Hidden Dangerous Sushi Ingredients Exposed


Sushi

Story at-a-glance

  • Popular ingredients in sushi and other Asian foods often contain monosodium glutamate (MSG), artificial sweeteners, high-fructose corn syrup, genetically modified ingredients, artificial colors, and artificial flavors
  • Seaweed salad, pickled ginger, wasabi, soy sauce, and even sushi rice and sesame seeds may contain artificial ingredients and additives
  • Restaurant sushi is often mislabeled and may include a different fish than is labeled; it also may be high in mercury or other pollutants
  • If you love sushi, try making it at home by purchasing a whole, pollutant-free fish, such as wild-caught, Alaskan sockeye salmon

Most people regard sushi as a healthful choice when eating out, or even when looking for a quick take-out option, as ready-made sushi is now widely available in grocery stores.

Obviously, if you order certain sushi rolls that are deep-fried, you’re probably already aware that not everything on the menu at your favorite Asian restaurant is actually healthy.

But what may come as a surprise – even to the most health-conscious sushi lovers – are the potentially dangerous ingredients hidden in even seemingly excellent choices – like seaweed salad, wasabi, or sushi ginger.

Dangerous Ingredients Lurking in 8 Popular Sushi Dishes

A revealing report1 by Andrea Donsky, founder of NaturallySavvy, has exposed the many not-so-healthy ingredients found in popular Asian foods.

1. Seaweed Salad

Seaweed is an excellent source of iodine, vitamins, and minerals, provided it comes from clean, non-polluted waters. But the seaweed salad sold at many sushi restaurants comes pre-made in bulk from distribution companies and may contain:

  • High-fructose corn syrup
  • Vegetable oil
  • Hydrolyzed protein (which contains monosodium glutamate or MSG)
  • Artificial color, such as yellow #4 and blue #1
  • Genetically modified (GM) ingredients

A fairly surefire sign that your favorite sushi salad contains some of these “pre-packaged” ingredients is an unnaturally bright green color. You can also ask the restaurant directly if it makes its own seaweed salad.

2. Ginger

Ginger has phenomenal health benefits for conditions ranging from nausea and arthritis pain to heart health and asthma. Unfortunately, the pickled ginger often served alongside sushi is often doctored-up with some dangerous additives, including:

  • Monosodium glutamate
  • Aspartame
  • Potassium sorbate (a preservative)
  • Artificial colors, including red #40, which is linked to hyperactivity in children (if the ginger looks pink)

3. Wasabi

The bright green Japanese mustard known as wasabi has anti-inflammatory, anti-microbial, anti-platelet, and, potentially, anti-cancer effects. However, this is referring to authentic wasabi (the kind that comes from the wasabia japonica root or rhizome).

Authentic wasabi is extremely hard to come by, even in Japan, and it’s estimated that only 5 percent of restaurants in Japan and only very high-end restaurants in the US2serve the real deal. So what is that green paste being served with your sushi? Most likely a combination of horseradish, Chinese mustard, and green food coloring. The featured report found the following in wasabi:

  • Artificial flavors
  • Artificial colors
  • Potential GM ingredients (corn and soy)

A better alternative is to look for “wasabi” that’s made from only horseradish, spirulina, and turmeric, which is likely to be far healthier than the wasabi imposters being sold at most sushi restaurants.

4. Sesame Seeds

That’s right… even sesame seeds may contain hidden ingredients! While most sushi restaurants use plain toasted sesame seeds in their dishes, there are some flavored sesame seeds on the market that also contain:

  • Artificial colors
  • Artificial sweeteners (sucralose)

5. Soy Sauce

The soy sauce served alongside your sushi also likely contains additives you’re far better off avoiding, including:

  • Hydrolyzed soy protein (MSG)
  • GM ingredients (soy and con)
  • Corn syrup
  • Potassium sorbate (preservative)
  • Caramel color (certain types of which may form potentially carcinogenic byproducts)

6. Rice

The rice used on sushi rolls may also contain hidden ingredients used to make it sweeter. The featured report revealed sushi rice may contain:

7. Imitation Crab

Imitation crab meat may be made from Golden Threadfin Bream, a fish facing extinction, and that’s not all. It may also contain additives including:

  • Monosodium glutamate
  • Artificial flavor

8. Fish Roe (Seasoned Caviar)

The orange-colored fish eggs often served with sushi dishes are also commonly full of additives like those found in other Asian foods. Among them:

  • Monosodium glutamate
  • High-fructose corn syrup
  • Artificial color (yellow #6)

Tuna and Snapper Sushi Are Probably Not What You Think

When you factor in all of the additives found in many sushi dishes, it becomes clear that this potentially healthful food has succumbed to the processed food trap of artificial additives and fillers in lieu of real, quality ingredients. But there is more to the story than even this… When you eat tuna at your favorite sushi restaurant, there’s a good chance you’re not actually eating tuna. Instead, the majority of fish labeled “white tuna” may actually be escolar, a type of fish that can cause serious digestive effects, including oily anal leakage.

Oceana conducted DNA testing on more than 1,200 fish samples across the US and found that one-third were mislabeled.3 While red snapper had the highest mislabeling rates (87 percent of “red snapper” samples were not actually red snapper), tuna was a close second, with 59 percent mislabeled.

At sushi restaurants, however, 74 percent of fish samples were mislabeled. This included every single sushi restaurant from which samples were tested, even in major metropolitan areas like Chicago, Austin, New York and Washington DC. In many cases, the mislabeled fish had been substituted for cheaper, less desirable and/or more readily available fish varieties. More than 90 percent of the seafood consumed in the US is imported, yet only 1 percent of imports are inspected for fraud, which may explain this clearly out-of-control situation.

