Aahh good old MSG. We were outraged when we heard that Chinese Restaurant owners were adding it to their food as a flavour enhancer, because how dare they?! Compromise our health just to make their food taste good?
Way to create a scapegoat, then brush the issue under the table.
Before I go into any detail, the other pressing issue about MSG 621 is that you can have a product that happily advertises that it is free of the dreaded MSG, but it is laden with its equally toxic cousins (620, 622, 623, 624, 625, 627, 631, 635). So it’s advisable to read the ingredients list, closely.
Now, let’s figure out exactly what MSG is. I found this definition from www.msgmyth.com – “Glutamic acid is just one of many amino acids that are the building blocks of proteins. It occurs naturally in many foods such as tomatoes, milk, and mushrooms. It is also found in the cells of our bodies, including mothers’ milk, and involves a wide variety of brain functions since it acts as a neurotransmitter. This natural glutamate in plants and animals is known as L-glutamic acid. Our normal digestive process slowly breaks down this natural or bound glutamic acid and it is eventually delivered to glutamate receptors in our body and brain. Broken down this natural way, it is harmless.”
Does that make sense? In its purest form, our bodies need Glutamic Acid for a variety of important uses, AND it breaks down naturally too without harming us.
In the lab, the naturally occurring Glutamic Acid in certain foods (corn, wheat, yeast, etc) is broken down by any number of processes, including – hydrolyzing, autolyzing, or fermenting with strong chemicals, bacteria or enzymes. The breakdown process produces a free glutamic acid (as opposed to the bound glutamic acid found in nature) excreted from bacteria from whatever food it was first extracted from. That’s where the issues are.
Sodium is added to make a substance that is much more soluble, and therefore usable. And the finished product is MSG. This finished product is comprised of L-glutamic acid, D-glutamic acid, pyroglutamic acid, known carcinogens, as well as other chemicals and contaminants. “Keep in mind, D-glutamic acid is rarely found in nature, and never in the natural foods we eat.” (msgmyth.com)
Still with me? Bound glutamic acid is taken from foods, chemically altered, salt is added, and it’s ready to go as Monosodium Glutamate.
Now, this free glutamic acid is tricky, because it can be added to different things and appear on our ingredients labels in many, many ways: hydrolysed protein, autolysed yeast, yeast extract, calcium caseinate, maltodextrin, citric acid, whey protein, soy protein, etc. Natural yeast is being chemically processed in order to isolate more free glutamic acid. Your label may say “NO MSG”, but it will say yeast extract, or autolysed yeast. We think we’re doing the right thing, and companies are sitting back and laughing.
How are you going? Ready to keep reading? Let’s try to understand what free glutamic acid does to our precious bodies…
The list of symptoms is practically endless. You would think you had any number of illnesses or diseases before you pinned it on a simple dietary issue.
The big one for me, being a mother, is that it creates hyperactivity, attention and learning difficulties in children – which can often end in an ADD or ADHD diagnosis. Sue Dengate, from Fed Up With Food Additives, has written extensively about the effects of additives on people (especially children) and the remarkable turnaround in behaviour once the offending “foods” are omitted. Her followers have said first hand that their children have no longer needed their medication after following her advice. I’m not saying it’ll definitely work, but it’s definately worth checking out.
Symptoms of a reaction to free glutamic acid can be anything ranging from migranes, sleeping disorders, and lethargy, to chest pains, irritable bowl, and rashes/lesions. And everything in between. Ever wondered why you’re feeling so tired and moody all the time when you’re a relatively healthy person? You might walk each day, drink plenty of water, eat relatively healthy foods, then consider giving up because you’re still exhausted… msgmyth.com has a HUGE list of possible symptoms.
I am going to make a downloadable list of as many hidden names I can find that contain free glutamic acid, so bear with me there J
And now, I will start a list of regular everyday products that contain MSG and all his friends. Every time I add something to the list, I’ll let you know on our facebook page.
THE NAUGHTY LIST
Bear in mind, this is just listing the free glutamic acid related ingredients. I'm not even mentioning the added colours and preservatives!! I best be making a master list...
- Vegemite (you heard!!) - yeast extract, malt extract.
- Continental chicken powdered stock - milk derivative, maltodextrin, yeast extract, 635, wheat starch, spice extract... yuk!
- Cotinental beef powedered stock - maltodextrin, yeast extract, wheat derivative, 635, 627.
- Captains Table Water Crackers - wheat gluten.
Stay tuned, I will defintely post more as I investigate!!