Is MSG Keto? MSG does get a lot of bad press, most of which has been debunked in recent years. You will be pleased to know that MSG can be eaten on a keto diet without it kicking your out of ketosis.
What is MSG
Monosodium glutamate, or MSG, was first created in a Tokyo laboratory in 1908, eventually making its way into Western cooking by the 1920s.
MSG is essentially a salt, produced by combining the mineral sodium with glutamate, an amino acid.
It is used as a flavor enhancer in savory foods to provide an umami, or meaty, taste and was first popularized in Chinese cooking.
A Keto-Cap (aka A Keto Recap!)
If you’re new to keto and want a bit more information, check out our keto beginners guide.
As a quick summary, if you need it, the keto (also known as the ketogenic diet) is a low-carb, high-fat diet.
The whole concept of the keto diet is that your body transitions from burning glucose, in simple terms, sugars or carbohydrates, to burning fat as its primary fuel source.
For a keto diet, people will restrict their macros to eating;
- 70% of their calories from fat
- 25% from protein
- 5% from carbohydrates
Sticking to these macros for a period of time will put your body into a state of ketosis. Ketosis is when your body has transitioned from burning carbohydrates as its primary fuel source to burning fat for fuel. It is at this point that you will start to see and feel the benefits of the keto diet.
There are a lot of new terms and abbreviations that you may come across, sometimes it can feel like a new language that you need to learn. In order to help you out and keep you on the right track, we have created a keto terms and keto abbreviations guide, bookmark these to make your keto journey easier.
Some people can be put off the keto diet because of the side effects, however, these are only short-lived and the health benefits of keto far outweigh the side effects.
One of the main benefits which attract people to the keto diet is that it can cause significant reductions in insulin levels (by up to 75%) and blood sugar levels, which can be attractive to those that struggle with diabetes, amongst other health complaints.
What is the nutritional value of MSG?
MSG is a wasteland when it comes to any kind of nutritional value. Typical servings weigh just 1g and contain 0 calories, fats, carbs, and protein. The only nutrient of note is 125mg of sodium.
How many net carbs are there in MSG?
As MSG doesn’t contain any cabs, its net carbs are also 0.
Is MSG keto friendly?
By definition, yes- MSG is keto friendly. It can be a great way to add flavor to food that is missing certain nutrients, like carbs, while keeping actual nutritional impact very low.
However, MSG is often avoided by people on a keto diet as it is essentially a chemical, or more specifically- a food additive.
Why is MSG controversial?
Chemically, MSG is degraded into sodium and glutamate during digestion, neither of which are damaging to health. Sodium is an essential mineral, with the FDA recommending an upper limit of 2,300mg per day. Glutamate is an amino acid obtained through food. It is one of the most abundant amino acids in the body and is also used as a major neurotransmitter throughout the nervous system.
Concerns around MSG as a food additive began in the 60s with a study that identified “Chinese restaurant syndrome” . Although the findings of this research have largely been debunked, fears still surrounded the widespread use of MSG.
Some early studies found that it caused brain damage in rats, but closer inspection reveals that these findings were only possible when administering astronomically large doses of MSG, which you simply wouldn’t find in food.
More recent research into humans haven’t found any association between normal levels of MSG and symptoms including headaches, weight changes, allergies, or hypothalamic disruption.
If anything- the most justifiable reason for avoiding MSG is that it is a food additive, so can’t be factored into a clean-eating diet.
What are the health benefits of MSG?
Unsurprisingly there aren’t really any health benefits to MSG as its only use is to improve the flavor of food.
Some people may choose to limit additives in their food, but ultimately MSG is fine to eat on a keto diet.
Staying hydrated on the keto diet is really important, for more on how much water you should be drinking, check out our guide to staying hydrated on the keto diet.
If you’re planning on dehydrating yourself(!) and drinking alcohol on the keto diet, check out our ultimate guide to drinking alcohol on a keto diet. Also, you may be interested in, how to recover from a cheat day.
Summary: Is MSG Keto?
There is nothing to suggest that MSG is not keto friendly. Although MSG is converted into glucose, it is not enough to interfere with ketosis, therefore is not something that needs to be avoided.