I am sure that many of you have received this charming e-mail forward, a “pseudo-scientific” look at MSG, a common and delicious food additive. The article states quite authoritatively the evils of MSG, and how MSG is singularly responsible for all the world's obesity problems. And prostitution, bank robbers, and the awful movie Fantastic Four.
For those of you who have not had the pleasure of reading the article, the author basically craps out an excuse/cover-up/government conspiracy about how MSG is used in all foods and how MSG will, without exception, turn you into a fat ass.
The food additive MSG (Mono-Sodium Glutamate) is a slow poison… MSG is even in your favourite coffee from Tim Horton's and other brand-name coffee shops! I wondered if there could be an actual chemical causing the massive obesity epidemic, and so did a friend of mine, John Erb. He was a research assistant at the University of Waterloo in Ontario, Canada… He made an amazing discovery while going through scientific journals for a book he was writing called The Slow Poisoning of America.
Take a moment to notice the very subtle plug.
In hundreds of studies around the world, scientists were creating obese mice and rats to use in diet or diabetes test studies. No strain of rat or mice is naturally obese so scientists have to create them.
By definition, obesity cannot be carried in a “strain”, nor could a creature be naturally obese.
They make these creatures morbidly obese by injecting them with MSG when they are first born. The MSG triples the amount of insulin the pancreas creates, causing rats (and perhaps humans) to become obese. They even have a name for the fat rodents they create: 'MSG-Treated Rats.'… I went into my kitchen and checked the cupboards and the refrigerator. MSG was in everything — the Campbell 's soups, the Hostess Doritos, the Lays flavoured potato chips, Top Ramen, Betty Crocker Hamburger Helper, Heinz canned gravy, Swanson frozen prepared meals, and Kraft salad dressings.
Sure enough, MSG and Hydrolyzed Vegetable Protein were everywhere. Burger King, McDonald's, Wendy's, Taco Bell every restaurant—even the sit-down eateries like TGIF, Chili's, Applebee's, and Denny's use MSG in abundance.
And our dear author wonders why she is a fat ass? Do you know what else is in the food at fast food establishments? Is she not aware of the nutritional contents of chips, canned gravy, and Hamburger Helper? Hmm… lots of fat, carbs, sodium, empty calories, and very little nutritional value. But that couldn’t possibly be contributing to obesity, right?
It was shocking to see just how many of the foods we feed our children everyday are filled with this stuff.
You, dear lady, might feed your children canned gravy, chips, and McDonalds for dinner, but some of us actually go to the supermarket to buy meats and vegetables, and cook.
So why is MSG in so many of the foods we eat? Is it a preservative, or a vitamin? Not according to my friend John Erb. In his book The Slow Poisoning of America [Ed: Another shameless plug. Nice.], he said that MSG is added to food for the addictive effect it has on the human body. Even the propaganda website sponsored by the food manufacturers lobby group supporting MSG explains that the reason they add it to food is to make people eat more.
I have news for you and anyone buying into this: food is addictive. Humans are hunter-gatherers by nature, and our instincts tell us to eat as much as we can whenever food is available. Some people don’t have the willpower to put down the fork when they’ve eaten enough. This is not MSG’s fault. It’s your fault for eating fatty, bready, and sweet foods while you sit on the couch watching TV. This is just as addictive to your body as MSG could ever be.
And we wonder why the nation is overweight!
Oh, you’re wondering? You really don’t know why? It's because we're all lazy morons who drive to work, sit at a computer all day, drive home, and sit on the couch eating chips and ice cream. Do not blame anyone else for this.
Not only is MSG scientifically proven to cause obesity…
Yes. In rats that were injected with MSG at suckling stage. Let's not lose track of the facts, here. Or maybe you ate all the facts because they had MSG on them.
The monosodium glutamate (MSG) obese rat as a model for the study of exercise in obesity… Obesity induced by neonatal monosodium glutamate treatment in spontaneously hypertensive rats… Hypothalamic lesion induced by injection of monosodium glutamate in suckling period and subsequent development of obesity.
