"Gypsy gold does not chink and glitter. It gleams in the sun and neighs in the dark."

~ Saying of the Gladdagh Gypsies of Galway

Monday, May 21, 2012

Hidden MSG

As I become more conscious about what I eat and what I feed my family, it is just amazing the things you learn. I thought it would be interesting to share with you some MSG Shockers; things MSG is in that you might not have even guessed! Truly, it is everywhere.

Now let me preface by addressing a comment I get a lot - 'well I have been eating/using that forever and it hasn't killed me yet'. Well, to that I say 'good for you - so far' and I also ask, 'if you know it is ultimately bad for you/your family, and you can avoid it, then why not'?

So, did you know there is MSG in:

Flintstones Children Vitamins!

There is so much wrong with this product, I don't even know where to begin. And to think Dr.'s recommend that pregnant ladies take 2 of these if they can't tolerate a pre-natal vitamin. Thank GOD I only took two or three of these total during my pregnancy before I decided I didn't think they were necessary! 

So, the hidden MSG in Flintstones Vitamins goes under the name of Aspartame. Since this post is about hidden MSG, I won't get on too much of a soap box, but check out the ingredient label and notice all the food dyes, including Red #40 used in these vitamins, among all the other nasty ingredients. And innocent people who know no better feed these to their kids thinking they are a good thing!! Aye-caramba!!!

Aspartame also goes by the name AminoSweet.

One A Day Women's Prenatal Vitamins!!

Yes, your eyes are correct - that is a prenatal vitamin. Prenatal. As in, a woman takes these while prego to help the health of herself and her developing baby, all the while, she is dosing herself with MSG, listed on the ingredient list as Gelatin, not to mention all the other nasties listed, like a healthy does of Red #40! Because I definitely want my unborn child to be fed MSG and food coloring, red dye none the less. UGH

Seriously Ladies, if you are worried about consuming healthy Omega 3's and DHA while you are pregnant, to help your unborn child's developing brain and eyes, try munching on natural, nourishing foods like wild caught salmon, pastured eggs or some spinach! NOT vitamins loaded with MSG and artificial food dyes.

Also, a general rule of thumb is that most of your over-the-counter medicines that come in the form of a gel capsules will contain MSG.

Butterball Lunch meat - Smoked Turkey Breast

Honestly, lunch meat of almost any kind should come as no surprise to be on a list like this! This specific type & brand contains Modified Food Starch, which contains or produces MSG. And of course, it had other nasty stuff like High Fructose Corn Syrup. If you want a healthy alternative for lunch meat, try Applegate Farms. And no - the deli meats you get from behind that counter from the deli lady are not any more healthy. Sorry, folks!

Breakstone's Cottage Cheese

Breakstone's Cottage Cheese contains Modified Food Starch and Guar Gum. I was able to scan many of their cottage cheese products - low fat, 2% milk fat etc etc - I was seeing these ingredients in all of the offerings. Oddly enough, I had to go to Walmart's (ugh) website for the ingredient list as Breakstone's own website didn't offer the list!! (And the more research I did on products, the more common this theme was) Another ingredient I have commonly seen in other cottage cheese brands that you want to keep an eye out for is Carrageenan.

Wishbone Robusto Italian Dressing

This one is a doozy with autolyzed yeast extract, 'natural flavor' and maltodextrin. Not to mention all the other nasty oils, coloring etc. But, hopefully this wasn't too much of a surprise to you. Most all bottled salad dressings you purchase from the shelf aren't good for you - sorry ranch flavored fans - that one is a real doozy too! Try your hand at making your own dressing. It takes 1 minute or two and the possibilities are endless, not to mention, healthy!

Crest Pro-Health Toothpaste

The offenders in this item are Carrageenan and Xanthan Gum. Toothpaste, believe it or not, has MSG in it. And all kinds of other nasties including food dyes - this one in particular has Red dye #40 - which I find hilarious since the product has the words 'Pro-Health' in it's name, yet it's packed with nothing really of any health benefit for you. Have you ever read the warning label on the toothpaste tube? Yeah, me either...until I started doing more research. Most people don't take those seriously - but they should. Not too many people have plans to chow down on a tube of toothpaste, but for those of you with toddlers, you never know what you might find them doing, right?

It is much harder to identify MSG in non-food products as they aren't regulated the same way consumable items are. Sometimes it will take some digging to find out the ingredients. For example, bug sprays and sun blocks are common items to carry MSG. I could not find ingredient lists for those I searched online, so I actually called on one insect spray. Surprising, the company called me back, but when I asked to identify any MSG ingredients, she said she'd need to call me back! I am still waiting for the return call.

Many times, non-consumables will list the 'active ingredient(s)' - and since the MSG ingredient isn't the 'active' ingredient, you may not see it listed. Check your over-the-counter medicines too, lots of them include MSG! I researched Tylenol and it seems, aside from the food coloring, they may have wised-up to replacing the MSG in their products. I did find it in Delsym.

It can be very tricky, confusing and just plain overwhelming trying to remember all the code name ingredients that are or equate to being MSG. Here are a few things I tend to keep in mind as guidelines that help. Avoid it if:
  • 'Natural Flavorings' are listed
  • 'Seasonings' are listed
  • Anything Ultra-pasteurized
  • Anything label 'Low-fat' or 'Non-fat'
  • And as I have listed above already, anything listing 'Aspartame', 'AminoSweet' or 'Carrageenan'
This is the source I use for identifying MSG.

Once you start reading labels, you will be surprised, shocked and disappointed at all the places you will find these 'ingredients' listed. Trust Me!

This post is linked up at Monday Mania and Freaky Friday


Susan said...

You've taken such time to inform everyone and I applaud you. I wish we didn't live in a society where convenience trumps common sense!! I developed an "allergy" to Crest toothpaste and ended us with almost a year of a red ring around my mouth before a doctor discovered the cause. I hope people heed your warnings. Thank you for your dedication. XOXO

Unknown said...

Susan - thanks for sharing that! I know some people think I am nuts when I say I avoid something like toothpaste due to MSG, but you are proof it's true! These things are not good!!

katiegirl said...

It makes me SO mad that unneeded ingredients are added in EVERYTHING just about. Ugh. And the sneakiness is awful. Everything needs to be labelled so consumers can make an informed decision.

The Starved Idiot said...

great blog post - thanks!

Furry Bottoms said...

Thank you for posting this. MSG in disguise as GELATIN! Wow... and I had no idea about toothpaste... wow...

Jen said...

Great list and resources Allison. Thanks for sharing! Seems like MSG is everywhere. I do try to avoid natural flavorings/seasonings and such in labels, but I am finding it is better just to make everything myself anyhow to avoid any potential ingestion...even in toothpaste. :)