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MSG - the good the bad and the glutemate

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MSG, or monosodium glutemate is a salt of glutamic acid, an amino acid that is one of many amino acids found in proteins. Protein is what builds tissues and muscles. Glutamic acid is one of the most abundant amino acids in your body. It also plays an important role in your neurochemical processes. It is called an excitory neurotransmitter. What that means, is when you eat glutamic acid, it excites your tastebuds and neurons into thinking the food you are eating is GREAT. MSG was (and still is) added to many foods to make your brain think they taste better than they really are. Eating too much MSG is shown to create a behavioural addiction to foods. It also messes with your satiety index (how full you think you are after eating) so that you end up wanting to eat more food.

The catch is that many people will say: "I don't eat MSG!" Well take a look through your cupboard right now, go ahead, we will wait. Check soups, potato chips, nacho chips, etc. If you see something called: Glutamate, Monosodium glutamate, Monopotassium glutamate, Glutamic acid, Calcium caseinate, Gelatin, Textured protein, Hydrolyzed protein (any protein that is hydrolyzed), Yeast extract, Yeast food, Autolyzed yeast, Yeast nutrient. If you see these ingredients in your cupboard YOU ARE EATING MSG. MSG is usually only called MSG when it is 99% pure glutamic acid.

Technically, there is nothing really wrong with glutamic acid, but because it is an excitory neruotransmitter, it can cause food addiction, and can cause you to eat foods that normally wouldn't taste that good. Also, the glutamic acid we are eating isn't always natural glutamic acid. It is D-Glutamic acid which is the mirror image of L-Glutamic acid (the naturally occuring kind found in our bodies). Studies have shown that our bodies don't always handle the D-Glutamic Acid very well. The D-Glutamic acid is also often created by bacterial fermentation (since D-Glutamic acid is usually only found in the walls of certain bacteria).

Anyway, even if you do decide eating glutemate is ok, read your labels and be aware!!

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