MSG is one of the most toxic food additives hidden in a variety of processed foods we have access to today, especially Chinese food. Unfortunately, this neurotoxin that is used to enhance the flavour of cheaply made foods is highly addictive, and leaves you coming back for more.
What is Monosodium Glutamate (MSG)?
MSG is a food additive that is made up of mostly glutamic acid and sodium, containing up to 1% contaminants. If you were to take a spoonful of MSG and eat it, it wouldn’t taste like much. However, when you combine MSG with the food you are eating, a reaction occurs that makes you think the food you’re eating tastes better. How does it do this? Well, it “tricks” our tongue into triggering the fifth taste called umami.
Umami is tasted when we consume foods with glutamate, which includes the highly toxic MSG compound, as well as the savoury flavour found in bacon and Japanese foods.
Dangers of MSG
“Toxic food additive” should be a good enough description to keep you away from MSG for good, but if you need more convincing, then please, read on. Although the FDA claims MSG to be “generally safe” and that consuming it doesn’t cause these effects, many studies and health professionals have proved otherwise.
Science is now proving that MSG is a dangerous food additive, and that we should try and avoid it at all costs. It has been linked with obesity, brain lesions and other disturbances of the endocrine system. Dr. Russell Blaylock, neurosurgeon and author of “Excitotoxins: The Taste that Kills,” did an interview with Natural News, explaining that MSG is an excitotoxin, meaning that it overexcites our brain cells to the point of death, causing brain damage and leading to neurodegenerative diseases like MS, Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s disease.
MSG also triggers problematic conditions like asthma, depression, obesity, diabetes, and heart irregularities. In reference to heart conditions, many glutamate receptors are found in the heart muscle as well as the heart’s electrical conduction system, according to Dr. Blaylock. This means that when you consume MSG you are overexciting the heart muscle and electrical system, which can be very damaging to the heart, and may even trigger sudden death.
According to the FDA, MSG can also trigger side effects like headaches, chest pain and heart palpitations, nausea and vomiting, excessive sweating and flushing, facial numbness, obesity, eye damage, fatigue and disorientation, facial pressure or tightness, and difficulty breathing.
Hidden Sources of MSG
If a food is processed, you can be safe to assume that it contains MSG (in some form or another). Sticking to a whole foods, plant-based diet can help reduce your chances of consuming this toxin. If you choose to eat out at restaurants, ask the server what foods contain MSG, and then request that no MSG be added to your food.
You also need to look out for MSG labelled under different names like glutamate, glutamic acid, gelatine, calcium caseinate, textured protein, monopotassium glutamate, sodium caseinate, yeast nutrient, yeast extract, yeast food, autolyzed yeast, hydrolyzed protein, hydrolyzed corn gluten and natrium glutamate.
In fact, MSG hides in over 40 FDA-approved ingredients, many of them contained under the label “spices” or “flavourings.” For a more extensive list of MSG-containing ingredients, Truth In Labelling has a pretty fantastic chart!