Q:

What is MSG in food?

A:

Quick Answer

Monosodium glutamate, known as MSG, is a flavor enhancer made up of the sodium salt of glutamic acid, a common amino acid. Monosodium glutamate is added to foods such as soups, processed meats and canned vegetables. It also occurs naturally in cheese and tomatoes.

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Full Answer

The use of monosodium glutamate in commercially prepared foods is controversial due to a number of reports of adverse reactions to the additive. These reports include symptoms such as headache, sweating, nausea, chest pain and fatigue. However, as of 2014, there is no specific evidence connecting consumption of monosodium glutamate to these side effects. The Food and Drug Administration classifies the additive as generally safe for consumption.

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