Magazine article Vegetarian Times

A Game of Hide and Seek

Magazine article Vegetarian Times

A Game of Hide and Seek

Article excerpt

Supermarket aisles have become rather popular spots for readinglabels, that is. Savvy shoppers can often be found checking for unwelcome additives like sulfites, hydrogenated oils and aspartame. But no matter how careful you are, if you're looking to avoid the flavor enhancer monosodium glutamate (MSG), studying the label won't do much good. Labels that tout "no MSG" or fail to list it are often not telling the whole story. Current labeling laws do not require manufacturers to list the contents of ingredients. MSG, therefore, may be concealed in dozens of commonly used additivesincluding hydrolyzed soy protein and yeast extract found in many processed foods. I And according to a recent court case, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) isn't required to make those companies state where MSG may be lurking. So you could be consuming a lot more of this controversial compound than you think. And that could be downright dangerous.

Reactions to MSG (recorded by consumer groups as well as the FDA) include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, dizziness, seizures, arrhythmia, asthma and depression. While small amounts of natural glutamate are found in fresh vegetables like tomatoes and mushrooms, this unprocessed compound has not been associated with any of the health risks of processed glutamate, MSG's main ingredient. Russell Blaylock, M.D., associate professor of neurosurgery at the Medical University of Mississippi and author of Exitotoxins: The Taste That Kills (Health Press, 1994), cites published research i showing that processed glutamate can cause brain cells to die. …

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