Consumption of the flavour enhancer monosodium glutamate (MSG) may increase the risk of gaining weight, regardless of energy intake.
According to a new study from the University Of North Carolina School Of Public Health the risk of being overweight – having a body mass index (BMI) of 25 kg per sq. m – was increased by 175% in people with a high intake of MSG.
Animal studies indicate that monosodium glutamate (MSG) can induce hypothalamic lesions and leptin resistance, possibly influencing energy balance, leading to overweight. This study examines the association between MSG intake and overweight in humans.
A cross-sectional study involving 752 healthy Chinese (48.7% women), aged 40–59 years, randomly sampled from three rural villages in north and south China was conducted.
Eighty-two percent of participants were MSG users. Average intake was 0.33 g/day (s.d. = 0.40). With adjustment for potential confounders including physical activity and total energy intake, MSG intake was positively related to BMI.
Prevalence of overweight was significantly higher in MSG users than nonusers. For users in the highest tertile of MSG intake compared to nonusers, the multivariable-adjusted odds ratios of overweight (BMI 23.0 and 25.0) were 2.10 (95% confidence interval, 1.13–3.90, P for trend across four MSG categories = 0.03) and 2.75 (95% confidence interval, 1.28–5.95, P = 0.04).
This research provides data that MSG intake may be associated with increased risk of overweight independent of physical activity and total energy intake in humans.
Source: Obesity – Research journal