MSG, or monosodium glutamate, is a flavor enhancer used in processed foods. It is widely used in barbecue sauces, salad dressings, bouillon cubes and many snack foods. According to some studies people who consume high levels of MSG are more likely to be overweight than those who do not consume MSG at all.
A study conducted in China showed that prevalence of overweight people was significantly higher in MSG users than nonusers (1). In fact, according to the researchers people who consumed most MSG were three times more likely to be overweight than those who didn’t consume MSG. Another study showed that obese women have lower monosodium glutamate taste sensitivity and prefer higher concentrations than normal-weight women (2).
Some suggest that MSG enhances food flavor and therefore makes you eat more food while some others argue that MSG impacts the way we metabolize fat. In reality, the reason behind the relationship between MSG and weight gain is not yet understood. Given that MSG has no nutritional value it seems like a good idea to avoid it altogether. MSG is typically present in highly processed foods. Avoiding these foods will help you lose weight and improve your overall health.
Soy sauce, many seasoning mixtures, salad dressings, barbecue sauce and many other processed foods are likely to be high in MSG. Read labels and look for
- calcium caseinate
- corn oil
- hydrolyzed yeast
- sodium caseinate
- textured protein
- yeast extract