MSG linked to weight gain

Reuters, May 27, 2011

Researchers found that people who eat more MSG are more likely to be overweight or obese. And the increased risk wasn’t simply because people were stuffing themselves with MSG-rich foods. The link between high MSG intake and being overweight held even after accounting for the total number of calories people ate.

Ka He, a nutrition expert at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, who led the study, said that although the risk of weight gain attributable to MSG was modest, the implications for public health are substantial. “Everybody eats it,” He told Reuters Health.

MSG is one of the world’s most widely used food additives. Although it tends to be more popular in Asian countries, Americans manage to get their share in processed foods, from chips to canned soups, even when it’s not labeled as such.

Full story
Related: What Foods To Avoid?

Food Companies Find Ways to Hide Additives

YLE.fin, Mar. 2, 2011

Food companies are finding new ways to mark ingredients that would previously have been known by an e-number, as consumers get more wary of artificial additives.

The regulation of e-numbers has led to some strange behaviour, according to the director of the Finnish Food and Drink Industries Federation’s research and legislation department, Seppo Heiskanen.
Heiskanen says that a variety of plant and berry extracts are now used instead of e-numbers, but most of the same chemicals are still present in the final product. Heiskanen believes that such behaviour comes close to cheating consumers. Another technique is to write an ingredient’s whole name, rather than the e-number by which it is usually known. Soya lecithin and Xantham gum can be added in this way. These activities are a reaction to increased awareness of what food contains, and concern over ingredients seen as unnatural. ”At least some people are beginning to be concerned about where food comes from, and what has gone into it before it reaches the plate,” says Johanna Mäkelä, food culture researcher at the National Consumer Research Centre. Full story

Avoiding Food Additives And Preservatives, Feb. 12, 2011

Essentially there are two main sources of dangerous or threatening additives. The first is those that are put in as part of the processing operation. These include the colourings, preservatives, flavours and flavour enhances, sweeteners, texture agents and processing agents.
Your decaffeinated coffee probably contains the solvent methylene chloride.
Your margarine contains potassium sorbate and monoglycerides.
Your sausages contain nitrites, which are known to cause cancer.
Your bread may have sodium-stearoyl-2-lactylate, caramel and calcium propionate.

Animals carry their own hidden “additives” with hormones for growth and increased milk production, antibiotics freely given to farm animals to prevent and cure animal sicknesses and residue from various chemicals given to ward off insects etc. Chickens are given mixtures containing copper sulphate, lead and arsenic to help growth and many of these remain in the meat and eventually find their way into the human intestinal tract.
Full story

MSG: Hidden Sources

NaturoDoc, Feb. 6, 2011
Those wishing to eliminate MSG from their diets are faced with an almost impossible task. Food preparers are often unaware that they’re even using MSG. Labels can be misleading. A label that says “No MSG added” doesn’t necessarily mean that the food is free of MSG, it simply means that the manufacturer didn’t put in additional MSG. MSG goes under many aliases, one of the most common being “hydrolyzed vegetable protein,” an additive used to increase the protein content of a wide variety of foods. Manufacturers also hide MSG as part of “natural flavorings,” because it is a natural product. But being natural is not the same as being harmless.Full story

Taco Bell is using false advertising when it calls its food ‘beef,’ according to lawsuit

NYDaily News, Jan. 25, 2011

A law firm is claiming that the fast food chain is using false advertising when it says its Mexican delicacies are filled with “ground beef” or “seasoned ground beef.” In fact, the lawsuit claims, the “taco meat filling” used by Taco Bell contains is only about 35% beef, with binders, extenders, preservatives, additives and other agents making up the other 65%.

The lawsuit’s claim that Taco Bell’s “seasoned beef” contains the forbidden additives is backed up by the restaurant’s ingredients list on its website, which says the “seasoned beef” in a Beefy Crunch Burrito contains water, sodium phosphates, soy lecithin, modified corn starch, and anti-caking and anti-dusting agents, among others ingredients.

Full story

Top Food Additives You Really Need to Avoid, Dec. 27, 2010

The vast majorities of processed foods are packed with calories and have been stripped of any nutrients that we require to maintain optimal health. Over the course of years and decades, the lack of vitamins and minerals from natural foods slowly leads to chronic disease conditions such as diabetes, cancer, dementia and heart disease.

Full story