Since starting my holistic nutrition course in January I have learnt SO many new facts & tips on healthy and our food. At the beginning of March I started taking a course titled Nutrition and the Environment. I thought I would hate this course but I was seriously wrong. This is my favourite course thus far; we learn so many new things each day, that are extremely eye opening and some what scary. Obviously one of the things we touched on the other day was MSG.
Now I’v known for many many years that MSG is not good for you. So when we started talking about that aspect of it I was not surprised. What really shocked me was how MSG really effects the body AND even more so how hidden MSG can be in our foods. I decided to look upon my class notes and do my own research into MSG to provide you guys with the basics on MSG and the truth behind it.
What is MSG?
Monosodium glutamate, also known as MSG is a food additive that is added to many foods. It is used to enhance the flavours of our foods, thus making them taste better and irresistible.
MSG is an excitotoxin ( I will explain what an excitotoxin is shortly), where glutamate or glutamic acid is the main triggering ingredient. Glutamate easily crosses the blood-brain barrier, stimulating cell death. Now, many people say that glutamate is a natural ingredient the body makes, and that is true. But, the body makes glutamate when it NEEDS to, this is significantly different then flooding our bodies with dietary glutamate.
What Are Excitotoxins?
Excitotoxins are a type of chemical (typically an amino acid) that over stimulates the neuron receptors. These neuron receptors allow brain cells to communicate, but when exposed to excitotoxins they fire impulses so rapidly that they die (meaning brain cell death).
It has been noted that this effect occurs mainly in the hypothalamus and temporal lobes. The areas responsible to control behaviours, emotions, the onset of puberty, sleep cycles, and immunity.
Side Effects Associated with MSG Consumption:
numbness/ tingling in the face and neck
rapid heart beat
The fact that surprised me most about MSG was the numerous titles it can have. You think when looking at a food label if you don’t see the word monosodium glutamate or simply MSG your food is free from this additive… but you’re wrong. MSG has numerous names & I will share some of those with you.
Foods That May Contain MSG
processed foods( everything from your morning cereal and protein powder to baby formula)
dairy products (cottage cheese, low fat or no fat milk, ice cream, yogurt)
organic foods are not all free from msg
I also want to share with you some food labels of products that either do contain MSG or could be containing MSG.
What I conclude from my research is this. You will never be able to completely eliminate all additives from your diet, unless you only eat grass for the rest of your life and I’m sure even that has toxins. The main thing I want to express is to read your labels and at least be aware of what you are consuming. Eating as whole and natural as possible will always be the best way to go and that is how I strive to live my life. As long as you are happy and healthy that is all that you can do!