Veggie Burgers and MSG: An Unholy Alliance

I know so many people who when they go out to fast food restaurants or even the local diner with family and friends, will order a veggie burger.

Seems like a healthy alternative, right? I mean, how harmful could a veggie burger be? Well, as it turns out, it could be, if you are one of the millions of people with an MSG allergy.

Fast food chains like McDonald’s and Burger King introduced veggie burgers to their menus in recent years, to appeal to a wider range of customers and increase sales. In addition, supermarket chains across the country have seized upon the food’s popularity, and now include several brands of veggie burgers, chicken and sausage patties in their frozen food sections.

The big problem with all of this — veggie patties like Morningstar Farms and Dr. Praeger’s brands contain textured vegetable protein, soy protein concentrate, hydrolized protein and autolyzed yeast. These ingredients ALL contain MSG!

They are all Soy based and ANYTHING Soy based, contains MSG! Also, beware of colorings such as caramel coloring, which is usually added to these patties to make them more closely resemble meat.

One brand, VeggiePatch claims that their veggie patties are MSG free. However, they are breaded, and breaded products can contain MSG. Their breading is wheat-based and wheat contains free glutamate, which is another form of MSG.

It should be noted that even flavorings will contain MSG, and these products will usually contain them.

One thing to keep in mind is that whenever meats or vegetables are taken out of their “natural” state, you should expect MSG to be present — as a flavor enhancement and as a preservative.

Food companies will admit to “small amounts” of MSG or ingredients that contain it. However, to a person with an MSG allergy, even a small amount can cause severe side effects.

It’s important to remember to ALWAYS check the ingredients, and never take it for granted that because the front of the package says organic or all natural, that there are no ingredients present that can trigger an allergic reaction.

I suffered from migraine headaches for decades, and only recently did I discover that they weren’t always due to dehydration or stress. I’ve learned to become much more diligent when it comes to reading labels and doing research, and it is my pleasure to pass it all on to you over the next few months in this series of blogs.