MSG, that wonderful substance that has sparked debates about food, nutrition, additives, and perceived imaginary side effects. Those that love the stuff, who are numerous and generally big businesses, can't believe that there is anything wrong with their processed flavor enhancers that do the unimaginable and unthinkable as well as Herculean task of making bland tasteless food into incredibly delicious, tantalizingly addictive substances that make tons of money for the processors. Big business makes the claim that glutamates are naturally occurring and exist in natural form in many, if not most, of the foods we eat. That being the case, their claim is that anyone claiming to experience any sort of side effects from the consumption of processed MSG is lying. It isn't possible, MSG is in nature, therefore it is safe.
Hmmm, sounds reasonable, sort of. I think that a similar analogy would be arsenic. Apples, especially the seeds of apples, contain arsenic. If I eat apples, and the cores with the seeds, then I am eating arsenic. Therefore, I should be able to eat a jar of free organic arsenic and it won't hurt me, it is a naturally occurring chemical.
The following is an excerpt from a cool website all about MSG. An explanation of what MSG is and why it is different from naturally occurring Glutamates. (The MSG Story)
Glutamic acid is just one of many amino acids that are the building blocks of proteins. It occurs naturally in many foods such as tomatoes, milk, and mushrooms. It is also found in the cells of our bodies, including mothers milk, and involves a wide variety of brain functions since it acts as a neurotransmitter. This natural glutamate in plants and animals is known as L-glutamic acid. Our normal digestive process slowly breaks down this natural or bound glutamic acid and it is eventually delivered to glutamate receptors in our body and brain. Broken down this natural way, it is harmless. However, for the person extremely reactive to excess glutamate, eating too many foods naturally high in glutamate is not recommended. Even bound glutamate will eventually reach the blood stream. In a factory, however, the bound glutamic acid in certain foods (corn, molasses, wheat, yeast) is broken down or made free by various processes (hydrolyzed, autolyzed, modified or fermented with strong chemicals, bacteria, or enzymes). The major process today involves a fermentation process in which bacteria excrete free glutamate from the corn substance they are mixed with. Sodium is added to make a salt-like substance which is more soluble. This substance is known as monosodium glutamate or MSG. It is 78.2% free glutamic acid, 12.2% sodium, and 9.6% water. It is odorless and has no distinct flavor, although some describe a salty/sweet flavor. This factory created substance is comprised of L-glutamic acid, D-glutamic acid, pyroglutamic acid, carcinogens, and other contaminants. This factory made version causes sensitive individuals more serious reactions than any other form of glutamic acid. Keep in mind, D-glutamic acid is rarely found in nature, and never in the natural foods we eat.
We are getting so much MSG from the growing number of processed food items that we have come to rely on. When glutamate is in its pure concentrated form, it must be labeled as MSG on food products containing it. Since free glutamate can be a component part of certain food additives, such as autolyzed yeast or hydrolyzed protein, the FDA allows it to go into food not labeled as MSG. A label may say yeast extract, calcium caseinate, or beef flavoring, but the product still contains varying amounts of free glutamic acid. This makes it very difficult for consumers who are trying to avoid it. It is also very dangerous for those who suffer severe reactions to it. But food manufacturers only value MSGs ability to enhance product flavors and big profits.
So this info only scratches the surface of what is wrong with MSG and the whole family of glutamate products that businesses use to make food that is devoid of flavor and nutrition into wondrous substances that humans eat, and then desire more and ever more of. And yet, we know for a fact that MSG destroys nerve and brain cells as well as the retinas in our eyes. (MSG info) (MSG info part two) I started to write about MSG today because at the store Saturday I was looking at the ingredients of a loaf of bread. This was at Sprouts, a supposedly health food store. There on the label were all the usual suspects, Datem, Azodicarbonomide, Ethoxylated mono- and diglycerides, calcium steryl lactalate, you know, just the typical healthy additives that are known carcinogens, but right there on the label was yeast extract. MSG in a less recognizable terminology used to fool consumers. It's bread, why on Earth is the baker putting a flavor enhancer into bread?
I think that is what is wrong with our society today. A baker, and if I looked, it might be all bakers, are putting chemicals into bread that enhance the flavor of something that is supposed to be a staple in all American homes, bread. It might be there to cover up the flavor of the chemicals that are added to make the stuff fluffier, and to last on the shelf longer, and to not grow mold, and to, well, who knows why they add toxic carcinogens to bread, but they do. And the MSG is a known substance that promotes addiction. Staples in our society are made so that you want more of them. I thought that they were staples and you lived on them.
Anyway, I have two sayings that bear repeating. The money grubbing government that rules our lives has granted the businesses that pay them the ability to put toxic substances into our foods. But so far they have not mandated that we have to eat them. That part is still up to you. And the really big one is that this is your world too, take a little responsibility for your little part of it.