That research, done by nutritional experts at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, found that the people who eat the most MSG per day are also more likely to be overweight or obese, even when calories are not increased dramatically. Ka He, the researcher in charge of the study, said that the weight gain risk was modest but that it should still be a red flag since MSG was found in so many commonly consumed foods.
Asian foods contain the most amount of MSG, which stands for monosodium glutamate, but Asian nations are far lower on the obesity scale than are other industrialized countries. Americans, who rank as the fattest nation in the world, do consume MSG, but in much lower quantities. Although it may not always be obviously labeled as such, MSG can be found in the daily American diet in the form of potato chips and processed, canned soups. The average American consumes around one to one and a half grams of MSG while the average consumption for an Asian is 1 to 10 grams per day. The Japanese and Koreans eat the most MSG containing foods.
The study followed the diets of over 10,000 people in China for just over five years. Of those people, those who got the most MSG per day were 30% more likely to be overweight than those who got the least amount of the additive. China is one of the Asian nations that is being hard hit by the obesity epidemic, at least in parts of the nation. Overall, the countrys obesity rate is only 5% but there are a number of cities that are as much as four times that high. Children in China are facing an ever growing rate of obesity with 8% of children age 10-12 considered obese and another 15% overweight.
Korea has the lowest rate of obesity with Japan a very close second. Japan has recently made the fitness news reel with a new law that penalized those that did not fit into state set weight categories. Companies that had workers that did not meet the waistline requirements, for instance, are being forced to pay more into the national health care system. The urge to comply with the law and the anti-obesity sentiment has led to problems in the other direction for the nation- doctors are now treating people because they are much too thin.