Hidden Toxin in Food

By Nonna Joann • Apr 23rd, 2009 • Category: Horrible Foods

delphine2.jpgNot the First to Deceive
Initially, trans fat was touted as a healthy alternative to other fats! For years, products with trans fat, like margarine, were thought to be a healthy choice. After 30 years of pressure, the FDA finally admitted that trans fat is harmful to health. Trans fat wasn’t always identified, but lumped together on nutrition labels with other fats.

The years of controversy ended with consumers being warned of the many dangers. Today, trans fat is being replaced, primarily because the consumer is aware. Nutrition labeling must list trans fat as an ingredient (at least when it contains over a half a gram per serving).

We have a similar situation with the additive monosodium glutamate or MSG. The web is full of sites proclaiming the safety of MSG. It’s common to read statements like this one, “One food ingredient that is commonly on the receiving end of bad press is monosodium glutamate or MSG. However this is unfounded. Monosodium glutamate can be safely used to add flavor and appeal to foods, and even to reduce sodium levels in foods.”

Delphine reacts to the mere mention of MSG.

MSG the Flavor that Kills
Is MSG is receiving bad press or is there something to the claims? MSG is the salt of glutamate. A “salt” is the chemical name for a molecule held together by opposite charges. MSG does not have a distinct taste of its own. It adds flavor to other foods. It’s believed that MSG stimulates glutamate receptors in the tongue to enhance meat-like flavors.

Glutamate is an “s” neurotransmitter commonly found in the brain and spinal cord. So far, so good, but when their concentrations rise above a critical level they become deadly toxins to the neurons containing glutamate receptors. Not so good.

Perhaps the most well-known work about MSG is the book, “Excitotoxins: The Taste that Kills” by Dr. Russell Blaylock, a board-certified neurosurgeon.

Blaylock explains, “Excessive glutamate will not only kill the neurons with the receptors for glutamate, but it will also kill any neuron that happens to be connected to it, even if that neuron uses another type of transmitter. Both glutamate and aspartate can cause neurons to become extremely excited and if given in large enough doses, they can cause the cells to degenerate and die. It is for this reason that the nervous system carefully controls the concentration of these two amino acids in the fluid surrounding the neurons (called the extracellular space). Even small doses can damage these neurons without actually killing them. Within 15-30 minutes after being exposed to high doses of MSG, neurons suspended in tissue culture are seen to ’swell’ like balloons. Within 3 hours those neurons are not only dead, but the body’s defense mechanism begins to haul away the debris.”

As Baylock mentions, there is another common excitotoxic substance in addition to MSG, it’s Aspartame, sold as Nutrasweet®. Aspartame has been scientifically linked to brain tumors, brain cell damage, and neurological conditions such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease. Aspartame is found in low-calorie foods and soft drinks.

Children Should NEVER Consume Aspartame or MSG
Some people immediately experience headaches, numbness, pressure in the chest, etc. after eating Chinese food (usually containing MSG) or consuming a product with MSG. It’s easy to believe this is a just a sensitivity or allergic reaction and MSG affects only a few people. It’s not true. This is a toxic reaction occurring in virtually everyone, with some people experiencing outward symptoms.

MSG a Hidden Food Ingredient
There’s a lack of government regulation concerning MSG. It can take a detective to find it in processed foods. Unlike trans fat, which now must be labeled, MSG is a hidden ingredient in various additives with numerous names.

There are some food additives which ALWAYS contain MSG: Monosodium Glutamate, Hydrolyzed Vegetable Protein, Hydrolyzed Protein, Hydrolyzed Plant Protein, Plant Protein Extract, Sodium Caseinate, Calcium Caseinate, Yeast Extract, Textured Protein (Including TVP), Autolyzed Yeast, Hydrolyzed Oat Flour, Corn Oil, Malt Extract, Malt Flavoring, Bouillon, Broth, Stock, Flavoring, Natural Flavors/Flavoring (may contain up to 20 percent MSG!), Natural Beef or Chicken Flavoring, Seasoning, Spices.

The short list to avoid is products with these ingredients: monosodium glutamate (MSG), caseinate, hydrolyzed (anything), flavoring, or bouillon.

If you eat out, you’re most likely eating MSG. It’s in most fast food (most dipping sauces), soups, and salad dressings. It’s in Ramen noodles and instant soup mixes, Jello®, Accent®, Doritos®, Cheetos®, and items with cheese powder. This is just the tip of the iceberg of products containing MSG.  For a comprehensive list of foods containing MSG, Click Here for MSG Truth.

The best solution for avoiding harmful ingredients is to eat out infrequently and cook at home. I stopped eating fast food a long time ago. The landmine of chemicals in their food is too comprehensive. I just couldn’t keep up. If you have a baby or a toddler, don’t allow them to eat fast food. I know the play areas are fun, but they are a trap. Not only are play areas a breeding ground for germs, but they indoctrinate kids to the fast food lifestyle.

For info about the free Baby Bites Ezine, Click Here.

Listen to today’s podcast, Click Here.

For a synopsis of Baby Bites: Transforming a Picky Eater into a Healthy Eater, Click Here.

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2 comments on »

  1. I’m just shaking my head at this. : (

  2. For my family, when we go out for Chinese food, we go to a restaurant that advertizes no MSG in their foods. They do say the sauces on the side that they don’t make (like the table top soy sauce) may have it… so we just don’t use that stuff.

    As for the happy meal…. that is just SCARY!!!! haven’t eaten at McD’s in a while, and probably never will again now.

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