Monosodium glutamate (MSG) intake is associated with the prevalence of metabolic syndrome in a rural Thai population

Tonkla Insawang, Carlo Selmi, Ubon Cha'on, Supattra Pethlert, Puangrat Yongvanit, Premjai Areejitranusorn, Patcharee Boonsiri, Tueanjit Khampitak, Roongpet Tangrassameeprasert, Chadamas Pinitsoontorn, Vitoon Prasongwattana, M. Eric Gershwin, Bruce D. Hammock

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Epidemiology and animal models suggest that dietary monosodium glutamate (MSG) may contribute to the onset of obesity and the metabolic syndrome. Methods: Families (n = 324) from a rural area of Thailand were selected and provided MSG as the sole source for the use in meal preparation for 10 days. Three hundred forty-nine subjects aged 35.55 years completed the study and were evaluated for energy and nutrient intake, physical activity, and tobacco smoking. The prevalence of overweight and obesity (BMI ≥25 kg/m 2), insulin resistance (HOMA-IR >3), and the metabolic syndrome (ATP III criteria) were evaluated according to the daily MSG intake. Results: The prevalence of the metabolic syndrome was significantly higher in the tertile with the highest MSG intake. Further, every 1 g increase in MSG intake significantly increased the risk of having the metabolic syndrome (odds ratio 1.14, 95% confidence interval-CI- 1.12 - 1.28) or being overweight (odds ratio 1.16, 95% CI 1.04 - 1.29), independent of the total energy intake and the level of physical activity. Conclusion: Higher amounts of individual MSG consumption are associated with the risk of having the metabolic syndrome and being overweight independent of other major determinants.

Original languageEnglish
Article number50
JournalNutrition and Metabolism
Publication statusPublished - 2012


  • Functional food
  • Metabolic syndrome
  • Obesity
  • Thailand

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Nutrition and Dietetics
  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism


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