How to Have an MSG-Free Thanksgiving

Monday, December 01, 2008 by: Joanne Waldron
Tags: Thanksgiving, health news, Natural News

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(NaturalNews) Thanksgiving is that time of year when health-conscious families have to deal with sharing a meal with relatives who might not be as concerned with their eating habits. Many people realize that MSG is an undesirable food additive, but unfortunately, there are all too many people who think that the only place MSG can be found lurking is in Chinese food. Nothing can be further from the truth, and the typical Thanksgiving fare at most American households is loaded with this harmful food additive.

MSG Causes Weight Gain

For those who are unaware of the perils of MSG consumption, many scientists have been warning about it for years. An article at called "The Hidden Danger in Your Food" by Gailon Totheroh reports that Dr. John Olney, known for his brain research, found that MSG caused obesity in laboratory animals back in the 1960s. So, why does the FDA allow this stuff to be dumped into the food supply? That's a really good question. Hasn't anyone noticed that the population is getting fatter and fatter? That's not to say that MSG is the only reason for this, but surely, it isn't something people in a country with growing levels of obesity -- so bad that pediatricians are now offering lipid screening for infants -- should be consuming.

Small Children at Risk

Unfortunately, according to Dr. Russell Blaylock (as reported by, small children are at even more risk for the harmful effects of MSG than adults. In fact, Blaylock notes that children are four times more sensitive to MSG than adults, pound for pound. What's even worse is that MSG can even be found in infant formula.

Self-Basting Turkeys Contain MSG

So, what common foods eaten at Thanksgiving contain MSG? Some people may be surprised to learn that, according to an article at, self-basting turkeys are often loaded with MSG. That's why it's important for those who choose to eat turkey at Thanksgiving to select the organic, free-range varieties that haven't been injected with any chemicals.

Packaged Gravies Contain MSG

The next item sure to be on nearly every Thanksgiving table across America is the gravy. Nearly every canned gravy or gravy that comes in a little pouch is loaded with MSG, including most organic brands. It may be more trouble to make one's own gravy, but it's really the best way to be sure that diners won't be poisoned by MSG.

Stuffing Cubes and Sausage Contain MSG

What's a Thanksgiving turkey without stuffing? However, prepackaged croutons used for making stuffing are often loaded with MSG. Some folks like to make sausage stuffing, but nearly all sausage has added MSG, as well. It's best to pass on the sausage and use homemade croutons for the stuffing.

Green Bean Casserole Contains MSG

Then, there's the favorite green bean casserole made with canned mushroom soup with that crispy onion topping. Sadly, most canned soups, including the organic ones, contain some form of MSG. It's also very likely that many of prepackaged onion toppings do, as well. Instead of the canned mushroom soup, take the time to make it from scratch, and fresh, sauteed onions make a wonderful topping.

Other Sources of MSG

Is there any part of the Thanksgiving dinner that's safe from MSG? Well, any casserole that contains parmesan cheese also probably contains MSG, reports Also, beware of anything made with bouillon cubes (i.e. gravy, sauces), gelatin, or powdered milk. A list of foods that contain MSG may be found at

Beware of the Term "Spices"

When examining food labels, one should also be aware that the FDA allows companies to hide some of their ingredients under generic terms. Watch out for terms like "spices" where the spices aren't individually listed. Usually, when one thinks of "spices," things like cinnamon and nutmeg come to mind. However, these days, MSG is considered a spice. Also, beware of the term "natural flavors" -- this is another place on a food label that manufacturers like to hide MSG.

How to Know if a Product Contains MSG

How does one know which foods contain MSG? One must always look at the label before buying any packaged foods. According to an article by Northwestern Memorial Hospital (available now only through the web archive), words other than the word MSG that indicate that MSG is in the food include "autolyzed yeast, calcium caseinate, sodium caseinate, gelatin, hydrolyzed protein, fermented soy powder and yeast extract." The article states that the more processed a food is, the more likely that it contains MSG.

Remember, MSG is a poison that increases your appetite and causes weight gain. Who needs to pack on pounds during the holiday season? This Thanksgiving, just say "no" to processed foods altogether, and help prevent that undesirable holiday weight gain that may be caused (in part) by MSG consumption.

About the author

Joanne Waldron is a computer scientist with a passion for writing and sharing health-related news and information with others. She hosts the Naked Wellness: The Gentle Health Revolution forum, which is devoted to achieving radiant health, well-being, and longevity.

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