Sunday, May 10, 2009

Drugs in your Food

Did you know that most processed foods contain chemicals that excite your brain? When you discover that you can’t eat just one potato chip, did you realize that the reason is not just salt but the neuro-stimulation that awakens feelings of pleasure? Your body chemistry is being manipulated by food manufacturers and the result is diminishing health.

When most people hear the initials ‘MSG’ they think of Chinese food. Monosodium Glutamate was regularly added to Chinese food to enhance the flavor; asking for ‘No MSG’ became commonplace shortly afterwards. The reality is that MSG is added to most fast foods, most processed foods, most snack foods and most condiments. If you follow the average American diet, you are consuming MSG every day.

MSG has two main effects on your body. First, it triggers changes on your tongue, stimulating salivation and fooling your taste buds so that food seems to taste better. If something tastes delicious you are more likely to eat more; you are also more likely to eat the same food again. The initial benefit for food producers results from the taste-enhancing characteristic of MSG.

There is more to the story. MSG is also an excitory neuro-toxin. Whenever these glutamates are introduced to your body, transmitters in your brain are activated. The stimulation feels good, which makes you want more. The synaptic paths that are stimulated want more stimulation so the chemical becomes addicting. Ultimately, if you live primarily on processed food, your food is a drug.

Awareness is the first step of change. Do your own research; evaluate your own eating habits. You choose what you eat; make those choices intelligent choices.

Randi’s column appears weekly at

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