Is Monosodium Glutamate (MSG) Dangerous?

So, is MSG dangerous? Yes, it is. At least, that’s findings of the research that has been done on MSG over the years.

Some companies that still use MSG and make MSG have a fair deal at stake if it were to be banned across the board, which is why you can still get MSG in different countries.

MSG has been banned in the manufacture of foods aimed at children in as many as 50 countries in recent times.

And all for good reason, you may agree. Here’s why…

Doctor John Erb was a Research Assistant at the University of Waterloo in Ontario, Canada who spent years working for the Canadian Government. 1

During his career he has made some amazing progress towards improving awareness of human health. If you want the answer to ‘Is MSG dangerous?’ then his book ‘The Slow Poisoning of America’ is well worth a read.

As we consider the facts about Monosodium Glutamate, and if MSG is really dangerous, it is largely from this source that evidence is drawn.

In hundreds of studies around the world, scientists created obese mice and rats to use in diabetes test studies. It is particularly important to note that no single strain of mice or rat is naturally obese, so the scientists had to add MSG to their food to encourage this.

They had effectively imposed upon these animals a diet that would change their health dramatically.

The MSG had caused the rats to become addicted to their food. Having a background in cooking, I have worked in restaurants where MSG was added to foods where it was not disclosed to the patrons.

At one particular well known hotel I worked with it was common practice to add powdered chicken stock to the Carbonara Sauce.

As this particular brand contained MSG, just enough was added to a large batch so that it generated the chemical response in the brain that said ‘Oh, that’s yummy, I want more’.

If you didn’t know that this was added to the recipe, you would very likely not know. This was not considered by the Chef to be a problem, as he was simply interested in making the food taste good so more got sold.

And that’s just one example that I can speak of in the industry.

What happens when you consume MSG?

When consumed, MSG triples the amount of insulin that the pancreas produces. It is this that is key to what caused the rats, and humans, to develop diabetes, and become morbidly obese.

So, what do you think, is MSG dangerous?

The following products always contain MSG, and in our opinion, they should be avoided as much as possible, preferably completely.

After all, your health is your first form of wealth, and it’s not good when someone tries to take it away from you knowingly or otherwise.

So, what are these products to avoid that contain MSG?

  • Plant Protein Extract
  • Autolysed Yeast
  • Hydrolyzed
    • Vegetable Protein
    • Plant Protein
    • Protein
  • Extract Seasoning
  • Sodium Caseinate Yeast
  • Textured Protein (including TVP) Spices
  • Hydrolysed Oat Flour, and
  • Corn Oil

The items frequently contain MSG and should be treated with a similar level of caution:

  • Natural Flavors or Flavoring
  • Flavoring Seasoning
  • Malt Flavoring
  • Malt Extract
  • Stock
  • Flavoring
  • Bouillon Broth
  • Spices, and
  • BHT

What can I do to avoid MSG?

If you are concerned about the dangers of MSG and similar products there is a great resource available through the Feingold Association.

This could help you improve your health and the heath of your family through informed decisions about what you buy. It may well also help you avoid things that could trigger ADHD. 2

Have you been exposed to MSG lately? Have you eaten something recently that didn’t taste particularly great, but you just couldn’t stop?

What about food additives and children?

The September 2007 issue of the Lancet Journal provides a clear demonstration that changes in behavior are able to be detected in three-year-old and eight-year-old children who ingest these artificial processed food additives. 3

Psychology Professor Jim Stevenson of the University of Southampton in the UK and colleagues conducted tests on over 300 children. 4

They found that there were significant differences in the children’s behavior when the drank fruit drinks with a mixture of common processed food additives, including artificial food coloring and chemical preservatives. 

The Researchers wrote the following in their study:

“The results show that adverse effects are seen in more than just children with extreme hyperactivity, like ADHD, but can also be seen in the wider population inclusive of a broad spectrum in the severity of hyperactivity.”

The team of Researchers also commented that:

“The implications of the results from these studies for the regulation of the use of food additives may prove to be substantial”.

Getting things like this out of your house, and out of your digestive system, can only help you improve your long term health. Knowing more now than you did before, what are you thoughts on this. We would love to hear what your views are on ‘Is MSG Dangerous?’


  1. “The Slow Poisoning Of America” – T. Erb, 6 June 2003 [Good Reads] [Archive] ↩︎
  2. “Artificial food dyes and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.” – K. Kanarek, 1 July 2011 [Semantic Scholar] [Archive] ↩︎
  3. “Food additives and hyperactive behaviour in 3-year-old and 8/9-year-old children in the community: a randomised, double-blinded, placebo-controlled trial” – D. McCann, A. Barret, A. Cooper, D. Crumpler, L. Dalen, K. Grimshaw, 6 September 2007 [The Lancet] [Archive] ↩︎
  4. “Major study indicates a link between hyperactivity in children and certain food additives” – J. Stevenson, 6 September 2007 [University of Southampton] [Archive] ↩︎

Last Updated on 1 month by D&C Editorial Team


About the Author

Matthew has been on an active journey towards living a healthy life from a young age. Influenced by his Grandmother, a practicing Naturopath who served her community from the 1940's to the 1980's, his views on living holistically were shaped from a young age. Growing up in different parts of Australia, his connection with the Ocean and a passion for sustainability comes through in everything he does and shares.

"I'm not a Doctor, and I don't play one on the Internet." - me

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