Celiac.com 08/07/2020 - Everyone knows that some people react to the food ingredient monosodium glutamate (MSG). Did you know that the name of monosodium glutamate (MSG), is a trade name for sodium hydrogen glutamate? Did you know that MSG has dozens of names, and can sneak into processed food in myriad ways?
MSG is gluten-free and safe for people with celiac disease. MSG is included on Celiac.com's list of Safe Gluten-Free Ingredients, and plenty of people have no problems when eating MSG. However, MSG can cause adverse reactions in some people. Symptoms of adverse MSG reaction can include numbness or pressure in the face, rapid heartbeat, chest pain, nausea, vomiting, headache, sweating, wheezing or burning sensations in various parts of the body. For this reason, many people prefer to avoid MSG.
Since MSG is the sodium salt of the amino acid glutamic acid, whenever glutamic acid is listed on a food label, the food always contains MSG. On its own, unprocessed glutamic acid found in protein is generally harmless. Only glutamic acid that has been processed, or which results from fermented protein, can cause adverse reactions.
Foods that contain yeast extract always contain MSG, including those labeled autolyzed yeast, yeast food or yeast nutrient. If you see the word 'yeast' or 'yeast extract' in processed foods you are getting monosodium glutamate (MSG) by another name.
Any form of hydrolyzed vegetable protein, animal protein or plant protein, contains MSG.This includes any ingredient listed as hydrolyzed, protein-fortified, ultra-pasteurized, fermented or enzyme-modified, which either contain MSG, or produce free glutamic acid in manufacturing.
These other names include soy protein isolate, soy protein concentrate, whey protein, whey protein concentrate, whey protein isolate, autolyzed plant protein, hydrolyzed oat flour and textured protein.
MSG can sometimes appear on labels under the names sodium caseinate or calcium caseinate, and even under more wholesome names, such as bouillon, broth stock or malt extract (not gluten-free).
Besides yeast extract, MSG is often labeled as "natural flavors." Variations include natural flavor, natural flavorings, natural chicken flavor, natural beef flavor, chicken flavoring, seasoning, spices, enzymes and simply "flavoring."
There are at least three dozen different ingredients that contain Manufactured Free Glutamate (MFG), the chemical in monosodium glutamate. Note that Europe uses E numbers, instead of food additive names. Those names and numbers include:
- Autolyzed Yeast
- Carrageenan (E 407)
- Calcium Caseinate
- Calcium Glutamate (E 623)
- Glutamate (E 620)
- Glutamic Acid (E 620)
- Magnesium Glutamate (E 625)
- Monoammonium Glutamate (E 624)
- Monopotassium Glutamate (E 622)
- Monosodium Glutamate (E 621)
- Natrium Glutamate
- Sodium Caseinate (msg)
- Sodium Hydrogen Glutamate (msg)
- Torula Yeast
- Yeast Extract
- Yeast Food
- Yeast Nutrient
Even though these product are gluten-free and safe for people with celiac disease, some people have reactions to them, and want to avoid them.