Monosodium glutamate (MSG).
Made of water, sodium, and glutamate.
Do you look for it? Do you scour the ingredient list or ask at restaurants if it is added? If no, then you definitely should.
MSG has been added to processed food as a taste enhancer. It actually does not have it’s own flavour.
It is added to many meat products, soups, stews, canned foods, casseroles, pre-made dinners, seafood, many processed snack foods, salad dressings, mayonnaise, spices, seasonings, diet foods, frozen foods, cookies, crackers, sauces, and even vegetable dishes!
MSG is not added for nutrition. It is not added for any benefit other than to get you (or your child) to want to eat more of the item it is added to, and to put more dollars into the pockets of the processed food industry.
It works too.
It enhances the taste of the food AND the pleasure centers of the brain, making you want more. Food scientists have determined many such additives so that you will choose their product over other foods. This is bad.
They are not considering the damage it is causing. They only test it’s taste and that more is wanted (crave). An excellent account of this is in the book The Dorito Effect by Mark Schatzker. He nicely exposes the pure "science" of money making.
Children are not immune to the power of these taste additives. Not only are their taste buds stronger so they potentially crave it more, but their little bodies (and brains) accumulate the harmful effects quicker, with a higher likelihood of damage.
In fact, MSG has been shown to cause nerve damage in a SINGLE bowl of soup! Unfortunately, it easily crosses the Blood Brain Barrier (BBB) through the leaky areas brought on by eating gluten or other intolerant foods, as well as in a whole host of disease states such as hypertension, diabetes, and brain infections, just to name a few. The BBB is not as secure and tight as we once thought and taught to the medical students in my Neuroscience Master’s program. With the decline of whole foods and the rise of processed foods in the diet, the BBB is letting in all kinds of harmful chemicals and pathogens. These are the very things the BBB is supposed to protect us against!
In the case of MSG, the hypothalamus is especially susceptible to damage, according to Dr. Keith Scott Mumby in his must read book Diet Wise. He wisely calls MSG a “Bandit Food Ingredient”.
The hypothalamus is a group of cellular structures buried under the cortex of the brain. It makes up part of our limbic system. The hypothalamus controls our emotional response to stimuli or events, as well as many bodily functions like hunger, body temperature, and reproductive function.
It makes sense, therefore, that as MSG crosses into the brain and damages the hypothalamus, that we may be left feeling hungrier. We may also feel emotionally comforted by certain MSG foods and may not respond appropriately to normal events. We all know that child that can easily handle all situations. “Problems” just seem to roll of their backs and they remain positive and happy, almost as though they had fewer problems than the rest. Conversely, we all know that child that blows up at a drop of a hat. Everything is dire and bad to that child.
It could be the exact same stimulus on these two different children eliciting two completely different responses.
Sure, some of this might be genetics. But a lot of it is neuroscience and food related.
Which response do you want your child to have? Which response makes for a truly happy life?
As well, could it be possible that not only is MSG leading to neuronal damage, but that it is also leading to food addiction and obesity? Logic dictates that if MSG makes one want more, the more you eat, the more MSG damages your hypothalamus. The more damage to this hunger center of the brain….. well…. You get the picture.
May be a never ending cycle of problems! Obesity and food addiction add a whole other layer to Emotional and Intellectual IQ, which is the subject of a future post.
And this is just touching on ONE of the areas of the brain affected by MSG. More and more is being discovered daily.
I have to add that even though the food administrations say that MSG is safe, don’t be fooled. As little as one bowl of soup with this food bandit can harm the very delicate structures of your child’s developing brain.
Get MSG out of their diet to help make them more emotionally stable, happy, have normal hunger and eating habits, normal metabolism and body temperature, and help them feel…