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I love all these MSG haters out there who think that Chinese food makes them sick due to the MSG. The truth of the matter is that MSG is in tons of things that we eat….especially processed food.  It seems that Chinese food has become somewhat of a self-fulfilling prophesy. The same people who claim that Chinese food make them sick suffer no ill effects from these common foods.

  • Taco Bell – most of it
  • McDonald’s – most of it
  • Burger King – most of it
  • Any other fast food joint – most of it

Okay….who is kidding who?  The first 4 make us all sick…..

  • Hamburger Helper Microwave Singles  (targeted towards children)
  • Doritos
  • Campbell’s soups – all of them – based on their commitment to add “umami” (read – MSG) to their products
  • Pringles (the flavored varieties)
  • Lipton Noodles and Sauce
  • Lipton Instant soup mix
  • Knorr products – often used in homemade Veggie dips.
  • Kraft products nearly all contain some free glutamate
  • Cup-a-soup or Cup-o-Noodles
  • Planters salted nuts – most of them
  • Accent -this is nearly pure MSG
  • Fish extract – made from decomposed fish protein – used now in Japanese sushi dishes – very high in free glutamate.
  • sausages – most supermarkets add MSG to theirs
  • processed cheese
  • supermarket poultry or  turkeys that are injected or “self-basting”
  • restaurant gravy from food service cans
  • flavored ramen noodles
  • bouillon – any kind
  • instant soup mixes
  • many salad dressings
  • most salty, powdered dry food mixes – read labels
  • flavored potato chips
  • restaurant soups made from food service soup base or with added MSG
  • hydrolyzed vegetable protein (found in many processed foods, like canned tuna and even hot dogs)
  • hydrolyzed plant protein (found in many processed foods, like canned tuna and even hot dogs)
  • autolysis yeast (found in many processed foods, read labels)
  • beet juice – it is used as a coloring, but MSG is manufactured from beets and the extract may contain free glutamic acid – Yo Baby – organic baby yogurt has just changed the formula to include beet extract
  • yeast extract
  • yeast food or nutrient
  • soy protein isolate
  • soy sauce
  • Worcestershire sauce

Here is the kicker….the human body treats glutamate that is added to foods in the form of MSG the same as the natural glutamate found in food. For instance, the body does not distinguish between free glutamate from tomatoes, cheese or mushrooms and the glutamate from MSG added to Chinese food.  Glutamate is glutamate, whether naturally present or from MSG.  Here is just a tiny sample:

Glutamate Contents of Foods

Food Size

Serving Glutamate
(mg/serving)

Tomato juice

1 cup

0.827

Tomato

3 slices

0.339

Meat loaf dinner

9 oz.

0.189

Human breast milk

1 cup

0.176

Mushrooms

1/4 cup

0.094

Parmesan cheese

2 Tbsp

0.047

Corn

1/2 cup

0.031

Peas

1/2 cup

0.024

Cow’s milk

1 cup

0.016

Canned tuna (in water)

1/2 can

0.008

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