26 Aug BLOG: Additives Pt 1: MSG
Early into lockdown, I posted and led my followers through a pantry makeover. I had so many questions about why certain foods don’t get a place in my pantry, so couldn’t help but elaborate. I am excited to bring you this series on food additives.
Imagine a body that runs optimally. Free of skin irritations, great hair, strong nails, not a blemish in sight. A body that eats food and doesn’t bloat, or get a scary sudden urge to run to the toilet. It simply has two healthy bowel movements a day. Imagine a brain that doesn’t feel foggy, is motivated, gets things done and doesn’t give up at 3:30. Envision the ability to train at the gym 4 times a week, recover quickly and be free of aches.
This dream body is available to us – this body is our natural state. Unfortunately for us, we live in a modern age, where “food” is no longer food and we think that something from a packet with a host of ingredients – preservatives, thickeners and flavours is perfectly acceptable. We buy quick and easy meals to save time, we order in – we think that our body has the ability to eat these foods at no cost. Oh how wrong we are.
Learning to be cautious about what you put in your mouth and feed your family is imperative if you want to live your best and most healthy life. With lots of delicious products and flavours on the shelves, it is hard to resist – I get it. But we need to turn these foods into “rarely” or at best “sometimes” foods in order to look, feel and act our best. While the effects may only be minor for a small amount or from time to time, this adds up over the course of your life and your body uses precious detoxifying methods which could be better used elsewhere. Everything adds up.
Hippocrates stated, “All disease begins in the gut.”
All that time ago he was onto something. We are what we eat and if we eat crap, we will become it. Most humans these days suffer some kind of gut issue. Whether you realise it or not – it is common but I would not classify it as normal. Our gut health is impacted by the billions of living bacteria inside of our body. These communities of bugs either thrive or die. Our aim, in the context of living a healthy life, is to have the right balance of the right bugs. Too many of the “bad guys” and not enough of the “good guys” can lead to bloating, gas, diarrhea, brain fog etc. This often comes about by over-feeding the bad guys a diet of sugar and processed food and not enough food for the food guys – like quality vegetables, proteins and fats. This in turn creates “leaky gut” where the inflammation caused by all of the junk we eat, eventually permeates holes in our intestinal barrier. Soon food makes it’s way to the bloodstream and the body produces an immune response. Eventually, we are sick, sluggish and our bodies are out of balance.
If you have any of the following conditions, most processed foods or additives are almost certainly going to affect you:
- Any diagnosed gut or inflammatory condition (including celiacs, or any kind of colitis or inflammation of the colon)
- Those with sensitive stomachs or any gut condition (IBS, regular bouts of constipation, bloating, diarrhoea. Poor sleep, fatigue, depression, anxiety can be some signs)
When I work with a client, the early stages of the program centre around food knowledge. We start removing processed and refined foods and prioritising real foods. These are the main ingredients on a label or in a product that I will generally caution and why…
MSG and Free Glutamate
We are likely to have heard about MSG’s sprinkling through some of our flavour-rich asian takeaways. I know I first associated it with Chinese foods. But scarily – it’s found in more than that and we could be feeding it to our children on the daily.
Monosodium Glutamate (MSG) is a type of glutamate. There are 2 types (bound and free). Bound glutamate is usually found in whole (real) foods. The potential health concerns are linked to the free form which is a synthetic chemical added to a number of packaged foods to make it more palatable. And MSG is a free glutamate.
When we explore the side effects of free glutamate, the risks are hard to ignore as the studies show PROVEN links to:
- Hormone disruption
- Degenerative brain disorders, reduced cognition, mental health disorders, reduced cognition
- Headaches and migraines
Learn more about the nasty side-effects here.
Unfortunately for us, the effects become worse as the product is fast tracked through the brain when you have a leaky gut – which as mentioned before, many people have. This is some scary sh!t as these products are present in a large number of foods in our pantry and more so in the food we eat on the run.
While we may know to look out for MSG on a label, manufacturers are getting good at including it under a less obvious name. Save to following image to help read the labels of food you purchase.
Would you like to serve yourself of your children food with even a dusting of something that could affect their brains? The scary truth is that we do everyday.
Free glutamate it is creeping its way into a number of common foods such as:
- Most fast foods – Chinese, KFC are the worst
- Cheesy-flavored snacks, (Doritos and certain flavours of Pringles)
- Yeast extracts (Vegemite)
- Frozen meals (dinners, pizza, sausage rolls and pies)
- Some protein powders and protein products
- Canned and packet soups, broth, bouillon cubes
- Instant and packet noodles
- Seasoning and “rubs”
- Soy sauce, fish sauce, oyster sauce
- Miso, tempeh, soy protein
- Processed meats and fish, including ham
- Condiments – salad dressing, mayo, sauces
- Tomato and vegetable sauces
While this new information may seem scary, your best defence is to take control. Start reading labels, throwing out foods and limiting your exposure to these nasty chemicals. Do this while you still have your health in check. It is no coincidence that with every new and delicious product line that comes out, our collective health takes a hit. The basic principle applies here – Just eat REAL food. You have the option to prolong your life, feel better and give your family the best shot at an ailment free life.
*Many of the opinions expressed in this blog post are that of a health coach who is a mentor and guide, trained in holistic health coaching to help clients reach their own health goals by helping them to devise and implement positive, sustainable lifestyle changes. If the reader is under the care of a healthcare professional or currently uses prescription medications, they should discuss any dietary changes or potential dietary supplements use with his or her doctor, and should not discontinue any prescription medications without first consulting his or her doctor. This information received should not be seen as medical or nursing advice and is not meant to take the place of seeing licensed health professionals