In our busy world, cooking meals from scratch isn’t always feasible, so we tend to rely on fast foods or store bought prepared meals that can be heated quickly. However, if you read the ingredients labels you will find a class of chemicals listed that are slowly destroying your brain and health. This is Monosodium Glutamate (MSG).
MSG is a form of glutamic acid, which is one of many amino acids that are a necessary component of proteins. It is found naturally in many foods such as tomatoes, milk, mushrooms, and can be found in the cells of your body. Besides being used as a building block for proteins, it is also used by the brain as a neurotransmitter. These are chemicals used by the nerve system to transmit signals through the nerves. When we ingest glutamic acid from natural sources, it is digested in your intestines and delivered throughout your body to be used harmlessly.
MSG is different. It is created in factories and the end result is a product that cannot be used by the body. The reason it is put in our foods is because it acts as a flavor enhancer. Processed foods are so over-processed that they have very little flavor. MSG fools the brain into thinking you actually taste more than is really there so the processed foods become more delectable. But if this were the only thing MSG did, then there wouldn’t be a problem. Unfortunately, this is not the only thing the processed form of glutamic acid does.
MSG belongs to a class of compounds called excitotoxins, which stimulate nerve cells to fire signals at such a rapid rate that they become completely exhausted, and several hours later, they die. Nerve cells cannot be replaced once they die and in time the body functions begin to break down as your nerve system (your operating system) begins to decline.
Many people think that MSG is not bothering them because they don’t get the headaches that exposure to MSG is known for. However, whether or not they experience headaches, everyone who eats MSG will have nerve damage. Russell Blaylock, MD states that you can lose 90% of your nerve functions before you even notice it (Excitotoxins: The Taste That Kills).
MSG also causes nausea, diarrhea, abdominal cramps and bloating, irregular heartbeats, high blood pressure, depression and mood changes, dizziness and seizures, fibromyalgia, blurred vision, chronic fatigue, shortness of breath or asthma, swelling in the hands and feet, tingling in the extremities, hyperactivity and behavioral problems, skin rashes and itching, difficulty in concentrating and poor memory, and even more. It also stimulates the hunger centers of the brain to make you want to eat more, and therefore it contributes to weight gain.
When these symptoms become pronounced, people end up going to the doctor thinking that they are sick with something. However, no one makes the connection that it’s the diet that’s making them ill. Then they end up being treated with dangerous pharmaceuticals that may not be needed if they only change their eating habits.
Now, don’t be fooled by packaging that says it’s MSG free. It comes in many forms, such as: hydrolyzed soy or corn protein, hydrolyzed yeast extract, yeast extract, autolyzed yeast, sodium caseinate, textured soy protein, whey protein, monopotassium glutamate, calcium glutamate, gelatin, maltodextrin, and more. To see a complete list of forms of MSG you can go to http://www.truthinlabeling.org/hiddensources.html .
So what is a person to do? For one, read labels. Take the time at the store to read what’s in the packages you’re buying. Your best bet is to buy items listed as organic. These products often have the best ingredients. Two, make your own meals. Take the time to plan ahead and make extra. There’s nothing wrong with leftovers during the week when you’ve had a long day at the office. And three, avoid fast foods as much as possible. Too many people rely on a quick meal from a fast food restaurant but these foods are loaded with additives. Pack a lunch, not only will you have a better quality of food, but you will probably save money too since eating out gets expensive.
Eating healthier takes effort. It’s too easy to rely on stuff that someone else made for you. But if you take the time, you will reap the rewards with better health.