Updated: Jan 31, 2019
Do you eat any processed foods? Take-outs? Or how often do you dine at a restaurant?
Let's talk about processed food real quick. Processed food is food that has been altered before it's available for us to eat. So this means the salad that you bought in the supermarket that has been washed, chopped and packaged, is considered as processed food. And then there are the packaged foods like microwave-ready meals, sodas, beef jerky, chips and many more that are also considered as processed food. It's important that you know the difference between those. The pre-chopped salad or vegetables, and roasted nuts are minimally processed foods. While foods like chips and microwave-ready meals are heavily processed.
Now, can you guess what is the health damaging ingredient hiding in your food?
MSG, which stands for Monosodium Glutamate.
MSG is an additive and it is hiding in heavily processed foods like chips, crackers, packaged seasonings, sauces, microwave-ready meals (e.g. instant noodles, etc.), processed meat, and the list goes on!
Food companies (including restaurants) put MSG in the food because it improves the taste of the food.
So, it makes your food more tasty, especially keeping those packaged foods flavourful as they sit on the shelf. But MSG is completely unnecessary for our body, our health.
Why is it bad for our health?
MSG is damaging to your health because it's an excitotoxin. Excitotoxins are chemicals that excite our neurons. It means when our neuron receptors are exposed to excitotoxins, "they fire impulses at such a rapid rate that they become exhausted." (Solan, 2003)
"Excitotoxicity may be involved in stroke, traumatic brain injury and neurodegenerative diseases of the central nervous system (CNS) such as Multiple sclerosis, Alzheimer's disease, Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), Fibromyalgia, Parkinson's disease, and Huntington's disease." ("Excitotoxicity and Cell Damage.”)
It has been shown that MSG kills brain cells, causing nausea, migraine, and depression.
There are so many health problems attached to this. If you'd like to know more about this, I recommend you to do some research by yourself.
I was surprised when I went to a nice hotpot restaurant here in Barcelona, Spain, and in their sauce station, I saw a bowl of MSG. I thought to myself, people actually take this? Do they even know the consequences of it? Are they aware? Are people not educated about this? Or are they just simply being ignorant?
I was surprised in a way, because I was scared. I was scared for them. Frightened by our society. We have an abundance amount of information at our fingertips. We know who are the Kardashians, yet we refuse to learn about things like this? Information that supports our health? Our well-being?
A lot of us care so much about wearing nice clothes, putting on make-up, having nice hair style, driving beautiful cars and living in a big house…and yet, only so little of us actually pay attention to taking care of our insides (our health - mind, body, soul). Slowly, I see more and more people becoming conscious of this, but more and more I'm seeing more processed foods on the shelf at the grocery stores, and I still see MSG being served at a restaurant.
After reading this blog post, I'd recommend you to check your pantry and read all of the ingredients. But take note that MSG are hiding under different names as well. Please click here to look at the hidden MSG names (there are more than 40 names!!).
Also, when eating out or ordering food, always make sure that you tell the restaurant: "no MSG". You have a choice! It is your right to know what is in your food.
My bottom line is it's better that you avoid eating MSG as much as possible and be more conscious when choosing your food. MSG is absolutely unnecessary for your health.
And yeah, if you like a certain snack and you find out that it contains MSG, there are other alternatives. Please always seek for better, healthier alternatives for you.
Remember, food can be either medicine or poison. Which would you rather have?
If we go back to really understand our existence, you know that food exists to nourish us. Key word: NOURISH. But as society evolves, for some people, food has become a luxury. When people are eating not because they want to nourish their body, but simply for the taste.