MSG: The Secret Ingredient to Gaining Weight
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.
Pass on the MSG
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, and also goes by lesser known and scientifically complicated names like whey protein, monosodium glutamate, hydrolyzed protein, and autolyzed yeast, or simply labeling it as flavoring.
Secrets of the Secret Ingredient
Why would food producers be so keen to keep MSG out of the limelight? It has nothing to do with protecting some dark secret, but 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 been if there hasn't been widespread conclusive studies done to back up the allegations.
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%, as does fat, salt and sugar. If you are able to keep all of them out if your diet you are still not guaranteed to be thin for life. Saturated fats, some perfectly safe but delicious artificial ingredients, some not so safe antibiotics and hormones, the list goes on…there are very few perfect foods that the average person can limit themselves to for life.
Along with ingesting large amounts of MSG in foods to cause weight gain, is MSG’s effect on the body’s energy levels. It practically pulls the plug on energy supplies. Like sugar and salt, load your diet with it and you'll have 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 products to choose from that do not contain MSG, but you'll need to choose the appropriate one for the recipe you're using. Or pick your battles. Limit your consumption of MSG while still enjoying Chinese restaurant foods and your favorite recipes. The same goes for salt, sugar, and fat. Moderation is the key to health.
The image featured at the top of this post is ©Hannamariah/Shutterstock.com.