Sushi Tuna Is Typically High in Mercury

Most major waterways in the world are contaminated with mercury, heavy metals, and chemicals like dioxins, PCBs, and other agricultural chemicals that wind up in the environment. Fish has always been the best source for the animal-based omega-3 fats EPA and DHA, but as levels of pollution have increased, this health treasure of a food has become less and less viable as a primary source of beneficial fats.

This is particularly true for tuna, which tends to be a higher mercury fish. One study from the U.S. Geological Survey found that ALL tuna tested contained fairly high amounts of mercury. The contamination may be even worse in restaurants, again confirming that eating restaurant tuna is a risky proposition.

Further, according to a separate study, toxicological testing revealed that tuna sold in restaurants actually contained higheramounts of mercury than the store-bought variety.4 The reason is that restaurants tend to favor certain species of tuna, such as bluefin akami and bigeye tuna, which had significantly higher levels of mercury than bluefin toro and yellowfin tuna. Unfortunately, mercury tends to accumulate to a greater degree in muscle than in fat, rendering these highly prized, leaner species of tuna more susceptible to high contamination.

Can You Still Enjoy the Sushi You Love?

If you love sushi, and want to enjoy it without adding unnecessary health risks, try making it at home. You can purchase a whole, low-mercury fish, such as wild-caught Alaskan sockeye salmon, and use natural versions of ginger and wasabi for condiments. If this sounds daunting, there are many tutorials on how to make your own sushi simply at home available online.

Additionally, whenever I consume fish, I make sure to also take chlorella tablets. The chlorella is a potent mercury binder and, if taken with the fish, will help bind the mercury before you are able to absorb it, so it can be safely excreted in your stool.

If you want to eat out, search around for a higher end restaurant that makes its own dishes, like seaweed salad, and will be upfront about disclosing ingredients. Steer clear of tuna due to its mercury content in favor of lower mercury wild-caught salmon, and consider bringing your own natural versions of wasabi or pickled ginger (available in some health food stores) from home. You can also try some of the all-vegetable options and forgo the seafood entirely, if you’re in doubt about its variety or purity.

Be sure to avoid any sushi made from farmed fish. Remember, fish farms are the aquatic version of a concentrated animal feeding operation (CAFO), and just like land-based cattle and chicken farms, fish farms breed disease due to crowding too many fish together in a small space. They also produce toxic waste, and fish of inferior quality. These fish are further contaminated by drugs and genetically modified corn and soy meal feed, and in the case of salmon, synthetic astaxanthin, which is made from petrochemicals that are not approved for human consumption.

Source:mercola.com

Why the War on Salt Is Dangerous


sodium to potassium ratio

Story at-a-glance

  • Evidence shows having the correct potassium to sodium balance influences your risk for hypertension and heart disease to a far greater extent than high sodium alone, and the Western diet tends to be lacking in potassium
  • It’s generally recommended that you consume five times more potassium than sodium, but most Americans eat twice as much sodium as potassium
  • When lowering salt in processed foods, many manufacturers added monosodium glutamate (MSG) instead — a flavor enhancer associated with obesity, headaches, thyroid, liver, kidney and intestinal damage, and much more

The theory that salt is bad for you and contributes to high blood pressure and heart disease is an idea that has become more or less cemented as dogma. Alas, the war on salt has had a number of drawbacks and unintended consequences.

For starters, evidence shows having the correct potassium to sodium balance influences your risk for hypertension and heart disease to a far greater extent than high sodium alone, and the Western diet tends to be lacking in potassium.

Moreover, when lowering salt in processed foods, many manufacturers took to adding monosodium glutamate (MSG) instead — a flavor enhancer associated with a number of health problems, including obesity, headaches, fatigue and depression.

Due to its ability to overexcite neurons, MSG may even raise your risk for neurological disorders such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and Lou Gehrig’s disease.

War on Salt Is Misguided

In 2010, New York City launched the National Salt Reduction Initiative, a salt-reduction plan aimed at lowering salt in processed foods and restaurant meals by 25 percent in the next four years.

Two years later, Dr. Sean Lucan of the Albert Einstein College of Medicine wrote an article published online in the American Journal of Public Health, saying:1

“We cannot extrapolate that lowering sodium consumption would reduce cardiovascular risk or premature death. Despite assertions to the contrary, we do not know that reducing mean population sodium intake would decrease the risk of cardiovascular disease or save lives.”

At the time, Lucan told The New York Post:2

“We can’t just swallow this as fact — there’s actually debate about this. My concern is that they’re focusing on a single ingredient that the food industry is going to have to replace with something — and what they replace it with might be more damaging.”

Lucan also noted that the relationship between sodium and blood pressure is inconsistent and from a clinical standpoint, insubstantial.

Moreover, he stressed that some studies actually show a low-salt diet can worsen cardiovascular disease and raise rather than lower the risk for early death among patients at high risk of heart disease.

In addition, lowering salt intake could also decrease insulin sensitivity and have an adverse effect on blood lipids. Correctly, Lucan noted that “Refined carbohydrates are a greater enemy.”

Potassium Level Impacts High Blood Pressure More Than Sodium

Studies have clearly shown that having the correct balance of potassium to sodium is far more important than lowering salt alone. Potassium is a naturally occurring mineral your body uses as an electrolyte (substance in solution that conducts electricity), and it is vital for optimal health and normal functioning.

