Ok, so we’ve all heard claims about how different additives in our food can have undesired effects on our body, some of which have been blamed for making us softer in the middle than we’d like to be. I was always curious about MSG, monosodium glutamate which I was alarmed to find out that it goes by about 15 other common names and is hiding in many things that we eat and has been outright admittedly used by the food industry to make the food we eat more addictive. That couldn’t be….could it? And that MSG is the only way to get a rat to be fat so that we can test it? Well, I called in an investigative reporter I know from another country, so as not to be swayed by our popular culture and our heavy politics to see what she could see. Here are her findings….
Rats are not normally fat. Although this may seem an unimportant fact, unless you have a soft spot for these often disdained rodents, rats are often used by scientists to test new drugs; drugs that need to be tried out first before used on humans to treat diabetes or new weight loss products. When scientists inject the rodents at birth with MSG, like magic, they produce obese test subjects. Because MSG triples the amount of insulin the rat’s pancreas creates, the results are perfect….MSG Treated Rats = Fat Rats. These findings are substantiated in over 100 studies and can be found at the National Library of Medicine, at www.pubmed.com. All you have to do is search under “MSG Obese.”
Childhood obesity is at crises levels in North America, with First Lady Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move initiative committed to bringing attention, awareness and change to this growing problem. This obesity epidemic has led to another crisis, the large increase in Type 2 diabetes in children. People in questioning why, look at sugar and fat as the culprits, as they taste better to the palate, than fruits and vegetables do. A well kept secret, since the late 1970’s, is that food researchers have known that MSG (Monosodium Glutamate) added to virtually all junk foods, is addictive. This “flavor enhancer” is found not only in junk food, but in an enormous range of processed foods as well.
MSG is considered a “natural substance” in the same ways that salt and sugar are. It is derived from seaweed or corn. Healthy, you might think. We are asked to rethink the use of MSG in our foods, it’s story well documented by John Erb, a former researcher at the University of Waterloo in Canada, in his book The Slow Poisoning of America. The fact that MSG appears under many names can lead to confusion, as many of the names sound safe. When you start to look, MSG appears as the terms natural flavouring, hydrolyzed vegetable protein, Accent, Aginomoto, autolyzed yeast extract and natural meat tenderizer. When you look closer, you’ll find it in the coffees you buy at your local coffee shops and it is even injected into our holiday turkeys, to make them plump. Erb encourages us to look closely at a wide range of foods, from Campbell’s Soups, Hostess Doritos, Lays flavoured potato chips, canned gravies and frozen dinners, to Kraft salad dressings. MSG is everywhere; the list is virtually endless.
Dr. George Schwartz in his book, In Bad Taste: The MSG Syndrome Complex, identifies research that links MSG and the dramatic rise in cases of asthma, ADHD, migraines, Parkinson’s disease and heartbeat irregularities. The impact of ingesting MSG is widely acknowledged by many individuals, with symptoms like facial flushing and headaches common, but gastrointestinal symptoms and depression, resulting as well.
The food industry and food processors know the impact MSG has on the human body. The website of the glutamate industry, www.msgfacts.com talks of the positive impact on food consumption in the elderly. “Studies have found that adding MSG to certain foods, such as soup and mashed potatoes has been successful in increasing the food intake of institutionalized elderly populations.” What about the rest of us, especially the children? MSG is even found in weight loss products, so read the labels. If you know someone who has tried to lose weight but couldn’t, even though they hardly eat anything, maybe it is the MSG in the diet foods they are eating.
Curious about how MSG causes obesity? Like aspartame, which is present in many diet foods and diet sodas, it is an excitotoxin. Excitotoxins over excite neurons to the point of cell damage and eventually cell death. Dr. Russsell Blaylock in his book Excitotoxins..The Taste that Kills, reports that in animal studies MSG creates a lesion in the hypothalamus that correlates with abnormal development, including obesity, short stature and sexual reproduction problems. Dr. Blaylock reports that “one can only wonder if the large number of people having difficulty with obesity in the United States is related to early exposure to food additive excitotoxins, since this obesity is one of the most consistent features of the syndrome. One characteristic of obesity induced by excitotoxins is that it doesn’t appear to depend on food intake. This could explain why some people cannot diet away their obesity. It is ironic that so many people drink soft drinks sweetened with NutraSweet® when aspartate can produce the exact same lesions as glutamate, resulting in gross obesity. The actual extent of MSG induced obesity in the human population is unknown.”
For those who argue that they are faithfully exercising, which might in itself ensure weight loss, think again. The belief in the “calories in – calories out theory”, that when you expend more calories than you ingest you will lose weight, is also debunked by Dr. Blaylock. “This MSG – induced obesity was characterized by a preference for carbs and an aversion for more nutritious foods, just as we are witnessing in our youth. Also, excess weight was extremely difficult to exercise off or diet off in these experimental animals.”
MSG is virtually everywhere in processed foods and is generously used in restaurants. Even those of us who are overly conscious about what we eat, may be challenged to escape it. The best way is to stay away from packaged and processed foods. In restaurants it becomes more of a challenge as restaurant personnel when questioned, aren’t always sure or even educated about where MSG might be hiding. Remember, just because a restaurant says that they do not add MSG, it is almost always lurking in the soup and sauce bases that they purchase from manufacturers.
Buying fresh foods, fruits and vegetables and eating organic as much as possible is important when committed to managing your health and your weight. Become aware, check labels, especially if you are using weight loss products. With the rise of obesity in North America, a huge market has opened and companies with weight loss products to test, look to the labs and the scientists who know how to create the ideal test subjects…..MSG Treated Rats, because rats aren’t fat without it.
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Thank you Beverley. Ok, well there you have some impartial research. I have to be honest, for the majority of my life I had no interest in MSG one way or the other until I realized that my first son was alergic to it. It would, and still will, turn his lips and mouth bright red if he touched it (not to mention what it did in his diaper). I started wondering how good something like that could really be for you and me and, well one thing led to another and it turned out to be blamed for obesity.
Now I do have something to say about that. I am not of the belief that we can blame our obesity on anything other than our poor decisions, whether intentional or not, but I am also a big believer in having awareness in that which does not serve to make us better. I mean cigarettes and glue sniffing may not make me fat, but I still know they aren’t good for me…you know, I think that’s right about where I would place MSG; somewhere between cigarettes and fried twinkies. Now what do you want to bet those twinkies have MSG.
What’s in your house that has MSG? Take a look….it’s everywhere.
Leave a comment naming the closest MSG laden product within your reach.
Bet ya we can stack up a pretty big list.
Be well…or at least try your best.