Study Links MSG with Obesity in Humans

Jan 7, 2009 by

Study Links MSG with Obesity in Humans

Food on the shelves and even food prepared in restaurants today often contain a compound which makes them taste better than they otherwise would – monosodium glutamate, or MSG, as it is more commonly known as.

“It’s a pretty powerful flavor enhancer. You’re eating a lot of MSG and you probably don’t even realize it. It’s just a baseline across a lot of foods,” said Melanie Pearsall, a nutritionist.

Natural health proponents denounce MSG as dangerous and harmful to health. Indeed it is. And recent research conducted at the University of North Carolina has suggested that MSG may have a role to play in causing obesity.

The study team had looked at people in rural China and compared those who ate MSG with those who did not. “We analyzed the data and found that those who used MSG are more likely to be overweight than non-users,” says Dr Ka He from the university.

The link between MSG and obesity has, for years, been shown in animal studies. This is the first, though, which has proven the association in humans.

To me, it is simple: avoid MSG as much as you can, if not totally. And that’s not just for avoiding obesity, but for overall good health.

One problem, though, is that it may not be that easy to avoid it in processed foods. Apparently, the FDA website states that “ingredients that contain glutamate as an inherent component are not required to list glutamate on the label. That includes things like hydrolyzed protein and autolyzed yeast extract.”

Regulatory authorities still consider this chemical “safe” for human consumption, as they do thousands of other harmful substances (including pharmaceutical medications!).

When is true human wellbeing going to be at the forefront of government policy? When will the use of MSG finally be regulated? Beats me. Not in the near future, it seems. That is why we consumers need to learn to protect ourselves.

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