Is Monosodium Glutamate Gluten Free?
I bet you’ve heard of MSG, and in fact, it’s most likely that this food ingredient has appeared on your menus at some point.
Most people know what they taste when eating a dish containing processed meat, but not so much when tasting something like Chinese cuisine!
It turns out many different foods contain the savory seasoning culprit: from pizza to pancakes; even ice cream cone flavors include hints of MSG.
If you are on a gluten-free diet, then you may be wondering if monosodium glutamate is gluten free. MSG is a flavor enhancer that is used in many different foods. It is made from glutamic acid, which is a natural amino acid.
While there are some people who believe that MSG can cause adverse health effects, there is no scientific evidence to support these claims. In fact, the Food and Drug Administration has deemed MSG safe for consumption.
It’s probably in your diet right now, but do not worry! This article will help explain the facts about monosodium glutamate (MSG) and whether it poses any risks to health.
So, What Is Monosodium Glutamate?
MSG is a type of salt that is derived from an amino acid. Amino acids are found in many foods that we eat.
It was first isolated by Japanese scientist Kikunae Ikeda in 1908 while he was trying to find the flavor-enhancing component in kombu, a type of kelp used to make dashi, a traditional Japanese soup base.
MSG is commonly added to food as a flavor enhancer and is known to intensify the taste of savory foods. It’s often used in Chinese food, but it can be found in other cuisines as well, such as Italian, Indian, and Middle Eastern dishes.
When you see “glutamate” on a food label, most likely it’s not referring to the gluten protein. Although glutamate sounds similar to gluten, it is not related to the gluten protein found in grains.
These days, most glutamate on food labels is not derived from gluten-containing grains. If you have celiac disease or non-celiac gluten sensitivity, you can typically safely eat foods that contain glutamate.
However, be sure to check with your doctor or dietitian first if you’re unsure about a particular food.
How is Monosodium Glutamate Produced?
In earlier days, MSG was originally manufactured from wheat gluten, which is a high-glutamate protein source.
Manufacturers in the early days of MSG production removed glutamate from wheat gluten, which is an excellent source of glutamate.
Yes, because at that time, MSG and gluten were closely connected, and contaminants during production might have made the end product unsafe for people on a gluten-free diet.
Nowadays, most MSG is produced by fermenting starch from sugar beets or sugar cane. It can also be made in a laboratory by combining amino acids with salt.
This process does not use wheat gluten, so it’s safe for people on a gluten-free diet to consume foods that contain MSG.
Is Monosodium Glutamate Gluten Free?
The short answer is yes, MSG is gluten free. According to the Celiac Disease Foundation, MSG is not harmful to people with celiac disease or other gluten-related disorders.
So if you are looking for a gluten free option for seasoning your food, MSG is a great choice. However, if you have an allergy to MSG, you should avoid it.
If you are unsure whether or not you are allergic to MSG, please consult with a doctor before consuming it.
If It’s Gluten Free, Why Do Some People Get Sick After Consuming Msg?
Though it’s often touted as being gluten free, some people report feeling sick after eating foods that contain MSG. So what’s the story?
MSG is thought to cause these reactions in some people because it triggers the release of histamines in the body. Histamines are chemicals that our bodies produce in response to an allergic reaction. In small amounts, they’re not a problem.
But when too many are released, they can cause symptoms like headache, dizziness, tingling, weakness, nausea, wheezing, and difficulty breathing.
Fortunately, reactions to MSG are usually mild and go away on their own. But if you’re someone who’s sensitive to histamines, it’s probably best to avoid foods that contain MSG.
Is a Product Labeled “Glutamine” Gluten-free?
Yes, glutamine or Glutamic acid does not contain gluten. So, a product that contains glutamic acid may or may not be gluten-free depending on whether it contains other ingredients that do contain gluten.
Celiac disease causes an adverse reaction to wheat, but not to the MSG in the product. e.g. Soy sauce usually contains small amounts of wheat, so which causes the problem than MSG itself.
Is There a Connection Between Glutamate and Gluten?
The answer is yes and no. Glutamate is an amino acid, and gluten is a protein. So while they are both found in food, they are not the same thing.
However, some people who are sensitive to gluten may also be sensitive to glutamate. This is because when gluten breaks down in the digestive system, it can release glutamate. For some people, this can cause symptoms like headaches, brain fog, and fatigue.
So, is monosodium glutamate gluten free? In short, the answer is yes. It’s also worth noting that just because a product is gluten-free doesn’t necessarily indicate it’s safe for people with celiac disease or gluten sensitivity.
There may be other ingredients in a dish that contains gluten, so always be sure to check labels and ask questions when dining out. When in doubt, it’s always best to err on the side of caution and avoid foods that may contain gluten.
Have you ever had a bad experience with MSG in an Asian dish? Share your story in the comments below!