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Is it safe to have mono sodium glutamate (MSG) in food?

Q: I recently read an article about trans fats and hydrogenated fats, where it was mentioned that one should keep away from them as they lead to heart diseases. I have been a regular consumer of Maggi noodles and Top Ramen noodles since my childhood. These noodles are fried using hydrogenated oils. Is it the same as hydrogenated fats or is there a difference? Can you tell me about the ill effects of consuming monosodium glutamate as Lays and Uncle Chips brands of wafers contain this chemical.

A:MSG (monosodium glutamate) is used in processed foods, fast-foods and Chinese food. It is found in most commercial soups, and soya sauce. MSG has become a staple of the modern food industry. Headache and flushing of the skin, are relatively mild side effects. However, later studies have documented more serious and sustained physical problems such as asthma, acute headaches, and life-threatening heart irregularities. Deaths have been reported too. Other symptoms that might seem to be psychological in origin have also been traced to MSG consumption: extreme mood swings, irritability, depression, and even paranoia. People who react severely to MSG experience almost continual distressing and health-endangering physical and psychological symptoms. Long term consumption may also be a partial cause for developing hypertension. Trans fatty acids from hydrogenated vegetable or fish oils, when consumed in large amounts, increase serum LDL-cholesterol and decrease HDL-cholesterol concentrations. One would expect an increased risk of coronary heart disease from this, so the results are not surprising. Trans fatty acids, which are found in hard margarine, deep fried, processed snacks and food, including fast food and commercially baked products. They are similar in structure to saturated fats, and are known to raise levels of bad cholesterol and decrease good cholesterol level. Regular consumption of the same needs to be stopped. Hydrogenated fats are also called hydrogenated oils or trans fatty acids.

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