This ingredient is found in soups, Cheetos, canned vegetables, processed meats, and many Chinese foods. Monosodium glutamate – often referred to as MSG – is a common flavor enhancer found in a surprising array of foods.

While many people don’t notice this ingredient in their food, others claim that MSG causes migraine headaches and the symptoms of a food allergies. Others argue that it has ties to hyperactivity and obesity by making food taste better.

Are these concerns valid?ABC Action Newsfound that it depends on who you ask. Nutritional expert and registered dietician Jodee Msisenhelder, Ph.D., says that MSG is nothing to worry about. She points out that the ingredient has been commonly used for more than a century. “It’s a natural occurring additive, a flavor enhancer just like salt and pepper. And the FDA has approved it as being safe.” she said

But what about those who notice symptoms after eating food with MSG? According to Meisenhelder, this does not necessarily mean you are allergic to it. “MSG is not classified as an allergen. And if you have a reaction after eating Chinese food, there’s a lot of sodium in it so you may be reacting to the high salt content, not the MSG,” she said.

Dr. Nancy Rodgers, a neurologist at Florida Hospital Tampa, notes that some people do experience reactions that seem to indicate a sensitivity to the food additive. “It can cause headaches, diarrhea, and nausea. And if you’re prone to migraines, it can trigger that too,” Rodgers explained.

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