If you watch Game of Thrones at all, then you totally got the joke in my title but MSG is no laughing matter. Mono Sodium Glutamate, MSG, was originally developed to induce obesity in laboratory rats! Nowadays it is added to foods under a myriad of different undetectable names to encourage over eating and addictive like behavior around food.
MSG, also known as umami, is that intangible ‘je ne sais quoi’ that makes some food taste oh so good! It is what is known as umami, the ‘fifth taste’, that makes you say “mmmmmh!” and “Please, Sir, may I have another?!” It’s described best as savory. The original four, sweet, sour, bitter, salty are what we grew up learning. Now here comes the fashionably late, umami. There are three umami substances but we will focus on MSG here today. MSG is typically used in Asian, Latin, and Caribbean cuisine and seasonings and it is now found EVERYWHERE including many common fast food chain items, packaged foods, seasonings, salad dressings and the like as well as snacks like chips and canned items like soup and even the good ole’ American hot dog has joined the party! It helps increase the food industry’s bottom line while increasing our bottoms – and not in a good way. As I said before it was originally created to induce obesity in lab rats so that the impact of obesity and all of its effects could be studied. It elicits salivary secretion, enhances appetite, and increases foot palatability.
Some people are uber sensitive to MSG and develop headaches, dizziness, flushing, rashes, asthma attacks, nausea and even neurological symptoms and worse in response to eating it. Studies have even shown alterations in brain structure after low dose MSG ingestion. The rest of us just develop an insatiable appetite. The problem is that it can be called so many different things that detecting it on food labeling is nearly impossible! Here are some examples: autolyzed yeast, hydrolyzed protein, soy protein isolate, and sodium caseinate just to name a few. Oftentimes MULTIPLE different pseudonyms for MSG will be listed on the SAME LABEL so they get you coming and going! You don’t stand a chance!
Happy Healthy Living!
Until next time…
Two Minute Tidbits:
MSG masquerades as many different things with many different names
MSG induces obesity and an increased appetite as well as structural changes in your brain
MSG is also known as umami, the fifth taste, and is found in MANY prepackaged foods, sauces, snacks, and seasonings