Potassium works in your body to relax the walls of your arteries, keep your muscles from cramping, and lowers your blood pressure.3 The reduction in blood pressure with added potassium has also been associated in studies with a reduced risk of stroke.4

While diarrhea, vomiting, excessive sweating (such as when using a sauna) and some drugs may deplete or disrupt your potassium balance, the most common reason for low potassium is eating a potassium-poor diet.

If you’re eating mostly processed foods, your sodium-to-potassium balance is virtually guaranteed to be inversed.

The average reported intake of potassium from food is about half of the 4,700 mg recommended.5 Research demonstrates these low levels of potassium may have a significant impact on blood pressure, especially when combined with too much salt.

Dr. Paul Welton, professor of epidemiology at Tulane School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine, analyzed 29 trials that demonstrated low levels of potassium resulted in higher systolic blood pressure readings.6 Studies performed since then have found similar results.7,8 According to Welton:9

“The evidence is very strong and very consistent. A higher potassium intake may blunt the effects of excess salt on blood pressure. Potassium’s effect is bigger in people who have higher blood pressure, bigger in older people, bigger in people who are consuming a lot of salt and bigger in black people.”

The Many Benefits of Potassium

Recent research found that women without hypertension who consumed the most potassium (nearly 3,200 mg/day) had a 21 percent reduced risk of stroke. Further, women who consumed the most potassium were 12 percent less likely to die during the study period than those who consumed the least.10

Adequate amounts of potassium are also associated with quicker recovery from exercise and improved muscle strength.11,12 As an electrolyte, potassium helps to regulate the fluid balance in your cells and throughout your body.13

This fluid balance is essential to maintaining life, preventing dehydration at the cellular level and maintaining brain function.14

For example, potassium is important in the transmission of nerve impulses in your brain, spinal cord and peripheral nervous system.15 Nerve impulses transmitting information from one nerve to the next happens as the result of electrical activity. This activity is what an electrocardiogram measures as it tracks heart activity.

Low levels of potassium have also been linked with high levels of insulin and glucose, associated with metabolic syndrome and type 2 diabetes.16 These results have been found in several studies,17 leading researchers to recommend dietary choices that boost potassium levels and reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes.

Sodium/Potassium Ratio Is Key to Strong Muscles and Relaxed Arteries

The key to relaxing your arterial walls and reducing your blood pressure is the sodium-to-potassium ratio. If you eat a lot of processed foods and few fresh vegetables, there’s a good chance your sodium-to-potassium ratio is unbalanced.

If you’re unsure, use cron-ometer.com/mercola, a nutrient tracker that allows you to enter the foods you eat and then calculates the ratio automatically. It’s generally recommended that you consume five times more potassium than sodium, but most Americans eat twice as much sodium as potassium.

This ratio is far more important for your health than your overall salt intake,18 and a better strategy to promote public health would be to forgo the strict sodium reduction element and focus recommendations on a high-quality diet rich in potassium instead, as this nutrient helps offset the hypertensive effects of sodium.

Imbalance in this ratio can not only lead to high blood pressure but also contribute to a number of other health problems, including:

Kidney stones Memory decline Cataracts
Osteoporosis Erectile dysfunction Stomach ulcers
Rheumatoid arthritis Stomach cancer

Less Salt, More MSG

As Lucan suspected, in many cases, food manufacturers did indeed replace the salt with something more damaging, namely MSG. As noted by the International Glutamate Information Service in the article, “MSG Is Useful in a Reduced Sodium Diet”:19

“Since its discovery over 100 years ago, [MSG] has been used effectively to enhance the umami taste in food. It is also an effective means of reducing the levels of salt used in food preparation.

Studies have demonstrated that people find food with low levels of salt much more acceptable when a small amount of [MSG] is added. MSG is mistakenly thought of as being high in sodium. However, MSG contains only one-third the amount of sodium as table salt …

MSG is often an important ingredient for people on a low-sodium diet, because it improves the flavor of a dish while reducing the need for salt … [W]hen MSG is added … sodium levels can be lowered by up to 40 percent while maintaining the desired flavor.”

Health Hazards of MSG

While MSG is touted as a safe food additive, having received “Generally Recognized as Safe” (GRAS) status in 1959, scientific evidence against it has stacked up. Ironically, MSG has even been linked to high blood pressure,20 effectively negating the proposed benefit of replacing sodium with MSG. Research has also linked MSG consumption to:

Endocrine disruption, metabolic syndrome, obesity21,22 and weight gain.23 The weight gain, which was not associated with higher amounts of calories, is thought to be related to MSG’s impact on leptin.

People who ate more MSG produced higher amounts of leptin, a hormone involved in appetite regulation and metabolism.

