New 2011 Study Confirms MSG Causes Weight Gain Print
Written by Dee McCaffrey, CDC   
Tuesday, September 13, 2011

MSG in soupIn 1969, Dr. John W. Olney, M.D., a respected researcher at Washington University Medical School in St. Louis, Missouri discovered that monosodium glutamate (MSG), injected into infant laboratory mice, damaged a part of the brain that resulted in the animals becoming grossly obese.  The obesity was not caused by excess food intake, but rather from hormonal disruptions affecting the metabolic rate.  Since 1969, many scientists have confirmed Dr. Olney's findings of damage to the brain from MSG with resulting obesity.  Furthermore, this type of obesity is very difficult to diet and exercise off because the metabolism and fat-storing mechanisms in the body are gravely affected.


A new study published in the June 2011 issue of The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, confirms these findings once again.  Ka He, a nutrition expert at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, who led the study, said that although the risk of weight gain attributable to MSG was modest, the implications for public health are substantial. "Everybody eats it," He told Reuters Health.

The study demonstrated that the more MSG you consume, the more likely you are to be overweight or obese.  This holds true even if your intake of calories and exercise habits are the same as those who don't consume MSG.  Researchers followed more than 10,000 adults in China for 5½ years, measuring their MSG intake and asking them to estimate how much they consumed over three 24-hour periods.  Results showed that individuals whose daily MSG intake was highest (about five grams) were about 30 percent more likely to become overweight by the end of the study than those who consumed the least MSG (less than half a gram daily).

MSG is not just in Chinese food, so you may not realize that you're consuming it on a regular basis. Monosodium glutamate is just one name that you may see on an ingredient list.  Sometimes food manufacturers get really sneaky and use the "E number" on the ingredient list instead of the name. E numbers are number codes for food additives that have been assessed for use within the European Union (E stands for Europe). The E number for MSG is E621.  


This food additive shows up in many foods, even "healthy" foods, under many other different names.  Here's a list of names of additives that contain plenty of MSG: Hydrolyzed yeast, Hydrolyzed protein, "Anything" hydrolyzed, Textured protein, Calcium caseinate, Sodium caseinate, Yeast extract, Gelatin, Maldtodextrin, Textured soy protein, Autolyzed yeast, Natural flavorings, Seasonings, Bullion, stocks and broths.  I recently read an ingredient list from a "healthy" soup mix that contains "yeast extract," yet the label claimed "No MSG".

You will often see these additives in vegetable broth or chicken broth (vegetable broth contains hydrolyzed soy protein), canned tuna, canned soup and stock, frozen dinners and seafood, most fast food, low-fat yogurts and ice creams, chips, and nearly everything ranch or cheese-flavored.


Be very careful, and always READ INGREDIENT LABELS.