MSG is a jealous lover

Welcome to “That’s Not Food Thursday.” I’ll try to keep it shorter this time.

You know MSG loves you, and you love it. It makes you think everything it is in is SO yummy, you just have to have more.

Think about how you feel about Cheetos, or BBQ potato chips, or, in a very weak moment, maybe even KFC. You can’t eat just one for a reason. You can put this stuff on cardboard and all of a sudden you think, “Man, I LOVE cardboard–how come I never noticed this?”

See, even something that tastes crappy becomes above-average with MSG:

I once was righteously eating a pre-packaged veggie-tray, dipping happily in my white little bucket of sin it came with. Just one bite, and I thought, “WOW, this is good ranch! Seriously! I will eat even the broccoli in this if the ranch is this good . . . I think I’ll lick the cup when I’m done . . .Who would of thought ranch dressing would have . . . ? Wait a minute . . . ” (I flip over the little happy bucket suspiciously) Ah, there it is, the jealous lover, named like a gangsta–MaSta G.

It was just plain lame ranch, just with some MSG in it, messing with my mind.

That really is what it does, too. He’s big on the mind games. That’s why McDonalds can sell you wads of kind-of-beef under kind-of-cheese with shellacked “veggies” and you’ll go back again and again. And they know you will, because with MSG they don’t have to even try (and they don’t). So we go back because we love our MSG as much as he loves us (and our neurotransmitters), and he makes sure we do.

You might already think it’s bad because it makes a food high in sodium and bad carbs, which is a part of the story. Here’s the rest of the low-down if you and/or your kids are feelin’ the love for the MSG:

  1. MSG is in almost every processed savory food.
  2. MSG is not always on the label as Monosodium Glutamate (like it is shamelessly advertised on your Doritos). MSG is surprisingly big business, too, so, due to the bad press of MSG, food processors have asked and received from our government permission to call it lots of things, the most popular one these days is “natural flavors.” This can also be other things, but if it is a salty (not sweet) food, it’s safe to assume it’s MSG or a like-minded cousin (Trust no one!)
  3. MSG is highly addictive. This is not a secret to the manufacturers who use it. Don’t kid yourself, it is why they use it (conspiring men, if you know what I mean)
  4. MSG causes and predisposes its lovers to obesity. The younger a person is exposed, the more prone they are to obesity in later life. Type “MSG” and “Obesity” into the public medical study database and you will come up with over 120 studies explaining this link.
  5. A large percentage of people are allergic or react negatively to MSG. I have a very down-to-earth friend (not a crazy hippie, although I’m working on her) who has severe migraines when she eats it–she’s like a divining rod for unlabeled MSG.
  6. Last but not least, MSG has been shown to cause brain lesions and neuro-endocrine disorders.

I’m just giving you the short version here, but I do recommend you read this two-page article for the full education. The website is not perfect, it has a little of the “our government hates us” tone, but hey, they kind of do, and the article is one of the more well-documented and thorough on this subject. Read it–you know, for the kids.

The TV has been telling us for years that it is too time consuming and hard to make our own food, we are too busy, so we should allow them, the advertisers, take care of it for us. It’s a lie. And now our nation is fatter and sicker than ever (I know I am). I’m learning it takes more planning, but not necessarily time.

Here is an article on a quick way to start: Make Meals in 30 Minutes or Less

My kids get enough mind games from me, they don’t need to get them from their food. Plus, I know I already gave my kids the hefty gene, I am not about to throw their odds off even further with more MSG now I know the whole story.

I’m breaking up with MaSta G.

2 replies
  1. brieanne.
    brieanne. says:

    I thought they had banned this stuff and that it was only in chinese food! sneaky! thanks for the heads up…. we would be eating doritos for days if it weren’t for you!

  2. Mamamelodrama
    Mamamelodrama says:

    I came across an article about MSG today in the New York Times Dining section and was so annoyed I just had to write a letter. Just in case any of you read it and reassign my MSG-hatred to extremism, I wanted to post my response to the article.

    Here’s the article:

    Here’s my response:

    In the name of culinary necessity, this article disregards voluminous research on the impact of MSG on obesity and insulin resistance.

    The FDA’s after-the-fact consumer protection and it’s pro-industry decision making makes pointing to FDA approval laughable, as it is rarely an indication of true product safety. Just this month, the Department of Diagnostic Pathology in the Graduate School of Medicine and Pharmaceutical Sciences at the University of Toyama in Japan completed a study confirming again that MSG causes liver inflammation and dysplasia, stating, “These results take on considerable significance in light of the widespread usage of dietary MSG and we suggest that MSG should have its safety profile re-examined and be potentially withdrawn from the food chain.”

    See an abstract here:

    An overwhelming number of other studies (linked to below) address the direct connection between MSG, obesity and brain lesions. Although heavily based in animal studies, the relevance to human consumption is clearly addressed as a concern by many of the researchers, especially when young children are exposed and predisposed to early-onset childhood obesity. MSG consumption, obesity (especially in children) and Type II Diabetes have increased together over the past four decades in the American diet, and these studies make clear that this relationship is indeed causal.

    We are not exposed to trace amounts of MSG. It is in nearly every processed savory food, and the average American’s cumulative intake across the whole of their diet, especially in children who take on a much higher load for their small body weight, is clearly outside the safe zone. Even so, I find it ridiculous that we discuss known toxic chemicals in terms of a “safe intake level.” For any person with common sense, that would be zero.

    MSG is not “natural”. Simply because it begins in nature doesn’t mean that our process of extracting, refining and altering for our use in a highly concentrated mass scale makes it fit for consumption, or intended by nature for humans.

    Finally, as this is a dining article, someone who truly loves good food will recognize that MSG is not food at all. It is not helpful as dining journalism and it is rife with misleading health information. Please take a moment to review the studies below and you will quickly understand a conspicuous correction is in order. Below are the studies listed in the public medical database. Simply search “monosodium glutamate” and “obesity” (also “monosodium glutamate” and “lesions”), and over 120 studies with clearly damning abstracts will be ready for your review:

    I love the NYT and read it daily. However, this type of “ask a professor friend” research leads to blowing off serious health issues, and is truly inappropriate for the type of journalism one expects here, even in the dining section. I would rather expect the NYT to cover the recent study from Japan, rather than rejoice in our food additive options.

    Valerie Christensen
    Pasadena, CA


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