Is Monosodium Glutamate (MSG) Gluten Free

You have probably heard of MSG. Besides, you have most likely eaten it in a variety of processed foods and restaurants. It is a common ingredient in many different cuisines and foods. If you are not sure what it is and whether it fits into your gluten-free diet, this article will break it down for you. 

What is MSG?

MSG stands for monosodium glutamate. It is a flavor enhancer that is derived from L-glutamic acid, which is naturally present in many foods. MSG is an odorless, crystalline, white powder that is commonly used as a food additive. In the food industry, it is known as E621. It can dissolve into water, separating into free glutamate and sodium. It has the trade name sodium hydrogen glutamate. 

MSG was first isolated in 1908 by the Japanese chemist Kikunae Ikeda. He was trying to find a way to reproduce the taste of kombu, an edible kelp used to make dashi, a traditional Japanese soup base. He discovered that glutamate gave food a distinct savory flavor, which he called umami.

MSG has been used as a food ingredient for over 100 years and is present in many foods, such as:

  • Soups
  • Bouillon cubes
  • Sauces
  • Condiments
  • Dips
  • Processed meats
  • Canned vegetables
  • Ramen noodles
  • Chips
  • Frozen meals
  • Flavor packets (such as those found in Chinese takeout)

Read Also: Gluten Free Buffalo Chicken Roll-Ups

How is MSG made?

MSG is made by extracting and isolating the L-glutamic acid from wheat gluten, soybeans, or other vegetable proteins. It can also be produced by fermentation. The fermentation method uses bacteria to break down carbohydrates into glutamic acid.

Is MSG gluten-free?

Yes, MSG is considered gluten-free. However, it is important to check the label of any processed foods or seasonings that contain MSG to make sure they are also free of wheat, barley, and rye. Some manufacturers may add wheat-based ingredients during the manufacturing process.

If you have celiac disease or a gluten intolerance, you should always avoid foods that contain wheat, barley, and rye. However, MSG should not trigger your symptoms since it does not contain gluten.

What are the side effects of MSG?

Some people claim to experience adverse reactions after eating foods that contain MSG. These reactions are often referred to as “Chinese restaurant syndrome” or “MSG symptom complex.”

Symptoms claimed to be associated with MSG include:

  • Headache
  • Numbness
  • Flushing
  • Sweating
  • Heart palpitations
  • Chest pain
  • Nausea
  • Drowsiness
  • Weakness           

However, scientific studies have not been able to confirm a link between MSG and these symptoms. In fact, most research suggests that MSG is safe for the general population. Some people may be more sensitive to its effects, but this is likely due to other factors, such as individual differences in metabolism or the other ingredients present in the food.

If you think you may be sensitive to MSG, you can try eliminating it from your diet to see if your symptoms improve. You can also look for foods that are labeled “No MSG” or “MSG-free.”

What are some of the benefits of MSG?

MSG has been shown to enhance the flavor of food, which can make it more enjoyable to eat.

In addition, MSG can help to reduce the amount of salt or other seasonings needed to achieve the same level of flavor. This is important for people who need to limit their intake of salt for health reasons.

MSG can also act as a preservative by preventing the growth of bacteria in food.

Is MSG unhealthy?

The U.S “Food and Drug Administration” (FDA) has classified MSG as being safe and many have no problem eating MSG.

You may have heard about the MSG symptom complex. However, subsequent studies have shown there is no conclusive link that exists between the syndrome and consumption of normal levels of MSG. The real culprit is a compound called histamine. Seafood (such as tuna, crab, and scallops), some fruits and vegetables (mango, pineapple, pepper, onion), milk, and eggs all contain high levels of histamine.

So in 1987, the “Food and Agriculture Organization”‘(FAO) and the “World Health Organization”(WHO) reassessed monosodium glutamate, believing it to be a safe flavor additive, and announced the cancellation of the restriction on the consumption of monosodium glutamate.

The safety assessment carried out in 1987 by FAO and WHO concluded that:

“Glutamate is a naturally occurring amino acid which is widely distributed in foods, with the highest concentrations being found in protein-rich foods such as meats, cheeses, and fish. It is an important constituent of dietary proteins. Free glutamate also occurs naturally in some fermented foods such as soy sauce, tomatoes and mushrooms. Monosodium glutamate (MSG) is the sodium salt of glutamic acid. It is used as a flavor enhancer in many foods.”

In other words, MSG occurs naturally not only in our bodies but also in many common foods. Many people enjoy the taste of MSG, and it is considered safe by most regulatory agencies.

Where to Purchase MSG

At JOLION, you can buy quality gluten-free MSG. The MSG from JOLION is suitable for a variety of cooking ingredients and methods. It is made from carefully selected, high-quality raw materials just for you. You can use MSG in many wonderful ways at home. In addition to that, you can use it to enhance the flavor of your dishes like soups, tomato sauce, dips, stews, fried rice, and dressings. You can order your MSG from JOLION

JOLION is a professional Chinese sauce powder manufacturer, having certifications like FDA, BRC, HALAL, KOSHER, and HACCP, producing various food products. And JOLION Foods provides wholesale and OEM services.

In Conclusion

Monosodium glutamate (MSG) is a flavor enhancer that is derived from glutamic acid, which is a type of amino acid. MSG does not contain gluten and is safe for people with celiac disease to consume. Some people may be sensitive to the effects of MSG, but this is likely due to other factors, such as individual differences in metabolism or the other ingredients present in the food. If you think you may be sensitive to MSG, you can try eliminating it from your diet to see if your symptoms improve. You can also look for foods that are labeled “No MSG” or “MSG-free.”

I hope this helps!

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