I’ve seen the glowing light of MSG

I saw this commercial yesterday for some canned soup. Not sure of the brand, and I don’t want to falsely advertise. (Based on this and the previous post, one would think I’m watching a lot of television. o_O)

The commercial was playing, but I wasn’t really paying attention until they mentioned “no msg” in their ingredients. I thought, why would you advertise something as obvious as that? Who uses msg in their products other than Asian foods?

Well that just goes to show how oblivious I am, because lo and behold, after the commercial ended, I got up and checked the Campbell’s soups I had, and yup there it was, monosodium glutamate.

There was a study I found once, I don’t know where, that rats who were fed large amounts of msg went blind. (I guess it was this study cited in Wikipedia.) But the amounts they were fed were much greater than any amount that humans would eat, so it wasn’t really a health risk.

I don’t really worry about msg in my food, mostly because I was going on the assumption that it’s only found in products sold at Mitsuwa or other Asian foods in the grocery store. I just keep my intake of those items to a minimum. Maybe no more than once or twice a week.

The soups that I have here (Campbell’s Chunky salisbury steak, condensed homestyle chicken noodle and condensed minestrone) all say “contains less than 2% of … monosodium glutamate.” The Chunky one actually says 1% and not 2%, but it also has disodium inosinate and disodium guanylate. (Although I don’t really know what they do, health-wise or chemical-wise. I just don’t consider them all that natural or healthy.)

The condensed split pea with ham & bacon soup does not have msg, although it says “flavoring” (and not “natural,” hmm…) which is sort of ambiguous, and “natural smoke flavoring.” What the heck is natural smoke flavoring?! Did they pump smoke into the soup through little tubes??? (Sorry, I just thought it was funny.)

I don’t eat soups often anyway, because of all the sodium (my soups here range from 1780 to 2400 mg of sodium for the whole can), but knowing that there’s msg as well will make me think twice if I’ve eaten a lot of Asian food recently. :3

[Addendum, March 5, 2021: Wikipedia now says:

The controversy about MSG has been tied by some to alleged racial stereotypes about East Asians,[60][61][62] saying that East Asian cuisine is being targeted while the widespread use of MSG in other processed food hasn’t been stigmatized.[63] These activists have claimed that the perpetuation of the negative image of MSG through the Chinese restaurant syndrome was caused by “xenophobic” or “racist” biases.[64]

I just wanted to clarify if anyone reads this ancient post that I don’t think MSG is any more unhealthy than anything else one can ingest in large, unhealthy amounts. I’d worry more about the amount of salt I’m ingesting at a restaurant, be it an American fast food restaurant, the fanciest steakhouse, or cuisine from a different country. Even at home in a can of soup. Everything in moderation!]

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