Wednesday, June 1, 2011

MSG and Obesity

Many people go through the see-saw cycle of weight loss highs and lows in the process of getting fit. Such folks rightfully suspect that the foods contain hidden ingredients to induce weight gain. Consumer groups and research scientists are confirming these  facts everyday. What are these chemicals? Well, MSG is one of them.

This article will take a look at this long controversial substance that remains in our food despite the reports of symptoms.

MSG - what is it?

MSG is a substance that is extracted from grains or beets and is added to many foods as a flavor enhancer. It was first patented in 1909 by Ajinomoto Corporation in Japan. It was introduced to the United States in 1947 in Ac'cent seasoning.

MSG is a sodium salt of  the non-essential, or,  produced in the body, amino acid glutamic acid. (Amino acids are the building blocks of proteins and proteins are important in many body functions). Basically MSG is one sodium atom and is bound to the amino acid glutamate.

Glutamate is also one of many amino acids used by the body and linked into chains of proteins. Some amino acids are free to float by themselves in the body because they serve vital functions for example, neurotransmitters, which carry nerve cell impulses throughout the body.  Glutamate is an example of one that floats in free form in the body as a neurotransmitter; as such, it triggers nerve cells to fire.  An excess of glutamate can cause problems such as over-stimulation of the nerve cells which can result in degeneration and death of these cells. (Also, aspartate - found in Nutrasweet, can cause the same problem). The result can be debilitating migraines, pain, dizzines, seizures and other neurological disease and symptoms.

What's it doing in our food?

In all honesty, profits - which means Money.

MSG contain no nutrients and are often placed in food to enhance the flavor of foods and to revive the lost taste in foods where it has been lost through the canning or preservative process. Many gravies, soups, frozen meats, salad dressing, bouilion seasoning cubes and other  commonly used food products contain them.  The list of mainstream American food containing it grows exponentially.  It can no longer be thought of as occurring only in Chinese or Asian food.

How does MSG cause weight gain?

MSG tricks the body in a number of ways.  It tricks the tongue into believing that more protein is in the food than what really is the body thinks it is geting full when it is not.  Also, it stimulates the pancreas to produce insulin which causes the blood sugar to drop.  Combine the two, and you have a recipe for hunger in a short time after consuming a meal.

Bottom line is to avoid the stuff like the plague.  Keep in mind that it is also cleverly disguised under many names such as:

calcium caseinate
hydrolyzed vegetable protein
hydrolyzed plant protein
sodium caseinate
artificial flavoring
glutamic acid

Sources: "What really is MSG?"
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