MSG by any other name?

May 7, 2009

Chinese restaurants many years ago got a bad reputation for over use of MSG (mono sodium glutamate), with people reporting symptoms such as headache, numbness in the arms, palpitations and increased risk of asthma attacks. None of these have ever been scientifically verified, though I certainly had a headache or two from some Chinese restaurants, which made me avoid the flavour-enhancing additive wherever possible.

If you are similarly sensitive, it may help you to know that MSG, or E621 to give it the chemical label, may have vanished from restaurants or food products but in many cases has been replaced with other substances have the same effects, but you may not be familiar with their names.

You may not be as sensitive to some, or all of these, but it is worth checking labels for these added ingredients if you want a headache-free dining experience: yeast extract, torula yeast, autolyzed vegetable protein, hydrolyzed vegetable protein, calcium caseinate, sodium casinate, and textured protein.


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