MSG and Other Addictive Food Chemicals-Part I
Could the food industry be adding chemicals to our food that cause obesity? In my opinion, the answer to this question is yes. If you aren’t already familiar with the dangerous additive called MSG, I hope this article will inspire you to read the labels of the products you are buying and eliminate everything that you can that contains this harmful ingredient.
MSG, Monosodium Glutamate, is a chemical used in lab rats to make them obese. When MSG enters the body, it triples the amount of insulin the pancreas produces. The result is food addiction/cravings, an increase in appetite and an insatiable desire to continue eating products that contain it.
It is also a known excitotoxin which causes cell damage and cell death. Because humans lack a blood-brain barrier in the hypothalamus, Dr. Russell L. Blaylock, author of Excitotoxins: The Taste that Kills, tells us that the excitotoxins can enter the brain and cause damage.
Although originally used primarily in Chinese food, MSG is now used in the majority of processed and packaged foods, including the low and fat free foods, fast food chains, school cafeterias, restaurants and even baby formula. The reason is primarily to enhance flavoring and create cravings in order to sell more food.
Unfortunately, since 1959, the FDA has declared that MSG is "generally recognized as safe". However, there are enough research studies out there proving otherwise, connecting MSG consumption to an array of health problems including obesity, depression, headaches, Type II Diabetes and much more. Additionally, its detrimental impact on the brain has been linked to neurological disorders such as Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, Attention Deficit Disorder and Autism.
MSG is not always easily recognized and can be disguised under other names such as hydrolyzed vegetable protein, hydrolyzed protein, hydrolyzed plant protein, sodium caseinate, calcium caseinate, yeast extract, textured protein, autolyzed yeast, hydrolyzed oat flour and gelatin. This is not a definitive list as many other foods often contain MSG as well including natural meat flavorings, whey protein, soy sauce, soy protein, stock and more. It’s also important to be wary of "no MSG" labels, as they too can be misleading.
Your best bet is to check the labels and decide for yourself. However, an even better choice would be to consume mostly whole foods that you’ve prepared yourself or have been prepared for you by a trusted company. Given the FDA’s current stand on MSG, corporations are increasing the MSG contained in their foods substantially year after year. The only way we can protect ourselves and our health is to vote with our dollars, choosing non-MSG foods.
Next week I will talk about other food additives to watch out for, including aspartame and its relationship to obesity and other health problems.
-Excitotoxins: The Taste that Kills by Dr. Russell L. Blaylock
Kara wrote for HealthCentral as a patient expert for Food & Nutrition.