Wednesday, March 05, 2008

MSG - By any other name

If your food is not really that good a glutamate flavor enhancer makes it taste like it has better quality ingredients and may have its own addicting qualities and health concerns.

Here is a pro-glutamate article:
Since the 1970s, MSG has sidled back onto American supermarket shelves, under assumed names: hydrolyzed proteins, yeast extracts, protein concentrates and other additives that are not labeled as MSG but, according to nutritionists and the United States Department of Agriculture, are essentially the same thing: synthetically produced glutamates.

The whey protein concentrate and liquid aminos that many Americans buy at health food stores are also, essentially, pure glutamate, Dr. Chaudhari said.

According to U.S.D.A. guidelines, “labeling is required when MSG is added as a direct ingredient.” But other glutamates — the hydrolyzed proteins, the autolyzed yeasts and the protein concentrates, which the U.S.D.A. acknowledges are related to MSG — must be identified under their own names.

Alternatively, they may also be included under certain terms, like vegetable broth or chicken broth. Thus, these ingredients are now routinely found in products like canned tuna (vegetable broth is listed as an ingredient; it contains hydrolyzed soy protein), canned soup, low-fat yogurts and ice creams, chips and virtually everything ranch-flavored or cheese-flavored.

Thus, the richest source of umami remains your local convenience store. Grab a tube of Pringles or a bologna sandwich, and glutamic acid is most likely lurking there somewhere.
All of the rest of this post is the other side.

It makes the food addictive and you don't know why but it tastes better and you want more. Every time some company introduces it into a new category, like canned tuna fish years ago, the cheaper products with the glutamate enhancement sell more and soon all the most popular, cheaper brands have the "natural vegetable broth" or "hydrolyzed protein" or "natural flavors" or some other hidden glutamate name in the list of ingredients.

The food industry conspiracy:
What are some of the physical effects people experience after exposure to MSG? As for myself, the first symptom comes while eating - the food tastes yummy and I feel an overwhelming desire to eat it all up. Then I feel flushed in the face, my hands and feet tingle, and I get rapidly exhausted, so that I really need to lie down and take a nap - now. If I was doing something before I ate, then I have to stop and become unconscious for awhile. This is troublesome when I’m driving. When I wake up, it’s with stiff joints, a headache, and an intensely dry mouth. My face and the skin around my eyes are puffy, and my feet and hands are swollen. Sometimes I’m groggy for hours, only really recovering the next day. Every time I get a reaction to MSG, it’s worse than the time before, a cumulative effect.

What happens to other people? Tingling and numbness and the sensation of tightness or pressure in the tongue, the face, the hands and feet, headaches and migraines, fatigue, asthma, chest pains, heartbeat irregularities, nausea, skin rashes, seizures, depression.

It gets worse. MSG is a suspected link in such different pathological conditions as stroke, epilepsy, brain lesions, multiple sclerosis, schizophrenia, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and Huntington’s diseases. See this article for a long list of effects of exposure to MSG.

People have been complaining about MSG for many years. It’s been called “Chinese restaurant syndrome” in the literature, and it’s so effective in causing obesity that there is a subspecies of laboratory rat called MSG rats. Its effects are minimized and its opponents are demonized using badly-faulted research paid for by the food industry, and any objection to it at government levels is quashed by well-funded lobbyists whose professional loyalty is to the bottom line, rather than the public health.
MSG Causes Most Obesity In US And Canada "A study of elderly people showed that people eat more of the foods that it is added to." The MSG lobby promotes this as a plus.

Free glutamate - effects on health.

Scientists in Spain link MSG to obesity.

Excitotoxins - The taste that kills. Most artificial sweeteners are also excitotoxins.
Dr. Blaylock relates how two ophthalmologists in 1957 fed MSG to baby mice and found that the nerve cells of the retina were destroyed by this taste enhancer. Ten years later another neuroscientist at Washington University, Dr. John W. Olney, repeated the experiment of giving MSG to baby mice. He found that not only were the retinal neurocells destroyed, but brain cells in the hypothalamus were also destroyed after a single dose of MSG. Dr. Olney, knowing that MSG was being added to baby food, informed the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) of his findings, but failed to obtain any interest or action. He and others then went directly to Congress, testifying before a Congressional committee. The committee was sufficiently impressed to persuade baby food manufacturers to remove MSG from their products in 1969....

There is increasing scientific evidence, however, that taste cells on the tongue are not the only things that these taste enhancers stimulate. When neurons in the brain are exposed to these substances, they become very excited and fire their impulses rapidly until they reach a state of extreme exhaustion. Several hours later these neurons suddenly die, as if the cells were excited to death. As a result, neuroscientists have dubbed this class of chemicals "excitotoxins."
All of the above information in this post is controversial.

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