Tuesday, August 26, 2008


NY Times is reporting a link between the use of MSG and obesity. More on that study here: http://www.nytimes.com/2008/08/26/health/nutrition/26nutr.html?ex=1377403200&en=2c39a29c32506586&ei=5124&partner=permalink&exprod=permalink

The study looked at the link between MSG use in home cooking and obesity in some three villages in southern China. I've never thought to use MSG in my own cooking but I found myself wondering a little more about it and thought I'd share.

Here is a little background about the "anti-appetite-suppressant" from MSGTruth.org. Check it out:

Why do food companies add MSG to foods?

There are several reasons:

MSG tricks your tongue into making you think a certain food is high in protein and thus nutritious. It is not a "meat tenderizer". It is not a "preservative". The food industry is trying to confuse the issue by focusing on the "fifth" taste sense they call umami. Free glutamic acid is detected by the taste buds as a simple way to signal the presence of protein in a food, just as there are fat receptors to detect fats and receptors that sense carbohydrate or sweet flavors. The purpose is to help us discern real food from inedible matter. It changes your perception of not simply taste but the nutritious qualities of what you put into your mouth. However, and here is the main problem with free glutamic acid - It is the very same neurotransmitter that your brain and many organs including your ears, eyes, nervous system and pancreas in your body use to initiate certain processes in your body.

MSG stimulates the pancreas to produce insulin. So many diets these days are concerned about the Glycemic Index of foods and yet none of them address the fact that MSG and free glutamic acid stimulate the pancreas to release insulin when there doesn't even have to be carbohydrates in the food for that insulin to act on. The food industry has found their own "anti-appetite suppressant". It's a convenient way to keep consumers coming back for more. The blood sugar drops because of the insulin flood. And you are hungry an hour later. Sound familiar? The body changes excess glutamate to GABA. GABA may be addictive. It is calming and affects the same receptors in the brain as valium.

Cost. The illusion created by adding MSG to a food product enables the food processor to add LESS real food. The illusion of more protein in a food allows the food producer to put LESS protein in it. The consumer perceives the product - say chicken soup - to have more chicken in it than is actually there.

As always, I am reminded of something Michael Pollan wrote. Something about the U.S. being a nation full of over-fed and under-nourished people. Excluding the Olson twins, of course.

If you want to try and avoid MSG, here are a few foods to steer clean of at restaurants: Chicken, Sausage, Ranch, Parmesan, Gravy, Dipping sauces, Soy sauce... for a comprehensive list check out http://www.msgtruth.org/avoid.htm

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I have not understood, what you mean?