MSG - Our Appetite's Nemesis

Let's talk appetite. It's important we see our appetite, initially, as the good thing that God created it to be. Our appetite is a God-given function that our body uses in order to keep us searching for food when we are in need of nutrients. Sometimes when people get sick they will lose their appetite. This is also a way of letting their body recover from the sickness, rather than taking in more food that it isn't ready for yet. Yes, our appetites can be a trustworthy way for our bodies to regulate themselves.

Unfortunately, like all other fallen things in this world, our appetites can become perverted, and actually begin to work against us. I have been reading about MSG (monosodium glutamate), a chemical invented by a Japanese scientist in order to make our brains think we are getting a savory, meaty tasting meal. In all reality, MSG is actually hacking into this God-given function we call "appetite", and tricking it. Have you ever considered why you could eat buckets of Doritos and still be craving more, but you eat one orange and you're good to go? The food containing MSG isn't really providing all of the wonderful nutrients it's telling our brains we're getting, so our bodies really don't get satisfied from it, and we begin to crave the MSG like a mad dog. Our body has been triggered by the MSG to release insulin, but really there aren't nutrients there for the insulin to do its job. So we crave more MSG, because it tastes like it is stock full of what our bodies need. It is a cycle that isn't easily broken. Why do the food companies want this cycle to happen? Because it's cheap for them to produce MSG products, and it keeps us coming back for more.

I'm afraid we don't realize how vast the problem is with this appetite-hacking chemical. Sure, we've been told to stay away from junk food, etc., in order to be healthy, but do we realize that foods containing MSG actually cause an addictive reaction? Yes, it's possible you are an addict and don't even realize it. The way MSG treats your body is compared to what your brain goes through when addicted to cocaine. There are also other side effects, such as weight gain (obviously), headaches, etc., that can accompany the consumption of MSG. Also, do we understand that a lot of America's diet is largely made up of foods containing this chemical? So, now that I've hopefully gotten your attention, let's move on.

Where can we find MSG? I was sad to find out my chicken bouillon is basically a load of MSG (that's why it's so tasty!). It is in most processed foods, most fast foods (hence why those french fries are so yummy) - even the grilled chicken sandwich at McDonald's has ingedients containing MSG in it! And that was my safe option when I would go there. I would say also say that it would be uncommon to find a chinese restaurant that doesn't use it. In fact, the effects of MSG are sometimes referred to as "chinese restaurant syndrome." 

I was saddened to find out that, not only is MSG FDA approved, but they also approve it to go by the following names:
  • Autolyzed Plant Protein
  • Autolyzed Yeast 
  • Calcium Caseinate
  • Glutamate
  • Hydrolyzed Plant Protein (HPP)
  • Hydrolyzed Vegetable Protein (HVP)
  • Maltodextrin
  • Monopotassium Glutamate
  • Sodium Caseinate
  • Soy Protein Concentrate
  • Textured Protein
  • Yeast Food or Nutrient
  • Yeast Extract
Even ingredients containing MSG are allowed to say "No MSG." So, if you're on the lookout for it, you'll need to read the labels for these names as well.

Alright, that's all from me. All I wanted to do was to make you aware. How far you want to go with it is up to you. Personally, I will try to avoid that evil little chemical as much as I can, but I'm not going to feel too bad if I feel like having a few Doritos now and then. None of us want to be controlled, especially by food companies out to make money, rather than caring about our health. Just think it through for your and your family's sake.

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