When eating at a Chinese food vendor consuming an elevated amount of the chemical compound monosodium glutamate, or MSG is as natural an assumption as passing the egg rolls and soy sauce. The connection of this flavoring to Chinese foods is so strong it has become a stereotype. MSG is the reason many health conscious patrons dine solely on Chinese delicacies they have perfected themselves so they can leave MSG out of the recipe. What is lesser known is that MSG is the flavor many savor in almost any convince dinner or snack.
The cream of anything soup used for home cooked casseroles and gravies the nation over, it’s in there. Those crackers packed in guilt free 100 calorie servings, it’s in there. The vegetarian chili with so many vitamins and minerals, it’s in there too.
Should this information be shocking, concerning or a simple piece of information for the next big trivia game? Perhaps the almost universal use of MSG in certain products should be received as a bit of all three.
MSG has been approved for use by the FDA, but has a far from spotless record. If proof is needed that MSG is the black sheep of the additive community just look at the items grocery store shelves. The ones eschewing MSG display this fact proudly in prominent boldface on the label. On the other hand food companies including MSG endeavor to keep it a secret ingredient using longer, lesser known and scientifically complicated names like whey protein, monosodium glutamate, hydrolyzed protein, and autolyzed yeast, or simply labeling it as flavoring.
Why would food producers be so keen to keep MSG out of the limelight? It has nothing to do with protecting some secret recipe, rather it is in an effort to distance themselves form the bad press MSG gas been garnering for itself. After all allegations like ‘inducing obesity’ and ‘addictive’ are not praise worthy attributes.
With all the attention obesity and the causes of it are garnering the medical research sector is alive with efforts to find a scapegoat. It seems more and more chemical additives like MSG are filling this role.
These findings aren’t new or even startling. In fact if a medical study called for obesity in its lab subjects the unfortunate rats, mice or other test candidates are routinely fed diets loaded with MSG to achieve the necessary weight gain. It has been well accepted fact by the medical research community for years that MSG actually increases subjects’ appetites by as much as 40%.
This is a sad irony since so many ‘diet’ foods are loaded with MSG because of its ability to provide a pleasing flavor while cutting calories. The end result is not a reduction in sodium, calories or fat because once the MSG supercharged appetite is sated the net gain can be astounding.
Coupled with the propensity to cause weight gain is MSG’s effect on the body’s energy levels. It practically pulls the plug on energy supplies. What dieters ingesting MSG are left with is no energy to exercise and a huge appetite. The net result: weight gain and lots of it.
To bottom line the MSG issue, there are plenty of products to choose from that do not contain MSG, decrease the appetite and yield large amounts of energy. Why not select from among them (instead of weight gain) for our dinner delights?