Wednesday, April 22, 2009


So, today at Ms. M's gymnastics, Ms. K was eating Gardetto's (you know...the snack food with pretzels, bread sticks, etc.). There was another mother there watching her daughter. She also had a 1 ear old. Ms. K offered the little girl a pretzel and the mother said, "No thanks. That has MSG, right?" I had no idea, so I decided to look it up when I got home.

I had always seen food labels and restaurants touting "No MSG." I knew that I should stay away from it and that we should eat processed foods in moderation. But, I was really shocked at all the negative information out there. This makes me think that there has to be at least something to this.

Apparently, MSG in one form or another is in almost everything on our supermarkets shelves. It is supposed to be a "flavor enhancer." Here is a list of ingredients that contain MSG if you are wondering:

Autolyzed Yeast
Calcium Caseinate
Gelatin Glutamate
Glutamic Acid
Hydrolyzed Protein
Monopotassium Glutamate
Monosodium Glutamate
Sodium Caseinate
Textured Protein
Yeast Extract
Yeast Food
Yeast Nutrient

It has been linked to obesity, eye damage, asthma, headaches, fatigue, and depression. While the FDA has not decided to require manufacturers to label clearly that a food has MSG, they have a name for a reaction to MSG: MSG symptom complex. Here is what they said-

An unknown percentage of the population may react to MSG and develop MSG symptom complex, a condition characterized by one or more of the following symptoms:

burning sensation in the back of the neck, forearms, and chest
numbness in the back of the neck, radiating to the arms and back
tingling, warmth, and weakness in the face, temples, upper back, neck, and arms
facial pressure or tightness
chest pain
rapid heartbeat
bronchospasm in MSG-intolerant people with asthma

MSG is also an excitotoxin. This means when added to food, it makes you crave more even if you are full. No wonder I love fast food and pizza! I also read several studies that say scientist use MSG to fatten up their lab rats for obesity studies.

Anyway, I just thought I would share what I found. I am not saying that our family will never eat fast food or anything processed again, but I will definitely be paying more attention to what we put in our mouth. For more information, here is a link to a site that covers everything you want to know (or not) about MSG.

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