Can MSG Cause Weight Gain?
Monosodium glutamate (MSG) is a food ingredient which is used to enhance flavour and palatability. It is the glutamate, an amino acid, part of the MSG molecule that does the job in this respect. MSG is also known as Flavour Enhancer 621.
Governments and other food agencies have approved the inclusion of MSG (and/or other sources of glutamate) in a wide range of processed foods including:
- gravy mixes
- canned soup
- cup of soup
- instant noodles
- stock cobes
- savoury sauces
- Chinese food
Concerns about MSG and your health
However, there has been lingering concern that glutamate might have some adverse affects on a range of health issues, including the suggestion that MSG/glutamate may have one or more metabolic effects in the body which might predispose consumers to weight gain.
Evidence of MSG causing weight gain
Administering MSG to animals has been shown to induce various changes that promote fat accumulation including suppression of fat breakdown (lipolysis).
This link between MSG consumption and increased body weight may have many explanations. The two obvious ones are that MSG somehow led individuals to consume more food or be less active. This is noticeable often when you eat Asian food you feel full but shortly after you feel hungry again.
How to avoid consuming MSG
- Read the labels on all canned and packages foods.
- Avoid foods with any ingredient called MSG, 621, Hydrolised Vegetable Protein, monosodiunm glutamate.
- When you dine out tell the waiter you want no MSG in your meal.
1. He K, et al. Association of Monosodium Glutamate Intake With Overweight in Chinese Adults: The INTERMAP Study. Obesity 2008;16(8):1875?1880.
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