodium glutamate be labeled on food ingredient lists and restaurant menus. Some ingredients always contains MSG: hydrolyzed protein (including plant or vegetable protein), plant protein extract, textured protein, calcium or sodium caseinate, yeast extract, autolyzed yeast, and hydrolyzed oat flour.

A report on Fox News recently pointed out that MSG crosses the blood-brain barrier, sending signals to the brain that researchers believe can destroy blood cells. The result is improper distribution of fat that settles in the abdomen, contributing to heart disease. As a result, experts are starting to conclude that eliminating MSG is a serious consideration as a weapon against heart disease.

Additional research conducted by the Food Facts blog editorial staff indicates that there are many points of view on just how potentially negative MSG can be, but all are universal in cautioning consumers to at least minimize its use. Since MSG is essentially an amino acid used as a flavor enhancer in soups, salad dressings, chips, frozen entrees, and restaurant food, it is well known that some individuals experience nausea. In some cases, individuals can benefit from replacing MSG with a small amount of salt. Regardless, Food Facts takes no position on this, other than to caution consumers to research, analyze and form their own individual judgments. We do recommend using resources to determine, without outside bias or influence, which foods you can safely avoid in terms of possibly eliminating this and other controversial ingredients.

Food Facts has extensive recipes that are MSG-free, and the site is a huge resource to determine which food ingredients will keep you free of MSG as well.