|The Lounge | Champions | The Wire | Schedule | Audio | Arcade | The Top Ten | Historical | Email | Video|
MSG: If Its Safe, Why Do They Disguise It On Labels?
Monosodium glutamate, commonly known as MSG, was thought of as a "miracle food enhancer" when it was first introduced to the public over five decades ago.
More than just a seasoning like salt and pepper, MSG could actually enhance the flavors of foods, making processed meats and frozen dinners taste fresher and smell better, salad dressings more tasty, and canned foods less tinny.
It wasn't until people started having side effects after eating foods with MSG that some began to question whether this miracle flavoring was too good to be true. Today, many more question its safety, but others insist it's safe.
How Much MSG are Americans Eating?
Americans associate MSG with Chinese food. In fact, MSG Symptom Complex, which the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) identifies as "short-term reactions" to MSG, was for some time (unfairly) referred to in the United States as "Chinese Restaurant Syndrome."
But MSG is in many more foods than Chinese food, and is listed under many other names than MSG. So while many Americans are aware that MSG has been linked to some negative side effects, or have experienced them personally, and believe they are avoiding it in their diets, many have been misled.
Food manufacturers, who realize that many people would prefer NOT to have MSG in their food, have adapted by using so-called "clean labels." These ingredient labels hide MSG under names that consumers won't recognize, such as hydrolyzed soy protein.
Some manufacturers have also gone so far as to list "No MSG," "No Added MSG," or "No MSG Added" on product labels when MSG is still present, but exists only as a constituent in another ingredient!
MSG is Always In:
* Autolyzed yeast
MSG is Often In:
* Barley Malt
What Does the Government Say?
The Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology (FASEB), a group of scientists the FDA asked to review the safety of glutamate, released a report in 1995 that found the following:
* When consumed at usual levels, MSG is safe for the general population.
* No evidence of any connection between MSG and serious long-term reactions.
* No evidence linking dietary MSG or glutamate to Alzheimer's disease, Huntington's disease, or any other long-term or chronic diseases.
* No evidence suggesting that dietary MSG or glutamate causes brain lesions or damage to nerve cells in humans.
However, the study did find that MSG Symptom Complex did occur in some people, particularly those who ate a large dose of MSG and those with severe asthma. According to the FDA, MSG Symptom Complex can result in:
Estimates of just how many Americans are sensitive to MSG vary widely: from 1.8 percent to 50 percent of the population may be affected. However, these estimates may be conservative. Symptoms related to MSG may present immediately or several hours after eating a food, so attributing them to MSG can be difficult.
In terms of labeling requirements, the FDA says that "monosodium glutamate" must be listed on the label only if MSG is added to a food. However, it's misleading for a manufacturer to list "No MSG," or "No Added MSG" on foods if sources of free glutamates, like hydrolyzed protein, exist, they say. Further, items listed as "flavors," "natural flavors," or "flavorings" may not include MSG, hydrolyzed proteins or autolyzed yeast.
The Other Side
Other experts are not so convinced of MSG's safety. For instance, Dr. Russell Blaylock, an author and neurosurgeon, recently explained a link between sudden cardiac death, particularly in athletes, and excitotoxic damage caused by food additives like MSG and artificial sweeteners. Excitotoxins are, according to Dr. Blaylock, "A group of excitatory amino acids that can cause sensitive neurons to die."
Said Dr. Blaylock:
"When an excess of food-borne excitotoxins, such as MSG, hydrolyzed protein soy protein isolate and concentrate, natural flavoring, sodium caseinate and aspartate from aspartame, are consumed, these glutamate receptors are over-stimulated, producing cardiac arrhythmias. When magnesium stores are low, as we see in athletes, the glutamate receptors are so sensitive that even low levels of these excitotoxins can result in cardiac arrhythmias and death."
Further, many consumers have personally experienced the ill effects of MSG, which leave them with a headache, nausea or vomiting after eating MSG-containing foods.
Said Cathy Evans Wisner in her article "The MSG Myth," "I know from personal experience that the chemical is not as harmless as vinegar or salt. When I ingest a fair amount of MSG, I immediately have nausea, stomach cramps, "spaciness," heart palpitations and a "pins-and-needles" headache, followed the next day by lethargy and overall weakness."
Headaches are one of the most commonly reported side effects of MSG, which may occur because it can increase blood flow to the brain. According to Ann Turner, director of the Migraine Action Association, "Food additives can be triggers [for headaches]. MSG, although still not fully understood, may be a culprit ? "
Which Foods Contain MSG?
MSG is much more prevalent than many people realize. Below is a list of some common food items that contain it from MSGTruth.org, but remember to look for the "hidden" MSG names (listed above) on all processed foods you buy.
* The Following McDonald's Items:
Your best bet as a consumer looking to avoid MSG, for whatever your personal reasons may be, is to be diligent in reading processed food labels.
In general, the more highly processed a food is (or the more ingredients listed on its label), the more likely it is to contain MSG. Meanwhile, try to limit the number of processed foods you eat overall and you'll inevitably reduce your chances of eating MSG, too.
From the FREE SixWise.com e-newsletter, the Web's #1 most read newsletter with original articles in all 6 areas of life leading to complete wellness.
