Fat Rats are No Joke and Neither is MSG!
Rats? Really are we going to talk about rats today? What do rats have to do with health anyway?
Whether we like to think about or not, rats have similar body processes to humans so by feeding them different foods and recording their responses it can give us clues as to how humans respond to those foods. One specific food additive I try and keep my eye out for is MSG. It used to get a ton of bad press but most of that has really slipped from the public eye and taken a back burner to GMOs, High Fructose Corn Syrup, wheat sensitivities and a host of other things. Those are really important issues but I know that MSG is almost always invited to the parties those bad boys of food throw.
My friend, Beverly Golden, wrote an amazing article on how MSG effects our bodies and in particular its connection with obesity so today I thought I’d share it with you:
MSG is Directly Linked to Weight
Although I have been aware for a long time about MSG and the wide range of symptoms eating it can cause, I had to admit I didn’t know much about its direct link to weight. My curiosity piqued, I committed to find out what I could for him. The information I uncovered, about the relationship of MSG to obesity, was both eye-opening and shocking. I hope what I share here brings some new understanding and perspective to the impact this additive can have on the human body.
Rats are not normally prone to obesity. Although this may seem an unimportant fact, unless you have a soft spot for these often disdained rodents, rats are used by scientists to test new drugs; drugs that need to be tried out first before being used on humans to treat diabetes or new weight loss products. When scientists inject the rodents at birth with MSG, like magic, they produce obese test subjects. Because MSG triples the amount of insulin the rat’s pancreas creates, the results are perfect: MSG-Treated Rats equals fat rats. When you search under “MSG Obese” at the National Library of Medicine at www.pubmed.com, you find over 100 studies to substantiate this.
Childhood obesity is at crises levels in North America, with First Lady Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move initiative committed to bringing awareness and change to this escalating problem. This obesity epidemic has led to another crisis, the large increase in Type 2 diabetes in children. In questioning why, people are drawn to sugar and fats, because they taste better to the palate than fruits and vegetables do.
Digging deeper, we find that it’s been a well-kept secret since the late 1970’s, that food researchers have known that MSG (Monosodium Glutamate), added to virtually all junk foods, is addictive. This flavour enhancer is found not only in junk food, but in an enormous range of processed foods as well.
MSG is considered a natural substance in the same ways salt and sugar are, as it is derived from seaweed or corn. Healthy, you might think. The story of MSG is well documented by John Erb, a former researcher at the University of Waterloo in Canada, in his book The Slow Poisoning of America. The fact that MSG appears under many names can lead to confusion, as many of the names sound safe. Erb reports that MSG appears as the terms natural flavouring, hydrolyzed or textured vegetable protein, Accent, calcium caseinate, autolyzed yeast extract and gelatin.
MSG Isn’t Only in Chinese Food
When I mention MSG to people they generally think of its use in Chinese food. However, when you start to look, you’ll find it in the coffees you buy at your favourite coffee shops and it’s even injected into turkeys, to make them plump. Erb encourages us to look closely at a wide range of foods, from Campbell’s Soups, Hostess Doritos, Lays flavoured potato chips, canned gravies and frozen dinners, to Kraft salad dressings. MSG is in fact everywhere; the list is virtually endless.
Obesity is not the only health issue MSG is linked to, as Dr. George Schwartz in his book, In Bad Taste: The MSG Syndrome Complex, identifies research that links MSG and the dramatic rise in cases of asthma, ADHD, migraines, Parkinson’s disease and heartbeat irregularities too. Ingesting MSG can result in a wide range of symptoms like facial flushing and headaches, with gastrointestinal symptoms, anxiety and depression reported by individuals as well.
The Food Industry Knows the Truth About MSG
The food industry and food processors do know the impact MSG has on the human body. The glutamate industry website, www.msgfacts.com talks of the positive impact on food consumption in the elderly. “Studies have found that adding MSG to certain foods, such as soup and mashed potatoes has been successful in increasing the food intake of institutionalized elderly populations.” Is this really a good enough reason?
And, what about the rest of us, especially the children? MSG is even found in weight loss products, so do your own homework and read the labels. If you know someone who has tried to lose weight but couldn’t even if they hardly eat anything, maybe it’s the MSG in the diet foods they are eating.
Curious about how MSG causes obesity? Like aspartame, which is present in many diet foods and diet sodas, it is an excitotoxin. Excitotoxins overexcite neurons to the point of cell damage and eventually cell death.
Want to learn more? Finish this great read here because Fat Rats are No Joke:
Beverley Golden ‘Obesity MSG and Rats