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No More MSG: The Dangerous
Food Additive You Must Live Without
March 12

No MSG Monosodium Glutamate

To create and sustain health, feeding the body properly is absolutely essential – which is why I advise my patients to eliminate all processed foods. Why is this so critically important? Because virtually all processed foods are loaded with bad-for-the-body additives that wreak havoc on your health. Topping the charts of dangerous additives is the deservedly maligned MSG, (monosodium glutamate), a known carcinogen, endocrine disrupter and killer of brain cells, which may also be linked to the development of cardiac problems, kidney problems, neurological disorders, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and Lou Gehrig’s disease to name a few. Any wonder why feel I must spread the word on this devastating toxin millions of people eat every day?

To follow are a few key points everyone needs to know about MSG – which I hope will inspire you to jettison the stuff from your pantry, fridge and ultimately, your life:

Not Feeling So Good?

Processed foods fill the body with additives. Whole foods don’t. MSG, which is found in an estimated 80% of processed foods, sets off a variety of adverse reactions such as skin rashes, headaches, moodiness, irritability, IBS, heart palpitations, depression and more, depending on your tolerance. How fast and hard you get hit by these problems depends on your ability to tolerate it, but regardless, eating foods laced with MSG are devastating to your organs. In short, MSG has the ability to make people feel lousy in the short term and potentially, very, very sick in the long-term. Whole, unprocessed foods have the opposite effect. The choice is yours.

Do It Yourself

The simplest way to keep MSG off your plate? Cook for yourself. Keep restaurant meals to a minimum and eliminate processed foods. In other words, take control of your ingredients and what goes on your plate. Most restaurant meals are flavor “enhanced” with MSG, as are virtually all processed foods, so the more you cook for yourself, the fewer additives you’ll be dumping into your bloodstream. Assemble your meals from fresh, whole foods, veggies and fruits, unprocessed and uncut to ensure you’re eating MSG-free.

What Did You Say Your Name Was?

Chances are, if you saw MSG on the label, you’d put it right back on the shelf and keep walking. Food processers know this, so it’s rare that you’ll see the actual phrase “MSG” on a label. Instead, they hide the evidence by making MSG difficult to identify. Also known as glutamate (the chemical in monosodium glutamate), MSG often lurks behind murky phrases like “natural ingredients,” “natural seasonings, ” “natural flavors,” or specific ones that don’t easily reveal the presence of MSG, such as maltodextrin, gelatin, glutamic acid, citric acid, hydrolyzed yeast, protein isolate, textured protein, hydrolyzed protein, hydrolyzed vegetable protein (HVP), soy protein extract, autolyzed plant protein, autolyzed yeast, yeast extract, sodium caseinate, calcium caseinate  and modified corn starch to name a few. As the FDA doesn’t consider glutamate hazardous to eat, it’s easy for food processors to blur the presence of MSG, making it nearly impossible for the average consumer to recognize.

“No Added MSG” Doesn’t Mean MSG-free

Even more absurd is the loophole that allows processed foods to be marked “no added MSG,” or “contains no MSG,” even though they still contain glutamate, the chemical in MSG. While it may seem like hair-splitting, the phrases “no added MSG,” “contains no MSG,” and even “MSG-free” are by no means a guarantee that glutamate isn’t in the processed foods you buy. Even some processed organic foods are guilty of hiding the nasty stuff. In many cases, a close label-reading will turn up glutamate here too, so my advice is to skip all processed foods, organic or otherwise.

Shop Like A Sleuth

If you must eat the occasional processed food, look for items with no more than 3-to-5 ingredients on the label, and be sure each ingredient is an actual food or specific spice, not a blend of chemical additives. Also, when you go to the supermarket, take along a copy of Truth In Labeling’s comprehensive guide to the names of ingredients that contain MSG. You can download a PDF from www.truthinlabeling.org/hiddensources_printable.pdf . For a more in-depth examination of MSG’s impact on your health, take a look at Dr. Russell Blaylock’s excellent book ‘Excitotoxins – The Taste That Kills’ – you’ll never look at processed foods the same way again!

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  • http://www.facebook.com/people/RIchard-Feinman/100002248386290 RIchard Feinman

    You cannot live without glutamate. Although most comes from protein — almost every protein you eat has glutamate — although some foods have free glutamate.

  • LucyDog

    Your article is quite interesting. Please can you provide sources for what you say about MSG being a carcinogen, etc? Many thanks.

  • Anonymous

    Some of your shake ingredients include “natural flavors” & “natural vanilla flavor”. Truth In Labeling’s list includes that as something that might be MSG. I’m curious how you manufacture processed shakes without MSG?

  • laurie

    An excellent iPhone app that allows consumers to avoid all MSG ingredients is called NxtNutrio. Simply set up your profile by turning MSG On. Or any of the common allergens…. Scan a products bar code and learn which products are free of MSG and which products contain MSG and it’s many derivatives…there are approx. 45+ different ingredient names for processed free glutamic acid (MSG). NxtNutrio also alerts consumers of other questionable ingredients…

  • laurie

    MSG or processed free glutamic acid is not the same as unadulterated glutamate, which is a “protein building” non-essential amino acid that is found in nature. Glutamate occurs naturally in many foods such as raw peas, tomatoes, mushrooms, cheese and meats… If you’re eating foods containing protein you are certain to ingest glutamate. This unadulterated–or natural–form found in foods is not the problem. Rather, the pure synthetic crystalline MSG, or processed free glutamic acid which is added to create processed foods that is to blame and causes health issues.

  • Laurie

    There are protein powders that do not contain not natural flavors, and all of the other MSG type ingredients… You can find them at Co-ops and Whole foods market… Always avoid natural flavors they are no benefit to our well being…

  • laurie

    oopsa… placed 2 not near natural flavors… no editing on this one available

  • http://katrinevanwyk.com Katrine van Wyk

    Thank you for sharing Laurie. That sounds like a great tool for navigating the supermarket!
    - Katrine, Be Well Team

  • Anonymous

    Thank you for sharing Laurie. That sounds like a great tool for navigating the supermarket!
    - Katrine, Be Well Team

  • Skeptic

    Source? Can you explain the specific mechanism by which this happens?

  • John Benedict

    While I am not saying it is good for you (or indifferent – I am merely trying to do research on the topic) why is it that I have just read through 5 or 6 different sites that tell me that there is NO evidence that MSG is a carcinogen and then I come on here and you say it is a know carcinogen. How am I supposed to make a decision on what I eat if no one seems to know the truth.

  • Antoinette

    I have been plagued with medical problems that doctors have not been able to help me with for the past 3 years. Heart palpitations, migraine headaches to name a few. It was so severe that I could not work. After seeing every specialist, I started writing down everything I ate. My horrible symptoms occurred after I ate. Doing research it was from excitotoxins that where secretly lurking in my food. I now eat fresh, and am healthy again. There is no research because who is going to do it? Companies that are making millions in profits from putting it in? Believe me I was a skeptic, but I was tired of being sick. Eat fresh!

  • Doomoo

    No sources, just a flat acceptance of a myth – “it’s a known carcinogen” because of the bad press it got during Chinese restaurant syndrome.