MSG was discovered and patented in 1909 by Ajinomoto Corporation in Japan. When pure it is a white, crystal powder and when dissolved in water or in saliva it dissociates into free sodium and glutamate ions. Glutamate is a naturally occurring non-essential amino acid that exists in all animal and vegetable proteins. MSG is the sodium salt of glutamate acid, and one of the most common amino acids found in nature. It is present in all foods as glutamate.
It was used for Chinese cooking as a flavour additive and spread from there. Modern commercial MSG is produced by fermentation of starch, sugar beats, sugar cane, or molasses and the process is similar to that used in making beer, wine, yoghurt or vinegar.
Many canned soups, beef and chicken stock, flavoured potato chips, snack foods, frozen dinners, fast foods, instant noodles, soy sauce, steak source, and Worcestershire sauce, cheeses, are possibly flavoured with added MSG. There is no difference between glutamate found in natural foods and that added as MSG. This means it is possible that frozen and canned tin foods that you buy from your supermarket have some glutamate as added MSG.
Glutamate is found naturally in our body as a protein. It is found naturally in mushrooms, broccoli, peas, seaweed, tomatoes, nuts, legumes, fish, meats and most dairy products.
John Erb, a research scientist in Canada made an interesting discovery while doing research for his book ‘The Slow Poisoning of America’. In hundreds of studies worldwide scientists were creating obese mice to use in diet or diabetes studies. As mice are not naturally obese scientists had to create this. They injected them with MSG when they were born and this tripled the amount of insulin the pancreas created, causing them to become fat. They called these the “MSG-Treated Rats.” If it can do this to rats, then what can it do to humans?
Food additives can cause bad effects on people who are sensitive and suffer from asthma, skin disorders, etc. Glutamic acids in animal studies have shown that it can produce brain lesions in the newborn and side effects were produced after injecting large doses of MSG. Although the research done on humans does not show this it is possible it can get into the brain of people who have Chinese restaurant syndrome.
Dr Leslie Rogers at Monash University’s Pharmacology Department believes that the brain is affected as some of the symptoms are visual problems, flashing lights and hallucinations. People get asthma, warmth on the face, burning skin, sweating, nausea and vomiting and it can feel like a heart attack with stiffness, weakness in limbs, tingling or pain in the chest going down both arms.
Now go check in the cupboard how many tinned foods you buy, or soups, chips etc that contain MSG. It’s scary. Without mentioning brand names it makes for a lot of the foods some people have on their shopping list. Think you have escaped. Go have another look – by the way, ‘hydrolysed vegetable protein’, ‘accent’, ‘ajinomoto’, ‘natural meat tenderiser’ are all another names for MSG.
Next go and check at the restaurants you eat at. Often employees and managers tell us they don’t use it but if you check it out closely they may. Especially check out those ‘yummy’ take- aways that our kids love.
John Erb goes on to say in his book that MSG is added to food for the addictive effect it has on the body. The idea is to make people eat more and recent studies show that elderly people eat more of the foods to which it has been added. MSG manufacturers themselves admit that it addicts people to their products and makes them choose those products over others and eat more of them.
We still add this to supermarket foods despite the fact there are hundreds of studies by Gobatto, Mello, Souza, Yamamoto etc. from all over the world saying how bad it is. Medical researchers and food manufacturers have known about the side effects for decades.
Many of the studies in John Erb’s book link MSG to diabetes, migraines and other headaches, autism, ADHD, Alzheimer’s and the ‘fat’ explosion in our society.
The problem is that the take-away and packaged food industry would lose dollars big time if MSG was removed. They have been getting us addicted to their products for years and we are paying the price with our health as well as producing a society of ‘fat’ children.
Sceptical? Then go to the National Library of Medicine at http://www.pubmed.com and type in “MSG Obese”. There are at least 115 medical studies that come up for you to look at and you can then make your own decision.