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Monosodium Gluatamate (MSG): This Common Food Additive Now Linked to Weight Gain

June 16, 2011 | 93,841 views
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food with msgThe food additive monosodium glutamate (MSG) could lead to obesity. Recent research found that people who eat more MSG are more likely to be overweight or obese. What's more, the link between high MSG intake and being overweight held even after accounting for the total number of calories people ate.

MSG is a widely used food additives. It is often present in processed foods although it is frequently not clearly labeled.

Reuters reports:

"In the latest research ... [scientists] followed more than 10,000 adults in China for about 5.5 years on average. The researchers measured MSG intake directly by before-and-after weighing of products, such as bottles of soy sauce, to see how much people ate ... Men and women who ate the most MSG (a median of 5 grams a day) were about 30 percent more likely to become overweight by the end of the study".

What Are GMOs?

From April 19th through April 25th we launch GMO Awareness Week. We set aside an entire week dedicated to providing you with information on GMOs and labeling initiatives.

GMOs are a product of genetic engineering, meaning their genetic makeup has been altered to induce a variety of “unique” traits to crops, such as making them drought-resistant or giving them “more nutrients.” GMO proponents claim that genetic engineering is “safe and beneficial,” and that it advances the agricultural industry. They also say that GMOs help ensure the global food supply and sustainability. But is there any truth to these claims? I believe not. For years, I've stated the belief that GMOs pose one of the greatest threats to life on the planet. Genetic engineering is NOT the safe and beneficial technology that it is touted to be.

Help Support GMO Labeling

The Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA)—Monsanto’s Evil Twin—is pulling out all the stops to keep you in the dark about what’s in your food. For nearly two decades, Monsanto and corporate agribusiness have exercised near-dictatorial control over American agriculture. For example, Monsanto has made many claims that glyphosate in Roundup is harmless to animals and humans. However, recently the World Health Organization (WHO) had their research team test glyphosate and have labeled it a probable carcinogen.

Public opinion around the biotech industry's contamination of our food supply and destruction of our environment has reached the tipping point. We're fighting back. That's why I was the first to push for GMO labeling. I donated a significant sum to the first ballot initiative in California in 2012, which inspired others to donate to the campaign as well. We technically "lost the vote, but we are winning the war, as these labeling initiatives have raised a considerable amount of public awareness.

The insanity has gone far enough, which is why I encourage you to boycott every single product owned by members of the GMA, including natural and organic brands. More than 80 percent of our support comes from individual consumers like you, who understand that real change comes from the grassroots.

Thankfully, we have organizations like the Organic Consumers Association (OCA) to fight back against these junk food manufacturers, pesticide producers, and corporate giants.

Internet Resources Where You Can Learn More

Together, Let's Help OCA Get The Funding They Deserve

Let’s Help OCA get the funding it deserves. I have found very few organizations who are as effective and efficient as OCA. It’s a public interest organization dedicated to promoting health justice and sustainability. A central focus of the OCA is building a healthy, equitable, and sustainable system of food production and consumption. That's why I'm proud to announce I will be matching donations up to $250,000 this week.

Please make a donation to help OCA fight for GMO labeling.


Donate Today!

What Are GMOs?

From April 19th through April 25th we launch GMO Awareness Week. We set aside an entire week dedicated to providing you with information on GMOs and labeling initiatives.

GMOs are a product of genetic engineering, meaning their genetic makeup has been altered to induce a variety of “unique” traits to crops, such as making them drought-resistant or giving them “more nutrients.” GMO proponents claim that genetic engineering is “safe and beneficial,” and that it advances the agricultural industry. They also say that GMOs help ensure the global food supply and sustainability. But is there any truth to these claims? I believe not. For years, I've stated the belief that GMOs pose one of the greatest threats to life on the planet. Genetic engineering is NOT the safe and beneficial technology that it is touted to be.

Help Support GMO Labeling

The Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA)—Monsanto’s Evil Twin—is pulling out all the stops to keep you in the dark about what’s in your food. For nearly two decades, Monsanto and corporate agribusiness have exercised near-dictatorial control over American agriculture. For example, Monsanto has made many claims that glyphosate in Roundup is harmless to animals and humans. However, recently the World Health Organization (WHO) had their research team test glyphosate and have labeled it a probable carcinogen.

Public opinion around the biotech industry's contamination of our food supply and destruction of our environment has reached the tipping point. We're fighting back.  That's why I was the first to push for GMO labeling. I donated a significant sum to the first ballot initiative in California in 2012, which inspired others to donate to the campaign as well. We technically "lost the vote, but we are winning the war, as these labeling initiatives have raised a considerable amount of public awareness.

The insanity has gone far enough, which is why I encourage you to boycott every single product owned by members of the GMA, including natural and organic brands. More than 80 percent of our support comes from individual consumers like you, who understand that real change comes from the grassroots.

Thankfully, we have organizations like the Organic Consumers Association (OCA) to fight back against these junk food manufacturers, pesticide producers, and corporate giants.

Internet Resources Where You Can Learn More

Together, Let's Help OCA Get The Funding They Deserve

Let’s Help OCA get the funding it deserves. I have found very few organizations who are as effective and efficient as OCA. It’s a public interest organization dedicated to promoting health justice and sustainability. A central focus of the OCA is building a healthy, equitable, and sustainable system of food production and consumption. That's why I'm proud to announce I will be matching donations up to $250,000 this week.

Please make a donation to help OCA fight for GMO labeling.


Donate Today!

