Saturday, March 14, 2009

How to Explain MSG to Children

The other day I was trying to explain why MSG is unhealthy for you. However, my 10 and 12-year-old just looked at me with one of those "yah, whatever you say" looks. Obviously I didn't do a very good job of explaining. As many long-time readers know I have a campaign against MSG. It is a harmful flavoring that causes different health problems for different people ranging from stomach aches, insomnia and headaches to more major problems like diabetes, heart problems and cancer. Because of its dangers Chinese restuarants were pressured to take it out of their foods about 8-10 years ago.

What I have found offensive, since then, is that while Chinese restaurants have taken it out of their foods, places like Pizza Hut continue to add it to their sauces and many canned items include it in their sauces and soups. It is still used in many salad dressings and other food items.

However, I am getting "off track" here. If you want to know more about MSG you can visit this BLOG and find the words MSG to the right hand side and look at all the articles there.

This little note was to share an idea a student gave me about how to explain MSG in a way children would understand. She was completing her assignment on nutritional healing and included the following description of MSG:

MSG: Also can be named as hydrolyzed plant protein, natural flavor and Kmbu extract, autolyzed yeast, and yeast extract. The animal based MSG comes from animal blood or decaying protein. It has been linked to learning disorders in children and hyperactivity. Effects include headaches, nausea, diarrhea, mood changes, sleep problems, rash, sweating, and chest pain.

I think when anyone hears the words "animal blood and decaying protein" they will have enough information until they are able to understand the rest. That just sounds unappetizing!


Tan Family said...

Thank you for the information. It is surprising that so many items (like dressings) still contain MSG.

Tracy Bernard said...


We have been MSG watchers since I was young. Both my mother and I suffered from migraines and this was/is a major trigger. We try to make our own sauces and soups and such but sometimes when in a hurry we will pick something up at the small grocery store in town. I can tell right away if it has MSG in it. Sometimes it is hidden on the label. You have to know all the key words sometimes. Luckily more and more options of MSG free things are available but I still read the label carefully. We are so looking forward to summer and fresh everything. Then the only packaged thing in our house will be Skippy peanut butter. I have tried in vain to switch my son to Sunflower butter but no go. He requires protein every two hours or he is a monster behavior wise. I figure most everything else he gets is mama made and good for him so Skippy peanut butter is not going to be the end of him.