Something menacing in your food awaits and it’s called MSG. MSG Monosodium Glutamate is a salt of the amino acid Glutamic Acid (glutamate) and has been found to cause harmful reactions in many people who consume it. The unfortunate part of this story is that MSG is hidden in many of the foods that we consume on a daily basis.
MSG is a flavor enhancer that is commonly added to Chinese food, canned vegetables, soups and processed meats. It can also be found in most cheese powders, broths, dressings, and processed foods made with “natural flavoring”. It tastes like salty meat and offsets the metallic-tasting deposits that find themselves on your food if stored in cans for an extended period of time. MSG Monosodium Glutamate is processed food’s best friend.
The Food and Drug Administration has classified MSG as a food ingredient that is “generally recognized as safe”, however the use of MSG remains controversial. Monosodium Glutamate has been linked to autism and chronic stomach pain. It’s also associated with obesity due to its addictive qualities.
Here’s an example of MSG’s addictive nature- when you eat sugar, your pancreas produces insulin to neutralize the sugar. The insulin tells the cells in your body to absorb the excess sugar. The problem is that MSG causes an insulin response but MSG isn’t a sugar. So the MSG-induced insulin produced by your pancreas tells the cells in your body to absorb sugar. Within an hour or two you are low in sugar and your body thinks that you’re hungry again. So you eat something but the food you eat has more MSG in it and you produce more insulin than you need again. A perpetual cycle of eating and feeling unfulfilled caused by MSG.
According to the Mayo Clinic a comprehensive review of all available scientific data on glutamate safety sponsored by the FDA in 1995 acknowledges that some people may have short term reactions to MSG. These reactions include:
• Headache, sometimes called MSG headache
• Sense of facial pressure or tightness
• Numbness, tingling or burning in or around the mouth
• Rapid, fluttering heartbeats (heart palpitations)
• Chest pain
• Shortness of breath
The only way to prevent a reaction is to avoid foods containing MSG. The FDA requires that when MSG is added to a product that “monosodium glutamate” be listed on the label or on the menu, in restaurants.
But watch out, oftentimes MSG is hidden under other names so as not to be as easily identified. Here are a list of different pseudonyms, names and ways that MSG can find itself on your plate from an article published on healthy-holistic-living.com.
Food Additives that ALWAYS contain MSG: Monosodium Glutamate, Autolyzed Yeast, Hydrolyzed Vegetable Protein, Hydrolyzed Protein, Hydrolyzed Plant Protein, Plant Protein Extract, Sodium Caseinate, Calcium Caseinate, Yeast Extract, Textured Protein (Including TVP), Hydrolyzed Oat Flour, Corn Oil
Food Additives That FREQUENTLY Contain MSG: Malt Extract, Malt Flavoring, Bouillon, Broth, Stock Flavoring, Natural Flavors/Flavoring, Natural Beef Or Chicken Flavoring, Seasoning, Spices, Maltodextrin and Whey Protein
Food Additives That MAY Contain MSG: Carrageenan, Enzymes, Soy Protein Isolate, Soy Protein Concentrate, Whey Protein Concentrate
The only way to curtail the side effects and potential long-term effects is to stay away from processed foods often found in boxes and bags. Dr. Gerard Guillory of The Care Group in Denver, CO reaffirms that eating local and organic is the only way to go, “We need to get back to eating food, the whole food, and nothing but the food.”
By purchasing pure and natural foods, consumers have an advantage in the fight against processed foods and MSG. We do the buying, which means we can eventually change the market. It is time that we take some responsibility in what we consume and focus our efforts on putting healthy foods in our bodies instead of the alternative.