MSG in milk products a hidden ingredient
Reduced-fat milk products may contain MSG. A prepackaged chocolate milk drink (fat free) caught my attention this week. Some would consider this a moderately healthy choice, and most people would not be remotely suspicious that this product could contain something as potentially harmful as MSG.
There are many products we know are worth checking for MSG (food additive 621), but milk and dairy products were not one my list of usual suspects.
On the ingredient listing for this flavored milk product was vegetable gum (407). Even the name ‘vegetable gum’ implies a ‘healthy’ ingredient but 407 is not as it seems.
Vegetable gum is also known as carrageenan. One of its functions is to create a thickened effect in fluids, especially those that have been thinned through the removal of fat, otherwise known as reduced-fat products. Carrageenan is known to cause gastrointestinal effects and maybe linked to inflammatory bowel disease. Derived from red seaweed, it may be contaminated with polygeenan which is a recognised carcinogen.
So be on the look out for vegetable gum in products. If you find yourself with a stomach complaint after eating them, hidden MSG may just be the problem.
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Lindy Schneider is a writer and researcher with a keen interest in health, wellbeing and natural childcare. She is an advocator of a chemical-free lifestyle in the best interests of her family, the community and a sustainable world. She lives in the Yarra Valley with her partner and two young children.