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We live in a world where things are moving at a faster and faster pace. Twenty years ago, the word multitasking was only a computer term, now we use it to mean doing more than one thing at a time. We are all running around at such a pace that we never have time to stop and “smell the roses” to quote a cliche.
Consequently, the food that we eat has to be prepared fast, so we can eat fast and move on with our busy lives. What is the Cost? The answer is simple, it is our Health.
Lets face facts, in a world where both parents need to work, there just doesn’t seem to be time to prepare wholesome nutritious meals. Parents and children no longer sit around the dinner table discussing events of the day. In fact in many families, it is not uncommon for the members to eat separately, at different times. Just pull something out of the freezer, microwave it and you’re ready to eat. Again, the price we pay for these conveniences is our health.
Therefore, the food we eat has to be able to be stored and preserved until ready to be used. The days of the mother doing her daily shopping for the day’s meals are gone.
Thus, we rely on additives and preservatives.
Additives are classified as antimicrobial agents, antioxidants, artificial colors, artificial flavors and flavor enhancers, chelating agents and thickening and stabilizing agents. Antimicrobial agents such as salt, vinegar, sorbic acid and calcium propionate are used in the products such as salad dressings, baked goods, margarine, cheese and pickled foods. Antioxidants including vitamin C, E, BHT and BHA are used in the foods containing high fats. Chelating agents such as malic acid, citric acid and tartaric acid are used to prevent the flavor changes, discoloration and rancidity of the foods.
But with these additives and preservatives come danger!
Although additives and preservatives are essential for food storage, they can give rise to certain health problems. They can cause different allergies and conditions such as hyperactivity and Attention Deficit Disorder in some people who are sensitive to specific chemicals. The foods containing additives can cause asthma, hay fever and certain reactions such as rashes, vomiting, headache, tight chest, hives and worsening of eczema. Some of the known dangers of food additives and preservatives are as follows:
- Benzoates can trigger the allergies such as skin rashes and asthma as well as believed to be causing brain damage.
- Bromates destroy the nutrients in the foods. It can give rise to nausea and diarrhea.
- Butylates are responsible for high blood cholesterol levels as well as impaired liver and kidney function.
- Caffeine is a colorant and flavorant that has diuretic, stimulant properties. It can cause nervousness, heart palpitations and occasionally heart defects.
- Saccharin causes toxic reactions and allergic response, affecting skin, gastrointestinal tract and heart. It may also cause tumors and bladder cancer.
- Red Dye 40 is suspected to cause certain birth defects and possibly cancer.
- Mono and di-glycerides can cause birth defects, genetic changes and cancer.
- Caramel is a famous flavoring and coloring agent that can cause vitamin B6 deficiencies. It can cause certain genetic defects and even cancer.
- Sodium chloride can lead to high blood pressure, kidney failure, stroke and heart attack.
Lets take MSG for an example:
But most people don’t know that it’s in literally thousands of different processed foods, often under hidden names.And now, science is showing us that it could be a big part of what’s making us so fat. Think you’re not eating MSG? Many foods at Pizza Hut, Taco Bell, and McDonald’s have it. Wonder what the Colonel’s secret ingredient was? MSG. Oh, you don’t eat fast food? Even classy restaurants use it.
Oh, you don’t eat out? Sorry, your grocery is loaded with MSG too, and school cafeterias are just as loaded. Well, at least your baby’s safe. Guess again, almost all infant formulas are packed with it.
Dr. Russell Blaylock has studied these common flavor enhancers that many experts believe are hazardous to your health. He calls them Excitotoxins: The Taste that Kills. And he says you’re more exposed to them than you realize. “One of the misconceptions is that — ‘Well, I don’t eat Chinese food, so I’m not really exposed to MSG,'” Blaylock said. “Well, if you look at almost all processed foods, the vast majority of them have one or more forms of this high glutamate content in it.”
