MSG Hidden in Plain Sight

Kevin Bruce

photo: wikipedia

Monosodium Glutamate, aka MSG, is a controversial flavor enhancer said to play a role in a host of physical ailments, behavioral problems and neurological disorders, including migraine headaches, weight gain, asthma attacks, arthritis, depression, ADHD, Parkinson's, skin rashes, seizures and more.

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It was originally used to enhance the flavor of soldier's rations, but is now found in just about every processed food there is. It's a way for food manufacturers to trick your tongue and brain into thinking you're eating protein. It also causes leptin resistance which makes it difficult for the body to know when it's satiated.

And while much research on the side-effects of MSG is based on correlation rather than causation, some things can't be denied. The most important being that MSG is an excitotoxin. It enhances flavor by stimulating certain cells in the brain and this stimulation causes brain cells to begin firing impulses very rapidly. So rapidly that cells become exhausted and die.

Whether you're eating Chinese food from the greasy take out down the street, wining and dining at some downtown e$tabli$hment where the waiter calls you “sir” or just heating up a can of organic soup on the stove, chances are you're taking in higher doses of the stuff than you think.

I mean, with all the bad publicity MSG gets, it's probably not good for business to keep putting it into food where anyone can just flip the product over and see it shining brightly in the list of ingredients. No, that won't do. So food companies started calling it by other names. And not just a couple different names, but a seemingly endless list.

The following substances contain the highest percentage of factory created free glutamate, with MSG containing 78 percent:
MSG
Monosodium Glutamate
Monopotassium Glutamate
Glutamate
Glutamic Acid
Vegetable Protein Extract
Gelatin
Hydrolyzed Vegetable Protein
Hydrolyzed Plant Protein
Sodium Caseinate
Senomyx
Calcium Caseinate
Textured Protein
Yeast Extract
Yeast food or nutrient
Autolyzed Yeast

And these substances contain some factory created free glutamate in varying amounts:
Malted barley
Barley malt
Malt extract or flavoring
Maltodextrin, dextrose, dextrates
Caramel flavoring or coloring
Stock
Broth
Bouillon
Carrageenan
Whey protein or whey
Whey protein isolate or concentrate
Pectin
Protease
Protease enzymes
Lecithin
Amino acids
Natural flavors, flavors, flavoring
Reaction flavors
Natural chicken, beef or bork flavoring or seasoning
Soy sauce or extract
Soy protein
Soy protein isolate or concentrate
Cornstarch
Flowing agents
Wheat, rice, corn or oat Protein
Anything “enriched”
Anything “protein fortified”
Enzyme modified proteins
Ultra-pasteurized dairy products
Fermented proteins
Gluten and gluten flour
Algae, phytoplankton, sea vegetable, wheat or barley grass powders
Modified food starch
Rice syrup or brown rice syrup
Lipolyzed butter fat
Anything reduced or non-fat
corn syrup and corn syrup solids
high fructose corn syrup
Citric acid (when derived from corn)
Milk powder
Dry milk solids
Annatto
Spice
Guar and vegetable gums
Dough conditioners
Yeast nutrients
Protein powders

Quite an exhausting list, am I right? Who can be expected to memorize all this and cross-check every ingredient of every food they buy? Not even the most under-employed of us have time for that. It's not about being a nerd and an annoying shithead blocking traffic at Whole Foods, it's about recognizing that a potentially very dangerous substance is still being fed to us–the amount in food has doubled every decade since it was introduced in the 1940s–only now it's hiding behind a million different names.

And since today is all about reading long ass lists, if you think a little processed food won't hurt you, take a look at the ingredients in $tarbuck's science project commonly known as a spinach feta wrap, which they have the nerve to call healthy. Plenty of GMOs, WTFs and preservatives in there, but the confirmed MSG-containing ingredients are in bold.

wheat wrap, whole wheat flour, enriched wheat flour (wheat flour, malted barley flour, niacin, reduced iron, thiamin mononitrate, riboflavin, folic acid), canola oil, vital wheat gluten, corn starch, oat fiber, soy protein, honey, salt, yeast, monoglycerides, guar gum, dextrose, soybean oil, sesame flour, yeast (inactive), calcium sulfate, calcium propionate, fumaric acid, l-cysteine, fungal amylase, egg white omelet (cage free egg whites, whey powder, unmodified corn starch, nonfat dry milk, salt, butter flavor [sunflower oil, natural flavors, medium chain triglycerides, palm kernel oil], xantham gum, guar gum, liquid pepper extract), spinach, crumbled feta cheese (pasteurized milk, salt, cheese culture, enzymes, potato starch [added to prevent caking]), sun dried tomato cream cheese (water, pasteurized milk and cream, tomato paste, whey protein concentrate, dehydrated garlic, modified food starch, salt, sun-dried tomatoes [tomatoes, sulfur dioxide (preservative)], sugar, canola oil and olive oil, spices, cheese culture, cream, stabilizers [carob bean and/or guar gums], lactic acid, potassium sorbate [preservative], crushed garlic, citric acid, corn syrup solids, maltodextin, natural flavors, sodium citrate, sodium phosphate, enzymes), roasted tomatoes (tomatoes, roasted tomatoes, canola oil, olive oil, garlic, oregeno, salt).

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