The danger that lies in MSG is almost impossible to avoid. The chemical flavor enhancer has been linked to a plethora of health issues including: fibromyalgia, obesity, fatty liver, high insulin and blood sugar, metabolic syndrome, neurological and brain damage.
Monosodium glutamate (MSG), is a flavor enhancer that’s known widely as an addition to Chinese food but as it turns out MSG is added to thousands of the foods you and your family regularly eat.
MSG is one of the worst food additives on the market. It’s used in everything from canned soups, crackers, meats, and salad dressings, to baby food, infant formula, and your child’s school lunch.
MSG is NOT simply a seasoning like salt or pepper. It literally enhances flavors, preventing processed meats and frozen dinners from showing you their true characteristics. This chemical makes them taste fresher, smell better, it makes salad dressings more tasty, and canned foods less tinny.
It’s obvious why this would be highly profitable for big box food corporations that care solely about making money, but is MSG silently doing major harm to your health?
It is a common misconception that MSG has a flavor or is a meat tenderizer. The way MSG works is by tricking your senses into thinking your food contains more protein and tastes better. There’s a little known fifth taste called umami. Umami recognizes the savory flavor of glutamate which is found in bacon, and of course synthetically found in MSG. In a nutshell, MSG tricks your brain into thinking you’re eating something as savory as bacon. No wonder it’s so addictive.
Ajinomoto, the world’s largest producer of MSG, is interestingly also a drug manufacturer. MSG didn’t become widespread in the United States until after World War II, when the U.S. military discovered that Japanese rations were much tastier than the U.S. versions.
In 1959, the U.S. FDA declared MSG was “Generally Recognized as Safe” (GRAS). MSG has remained listed as GRAS just as many other FDA approved ingredients that are banned in other countries due to health risks. 10 years after its introduction into the American food supply a condition known as “Chinese Restaurant Syndrome” became common in medical literature. Chinese Restaurant Syndrome was used to describe the numerous side-effects, from numbness to heart palpitations, that people experienced after eating MSG.
Today Chinese Restaurant Syndrome has been more appropriately renamed, “MSG Symptom Complex,” which the FDA is well aware of and identifies as a “short-term reaction” to MSG. Despite this admission and acceptance the FDA still “generally recognizes it as safe.
Dr. Russell Blaylock, a board-certified neurosurgeon and author of “Excitotoxins: The Taste that Kills.” explains that MSG causes brain damage to varying degrees — and even triggers or worsens learning disabilities, Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, Lou Gehrig’s disease and more.
Part of the problem is that MSG is approximately 78% free glutamic acid. Free glutamic acid is the same neurotransmitter used by your brain, nervous system, eyes, pancreas and more, to initiate processes in your body. Even the FDA admits:
“Studies have shown that the body uses glutamate, an amino acid, as a nerve impulse transmitter in the brain and that there are glutamate-responsive tissues in other parts of the body, as well.
Abnormal function of glutamate receptors has been linked with certain neurological diseases, such as Alzheimer’s disease and Huntington’s chorea. Injections of glutamate in laboratory animals have resulted in damage to nerve cells in the brain.”
Dr. Blaylock points out that numerous glutamate receptors have been found both within your heart’s electrical conduction system and the heart muscle itself. This could explain the sudden deaths seen among young athletes and should serve as a huge warning to anyone who consumes MSG.
Dr Baylock states:
When magnesium stores are low, as we see in athletes, the glutamate receptors are so sensitive that even low levels of these excitotoxins can result in cardiac arrhythmias and death.”
According to the FDA, even though they claim MSG is safe, side effects may include:
-Facial pressure or tightness
-Chest pain or difficulty breathing
Food manufacturers are not stupid, and they’ve caught on to the fact that people like you want to avoid eating MSG. As a result, do you think they’ve removed MSG from their products? Well, maybe a few, but most of them just tried to hide it by using names that you won’t recognize or associate with MSG.
The FDA requires that food manufacturers list the ingredient “monosodium glutamate” on food labels, but they do not have to label ingredients that contain free glutamic acid, even though it’s the main component of MSG. There are over 40 labeled ingredients that contain glutamic acid, but you’d never know it just from their names alone.
Hidden MSG Names:
Glutamate (E 620)
Monosodium Glutamate (E 621)
Monopotassium Glutamate (E 622)
Calcium Glutamate (E 623)
Monoammonium Glutamate (E 624)
Magnesium Glutamate (E 625)
Any hydrolyzed protein
Soy Protein Isolate
Whey Protein Isolate
Names of ingredients that often contain or produce processed free glutamic acid
Carrageenan (E 407)
Bouillon and broth
Any flavors or flavoring
Citric acid, Citrate (E 330)
Pectin (E 440)
Anything enzyme modified
Anything containing enzymes
Soy sauce extract
Anything protein fortified
Your best bet is to buy local as much as possible and spend the time preparing wholesome honest food at home. If you live so far from a farmers’ market that buying locally is unrealistic, consider that your call to arms and plant a garden! Save seed for the following year and can what you can for the winter months.