By causing leptin resistance, your body loses its ability to properly process the energy derived from the food

Genotoxicity; specifically, MSG was found to be genotoxic to human peripheral blood lymphocytes (mature white blood cells/immune cells found in your blood circulation)24
Thyroid damage, even at low doses25 Kidney dysfunction26
Intestinal damage, caused by progressive damage to epithelial cells in your small intestine27 Liver damage that can lead to fibrosis, non-alcoholic fatty liver disease and pre-cancerous lesions28,29
Brain lesions,30 seizures and behavioral changes31 Increased risk of infertility32,33
Severe rhinitis in those with MSG intolerance34 Diabetes35

Acute Side Effects of MSG Ingestion

Many also experience more immediate side effects from MSG, with a pounding headache being one of the most prominent. While the exact cause of MSG-induced headache remains unclear, research investigating the matter has demonstrated that MSG “induces a dose-dependent swelling and death of mature neurons,”36 which may be part of the equation. Other common side effects that may occur within an hour or so of eating MSG include:37,38

Sweating Chest tightness Wheezing and/or difficulty breathing Dizziness
Nausea Diarrhea Flushing and/or tingling of the face Burning or numbness in the back of your neck and/or upper body
Heart palpitations Abdominal pain Shaking Weakness in the legs

The MSG Symptom Complex Is Real

A double-blind, placebo-controlled, randomized study39 published in 1997 investigated MSG symptoms by conducting an oral challenge in “self-identified MSG-sensitive subjects” to see whether they really had a higher incidence of symptoms after eating MSG, compared to a placebo. Sixty-one participants received 5 grams (gm) of MSG or placebo as an initial challenge. Of them:

  • 29.5 percent had no response to either MSG or placebo
  • 9.8 percent responded to both
  • 24.6 percent responded to placebo
  • 36.1 percent responded to MSG

While many reported side effects from the placebo, the severity of symptoms were greater among those who received MSG than placebo. The participants were then rechallenged with placebo and 1.25, 2.5 and 5 gm of MSG. According to the authors:

“Rechallenge revealed an apparent threshold dose for reactivity of 2.5 gm MSG. Headache, muscle tightness, numbness/tingling, general weakness and flushing occurred more frequently after MSG than placebo ingestion.

Oral challenge with MSG reproduced symptoms in alleged sensitive person … According to Food and Drug Administration recommendations, the symptoms, originally called the Chinese restaurant syndrome, are better referred to as the MSG symptom complex.”

Vitamin C and Lycopene Offer Protection Against MSG’s Effects

Certain compounds have been found to offer some protection against MSG’s adverse effects. Vitamin C was found to provide “significant protection against MSG toxicity” in one study,40 and lycopene has also been found to avert its neurotoxic effects. A study investigating the latter gave male rats either 5 milligrams (mg) per kilo (kg) of MSG, 10 mg/kg of lycopene, MSG with lycopene, or placebo, for 30 days. According to the authors:

“The results showed that MSG induced elevation in lipid peroxidation marker and perturbation in the antioxidant homeostasis … Glutathione S-transferase … superoxide dismutase … and catalase … activities and gene expression were increased and glutathione content was reduced in the MSG-challenged rats, and these effects were ameliorated by lycopene …

Our results indicate that lycopene appears to be highly effective in relieving the toxic effects of MSG by inhibiting lipid peroxidation and inducing modifications in the activity of cholinesterase and antioxidant pathways. Interestingly, lycopene protects brain tissue by inhibiting apoptosis signaling induced by MSG.”

Hidden Sources of MSG

While added MSG must be listed in the list of ingredients as “monosodium glutamate,” its absence is no guarantee of safety. MSG and synthetic free glutamate in varying amounts can still hide in processed foods under names such as:41

Hydrolyzed vegetable protein Autolyzed or hydrolyzed yeast Yeast extract
Soy extract Protein isolate Natural flavor
Glutamate and monopotassium glutamate Calcium caseinate Gelatin

While not commonly known, MSG is even used as a stabilizer in certain vaccines,42 which seems to be a particularly bad idea considering its many adverse health effects, particularly on the brain. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, MSG can be found in the following five vaccines:43

  • Adenovirus
  • Influenza quadrivalent (FluMist)
  • MMRV (ProQuad)
  • Varicella (Varivax)
  • Zoster (Shingles-Zostravax)

Real Food Is the Answer

Getting nutrients from your food instead of supplements is preferable as your food contains more than a single nutrient and in different forms. For instance, potassium found in fruits and vegetables is potassium citrate or potassium malate, while supplements are often potassium chloride. The citrate and malate forms help produce alkali, which may promote bone health44and preserve lean muscle mass as you age.45

Bone loss may lead to brittle bones or even osteoporosis. While potassium in fruits and vegetables may help build bone health, potassium chloride may not. As researcher Dr. Bess Dawson-Hughes from Tufts University explains:46

“If you don’t have adequate alkali to balance the acid load from the grains and protein in a typical American diet, you lose calcium in the urine and you have bone loss … When the body has more acid than it is easily able to excrete, bone cells get a signal that the body needs to neutralize the acid with alkali … And bone is a big alkali reservoir, so the body breaks down some bone to add alkali to the system.”

Research by Dawson-Hughes found that people who were in the neutral range for net acid excretion, meaning they had a fairly healthy balance for bone and muscle health, were eating just over eight servings of fruits and vegetables per day along with 5.5 servings of grains. When they rounded this out, it came to about half as many grains as fruits and vegetables.

For many Americans, a simple recommendation to increase your alkali (and potassium) while reducing acid is to eat more vegetables and fewer grains and processed foods in general.47 When cooking from scratch, you have complete control over how much salt you add.

In addition to that, when you do use salt, make sure its unrefined and minimally processed. My personal favorite is Himalayan pink salt, rich in naturally-occurring trace minerals needed for healthy bones, fluid balance and overall health. To learn more about the importance of unprocessed salt in your diet, see the related articles listed.

Source: mercola.com

Studies Show Harmful Effects Of Instant Noodles


Instant ramen noodles

An experiment performed by a doctor in Massachusetts has people questioning whether they will ever eat instant noodles again.

