Thursday, April 05, 2012

Say What?:MSG

From my younger years I always have been careful about this additive but after asking a Dietician at one of my facilities he said it was false it had any side effects...but the research says differently. And when its really rather an unknown issue. Most people say, "what is that?"

What MSG looks like

"Although less than 15 percent of Americans are sensitive to MSG, according to the University of Illinois Medical Center, in those who are sensitive symptoms range from headaches and nausea to heart palpitations and chest pain."

Side effects can include anything from skin rash, nausea, migraine headache, heart irregularities, seizures, and depression. I can personally attest that these are real side effects, whenever I have anything with MSG in it I get a splitting headache, sometimes even migranes.

But many people are totally unaware of what contains MSG though. A quick list includes some chips, frozen meals, canned soups, gravy, soy sauce; specifically Hamburger Helper, Lipton’s Onion Soup Mix, Progresso soups, Campbell’s soups. Additionally a lot of fast food chains use a lot of MSG including McDonald's, Taco Bell, KFC etc. Another huge food type that has MSG in bucket loads is Chinese. So essentially its almost everywhere in prepackaged food.

So just some small side effects, what's the big deal right? Well, as some studies are starting to show there are some serious health risks that are long term and unalterable once the damage has been done. For example testing on mice has started to reveal that obesity and reproductive sterility is common in mice consuming MSG and also in mice that were exposed as infants and fetuses. Also recent research has shown that MSG may act like a 'slow neurotoxin' which can result in dementia in later years.

Obviously its clear intake of MSG needs to be restricted, and of course those who consume a large amount consistently i.e. once a day if not more. But be aware oftentimes products that contain MSG do not mark it as MSG. Other names include,
  • Glutamic Acid
  • Yeast Extract
  • Hydrolyzed Protein
  • Caseinate
  • and they can even name it as Natural Flavors
So check ingredient lists and BE CAREFUL! The best and most thorough way to avoid it is eat healthy and unprocessed food.

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