Most people in the UAE and around the world already know what MSG is. There is an assumption that it is bad for your health. But it is important to be aware of what msg actually is and how it affects our health.

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Though it may taste good as well as enhancing the flavour of your food like no other ingredient can, msg might be harmful to your health if you’re having too much of it.

Apart from the bad reputation and notoriety, you can still get benefit from MSG only if you limit your consumption of it.

What is MSG?


Monosodium glutamate aka, MSG, is actually a form of sodium salt found in glutamic acid. It is the most naturally occurring non-essential amino acids and typically found in grapes, tomatoes, mushrooms, cheese, and other foods.

Refined MSG is commonly used as a flavour enhancer. Similar to salt, it has a white grain texture, resembles powder and basically a form of sodium, which means that too much of it can be quite harmful to your health. Complications and serious consequences may occur if you’re not limiting how much of it you eat.

The Harmful Effects of MSG


1. Headaches

MSG has a stimulatory effect on the brain and can even damage brain cells in young children and newborn babies. This is because the taste receptors on our tongue are similar to the glutamate receptors in brain cells.

Multiple studies have shown that high levels of MSG consumption can lead to headaches in people of all ages.

2. High Blood Pressure

Due to the high sodium content in MSG, it is known to spike up blood pressure. Though more research needs to be done between the correlation on the effects of MSG on high blood pressure, multiple studies in the past have indicated those who consume high amounts of MSG have a higher blood pressure than those who had less.

3. Dehydration

Just like salt, sodium actually dehydrates the body. This condition can compromise the health of joints, bones, muscle tissue and as well as skin. Having too much MSG will mean that you need to increase your water intake. Especially under the heat of the UAE, dehydration should be avoided at all costs.

4. Weight Gain

MSG is heavily linked with weight gain. It is because most foods that contain MSG are often low-grade and heavily processed. Too much MSG and processed foods will result in excessive amounts of calories consumed, and your body will convert them into fat.

Having excessive weight not only damages your joints, bones and overall health, but also can cause other health concerns such as diabetes, obesity, heart disease, and more serious complications.

5. Diabetes

MSG may be linked to the development of type 2 diabetes, as most research suggests. Due to the effect of sodium intake affecting blood sugar levels and blood pressure, these can eventuate into diabetes.

As MSG causes insulin resistance, the body’s cells are unable to use them effectively. This can cause decreased energy, fatigue, and possibly an increase in appetite.

How to Avoid MSG?


Avoiding MSG basically means you’ll need to start checking labels with a bit more attention to detail. It also means that you’ll need to start cutting down on junk foods as well as heavily processed ones.

MSG is usually found in processed foods, including:

  • Canned meat
  • Ready-made soups
  • Chips/Crisps
  • Heavily sauced foods
  • Salty foods
  • Energy drinks
  • Iced tea
  • Sodas

Instead of going for the above foods, try to incorporate, natural, organic, fresh and nutrient-dense foods instead. Sticking with natural sources of food can change a lot for your overall health.

Keep In Mind


MSG isn’t the only thing you should be worried about when it comes to dieting. Assessing your personal health and knowing the difference between good and bad foods is the best place to start in terms of improving your diet, health, and lifestyle.

You need to make sure you’re getting all your recommended intake of essential nutrients, as well as eating in moderation and staying hydrated at all times.

Depending on your health, MSG can have worse effects on some more than others. Those with food allergies or health conditions need to ensure that they are monitoring what they eat and avoiding processed foods.

If you’re not particularly good at maintaining a proper diet or aren’t sure what foods to consume based on your health, it is always best to speak with a dietician or your doctor to get the best advice based on your health.

Head over to the Okadoc app to immediately book an appointment with your health practitioner.