debbie walker naturopath nutritionist surrey

Silent affects of additives

If you are eating any type of processed food with an extended shelf life then you are more than likely eating additives that are added to either extend that shelf life, or give the food taste which would of actually been lost by the time you have got around to eat it.

There are many additives that have been approved to be put into foods by the EU but their approval doesn’t in my opinion support good health, it is aimed more at the longevity of the food on the shelf and the manufacturer, not whether it is good for you or not.

One in particular you will probably be fairly familiar with is MSG, and you may have gone some of the way to actually making sure it’s not in your Chinese takeaway, but I would like you to become more aware of this additive because it is extremely bad for your health, and comes under far more names than you probably realise.

MSG dates from 1945 and was added to the war time rations of Japanese soldiers to make their food taste better which it does by stimulating the cells in the tongue, the food can be off and it will still make your taste buds think it’s good! Let’s face it the manufacturers know a good thing when they see one where increasing profits matters, and they steadily have increased the usage of it significantly to where it is in a high amount of processed foods.

Mental health and MSG
Over our lifetime we lose about 1/5 of our brain cells in the ageing process, and your brain will have shrunk by 10%. When this shrinkage happens there is a gradual and slow loss of control over our hormones and neurotransmitters, this obviously reduces our ability to think, and use our memories effectively. It impacts on our sleep, energy levels, and basically a reduced enjoyment of our life. This happens to us anyway, but MSG is making this situation much much worse, and not leading to a positive ageing process for our minds. Dr. John Olney, a neuroscientist, discovered that it was toxic to the brain and that there were serious implications of that toxicity, particularly to the hypothalamus area, a key gland in the body which if not working effectively will impact widely on your health. The research shows that eating MSG will increase the possibility of getting Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and other mental health issues or increase the progress of those diseases. There is compelling evidence that it passes through the blood brain barrier as well, because every cell has a receptor to it.

Weight gain and MSG
German research scientist have shown how the affects it has on the nucleus of the hypothalamus are leading to increased obesity, because this area controls your energy supply through the leptin receptors and growth hormones. The damage is to the point of totality, where they no longer work, so if you are trying to control your weight and are eating MSG in foods and they are often in diet and low fat foods aimed at dieters, you are never going to remain slim.

Other names that manufacturers now use because consumers have become switched onto MSG include:
•    Yeast extract
•    Caramelised yeast
•    caseinate
•    carrageenan
•    natural flavouring
•    vegetable extract
•    protein concentrate
•    soy isolate
•    hydrolysed protein

The manufacturers are able to call it different names if it isn’t 100% MSG, and they are often in natural products from health food shops so don’t think just because you are buying food from a health food supplier that the food is free of it, you have to check the label.

The common name for us to call what MSG does is an excitotoxin, it effectively excites your brain cells to death, my advice is that you do everything you can to reduce how exposed you are to it from your foods, your brain will thank you for it in the long run.

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