To Your Health
December, 2008 (Vol. 02, Issue 12)
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MSG is in almost all processed foods and most restaurant meals. It's even in some foods that say "No MSG" or "No Added MSG." Even some restaurants that say they do not use MSG have it in their food, and they may not even be aware of it.

How is this possible? MSG stands for monosodium glutamate. It's the glutamate component that's the problem. Processed free glutamic acid, which is often referred to as MSG, is formed during the manufacturing of processed foods. It is not the same as glutamic acid, which is a component of protein. Processed free glutamic acid occurs only as a result of the manufacturing process. It's a neurotoxin (i.e., it is toxic to the nervous system), and can cause a wide range of symptoms, including skin rashes, tachycardia (rapid heartbeat), migraine headaches, depression and seizures. In addition, MSG is addictive - it makes you want to keep eating. It's a contributing factor to the obesity epidemic.

MSG can be hidden in a variety of ingredients you wouldn't expect to contain MSG. For example, certain ingredients that always contain MSG include amino acids, autolyzed yeast, calcium caseinate, gelatin, any kind of hydrolyzed protein, textured protein and yeast extract.

Some of the ingredients that may contain MSG include barley malt, boullion, broth, stock, carrageenan, any kind of flavors or flavoring including natural flavors, maltodextrin, any kind of protein such as soy protein, plant protein, pea protein, corn protein, whey protein, anything that is protein fortified, protein concentrates and protein isolates, seasonings, and anything that is ultra-pasteurized. 

Both aspartame and MSG are excitotoxins. They cross the blood-brain barrier and excite your brain cells to death. Like aspartame, MSG is not only in food. It can also be found in cosmetics and personal care products, nutritional supplements, OTC and prescription medications, and even the chicken pox vaccine.

Of particular concern is the fact that many of the food additives in the foods you eat every day have never been fully tested for safety. Often, no testing has been done to determine if the chemicals being added to our food may cause cancer, DNA damage, birth defects or reproductive disorders.

Also, additives are not tested for the potential combined effects of multiple additives in a single product or several products being consumed at the same time. A good example of this is sodium benzoate. Recently, it was discovered that in products containing both sodium benzoate and vitamin C, these ingredients can react and cause the formation of benzene. A number of beverages, containing both sodium benzoate and vitamin C, were tested. In many of these products, benzene was detected. Benzene is known to cause cancer; sodium benzoate is a common preservative used in beverages and liquid nutritional supplements.

This is only the tip of the iceberg. There are more than 3,000 different chemicals purposefully added to our food, and new ingredients are added every year. Here's a general rule of thumb when checking ingredients on food labels: If the list of ingredients is long, there are probably a lot of chemical additives in the product, and you're risking your health by eating it. If the list of ingredients is short, it may or may not contain harmful additives, so you need to read the label carefully before you purchase it. That's the most important point: Be an informed shopper. Look at what you're buying before you and your family eat it. Your health is that important.