Health updates: Food portions and MSG

February 28, 2012

Diet, Food, Health, Health Concerns

The following is information regarding food portions and avoiding monosodium glutamate.

Are U.S. food portions decadent?

With soaring food prices sparking protests in many countries and more than 800 million people going hungry every day worldwide, U.S. food portions are under scrutiny. Portion sizes in the United States not only exceed those in less-developed countries but also in the developed world. Americans have the highest-per-capita daily consumption in the world, eating an average of 3,770 calories a day. One fast-food chain calls its massive burger a “monument to decadence.”

“We’ve looked at large portion sizes almost entirely in terms of whether it’s healthy for us, and now we have to consider if that sort of a demand is going to be sustainable,” said Paul Roberts, author of The End of Food. “It would probably be a way to take pressure off of grain markets if we somehow convinced people to take smaller portion sizes.”

How to avoid MSG

Monosodium glutamate (MSG) is one of the most common and hazardous food additives on the market. Not only is it found in food, it is also found hidden in infant formulas, dietary supplements, cosmetics, personal care products and drugs. MSG is reportedly more toxic than alcohol, tobacco and many drugs. MSG is an excitotoxin, that tricks your brain into wanting to eat more and more foods containing the ingredient, even if you are already full. Side effects of MSG include: obesity, eye damage, headaches, depression, fatigue and disorientation. Food manufacturers know that health-conscious consumers try to avoid MSG, so it often is not listed in a product’s ingredients. MSG is banned in organic foods.

Following is a list of ingredients that always contain MSG: autolyzed yeast, calcium caseinate, gelatin glutamate, glutamic acid, hydrolyzed protein, monopotassium glutamate, monosodium glutamate, sodium caseinate, textured protein, yeast extract, yeast food and yeast nutrient. It is wise to avoid all of these ingredients in the food you buy.


Sources: Reuters July 29, 2008, and

Reprinted from AzNetNews, Volume 28, Number  4, Aug/Sept 2009.

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