Dr. Braden Kuo of Massachusetts General Hospital used a camera the size of a pill to find out what happens while the body digests pre-cooked noodles. The resulting video showed that the noodles were still largely intact after two hours, according to USA Today.

 As long as the noodles remain in the stomach, so do all the noodles’ additives, including toxic preservatives like tertiary-butyl hydroquinone.
TBHQ prevents oxidation of fats and oils and is a common ingredient in processed food. McDonald’s Chicken McNuggets, Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, Wheat Thins and Teddy Grahams all contain TBHQ.

The Consumer’s Dictionary of Food Additives reported that 1 gram of TBHQ can cause a number of adverse effects, including nausea, vomiting, ringing in the ears, delirium and a sense of suffocation.

Prolonged exposure to TBHQ can cause biochemical changes and affect liver and reproductive function.

 A 2014 study in medical periodical The Journal of Nutrition concluded that women in South Korea who ate more instant noodles were more likely to suffer from metabolic syndrome, the symptoms of which include obesity, high blood pressure, high blood sugar and low levels of HDL cholesterol, which is considered the “good” cholesterol.

“Although instant noodle is a convenient and delicious food, there could be an increased risk for metabolic syndrome given [the food’s] high sodium, unhealthy saturated fat and glycemic loads,” said Harvard doctoral candidate Hyun Shin, according to PreventDisease.com.

People with metabolic syndrome are at an increased risk of developing diabetes and heart disease.

Instant noodles also contain high levels of monosodium glutamate, an excitotoxin that can cause damage or death to nerve cells by over-stimulating them. Damaged nerve cells are a factor in the development of debilitating neurological conditions like Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease and ALS.

Lisa Young, a nutritionist and professor at New York University, told PreventDisease.com she hopes people keep these things in mind the next time they go to buy a package of instant noodles.

“Instant noodles are high in fat, high in salt, high in calories and they’re processed — all those factors could contribute to some of the health problems [the study] addressed,” Young said. “That doesn’t mean that every single person is going to respond the same way, but the piece to keep in mind is that it’s not a healthy product, and it is a processed food.”

The ‘mystery ingredients’ in fast food are actually industrial chemicals


Many people are aware of how bad fast food is for them – or at least, they kind of are. But the faults in fast food do not lie solely in the exorbitant calories, excess fat and copious use of salt and sugar. In fact, it turns out that these aspects may indeed be the more innocent parts of the dangers inherent in the fast food industry.

Fast food is surely not nutritionally sound (far from it), but there are many other secret ingredients lurking in those meat-shaped patties, and most of them are hidden because  people would not eat the food if they knew what was actually in it .

 Image: The ‘mystery ingredients’ in fast food are actually industrial chemicals

MSG, or monosodium glutamate, is a perfect example of this. While there are many people who will concede that MSG is harmful to  some people, they insist that it is not harmful to the majority. But, as  Food Renegade discusses, it is a cumulative compound, which means it can build up in your body over time. Even if you aren’t sensitive to it now, if you consume it regularly, eventually you will be. MSG is associated with a lot of side effects, including headaches. In fact, research has shown that it can even cause brain damage and lead to neurological disorders.

No one uses that stuff anymore though, right? Wrong. In fact, nearly every item on the KFC menu contains MSG, except for desserts and drinks. It is not uncommon for MSG to even be used in salads in the fast food industry. In addition, MSG has a host of alternative names that we should all be on the lookout for, including “yeast extract” and “hydrolized soy protein.”

High fructose corn syrup is another star of fast food and convenience items alike. While many people associate this ingredient with sweets like sodas and apple pies, HFCS is also added to salad dressings and other items. Despite claims that HFCS is “just like regular sugar,” evidence indicates that this is not true. As Natural News reports, “[T]his substance does not stimulate insulin secretion or reduce the hunger hormone ghrelin, people continue to eat while the body converts what they consume into fat.”

As a result of the growing concerns about HFCS, many manufacturers have taken to renaming HFCS with more innocent-sounding terms, such as “corn sugar.”

Another of the toxic ingredients hiding in your favorite fast food items is dimethylpolysiloxane, an anti-foaming agent with a variety of uses that are not at all food-related. For example, dimethylpolysiloxane is used in caulk, sealants and Silly Putty. It’s also featured in multiple items from McDonald’s, KFC and Wendy’s.

Of course, this just the beginning. There are many other harmful additives in fast foods. Sodium benzoate, sodium aluminum phosphate and acrylamide are just a few of the things you can find in your favorite takeaway meals. Next time you think you want a cheeseburger, do yourself a favor and make it yourself.

Monosodium glutamate (MSG): Is it harmful?


Monosodium glutamate (MSG) is a flavor enhancer commonly added to Chinese food, canned vegetables, soups and processed meats. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has classified MSG as a food ingredient that’s “generally recognized as safe,” but its use remains controversial. For this reason, when MSG is added to food, the FDA requires that it be listed on the label.

MSG has been used as a food additive for decades. Over the years, the FDA has received many anecdotal reports of adverse reactions to foods containing MSG. These reactions — known as MSG symptom complex — include:

  • Headache
  • Flushing
  • Sweating
  • Facial pressure or tightness
  • Numbness, tingling or burning in the face, neck and other areas
  • Rapid, fluttering heartbeats (heart palpitations)
  • Chest pain
  • Nausea
  • Weakness

However, researchers have found no definitive evidence of a link between MSG and these symptoms. Researchers acknowledge, though, that a small percentage of people may have short-term reactions to MSG. Symptoms are usually mild and don’t require treatment. The only way to prevent a reaction is to avoid foods containing MSG

MSG Side Effect, The Silent Killer Lurking in Your Kitchen Cabinets


image

Although the US Food & Drug Administration (FDA) has categorized monosodium glutamate or MSG, a type of food additive, as generally safe for consumption, a lot of people have reported experiencing side effects after consuming food that contains MSG.  The additive is typically used to enhance the flavor of various packaged food products and in numerous meals served in restaurants.

