Contains no MSG! Sound familiar? I know some people might think that this advertisement means its preservative free. Well folks, I’ve got bad news: monosodium glutamate or what I like to call, a ‘slow poison’, is a little trickster and fools many with its alias names. Let’s find out how this slow poison hides in those food labels and what it can do to our health. 

Where did MSG come from?

Ever wonder why some foods taste so good that you could eat and eat and eat until you are STUFFED? Well, monosodium glutamate, familiarly known as MSG, has been added to foods for many decades to make it taste better. It’s one of the key secret ingredients added to give many foods a delicious and irresistible flavour.

This discovery was made in the early 1970’s when scientists needed to plump up rats in experiments for more accurate studies. They would inject them with MSG from the first week they were born until two weeks old. The rats that did not die, all became obese and we all know that these little creatures of habit are nothing close to being naturally obese. In the grand scheme of things, MSG was also used for making the elderly eat more which was beneficial for them. However, the system failed to realize the health effects it would have on people and especially on those who didn’t need to eat more. For example, it is believed that the effect MSG has on overeating played a key role in the obesity crisis.

When it was discovered that MSG enhances food cravings, all of the food chains and big companies saw a big profit. Food sure does not taste like it used to because most processed, packaged and canned foods have been flavored and enhanced with this slow poison. It’s considered to be highly addictive and you psychologically don’t even know that it is and that’s why you want more. That’s why “It’s finger liking good!”. Now, not only has it changed the way we eat and taste food, but it has endangered many peoples health.

Sadly, the FDA and government are aware of these dangers and have not implemented a restriction or ban from the market even though in experiments, consuming large quantities of MSG has shown to be detrimental to our health. Big companies and manufacturers are adding larger and larger quantities to make people want more. This is one of the reasons why obesity and diabetes has plagued North America.

The Harmful Effects of MSG

Monosodium glutamate contains the non-essential amino acid glutamic acid. MSG sensitivity is a reaction to glutamic acid because it has been modified and altered. One of the primary reactions of MSG intake and other excitotoxins is triggering insulin, adrenalin, fat storage and the food craving response. Studies have shown that MSG tripled the amount of insulin the pancreas created, causing rats to become obese. When ingested, the “mono”sodium molecule easily breaks away from the glutamate protein, making glutamate a potent excitotoxin. Excitotoxins cause neurons to become so over-excited
that they burn out and die, affecting neurotransmitters and their pathways. This research has been linked to many critical roles in the development of several neurological disorders such as:

  • Obesity
  • Diabetes
  • Migraines
  • Seizures, Strokes and Heart Attacks
  • Abnormal neural development
  • Autism
  • ADHD
  • Arthritis
  • Endocrine disruptors
  • Alzheimer’s/Dementia
  • Parkinson’s and Huntington’s disease
  • Fatigue

This additive found in pre-packaged and take-out food is used to lour people into making them eat and crave more of that food. The type of foods that it is making them crave more of is not broccoli and Brussels sprouts, it’s nutrient depleted, highly processed unhealthy foods. This is the reason why when you eat out or choose canned, boxed or bagged foods, you might find yourself hungry again not too long after you ate. The “bet you can’t just eat one” slogan might ring a bell! MSG is a key player in what keeps you coming back for more.

MSG’s Many Aliases. What names does MSG hide behind? What additives contain MSG?

One of the most popular and familiar names you might recognize that has replaced monosodium glutamate is “Hydrolyzed Vegetable Protein” which is usually among the first few ingredients of a label.

When you see ‘hydrolyzed protein’ this means that it has been boiled in acids, bases or enzymes and it is not listed or considered to be an ingredient. Did you know that hydrolyzed protein is extracted from cow hooves and skin?! That does not sound too yummy to me at all.

Watch for these food additives – they all contain MSG:

  • Autolyzed {vegetable} yeast
  • Autolyzed {vegetable} protein
  • Corn Oil
  • Gelatin
  • Glutamate
  • Glutamic acid
  • Hydrolyzed {vegetable} protein (any protein that is hydrolyzed)
  • Hydrolyzed corn gluten
  • Hydrolyzed Oat flour
  • Calcium caseinate
  • Sodium caseinate
  • Textured protein
  • Yeast nutrient
  • Yeast extract
  • Yeast food
  • Natrium glutamate (natrium is Latin/German for sodium)

Also, watch out for these food additives that frequently contain MSG:

  • Malt Extract
  • Malt Flavoring
  • Bouillon
  • Broth
  • Stock
  • Flavoring
  • Natural Flavors/Flavoring
  • Natural Beef or Chicken Flavoring
  • Seasoning
  • Spices

Usually you would turn a blind eye to these ingredients but now that you know our little trickster’s alias names, you can raid your kitchen and go on a scavenger hunt to find what foods are laced with this slow poison.

If you are eating out, I recommend that you ask for no sauces and inform your waiter or server that you are severely allergic to MSG to avoid an unpleasant experience. Sadly, most restaurants and staff members usually are not even aware that the foods they serve contain these ingredients and the impact it can have on many people.

What symptoms can you feel from eating MSG?

Symptoms will vary from person to person. Also, some people are more sensitive to MSG than others.

The most common mild symptoms you could experience (and not even know it was a food sensitivity to MSG) include:

  • Itching of the skin, hives, reddish bumps
  • Swelling and itchiness of the lips, mouth or scratchy throat
  • Belly cramps
  • Diarrhea
  • Runny or stuffy nose
  • Itchy and watery eyes

Other more severe symptoms include:

  • Nausea
  • Rapid heart palpitations
  • Swelling, burning sensation and stiffness at the back of the neck and radiating down the arms and chest
  • Tingling and numbness
  • Headaches/ Migraines
  • Vomiting
  • Shortness of breath
  • Tightness in the chest
  • Feeling of choking in the throat
  • Feeling dizzy or light headed

These symptoms tend to flare up instantly within 2-3 minutes for those who are
extremely sensitive and some might feel the effect in 20 minutes after ingestion. Some delayed reactions can come to your attention 3 hours later depending on the sensitivity of the person.

The only sure way to avoid any exposure to MSG is to eat fresh and bring homemade food or to eat from a reputable clean source that you know would not use any preservatives, packaged or processed foods.

One big gold star for healthy, unprocessed whole foods, and a scathing X for MSG! After undressing MSG, we discovered it does NOT look good naked… at all!

Have you ever experienced an MSG reaction or symptom that you want to share? We want to hear your experiences with MSG! Please share these below in the comment section.

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