 

Dr. Mercola's Comments:

Monosodium glutamate (MSG), a flavor enhancer, is most often associated with Chinese food, but it's actually in countless processed food products ranging from frozen dinners and salad dressing to snack chips and meats. As Ka He, lead author of this latest study, told Reuters,

"Everybody eats it." This could spell trouble for many Americans, as aside from impacting your brain and nervous system, as I'll discuss below, it may also be making you fat.

You're More Likely to be Overweight if You Eat a Lot of MSG

After analyzing MSG intake and weight gain among more than 10,000 Chinese adults, researchers found that those who ate the most MSG (about 5 grams a day) were about 30 percent more likely to become overweight than those who ate the least (less than a half-gram a day).

The researchers speculated that the hormone leptin may be involved in the weight gain, as those who consumed more MSG also produced more leptin. They noted that MSG consumption may cause leptin resistance. The way your body stores fat is a highly regulated process that is controlled, primarily, by leptin. If you gain excess weight, the extra fat produces extra leptin that should alert your brain that your body is storing too much fat and needs to not only stop storing anymore, but also burn off the excess.

To do this, signals are sent to your brain to stop being hungry and to stop eating.

It is very important that your brain is able to accurately "hear" the messages leptin sends it, as otherwise you will continue to feel hungry and will likely continue to eat and store more fat. Leptin resistance occurs when your body is unable to properly hear leptin's signals, which means your body can no longer hear the messages telling it to stop eating and burn fat -- so it remains hungry and stores more fat.

This will not only contribute to your weight gain, but also increase your risk of many chronic illnesses, as leptin plays a significant, if not primary, role in heart disease, obesity, diabetes, osteoporosis, autoimmune diseases, reproductive disorders, and perhaps the rate of aging itself. How does this all happen? By overexposure to high levels of the hormone, which is triggered by the typical American diet full of sugar, refined grains, and processed foods -- including those that contain MSG.

Animal studies have also shown that dietary MSG induces markers of insulin resistance, while prior research by Ka He and colleagues found the additive may increase your likelihood of being overweight by three-fold.

MSG May Kill Your Brain Cells

Dr. Russell Blaylock, a retired board-certified neurosurgeon and author of Excitotoxins: The Taste that Kills, explains that MSG is an excitotoxin, which means it overexcites your cells to the point of damage or death, causing brain damage to varying degrees -- and potentially even triggering or worsening learning disabilities, Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease, Lou Gehrig's disease and more.

Part of the problem is that free glutamic acid (MSG is approximately 78 percent free glutamic acid) is the same neurotransmitter that your brain, nervous system, eyes, pancreas and other organs use to initiate certain processes in your body.

Although the FDA continues to claim that consuming MSG in food does not cause these ill effects, many other experts say otherwise.

According to Dr. Blaylock, numerous glutamate receptors have been found both within your heart's electrical conduction system and the heart muscle itself. This can be damaging to your heart, and may even explain the sudden deaths sometimes seen among young athletes. He says:

"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."

Eye damage, fatigue, disorientation and depression have all been linked to MSG consumption, and that's not even including the short-term reactions known as MSG Symptom Complex that can occur in certain groups of people, namely those who have eaten "large doses" of MSG or who have asthma. Symptoms related to MSG Symptom Complex may include:

Tingling and numbness Burning sensation Facial pressure or tightness
Chest pain or difficulty breathing Headache Nausea
Rapid heartbeat Drowsiness Weakness

Why is MSG Added to Foods in the First Place?

It's a misconception that MSG is a flavor or "meat tenderizer." In reality, MSG has very little taste at all, yet when you eat MSG, you think the food you're eating has more protein and tastes better. It does this by tricking your tongue, using a little-known fifth basic taste: umami.

Umami is the taste of glutamate, which is a savory flavor found in many Japanese foods, bacon and also in the toxic food additive MSG. It is because of umami that foods with MSG taste heartier, more robust and generally better to a lot of people than foods without it.

The ingredient didn't become widespread in the United States until after World War II, when the U.S. military realized Japanese rations were much tastier than the U.S. versions because of MSG.

How to Identify MSG on Food Labels

Nowadays it's exceedingly difficult to determine if a food contains MSG, even though it's required by the FDA that food manufacturers list the ingredient "monosodium glutamate" on food labels. This is because they do not have to label ingredients that contain free glutamic acid, even though it's the main component of MSG.

The easiest way to avoid MSG is to simply avoid processed foods, fast foods, and restaurant food, its main hideouts. But in the event you need to check a label, here's an MSG "cheat sheet" that can help you identify it.

These ingredients contain MSG:

Autolyzed Yeast Calcium Caseinate Yeast Food 
Glutamate Glutamic Acid Hydrolyzed Protein
Monopotassium Glutamate Monosodium Glutamate Sodium Caseinate
Textured Protein Yeast Extract
Yeast Nutrient

These ingredients can OFTEN contain MSG or create MSG during processing:

Flavors and Flavorings Seasonings Natural Flavors and Flavorings Natural Pork Flavoring Natural Beef Flavoring
Natural Chicken Flavoring Soy Sauce Soy Protein Isolate Soy Protein Bouillon
Stock Broth Malt Extract Malt Flavoring Barley Malt
Anything Enzyme Modified Carrageenan Maltodextrin Pectin Enzymes
Protease Corn Starch Citric Acid Powdered Milk Anything Protein Fortified
Anything Ultra-Pasteurized Gelatin

If you'd like to avoid eating MSG, but believe it's next to impossible to eat nowadays without processed foods, the tips in this article will help you whip up a healthful meal from scratch in the same amount of time it would have taken you to drive down the street to pick up fast food.

Of course, you'll be far more satisfied when you eat your home-cooked meal, both physically and mentally, and the great flavor you'll enjoy will come from its fresh ingredients and natural seasonings -- not a chemical flavor "enhancer" like MSG.


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