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Is MSG Keto Friendly?

MSG has long been a staple of Asian cuisine and is starting to gain more relevance. Looking at you uncle roger! While it may sound super mysterious, MSG is a flavor enhancer. However, is MSG keto friendly?

Is MSG Keto Friendly

The short answer is yes, MSG is considered keto friendly. MSG itself does not contain any carbohydrates, making it a suitable choice for individuals following a low-carb ketogenic diet. However, it's essential to consider the broader implications of MSG consumption on your overall health and wellness goals.

MSG: What exactly is it?

MSG is a flavor enhancer that's used in a variety of different processed foods, condiments, and restaurant dishes. It's derived from amino acid glutamate which exists naturally in certain foods.

Monosodium glutamate, also known as MSG, is a combination of sodium and glutamate.

MSG Keto

The purpose of MSG is to enhance the umami taste in different dishes. Umami can be hard to describe but it essentially refers to the “savory” taste of the dish

One of the primary goals of the ketogenic diet is to limit carbohydrate intake to induce a state of ketosis, where the body burns fat for energy instead of carbohydrates. As MSG does not contain any carbohydrates, it does not pose a direct threat to ketosis or hinder the progress of the ketogenic diet.

Does MSG affect the Ketogenic Diet?

MSG fits into the ketogenic diet by all accounts. For foods low in carbs or other essential nutrients, this can be a tasty approach to boost flavor with minimal negative health effects.

Since MSG is essentially a chemical, or more particularly a food additive, those following the ketogenic diet tend to avoid it.

What's the Nutritional Value of MSG?

MSG doesn't have any kind of nutritional value at all. Typical servings weigh just 1g and have 0 calories, fat, carbs, and protein. The only nutrient worth mentioning is the 125 mg of sodium.

What is the Total Amount of Net Carbs in MSG?

Due to the fact that MSG does not contain any carbs, the total carbohydrates that it contains are also 0.

What is Chinese Restaurant Syndrome?

A syndrome that was initially recognized in 1968 in individuals who had consumed Chinese cuisine to which large amounts of monosodium glutamate (MSG) had been added. It appears that only certain individuals are affected by the illness.

A headache, throbbing in the head, dizziness, lightheadedness, a sense of pressure in the face, tightness in the jaw, tingling or burning sensations in various regions of the body, chest discomfort, and back pain are some of the symptoms that may be experienced by a person who has this condition.

Large quantities of MSG have been linked to the development of arterial dilatation (widening of arteries). Most Chinese people don't think that there's such a thing as the Chinese restaurant syndrome. It's possible that it's an allergic or hypersensitive reaction.

Is MSG Safe?

Since the early 1900s, MSG has been used to improve the taste of food, but in the late 1960s, it started to get a bad name. MSG was suddenly blamed for a lot of different health problems, and it fell under the category of toxic ingredients.

Keto MSG

However, that perception is now completely different. Most major food organizations recognize MSG as a safe ingredient.

Still, MSG remains a controversial ingredient, in part because it has had a bad reputation for a long time and there isn't enough conclusive data about it.

Are you Sensitive to MSG?

If you think you might be sensitive to MSG, here are some things that could be making you sick:

  • You might be allergic to some other ingredient in the food aside from MSG.
  • Sensitivity to the histamine levels in Chinese food
  • Lack of Vitamin B6
  • You may be in pain because your esophagus is irritated.
  • You have a real sensitivity to MSG.

The most important thing to do if you experience symptoms after eating food that contains MSG is to meet a healthcare professional. They can help you identify the main issue and determine the root cause of the allergy.

In the End

MSG itself is considered keto friendly as it does not contain carbohydrates. However, it's crucial to be mindful of the food choices and overall quality of your diet when considering MSG and its potential impact on the ketogenic diet.

Prioritizing whole, unprocessed foods and being aware of hidden carbohydrates and individual sensitivities will help you stay on track with your keto goals while making informed choices regarding MSG consumption.

As always, consult with a healthcare professional or registered dietitian for personalized guidance on your ketogenic journey.

If you'd like to learn more about keto friendly foods, please click on one of the links below:

Are Pretzels Keto Friendly?

Is Rice Paper Keto Friendly?

Is Tilapia Keto Friendly?


Founder of The Art Of Keto.

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