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On Call: Kids and MSG

Q. I've heard that children shouldn't eat MSG. But it's in my son's favorite soup. Should I stop serving it?

A.
MSG, or monosodium glutamate, is a common food additive. The only clearly documented harm is that some people can be sensitive to it and get symptoms such as headaches, nausea, or dizziness. Since it's in your son's favorite soup, that doesn't seem to be the case with him.

Even so, it's always a good idea to cut back on food additives  -- and processed foods in general, which often contain tons of salt. You don't have to stop serving things your son loves, but with the soup, how about giving him a healthy side, like carrots or apples? Or serve less soup along with a hearty lunch like a cheese sandwich on whole-grain bread. You might also look for low-sodium soups at the store and alternate those with his fave.

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