MSG, first identified as a natural flavor enhancer in seaweed, is an neurotoxin that can overexcite your cells which can cause damage, or even cell death.  They man-made version that hit the food market consist out of almost 80 percent free glutamic acid and 20 percent sodium.

Glutamic acids works as a nerve stimulant which tricks your brain in believing that something tastes more savory or protein rich than it actually is.

MSG Symptom Complex

Some unwanted side effects of MSG were first reported and published way back in 1968.  These included heart palpitations, weakness, and numbness in the arms and around the nape area. Other symptoms have been reported since, and a heated debate is going on among medical professionals on the possible link to MSG.

The FASEB or the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology, as commissioned by the FDA, released its findings about possible effects of MSG. These included: experiencing a burning sensation at the back of the neck, chest, and forearms, facial tightness or pressure, heart palpitation, chest pain, nausea, headache, numbness starting from the nape and radiating down to the back and arms, warmth or tingling in the upper body, weakness, and drowsiness. Collectively, these symptoms are classified by the FASEB as the MSG symptom complex.

All types of MSG (the free glutamic acid that appears in food as a result of the manufacturing process) can lead to these reactions particularly in people who are sensitive to MSG. These include the MSG found in AuxiGro (a plant growth enhancer) and those found in various other fungicides and fertilizers that have previously been approved for use on growing crops that include the so-called “organic” crops.

Symptoms Resulting from MSG Side Effects or Reactions

Various independent studies have been conducted on the food additive, and majority show that the following symptoms can result from MSG side effects or reactions:

Circulatory – swelling.

Cardiac – atrial fibrillation, arrhythmia, rapid heartbeat, tachycardia, slow heartbeat, palpitations, angina, and extreme drop or rise in blood pressure.

Muscular – joint pains, flu-like aches, and stiffness.

Gastrointestinal – vomiting, nausea, diarrhea, rectal bleeding, stomach cramps, and bloating.

Visual – difficulty in focusing, blurred vision, and pressure around the eyes.

Neurological – mood swings, depression, anxiety, mental confusion, disorientation, panic attacks, behavioral problems in kids, hyperactivity, attention deficit disorder, sleepiness, lethargy, insomnia, seizures, paralysis or numbness, sciatica, shakes and chills, slurred speech, and shuddering.

Respiratory – shortness of breath, asthma, tightness in the chest, runny nose, chest pain, and sneezing.

Skin – rash, hives (internal, external or both), partial or temporary paralysis, mouth lesions, tingling or numbness of the skin, extreme dryness in the mouth, flushing, tongue swelling, face swelling, and bags under eyes.

Genital / Urological – prostate swelling, frequent bladder pain, vaginal spotting, vaginal swelling, nocturia, and frequent urination.

Side Effect Onset and Duration

The potential side effects that form part of the MSG symptom complex are expected to come anywhere from 15 to 30 minutes after MSG consumption, and are expected to disappear on their own in less than 2 hours. In the few instances when bouts of asthma were directly linked to the consumption of MSG-laden food, the symptoms were noted within 1 to 12 hours after consumption of the additive.

Although there were limited studies on people with chronic cases of hives, results showed that skin reactions were triggered within 1 hour to 1 day.  The affected participants were apparently MSG-sensitive.

Make Sure to Read Food Labels

With all these possible side effects I think it’s clear MSG should be avoided, even if the FDA claims it to be alright. Eliminating MSG from your diet may be one of the hardest things to do as it is hiding everywhere and many alias names are used for the same substance.

Here’s a list of common ingredients that always contain MSG:

  • Autolyzed yeast
  • Yeast Extract
  • Yeast Nutrient
  • Monopotassium Glutamate
  • Monosodium Glutamate
  • Glutamic Acid
  • Gelatin
  • Textured Protein
  • Hydrolyzed Protein
  • Calcium Caseinate
  • Sodium Caseinate
  • Yeast food

Also scan labels for these ingredients as MSG is often added or created during processing

  • Flavor, flavorings, seasonings or all phrases containing one of these words
  • Soy sauce
  • Stock, broth
  • Protease
  • Carrageenan
  • Malt extract
  • Matlodextrin
  • Worcestershire sauce
  • Pectin
  • Kombu extract
  • Powdered milk
  • Barley malt
  • Enzymes
  • Anything enzyme modified
  • Corn starch
  • Soy Protein or soy protein isolate
  • Anything ultra-pasteurized
  • Anything protein fortified

The best way to avoid MSG is to avoid all processed food and opt for a clean, whole food diet. One last little tip. Add plenty of vitamin C rich foods and ginger to your diet. They have shown powerful protective effects against MSG.

 

Why do so many people think MSG is bad for you? | Big Think


In last week’s post, we looked at the placebo effect’s evil cousin, the nocebo effect, which can lead people to experience side effects from placebo pills and believe that WiFi and wind farms are causing them to become sick. A seemingly far more common belief that also appears to be caused by the nocebo effect is the idea that monosodium glutamate (MSG), the common ingredient in oriental foods, can cause headaches and other side effects.