But the food companies can be sneaky, it might not say MSG on the label, but the name has been changed and MSG goes by many different names these days. Here are some examples:
- Autolyzed yeast
- Autolyzed Plant Protein
- Calcium Caseinate
- Hydrolyzed Vegetable Protein
- Sodium Caseinate
- Textured Protein
- Yeast Extract
So where is MSG
The following is taken from the Truth in Labeling Organization:
Low fat and no fat milk products often contain milk solids that contain MSG. Other dairy products often contain carrageenan, guar gum, and/or locust bean gum. Low fat and no fat versions of ice cream and cheese may not be as obvious as yogurt, milk, cream, cream cheese, cottage cheese, etc., but they are not exceptions.
Protein powders and protein drinks contain glutamic acid, and the glutamic acid in the protein powders and drinks will always be processed (manufactured) free glutamic acid (MSG). Individual amino acids are not always listed on labels of protein powders and drinks.
At present, there is an FDA requirement to give the name of the protein source when listing hydrolyzed protein products on labels of processed foods. Examples are hydrolyzed soy protein, hydrolyzed wheat protein, hydrolyzed pea protein, hydrolyzed whey protein, hydrolyzed, corn protein. If a tomato, for example, were whole, it would be identified as a tomato. Naming an ingredient “tomato protein” indicates that the tomato has been hydrolyzed, at least in part, and that processed free glutamic acid (MSG) is present.
At present, the FDA requires the disclosure of ingredients labeled “monosodium glutamate” and “hydrolyzed…protein” when, as ingredients, they are used in a “flavor” or “flavoring” (whether or not the “flavor” or “flavoring” is preceded by the words “natural” or “artificial”). However, “flavors” and “flavorings” can contain MSG in ingredients other than “monosodium glutamate” and “hydrolyzed…Protein” without the MSG being disclosed.
Disodium guanylate and disodium inosinate are relatively expensive food additives that work synergistically with inexpensive processed free glutamic acid (MSG). We believe that they would only be used if there was MSG in a product.
MSG will be found in some soaps, shampoos, hair conditioners, and cosmetics, where MSG is hidden in ingredients with names that include the words “hydrolyzed,” “amino acids,” and/or “protein.”
Binders and fillers for prescription and non-prescription medications, nutrients, and supplements, may contain MSG.
According to the manufacturer, Varivax–Merck chicken pox vaccine (Varicella Virus Live), contains L-monosodium glutamate and hydrolyzed gelatin, both of which contain processed free glutamic acid (MSG). It would appear that most, if not all, live virus vaccines contain some ingredient(s) that contains MSG.
There are a number of ingredients identified as organic that, organic or not, will contain processed free glutamic acid (MSG). Autolyzed yeast, yeast extract, textured soy protein, and anything hydrolyzed are examples of ingredients that may be made from organic produce, but will never-the-less contain MSG.
Drinks, candy, and chewing gum are potential sources of hidden MSG. They may also contain aspartame, neotame, of AminoSweet (the new name for aspartame). We mention aspartame, neotame, and AminoSweet here because they, like MSG, contain a neurotoxic amino acid, and can cause the same reactions that MSG causes.
Some waxes used on fruits and vegetables contain MSG.
Produce may have been produced using fertilizer or pesticide products that contain MSG. Some of these fertilizers may be organic. It is impossible to know from looking at produce whether or not it has been treated with an MSG-containing fertilizer or pesticide product that leaves residue in or on the produce.
Some non-organic waxes used on some fruits and vegetables contain MSG.
Additional sources of MSG include infant formula, kosher food, enteral feeding products (tube feeding products), dietary supplements, pharmaceuticals, protein drinks often recommended for seniors, protein bars and protein powders, vaccines, personal care products, protein powders sold in health food stores, food that is labeled “organic”, wine, food with labels that say “No Added MSG,” “No MSG Added,” or “No MSG” , food that is falsely advertised as containing no MSG, and in food whose manufacturers claim, in response to questions, that their products contain no MSG.
MSG can be hidden by restaurateurs who claim that the food they serve contains no MSG.
More, next time!