Last week we looked at the health risks of excess monosodium glutamate (MSG). This week I want to show you how to find and reduce it in your diet.
First, who should be concerned about avoiding MSG?
• Not just those who experience the immediate temporary symptoms sometimes called “Chinese restaurant syndrome”, because the disabling neurological effects may take years to develop.
• Anyone who doesn’t need to put on more fat because of its property of encouraging overeating.
• People diagnosed with cancer because it has been shown to increase the growth and spread of tumors.
• Anyone who wants to prevent neurological diseases like MS, Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, asthma and epilepsy.
• In short, everyone.
MSG is found in many processed foods (it’s one of Colonel Sander’s “11 secret herbs and spices”). One estimate has the average American consuming 2 pounds a year.
Avoiding processed free glutamic acid (the chemical from MSG that causes the problems) is not as easy as you may think. There are more than 40 different food ingredients that contain this chemical. Some common examples are: glutamic acid, monosodium glutamate, monopotassium glutamate, calcium glutamate, magnesium glutamate, yeast extract, “hydrolyzed protein”, textured protein, caseinate soy protein, and whey protein. For a complete list of names and tips on avoiding glutamic acid see www.truthinlabeling.org/hiddensources_printable.pdf.
Glutamic acid and its glutamate salts should not be confused with the amino acid L-glutamine – a supplement used to enhance muscle building and wound healing. Glutamic acid is itself an amino acid and acts as an excitatory neurotransmitter, which is why an excess can cause neurological problems.
This article is intended for educational purposes only; for medical advice consult your licensed health practitioner.