For thousands of years, Japanese cooks have added a special ingredient to their foods to magnify the taste. The ingredient was known as “sea tangle” or Kombu. The problem is not the food in its original state. The problem developed when we learned to isolate chemicals from foods. In 1908, Dr. Kikunae Ikeda discovered the chemical ingredient glutamate, as being responsible for creating the flavor in Kombu. One year later the company Ajinomoto was created to manufacture this product.
It was during the war when American soldiers obtained food rations from Japanese prisoners that a huge difference was noticed in the flavor of their food. In 1948 the Armed Forces gathered together the major food giants of the time and discussed this additive and processed foods in detail.
After World War II, there was a shift in the way Americans ate their food. We became a country seduced by convenience and convenience foods. Due to the enormous improvement in taste, the food industry began doubling the amount of MSG in processed foods in the late 1940’s. In order to boost sales of bland tasting foods, giants of the food industry began adding MSG to their processed products, such as baby foods, canned soups, canned vegetables, chips, breads and crackers. At the time of its discovery it was thought to be a safe product. In the late 1940’s, MSG was produced in the U.S., from corn and wheat gluten. It is currently produced from fermenting sugar beet molasses.
Why You Should Be Concerned About MSG
Consumption of MSG causes numerous side effects, including headaches, migraines, muscle spasms, nausea, rashes, anaphylaxis, seizures, depression and heart irregularities. MSG is known to cause damage to the nervous system. There are in fact whole classes of chemicals that can produce similar damage because they all share one important property, Neurotoxins. When neurons are exposed to these substances, they become very excited and fire impulses very rapidly until they reach a state of extreme exhaustion. (Think brain cells in a blender). Several hours later these neurons suddenly die, as if they were excited to death. As a result, neuroscientists have dubbed this class of chemicals “excitotoxins”. For years it was believed the the blood-brain barrier would prevent harmful substances from entering the interior of the brain, it is however now recognized that many conditions can cause the blood brain barrier to provide insufficient protection. Health conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease, autism, brain injury, brain tumors, heatstroke, hypertension, infections, Lyme disease, stroke, medications, multiple sclerosis and aging can result in impairment of the blood brain barrier. Consuming foods that are chemically altered also endangers the body balance for the blood brain barrier to work effectively. By consuming foods with MSG, blood glutamate levels are higher than they should be, and if the levels remain high, the glutamate will seep into the brain creating or contributing to numerous health problems.
As people become aware of the negative effects of MSG, the food industry bombards us with new name changes for the chemicals we are trying to avoid. The simplest way to avoid MSG is to eat organic foods, avoid all processed foods and read labels. If you do eat processed foods print out the
attached .pdf list of food additives and carry it with you.
Common Names for MSG
Below is a partial list of the most common names for disguised MSG. Also remember that powerful excitotoxins aspartate and L-cysteine are frequently added to foods and according to FDA rules require no labeling at all.
Additives that always contain MSG
Dry milk powder
Dry milk protein
Hydrolyzed corn gluten
Hydrolyzed soy protein
Hydrolyzed wheat protein
Hydrolyzed oat flour
Hydrolyzed plant protein
Hydrolyzed vegetable protein
Plant protein extract
Additives that frequently contain MSG
High Fructose Corn Syrup
Natural chicken flavoring
Natural beef flavoring
Natural pork flavoring
Protein fortified food
Soy protein isolate
Soy protein or soy protein concentrate
Whey protein concentrate
Whey protein isolate
Staying Healthy with Nutrition , Elson Haas M.D.
Excitotoxins-The Taste that Kills-Russell L. Blaylock, M.D.
In Bad Taste: The MSG Syndrome by Dr. George Schwartz