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MSG: The Hidden Flavor Enhancer to Avoid

Food manufacturers are motivated to make their products tasty and addicting, because if you enjoy the taste then it means that you will be a repeat customer. One common ingredient that is used to flavor food is Monosoduim Glutamate (MSG). Even though MSG is often added to processed foods, doesn’t mean that it is safe to consume. In fact, researchers are uncovering surprising information that shows how dangerous MSG can be for your health.

What is Monosoduim Glutamate (MSG)?

1948 was the year that MSG was introduced to the food industry, and it has been used to enhance the flavors of hundreds of processed foods. This ingredient can be found in frozen meals, soup, salad dressing, restaurant foods, and more. MSG is most often found in Asian sauces, dressings, and flavors, although it might be included in other foods such as baby formula and baby food.

The difficulty with MSG is the fact that it might be hidden on an ingredient label. Some products specifically state that MSG is added, while other products use different names for this ingredient. There are over 40 names that might be listed on a label, and these are some of the most common names that are used for MSG:

  • Casein
  • Autolyzed
  • Hydrolyzed
  • Citric Acid
  • Brown Rice Syrup or Rice Syrup
  • Malted Barley
  • Gelatin
  • Yeast Extract
  • Hydrolyzed Vegetable Protein (HVP)

Did you know that broths often contain MSG?

Click here to read a detailed list of MSG names and ingredients to watch for. Also, you can find more information by reading Dr. Russell Blaylock’s books about the dangers of MSG including Excitotoxins: The Taste That Kills.

The Dangers of MSG

It has been found that MSG is an excitotoxin, which causes it to act as a poison which overexcites your cells and damages them. When MSG is consumed, it can lead to damaged nerves and disrupted hypothalamus function. Since the hypothalamus manages the regulatory activities within the body, this disruption can have a negative impact on all of the major functions within your body.

Scientists have linked MSG consumption with obesity, so it is very important that you are avoiding foods with MSG when you are trying to lose weight or prevent weight gain. It has been suggested that MSG actually stimulates hunger signals which can lead to overeating and weight gain.

MSG and Cancer Growth

Additionally, it has also been found that MSG might increase the growth of tumors. Multiple research studies have shown that foods with glutamate might enhance the growth of the tumor, mainly because many types of cancer have glutamate receptors. Glutamate has received the nickname “Cancer Fertilizer” since it speeds up the growth of cancer cells and also rapidly spreads the cancer growth throughout the body.

Avoiding MSG in Your Diet

It is very difficult to avoid MSG if you are eating processed foods, especially since there are so many names for this ingredient. The best approach is to avoid processed foods all together, and stick with a plant based, whole foods diet instead. When you are eating fresh ingredients and preparing your meals from scratch, you will have the peace of mind to know that you are avoiding this dangerous ingredient. Whether you are healing from cancer or proactively preventing cancer, it is best to avoid MSG as much as possible.

You can learn more about following a cancer prevention diet in the book Unravel the Mystery: A Simple Effective Approach to Beating Cancer, by Ann Malkmus. Also, find delicious recipes in the companion Unravel the Mystery Recipe Book, which has a variety of MSG-free recipes.


  1. What helps strenghten the lungs after a bout of bronchitis for over a month ? I am 65 . Thanks

    • Christy Okon January 26, 2015

      Fresh vegetable juices is one of the best ways of getting nutrition to cellular level to support lung as well as overall body health and healing. N-Acetyl-Cysteine and Serrapeptase may help support the body’s recovery in the area of lung health, along with Liposomal Vitamin C.

  2. Clair Beaver January 23, 2015

    What I wonder is why we can’t force food manufacturers to be honest in their labeling? How can they call MSG 40 different things? This is infuriating!! Why have an FDA when they seem to be the puppets of food manufacturers?
    On another note, I’ve heard that there are natural forming glutamates even in organic soy sauces. Other than limiting this Asian flavor in my foods are there any suggestions for substitutes?

    • Christy Okon January 26, 2015

      We need to realize the FDA is not protecting the interest of citizens but rather that of the pharmaceutical industry, food conglomerates, etc. Follow the money trail and we see who they cater to. Processed soy foods – TVP, soy sauce etc are natural sources of MSG (glutamate) and should be limited in use.

  3. Has anyone heard about MSG (free glutamic acid) being in nutritional yeast? In your opinion, is nutritional yeast a safe food to eat?

  4. Leatha Hamilton January 25, 2015

    My son recently learned that he has MS and just yesterday cleared his kitchen of MSG. Do you know of any case history of MSG causing MS. His condition is going down fast and there is no known cure or medication.

  5. JoAnne R. January 27, 2015

    I am writing to inquire as to what I can do to lower my cholesterol. I’ve heard that most vegetarians have high cholesterol and that eating grass feed beef will lower my HDL level. I do NOT want to take medication to lower it, so what can I do to lower my HDL level? Thank you.

    • Christy Okon January 28, 2015

      I asked Olin Idol, or ND, CNC on staff, and his reply is:

      I’ll first state that cholesterol really isn’t the big issue drug companies make it out to be. I personally don’t know what my numbers are and really don’t care as I am on a diet that keeps homocysteine and inflammation low. Those are the real culprits in cardiovascular disease.

      Omega 3s, especially a clean fish oil such as Pharmax fish oil and exercise are the best way to help optimize HDL levels.

  6. Since citric acid is not MSG chemically does it mean that a lot of these on the list are ‘contaminated’ by MSG?

    • Christy Okon February 2, 2015

      Natural citric acid derived from fruit is free of MSG but the cheap Commercially produced citric acid that is produced by fungal activity and used in many commercial products is a source of MSG.

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