Monosodium Glutamate. It's that thing that was so hyped 20 years ago about being bad for you, and for a good reason. It's in practically every processed item out there, but you wouldn't know it. The manufacturers of this item know that there was this big stink about it and that people don't want to consume it.
A small percentage of people are sensitive to the ingredient and will gain side effects like a headache; flushing; sweating; facial pressure or tightness; numbness, tingling or burning in the face, neck and other areas; rapid, fluttering heartbeats; chest pain; nausea and/or weakness.
Yet the FDA has put this on the GRAS or "generally recognized as safe" list. Remember though, that the FDA wants the manufacturer to prove that their product is safe and any study can be reflected to the desire of the person doing the study. Every time I read up on the FDA, I think they're more on the chemical companies side and not the side of general health and welfare of the people.
Why do they use MSG?
MSG is tricky, it makes your tongue think you're eating something better than you are. I thought it would be part of the "preservative" list, but it's not, it's just a flavor enhancer. It confuses your taste buds into thinking you're getting protein. It links the signal to your brain that you're getting something tastier than you are, giving you the dopamine signal to keep on eating that particular food. It overstimulates the brain making you think that food tastes really great!
MSG stimulates the pancreas to produce insulin. You might have wondered why your blood sugar did what it did when you ate a processed food, but you were watching it's glycemic index. Did you see that MSG in there? It's the food industries anti-appetite suppressant, it wants you to keep coming back for more. No wonder that bag went so quickly. You wondered why you were hungry so quickly, no wonder I'm always hungry 15 minutes after leaving a Chinese food buffet. MSG is addictive, it makes you want more and more.
MSG is cheaper than putting real food in that item. It creates the illusion that you had more protein than they really put in the item. That chicken noodle soup with those two teeny chunks of chicken? Yep, that's the MSG making it taste like that.
Since higher weights was commonly seen in lab animals given MSG, there was a study, as reported by an August edition (I'm not sure which year) of Obesity magazine, examined the association between MSG intake and weight gain in humans. Researchers did a cross-sectional study involving 752 healthy Chinese people between the ages of 40 and 59 who generally were from rural areas and cooked most of their food at home. A random sample were asked to only change one thing in their diets, add certain amounts of MSG to their foods. 82% of the participants were using the MSG with the average intake being 330 milligrams per day. Changing only this one thing in their diets caused a significantly higher weight gain in the people using the MSG than the people not using it. The third of people using the highest amounts had odds of 2.1 and 2.75 times greater likelihood of becoming overweight.
Because we look at the label for the words "Monosodium Glutamate", the manufacturers, with the FDA's approval, have started to put different words on the lables so you don't know what you're eating.
Here's a list of the common names that MSG can also be listed as:
Autolyzed Yeast Extract
Autolyzed Soy Protein (any protein that is autolyzed)
Hydrolyzed Protein (any protein that is hydrolyzed)
Hydrolyzed Whey Protein
Hydrolyzed Pea Protein
Hydrolyzed Corn Protein
Hydrolyzed Corn Gluten
Textured Vegetable Protein (TVP)
Natrium Glutamate (natrium is Latin/German for sodium)
For a more in depth list look at these links, they gave me different and longer lists for the same things:
One more thing it can be listed as and I didn't find in any of those links, but by word of mouth by someone who is allergic to it, "Natural flavoring". Who knows what natural flavoring is but the manufacturer of the product? It could be anything deemed "natural", but that's for another blog...
Chronic use of this ingredient can cause long-term issues. It might be part of the reason that this current generations of children are going hormonal earlier, but it's just my speculation and probably only one of several things that changed in our food system that are causing issues in our children.
MSG causes liver inflammation and dysplasia, which can lead to liver cancer. Mice in labs given MSG over a long period of time (they only live for a couple of years normally) not only become obese, they commonly gained type-2 diabetes. Their livers gained lesions by the time they were between 6 and 12 months (think teenage mice).
A short list of products that always have MSG in them, even if it's not listed as Monosodium Glutamate:
Taco Bell® - seasoned meat - contains autolyzed yeast - which contains free glutamate
Other menu items that contain soy sauce, natural flavors, autolyzed yeast or hydrolyzed protein which can contain up to 20% free glutamic acid - the active part of MSG.
Hamburger Helper Microwave Singles® (targeted towards children)
Campbell's® soups - all of them - based on their commitment to add "umami" (read - MSG) to their products
Pringles® (the flavored varieties)
Boar's Head® cold cuts and most of their hotdogs
Progresso® Soups - all of them
Lipton® Noodles and Sauce
Lipton® Instant soup mix
Unilever or Knorr® products - often used in homemade Veggie dips.
Kraft® products nearly all contain some free glutamate
Cup-a-soup® or Cup-o-Noodles®
Planters® salted nuts - most of them
Accent® -this is nearly pure MSG
Hodgson Mill Kentucky Kernel Seasoned Flour®
supermarket poultry or turkeys that are injected or "self-basting"
many salad dressings
hydrolyzed plant protein (found in many processed AMERICAN foods, like canned tuna and even hot dogs)
Medications in gelcaps - contain free glutamic acid in the gelatin
Fresh produce sprayed with Auxigro in the field. (Yes the EPA approved this.)
For full list from the site I found these click this link and scroll to bottom: www.foodmatters.tv/artic
Today's Holidays: International Museum Day, No Dirty Dishes Day, Armed Forces Day, Mt. St. Helens erupts on May 18th, 1980, Visit Your Relatives Day and National Cheese Souffle Day. (Sorry, I still can't figure out how to do fancy letters on my computer.)