Volume 9, Number 13                                 December 10, 2006

The Farmer

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MSG: "Betcha canít eat just one"

by Dr. Ridgely Abdul Muímin Muhammad

John Erb wondered if there could be an actual chemical causing the massive obesity epidemic. He was a research assistant at the University of Waterloo in Ontario, Canada, and spent years working for the government.

He made an amazing discovery while going through scientific journals for a book he was writing called "The Slow Poisoning of America". 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 the scientists have to create them. They make these morbidly obese creatures by injecting them with MSG when they are first born.

MSG is the sodium salt of the amino acid glutamic acid and a form of glutamate. It is sold as a fine white crystal substance, similar in appearance to salt or sugar. It does not have a distinct taste of its own, and how it adds flavor to other foods is not fully understood. Many scientists believe that MSG stimulates glutamate receptors in the tongue to augment meat-like flavors.

Glutamate is derived from glutamic acid, a major building block for proteins. It is found naturally in our bodies and in protein-containing foods, such as cheese, milk, meat, peas, and mushrooms. MSG is one of several types of glutamate. When glutamate is released during breakdown of the protein molecule, "free glutamate" is formed. It is only in this free form that glutamate can enhance a food's flavor.

The flavor enhancing effect of hydrolyzed protein products, including soy sauce, is due to the presence of free glutamate. Hydrolyzed proteins, or protein hydrolysates, are prepared by using food grade acid or enzymes to chemically digest proteins from soy meal, wheat gluten, corn gluten, edible strains of yeast, or other food sources. These protein foods are rich sources of glutamate. When proteins are broken down, bound glutamate is converted into free glutamate.  Therefore, when you read "hydrolyzed protein" on the label, think MSG.

So whatís the fuss?

The key here is that MSG makes food with low nutritional value taste satisfying to the consumer. When our customers receive crops from Muhammad Farms they tell us how much better our produce tastes than those bought at the store. We know why our produce tastes better. We grow it without using high doses of fertilizer, pesticides or irrigation water. Therefore our crops have a chance to grow normally. We may not get as much volume per acre or the size of our vegetables may not be as large, but they are good representatives of their species.

Each crop has its own distinct flavor because it pulls up different minerals from the ground and combines them with water, air and sunlight in slightly different ways to form specific amino acids and vitamins for our bodies. Taste is a side-affect of these differences and helps our bodies distinguish between these crops to satisfy a specific need of the cells in our bodies.

However when food is grown fast and then is further denatured by over-processing, it has less nutritional value and less taste. To hide these loses they add stuff like MSG to trick the body. So it tastes good, but provides no nutrition to our cells. Our cells are still hungry and tell our brains that we need more food. We therefore continue to eat more and get fat.

MSG is in almost every processed food including: potato chips, wieners, canned pastas, vegetable juice, salad dressing, frozen entrees, seasoned mix, soy sauce, bouillon cubes, nachos, bologna, canned chili, dried sour mix, frozen cured meats, frozen diet entrees, cheese puffs, ice cream, pasta helpers, flavored crackers, canned soup, ramen noodles, canned meats, frozen potatoes, gravy, jerky, sour cream and flavored rice.

MSG is extensively used in most of our fast food restaurants. So they keep you coming back for more junk. We like to call MSG the "nicotine of food" (smile).