TOO MUCH MSG? by Vickie Kline

A couple of years ago I struggled with sore muscles in my neck and shoulder area. I visited the chiropractor often, thinking it was a tightening of muscles that was stress-related. I would get relief for a day or so… and then would feel discomfort all over again. I began visiting a kinesiologist to get his opinion. He told me my back and hips were in perfect alignment, so the soreness and stiffness was not caused by anything muscular or bone-related, and a chiropractic adjustment would not help. Hmmm, how strange.

The doctor then asked if I had changed my diet in any way or what I had been eating. At the time I was working to lose weight, so had begun eating Healthy Choice soups for lunch everyday. I learned that soups have a high MSG content and too much MSG presents itself in muscle soreness – especially in the neck and shoulders. By trying to be more healthy and eating soup, I caused another issue in my body. Very interesting.

MSG stands for monosodium glutamate and is a form of concentrated salt added to foods to enhance flavor. The body can produce glutamic acid (the same version of this salt) on its own, but food producers think it’s necessary to process this ingredient and place it in food on the grocery store shelves. MSG is connected with many adverse reactions, such as, skin rashes, itching, hives, nausea, vomiting, migraine headaches, asthma, heart irregularities, depression, and in some severe cases, seizures.

Since MSG has been connected to these health issues, the food industry has given it new names and new forms to help disguise its existence in processed foods. MSG can also be called autolyzed yeast extract, maltodextrin, hydrolyzed protein, sodium caseinate, mono-potassium glutamate, and textured protein. How can this be right?

The food industry thinks that because MSG is so cheap, they should be allowed to use lesser quality foods, but enhance the flavor by adding MSG. Again I ask, how can this be right?

Foods containing the largest doses of MSG are spicy corn chips, many soups, certain Chinese foods, ranch dressing, sausages, hot dogs, barbecued meats, smokes meats, processed deli meats, and many sauces. Also included are powdered packets like chili, gravy, taco seasoning, French onion dip, and dried dip mixes.

Even though you don’t feel the effects of MSG, they are there. MSG causes a spike in glutamic acid, which is used throughout the body as a neurotransmitter. MSG also compromises the way the liver and gall bladder use bile to break up fats for digestion. An overdose of MSG may cause a person to experience diarrhea, gall bladder attacks, or a flare-up of irritable bowel syndrome.

It really pays to know what you’re putting into your body. Check the labels of purchased products and become familiar with ingredients. Do your entire system a favor and cut back on processed foods, especially those containing MSG. You’ll be amazed at the immediate difference you feel. Today I don’t eat much soup, watch my intake of MSG, and never suffer from neck and shoulder discomfort.

Strive to be healthy!

Information courtesy of Health Basics: What is MSG?

MSG image courtesy of A Real Food Lover

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