Wednesday, May 19, 2010

The Controversy of MSG

MSG - MonoSodium Glutamate

There has been many claims and petitions about this one single food additive alone: claims of adverse effects and results to many, but not all, who consume the food having MSG, and petitions - to ban the use of the product because of its unwanted consequences.

But what really is the score?

The time has been long enough to give real insight and truth to the claims that has been going on, right?


To date, there is nothing definite and conclusive, and by that, I mean to say that MSG has not one particular effect to anybody who consumes the product. For example, take poison, and you die. Put in too much salt, and it is salty. Put in too much sugar, and it becomes too sweet. Acid burns.

The 150 Healthiest Foods on Earth: The Surprising, Unbiased Truth About What You Should Eat and WhyBut for the case of MSG, it is all about your individual chemistry, and all about your preconceived or preconditioned reaction.

And with that, I will present to you the general knowledge, claims and petitions and all - yours to review and make your own decision: to eat or not to eat.

Read on...

What is MSG?

MSG is a substance that is both occurring naturally, and in processed form.
It is the sodium salt of the amino acid known as glutamic acid, and a form of glutamate. Glutamate occurs naturally and is found in many living things, including you. It is found in protein-containing foods such as cheese, milk, meat, vegetables, and spores (mushrooms).
When it is found in its natural unbound (unprocessed) form, and is not subjected to some sort of manufactured or fermented process, is not harmful for human or animal consumption. All forms of manufactured /processed glutamic acid contains contaminants, while the naturally occurring substance in nature does not. [1]

Where is MSG used?

The World's Healthiest Foods, Essential Guide for the Healthiest Way of EatingAlthough most people connect MSG with Chinese food, few people realize how massively it is used in the processed food industry. It is present in nearly every food that is manufactured. Considering how cheap and convenient it is, food manufacturers love it because they can get away with reducing the amount of real food substances by substituting with cheap fillers, add some MSG to get a 'morphine like' taste punch to the food product. It also intensifies the eating experience in not only enhancing the flavor of the food, but it alters color and odor of the food as well. [1]

Food Additives that ALWAYS contain MSG
Raw Food Cleanse: Restore Health and Lose Weight by Eating Delicious, All-Natural Foods - Instead of Starving YourselfFood Additives that FREQUENTLY contain MSG
  • Malt Extract
  • Malt Flavoring
  • Bouillon
  • Broth
  • Stock
  • Flavoring
  • Natural Flavors/Flavoring
  • Natural Beef or Chicken Flavoring
  • Seasoning
  • Spices
Food Additives that May contain MSG
  • Enzymes
  • Soy Protein Concentrate
  • Soy Protein Isolate
  • Whey Protein Concentrate [2]
Food, Inc.MSG is commonly added to most frozen or processed food, including soups, chips, gravy, salad dressings and even Starbuck's Coffee! Products that don't actually list MSG on the label, substitute "Hydrolyzed Vegetable Protein," which is just another name for MSG. [3]

Is there health benefits from MSG?

MSG has no nutritional value whatsoever. Like sugar, it stimulates your taste buds, making you desire the taste so much you will keep on buying the product and keep eating it. MSG changes your perception of how a food tastes. Many experts in the field of studying its harmful effects claim that it stimulates parts of the brain to produce an addiction in much the same way as alcohol, tobacco, and other drugs do.
In other words, MSG is addictive. So, even if you do not drink alcohol or smoke, eating a lot of processed food is just as addictive as drugs, in essence your trading the pleasure of drugs for this addictive substance in the food you eat.
Food manufacturers are no dummies, they know they have the FDA on their side, and they know using MSG will ensure repeat customers for them. [1]

What are the possible effects?

Living Foods for Optimum Health : Staying Healthy in an Unhealthy WorldThis doesn't apply to all, and if you are affected, not all may be exhibited. These include, but not limited to:
  • Diarrhea
  • Migraine
  • Nausea
  • Sensitivity to light
  • Tightness in the chest
  • Tingling
  • Visual disturbances
  • Vomiting [4]
MSG sensitivity is often called 'Chinese Restaurant Syndrome", but it isn't all Chinese, and it isn't only Chinese food. It has become so American, and all other countries more or less use that one and the same MSG as food additive.

Is everyone affected?

No. Not everyone is affected. Furthermore, the obesity, that big (and becoming bigger) wall erected against the use of MSG is founded on American people getting obese due to the consumption of products laced with MSG. And while that may be true in lab rats, it is not necessarily true in humans. I like this one. Proves one thing, that we are not really all that related (Darwin, you are WRONG!)

Food For Health Emergency Food Kit 275 Servings Weather Proof BucketMany experiments and researches were done, and the results are inconclusive. One group has some participants showing the symptoms, while others didn't - and they were not given anything with MSG. On the contrary, another group were given MSG in one form or another, and the response shown is varied: some did show the effects, while others didn't.

So, yes, MSG reaction is both below:
  • a conditioned response, and
  • a body chemistry reflex

Will it be 'removed' from consumer foods?

The petitions continue. The protests are getting louder. And yes, we know that one company has been reacting in the favored manner:

"The big food manufacturers are finally starting to listen to their customers. Campbell's has taken MSG out of the Select Harvest soups." [5]

Here's what I can say. If it can't be taken out by the big boys who provide you with their product bombarded with MSG, then why not 'remove' those products from your food list? Ain't that better and faster than waiting for the big, plump boys who move slowly? I think so.

Food & Fitness Advisor
What should you do?

If you think you have a problem with MSG, you may wish to try an 'exclusion' diet. Go for 3 weeks with no (or little) MSG. At the end of the 3 weeks, eat something that you know has MSG and see if your symptoms come back. [6]

I hate to say it, but is most cases, the effect has come before the actual trigger. Placebo effect. Reverse placebo effect. Or if that you are already fat before even dunking in that so-called MSG-laden burger, this doesn't apply. In so saying, I'm not against those who really experience those sensations and exhibiting the 'real' effects. And if you do, the one thing that you can begin with is to moderate your intake.

Hey, to slim down, nobody said that you should starve yourself. it is controlling the portion on a regular basis. In the same manner, limit your intake, and to the extreme, completely avoid, and change to a more meaningful diet that follows the food pyramid.

Is it only MSG to blame? I say no. It has been our prevailing culture to want things, and want them now. That is why we have burgers and processed foods - we can have them when we want them, and in the amount that we want, not what we need. We have processed foods that we can store in cans and keep in store for years to come. Nothing is fresh anymore. So, we created our own problems, and we are not trying to solve them.

Emergency Food Survival 200 Meal KitOr are we simply trying to point fingers? To MSG?

I hope not. And while food is food, it should be eaten in moderation.

Anything in excess is poison.

1. MSG -  A neurotoxin or a harmless food flavor enhancer?
2. MSG and Headaches
3. What Are the Facts About MSG?
4. What is MSG Sensitivity Syndrome?
5. MSG Update - The big boys are finally listening to us!
6. Is MSG A Trigger For Headaches?

All sources (may include above sources):
    Fresh Baby So Easy Baby Food Kit
  1. Accent Quiz - What Are the Facts About MSG?
  2. Is MSG A Trigger For Headaches?
  3. MSG - A Neurotoxin Or A Harmless Food Flavor Enhancer?
  4. MSG And Headaches
  5. Does MSG Cause Brain Damage?
  6. What is MSG Sensitivity Syndrome?
  7. MSG Update - The Big Boys Are Finally Listening to Us!
  8. MSG Obesity - Food Industry Secret Revealed
  9. Better Health Knowledge - Stop Eating MSG
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