Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Death By Diet (MSG)
MSG crystals
MSG crystals (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I originally planned an article today on food labeling and the virtues of eating fresh foods. This won’t be that article. The more I worked on the research for that piece the more I realized I couldn’t do it justice in a single article. I’m not sure it could be done complete justice in a volume smaller than “War and Peace”. The things that food manufacturers are allowed to place in our food is not disturbing, it is not alarming, it is at best borderline criminal. The food manufacturers lobby in the U.S. is one of the wealthiest and best connected lobby groups. We even have one of their cooperate wives as a senator and one time presidential candidate. This being said, I decided to focus today on just one issue. One of the many I feel is paramount to eating healthy in todays genetically altered, chemically enhanced food world, Monosodium Glutamate or as it is more commonly called MSG.

For those unfamiliar (if there are any) with MSG it is food additive classified by the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) as GRAS (Generally Regarded as Safe), this basically means that food manufacturers can use all they want and they do. MSG is generally thought of as an ingredient in Chinese dishes but in reality it can be found in everything from canned vegetables and soups to crackers and powdered milk to most disturbing, Baby Food. It must be safe though, right the FDA says it is and their job is to protect us. Remember this is the same branch of our government that once cleared Saccharin and then just help us along pushed for it to be replaced by the even more dangerous Asparatine.  They once even backed the clam that tobacco didn’t cause cancer. They are defiantly a good source to trust. So let’s look at what MSG really is.

Monosodium Glutamate is a flavor enhancer, add a little to your food and the flavors are richer, tastier and more satisfying but the way that MSG accomplishes this is insidious. It uses a fifth basic taste called Umani that causes the rest of you taste buds to get more excited that is the enhancing effect. To put it a little more technically, MSG is an Excitotoxin, it mimics the body’s own biochemical nerve impulse transmitters. The problem lies in the fact that our bodies are full of nerves and once ingested MSG does not stop until the body has metabolized (burned) it. This is the reason that people sensitive to Monosodium Glutamate experience many of the symptoms that they do indirect proportion to the amount of MSG eaten.

Some of the symptoms of  MSG Symptom Complex Syndrome, as it is now known can include headache, rapid or fluttering heartbeat, flushing, chest pains, sweating, nausea, tingling and numbness, sounds safe to me. Everything safe has its own medical syndrome.
English: Ball-and-stick model of monosodium gl...
English: Ball-and-stick model of monosodium glutamate. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Who you may ask is at risk from MSG. A study way back in the 1970’s placed the risk factor at about 25-30%. Now, with the higher incidents of MSG use in our food, some medical studies place it as high as 40%, defiantly not high enough to warrant an official study into the effects of a multibillion dollar industry.

In defense of the FDA they do require the listing of MSG on food labels that contain it. Of course, the food industry also understands that as this issue has grown they needed an out. How do you get around the laws that say you will list it if you use it? Simple, combine it with something else with another name. You don’t use MSG in your fruit drink. You use Citric Acid, which just happens to contain Monosodium Glutamate. You don’t say the milk has MSG you simply state that it is Protein Fortified, guess what, same thing. Here is a list of other words to watch for Natural Flavoring, Soy Protein, Pectin and Corn Starch. Never underestimate the power of wording. Still, how bad could it be?

According to Neurosurgeon Dr. Russell Blaylock Monosodium Glutamate is a major contributor to the diseases Parkinsons, Lou Gehrigs and Alzheimers. Alzheimers being the only disease among the top ten killers in the U.S. and the only disease among our top fatal diseases that has actually risen rather than declined since 2000, just in the period between 2000 and 2008 it rose by an astounding 66%. I highly recommend Dr. Blaylock’s book “Excitotoxins: The Taste That Kills” It was a real eye opener for me.
English: Monosodium glutamate in a bag. Svensk...
English: Monosodium glutamate in a bag. Svenska: Natriumglutamat i en påse. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I originally planned an article today on food labeling and the virtues of eating fresh foods. Maybe I still accomplished this, indirectly. Maybe I scared a few people with this article, maybe, made one or two upset. If I did, good. People, who are scared or upset, think. Most of us were raised with the idea that, there was someone out there looking out for us. That sadly isn’t the truth. To live healthy and especially to eat healthy we have to look out for ourselves. Don’t be afraid to learn and pay attention to what you buy to put in your body. You only have one.

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