Msg

MSG quickly becomes glutamate when it meets with water, resulting in the taste of “umami” or the savory flavor we associate with foods such as Parmesan, soy sauce, and Roquefort — all natural sources of glutamate. Glutamate is also contained to a lesser extent in plenty of everyday foods including pork, beef, chicken, eggs, potatoes, corn, tomatoes, squid, scallops, and sardines.

Since way back in 1968, anecdotal reports of negative reactions to Chinese food have been attributed to MSG, after a letter to the New England Journal of Medicine in which the phenomenon was branded “Chinese restaurant syndrome.” But despite the apparent popular consensus, this is most likely another syndrome that exists only in the mind. Decades of research summarised in a 2009 review of the literature on MSG refutes the existence of Chinese restaurant syndrome.

Negative symptoms have been reported in past studies involving MSG, but crucially, these studies were all small, uncontrolled, and unblinded, allowing the participants’ expectations to impact the results. When studies have been placebo-controlled and double-blinded, there is no difference in symptoms between participants ingesting normal amounts of MSG and participants who ingested a placebo.

Recent research suggests MSG might not only not be bad for you — it could actually be used to help people eat a healthy diet, as the savory foods that stimulate umami taste buds are important for overall health. A study published recently in the journal Flavour found that old people who had lost the sensitivity of their umami taste buds complained of appetite and weight loss. The researchers measured umami sensation by placing monosodium glutamate (MSG) on specific areas of the mouth and tongue. The researchers found that giving their participants kelp tea, which is rich in MSG, resulted in improvements in salivation, taste function, and appetite.

Next time you are having dinner with someone and they mention they react badly to MSG, you might want to ask them if they have ever heard of the nocebo effect.

 

References:

Sasano, T., Satoh-Kuriwada, S., & Shoji, N. (2015). The important role of umami taste in oral and overall health. Flavour, 4(1), 10.

Williams, A. N., & Woessner, K. M. (2009). Monosodium glutamate ‘allergy’: menace or myth?. Clinical & Experimental Allergy, 39(5), 640-646.

MSG Proven Highly Toxic: 1 Dose Causes Headache In Healthy Subjects.


Found everywhere as an additive in your food, new research has uncovered that this “flavor enhancer” is extremely toxic, causing a battery of adverse health effects within normal dietary ranges.

A new study published in the Journal of Headache Pain reveals that a single intake of monosodium glutamate (MSG) produces headache in the majority of healthy subjects tested.[i]

The researchers conducted a double-blinded, placebo-controlled, crossover study to examine the effect of repeated MSG intake on the following:

  • Spontaneous pain
  • Mechanical sensitivity of masticatory muscles (the four muscles that move the jaw laterally)
  • Side effects
  • Blood pressure
The study method was described as follows:

“Fourteen healthy subjects participated in 5 daily sessions for one week of MSG intake (150 mg/kg) or placebo (24 mg/kg NaCl) (randomized, double-blinded). Spontaneous pain, pressure pain thresholds and tolerance levels for the masseter and temporalis muscles, side effects, and blood pressure were evaluated before and 15, 30, and 50 min after MSG intake. Whole saliva samples were taken before and 30 min after MSG intake to assess glutamate concentrations.”

The results were as follows:

  • Headache occurred in 8/14 subjects during MSG and 2/14 during placebo.
  • Salivary glutamate concentrations on Day 5 were elevated significantly (P < 0.05).
  • Pressure pain thresholds in masseter muscle were reduced (i.e. pain increased) by MSG on Day 2 and 5 (P < 0.05).
  • Blood pressure was significantly elevated after MSG (P < 0.040).
  • Tolerance did not develop over 5 days of MSG intake.

Also, a wide range of side effects were observed to occur in much greater frequency in the MSG group, including:

  • Sore Jaw
  • Nausea
  • Fatigue
  • Headache
  • Stomach Ache
  • Dizziness
  • Chest Pressure

To view the study’s side effect tables, go here and here.

MSG side effects

Discussion

This study has profound implications, insofar as the majority of packaged and prepared foods on the market today have either monosodium glutamate added, or a glutamate rich ‘food concentrate’ intended to model its flavor-enhancing effects, e.g. “hydrolyzed soy protein,” “yeast extract,” etc. It is therefore nearly impossible to avoid it, unless you are eating a whole food based diet, or one where you are preparing your foods from scratch. For those suffering from the battery of health complaints listed above, MSG avoidance should be a vital part of your strategy to improve your health through diet.

This study also has profound implications for the treatment of Temporomandibular Disorders (TMD).  According to the study, TMD affects approximately 10% of the population, [ii] [iii] with the chief symptom leading the patient to seek medical attention being pain in the temporomandibular joint and/or masticatory muscles.  Interestingly, 70% of TMD sufferers report masticatory muscle pain and are described as suffering from myofascial TMD, [iv] despite the fact that there is little evidence of ongoing pathological change in masticatory muscles. It has been hypothesized that dietary triggers might aggravate craniofacial pain conditions, but until now little to no research has been conducted on their link with MSG. Because the doses used in the study (150 mg/kg) are within the daily total dietary ranges of glutamate consumption (50–200 mg/kg/day),[v] it is likely that the high prevalence of TMD without obvious pathological lesions within glutamate consuming populations may be due to MSG.

