Wednesday, September 13, 2006

MSG in your "healthy" products

On this blog I have a no-diss rule, similar to the one I use while reviewing books. I don't find too much use, karmically or otherwise for the bad book review: if a book is good, I want everyone to know about it. If it's not, who am I to trash it, knowing too well how hard it is to get a book out at all? My policy (which has always been okay with my editors) is to return any books I don't like and have it reassigned.

Similarly, most (not all!) small companies seem to have their corporate hearts in the right place making alternative healthy products.

However, I was shocked, shocked, when I recently received a health food toothpaste, which looked great, no sodium laurel sulfate, flouride, etc....until I noticed an ingredient, sodium glutamate, which is our friend, MSG. Sodium glutamate breaks up into sodium and glutamate, and that this ingredient is missing the "mono" part on the label is immaterial. The company had been responsive earlier, but didn't answer back to my email about, "What's the deal with the sodium glutamate in this????" So...

Basically, you want to avoid glutamates whenever possible: glutamates occur naturally in food, but the unnaturally processed concentrated stuff is a neurotoxin! That's why is gives you a headache.

It is especially important to protect pregnant ladies and young children from this.

The scary thing is, MSG is more prevalent in your "natural" foods that you think. Anything labeled "natural flavor" can be MSG because it's technically an amino acid that does thus occur in nature. So if you see, blueberry flavor, vanilla, then NATURAL, what could it be?

Check it out: Many "healthy" and vegetarian foods contain MSG in the form of yeast extract

Oh, and I've seen it masquerading as "hydrolyzed vegetable protein" and "isolated vegetable protein"--makes it sound healthy, ey?

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