National Nutrition Month: Raising a Healthier Generation through Diet, Education - USDA.gov (press release) (blog)
Army researchers return to Norway for nutrition, cold-stress study in Arctic ... - United States Army (press release)
You are Closer to Being Vitamin C Deficient Than You Think
Okay, so you think you are doing pretty well with your diet. You prepare most of your meals at home, don't eat much junk food and aren't a fast food eater only rarely.
I start from the premise that eating instinctively means eating healthily. I strongly believe that the body can transmit to the brain accurate information about its nutritional necessities: a moderate amount of food, and only foods that are beneficial for health.
Alcohol Addiction and Obesity
People who consume too much alcohol have good chance of making it to the Obesity chart. Pure alcohol contains 7 calories per gram.
Alternative Therapies for Acid Reflux Disease
Acid Reflux Disease, or GERD, is a common disease which affects approximately 5-7% of the population. It occurs when acid from the stomach backs up into the esophagus, a long, thin, muscular tube, which connects the mouth and the stomach.
Is It Possible To Follow a Strict Diet Program and Still Have A Normal Lifestyle?
Following a diet program of any sort can sometimes be restricting depending on different circumstances. A Strict diet program can be hard to stick to and the best diet programs are the diet programs that you can definitely stick with for the rest of your life.
Benefits of a Variety of Fruits and Vegetables
We know we need to eat a minimum of 5 servings of fruit and vegetables everyday. Actually now, to prevent cancer, 8 to 13 servings per day are recommended.
Aggressive Behaviour Seems To Be Triggered By Early Age Diet
The fact that diet directly affects behaviour is no news, on the contrary, this reality has been perceived a very long time ago, as the old saying "a man is what he eats" proves. Studies have been performed to ascertain the degree in which this happens.
Calculating Your Calorie Needs
In order to eat fewer calories than you need, you have to determine how many calories you actually need. Adults can calculate their approximate energy needs using the following formula:A.
Good Meal Sizes and Frequency
Meal sizes and frequency are very important. Over the years people are amazed by how much food I eat at work in a day and part of this can probably be explained by decent genetics but more importantly I make sure that I have a higher metabolism by eating more smaller meals.
Omega 3, Close to A Medical Miracle of our Century
OmegaRx Fish Oil, quoted as being close to a Medical Miracle in our Century! Omega 3, The Good Fat, Is on your side, they contribute to your good health. They are also a big part of Dr Barry Sears Zone Diet.
Blueberries: Healthy and Easy on the Tummy After WLS
All of my life I believed the best way to eat blueberries was with a muffin wrapped around them. No way could plain off-the-bush berries taste good.
Turning an Addictive Snack into a Complete Meal
The proliferation of fast food restaurants, convenience stores, and vending machines in virtually every corner of residential America has created a serious nutritional problem. "Snacking" - a harmless-sounding verb that deceptively implies something unobjectionable - has reached addictive proportions[i].
Salads Take Center Stage
The reason I remember the first time I was served a main-course salad, easily 15 years ago, is that it was such a revelation.It was served to a group of us, six or more, in a large shallow wooden bowl and it was full of all kinds of good things; greens, chickpeas, nuts, seeds, sliced chicken breast and a dressing fragrant with fresh tarragon and basil.
Whatever Happened to the Basic Four Food Groups?
What Ever Happened to the Basic FourThe USDA was originally given the conflicting task of educating the public on agricultural matters while simultaneously working with food producers to provide a reliable and consistent food supply. This has, over the course of time, led to our ever evolving dietary guidelines, and yet is the purpose of these guidelines for our health or to sell more food?Would You Believe There Were Once 12 Food Groups?The food guides during the 1930's were heavily influenced by The Great Depression and at that time included 12 separate groups!In 1956 the USDA produced the "Basic Four" food guide.
You Are What You Eat
You really are what you eat. You are also very much affected by the lifestyle you live.
Is Your Food Aging You?
Did you know that the food you eat could be prematurely ageing you? Science has made some amazing discoveries in the last decade in nutrition. We really should be taking note of what we put in our mouth because more than ever, "we are what we eat".
A Heart Healthy Diet Makeover
Heart Disease remains the number one cause of death in the U.S.
Food We Take Determines Our Character
When you take your food next time, take care of the food what you are taking. Because the food you take determines your character.
Good Fats and Bad Fats -- Whats The Difference?
As a low carb dieter, your diet is undoubtedly high in fat. And if you've done research on the different types of fats, you probably heard the two big buzz words surrounding fats today--"good fats" and "bad fats.
Pharmaceutical Grade Fish Oil -- Why Is It Different?
A flood of scientific evidence about fish oil points to a startling conclusion that taking high-dose fish oils, which are very rich in Omega-3 Fatty Acids, helps support a healthy heart, a healthy brain, a healthy immune system, healthy joint movement, healthy kidneys and much more.Each grade of fish oil is distinguished from the other by its purity and concentration of long-chain omega-3 fatty acids.
Section Site Map - Submit News - Feedback - Comments - Advertise with Us
Copyright © 2006 Luminati Inc. All rights reserved.