MSG Has A Broad Range of Adverse Health Effects

MSG is a neurotoxic and endocrine disruptive substance, linked to over a dozen health conditions. You can peruse the first-hand published research on our problem substances database: monosodium glutamate. In a previous article, “MSG: Drug, Poison or Flavor Enhancer,” we focused on the excitotoxic mechanism by which it ‘enhances flavor’ in a drug-like fashion, while at the same time damaging neurons, in addition to its ability to contribute to metabolic syndrome: a cluster of pathologies including insulin resistance, weight gain, altered blood lipid profiles, and hypertension. If it is so harmful, why does everyone use it? Because it makes food taste better, and causes a profound craving for more, in a vicious not that different from an illicit drug.

Updated August 2014

Article References 
[i] Akiko Shimada, Brian E Cairns, Nynne Vad, Kathrine Ulriksen, Anne Marie Lynge Pedersen, Peter Svensson, Lene Baad-Hansen. Headache and mechanical sensitization of human pericranial muscles after repeated intake of monosodium glutamate (MSG). J Headache Pain. 2013 Dec ;14(1):2. Epub 2013 Jan 24. PMID: 23565943

[ii] ·  Cairns BE. Pathophysiology of TMD pain – basic mechanisms and their implications for pharmacotherapy. J Oral Rehabil. 2010;14:391–410. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2842.2010.02074.x. [PubMed] [Ref list]

[iii] LeResche L, Drangsholt M. In: Orofacial pain: from basic science to clinical management. Sessle BJ, Lavigne GJ, Lund JP, Dubner R, editor. Quintessence Books, Illinois; 2008. Epidemiology of orofacial pain: prevalence, incidence, and risk factors; pp. 13–18. [Ref list]

[iv] Lobbezoo F, Drangsholt MT, Peck C, Sato H, Kopp S, Svensson P. Topical review: new insights into the pathology and diagnosis of disorders of the temporomandibular joint. J Orofac Pain. 2004;14:181–191. [PubMed] [Ref list]

[v] Geha RS, Beiser A, Ren C, Patterson R, Greenberger PA, Grammer LC, Ditto AM, Harris KE, Shaughnessy MA, Yarnold PR, Corren J, Saxon A. Review of alleged reaction to monosodium glutamate and outcome of a multicenter double-blind placebo-controlled study. J Nutr. 2000;14(4S Suppl):58S–62S. [PubMed] [Ref list]

 

Ginger may protect the brain from MSG toxicity, says fascinating research.


For thousands of years, ginger has been hailed as a superfood for its healing properties that aid every system of the body. The oils that ginger contains are antibacterial, antiviral and antifungal, and ginger has even been found to inhibit cancer growth. Now a study has actually proven that ginger can reverse the damage done by monosodium glutamate, or MSG, a known harmful excitotoxin.

Comforting Hand

After injecting pure MSG into rats for 30 days, researchers found subsequent withdrawal caused adverse effects including significant epinephrine, norepinephine, dopamine and serotonin depletion. Low levels of these important neurotransmitters can be detrimental to health.

MSG is widely used as a cheap flavor enhancer in many processed foods. While MSG may seem tasty for the scant time that its on your tongue, every bite comes with a potential kitchen sink of negative side effects, including headaches, migraines, eye damage, fatigue, drowsiness, depression, numbness, muscle spasms, nausea, rashes, rapid heartbeat, chest pain, difficulty breathing, anaphylaxis and seizures, just to name a few.

Subsequent to injecting lab rats with MSG, researchers injected ginger root extract for 30 more days and were able to completely reverse the neurotransmitter depletion and brain damage that MSG caused. Not only that, but the positive effects of 
ginger were maintained even after scientists stopped administering it!

A wealth of independent studies show that MSG should be avoided at all costs. Also popularly printed on food labels as hydrolyzed protein, torula or autolyzed yeast, soy or yeast extract and soy protein isolate among some 40 other names, scientists have found that consuming MSG even in low doses can cause blood glutamate levels to fluctuate abnormally high and then stay there. Anyone suffering from a disease or immunity issue that would contribute to a weakened blood-brain barrier is then much more susceptible to the chemical seeping into his or her brain and doing damage. Studies have effectively linked MSG consumption to several neurodegenerative diseases, such as Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s.

In a 2008 
study published in the Journal of Autoimmunity, researchers actually concluded, “we suggest that MSG should have its safety profile re-examined and be potentially withdrawn from the food chain”.

As a cheap flavor enhancer, MSG holds more benefits for food companies than for consumers.

Despite overwhelming evidence of MSG’s detrimental health effects, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) continues to claim the substance is “generally recognized as safe.” The FDA admits that it has received reports from people who have suffered the adverse effects from MSG, but the organization claims, “However, we were never able to confirm that the MSG caused the reported effects.”

Truth in Labeling Campaign co-founder Jack Samuels has commented that “the staff at the FDA are unbelievably fantastic in their ability to write in a way that deceives the public, but loosely based on fact. We refer to such writing as half truths. Read the FDA points carefully and you will see how MSG can be hidden in foods.”

On the other hand, ginger’s neuroprotective role can be added to a basket of healthful properties. With an oxygen radical absorbance capacity (ORAC) score of 28,811, ginger has an extraordinarily high ability to quench oxygen free radicals. After exposing breast cancer cells directly to crude ginger extract in a laboratory for example, researchers found the cells were rendered unable to reproduce. This treatment had the added benefit of leaving the healthy cells unaffected, something allopathic medicine with its chemotherapy treatments that indiscriminately target all cells, even healthy ones, cannot claim. Ginger is also a 
natural pain reliever, digestive aid and detoxifier. In short, it’s amazing.

The list of ginger’s health benefits – not just as a brain protector but as a full-body protector – cannot be overstated.