Note the word “rat” instead of “human”, the word “injected” instead of “ate” and “suckling period” instead of “at McDonalds”. These studies that “prove” that MSG causes obesity are completely irrelevant, because they deal exclusively with rats that were injected with MSG at the suckling stage. This has nothing to do with grown-up humans who eat a relatively healthy diet.
All the quotes about the wrongdoings and evils of MSG are of studies on rats. These rats were directly injected with MSG at the suckling stage, which affected them in adulthood by down-regulating hypothalamic appetite suppression, making them eat more.
Rats are completely different from humans. Rats are scavengers, and when you're a scavenger, there is almost always food around. Humans are hunter-gatherers, and when you're a hunter-gatherer, you take what you can get. And when you kill a mammoth, you better eat the whole thing, because you may not eat again for several days. Combine those instincts with our level of inactivity and the abundance of fatty, sweet, and bready foods, and you don't need to find a scapegoat for obesity. If MSG were to be outlawed, do you think we'd all just magically stop eating McDs and chips? No way! In fact, tools like our author would probably eat more, thinking, "Hey, it's healthy, it doesn't have MSG!"
Our children should not be cursed with obesity caused by an addictive food additive. But what can I do about it?
Cook lean chicken, brown rice, and carrots instead of taking your fat kids to McDs. Have one slice of pizza instead of seven. Order small fries instead of super-sizing your order. Take the freaking stairs instead of the elevator.
Anyone who believes that MSG is the cause of America's obesity after reading the article is a tool. MSG is not a perfect wunderfood; I'm not saying that MSG is great to eat by the bucketful. However, there is no evidence that MSG is particularly harmful—unless you are a rat who was injected by MSG at suckling stage. If MSG had been proven to cause obesity in humans, don't you think our dear author would have quoted a study that didn't involve rats? In fact, it’s the other way around—studies show that MSG consumption has little impact on weight.
MSG was originally patented by an Asian, and has been used in Asian cuisine for centuries—and how many fat Asians do you see?
Can MSG make people fat? Indirectly, perhaps, and only if consumed in very large quantities. However, this e-mail is a perfect example of how Americans react to a problem. Blame something else, beyond their control. Sure, we all eat at Kentucky Fried Chicken, we snack on chips and gravy and Hamburger Helper…we weigh 350lbs—but it's not our fault! It's the evil MSG!
Our children are being poisoned by take-out meals, parents who work until 7pm but are lazy with their children, families who don't eat together, late-night high fat snacks, etc. Not a simple food additive. Imagine a child that was raised without MSG, but ate a normal, fairly healthy diet. Now offer this child two options for dinner: pizza and cake, or lean chicken, brown rice, and broccoli. What do you think he's going to choose? He will choose the pizza and cake, because these foods, especially to children, taste better. If he's allowed to eat these he will gain weight and will retain these eating habits to adulthood, regardless of MSG.
If you're worried about the MSG-laden potato chips making you fat, then try an apple instead. Sure, you'll go into withdrawal for a few days when you break your MSG addiction, but at least you won't be forced by evil government and greedy insurance companies to stuff your face full of MSG every day (and, I will remind you here, that MSG has been and is being used in Asian cooking…and Asians are known for being skinny. But then, Asians also have fewer cars per capita, walk a lot more, eat better, spend less time on the couch…).
In closing, there are a lot of fat people in America. But there are a lot of normal-sized and skinny people, too. Since MSG is apparently in everything, how do all these normal people manage to escape obesity while eating the same types of foods? Hmm…what an enigma! Maybe this is all part of the conspiracy? Oh, wait, I know it! They get more exercise, eat less (yes, it's possible to eat a few chips instead of the whole bag of chips…and it's possible to have a few squares of chocolate one day and not eat five chocolate bars the next day), and eat a little more of the good stuff and a little less of the bad stuff.
There. Now you know.