You win some, you lose some. Right now, it looks like America is losing more than ever. Unfortunately, we’re not talking about weight; we’re talking about money and lives. It’s hard to believe the food industry along with government cooperation or graft is conspiring to addict and ultimately kill the American populace. Hard to believe, that is, until you factor in greed – that’s when all bets are off and the common American is target practice for thieves and murderers.
In 2003, the United States population was 30.1% overweight; that simple statistic says a lot and it also puts us ahead of all the other 29 countries in the study. In 1978, the number was 15%. (http://www.nationmaster.com/graph/hea_obe-health-obesity) It has been steadily increasing in the United States until 2008, the latest year the numbers were available – we were at 33.8%. (http://www.cdc.gov/obesity/data/adult.html) Out of 307 million Americans, over 103 million are overweight. It may be easy to point to the fat and lazy lifestyle, but America is not alone in the obesity epidemic; almost all the other nations studied have shown a percentage increase every year since they started keeping statistics.
Obesity leads to all sorts of health issues. It increases the risk for diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, stroke, and lymphatic problems – when you overtax the body, some organs and systems weaken to the point they become diseased or simply fail. One food additive in particular is being blamed for the obesity and other health ailments rapidly accelerating in the American populace – MSG.
MSG or monosodium glutamate is a food additive inserted in thousands of food products. Without following a strict diet where all the labels are read to catch this insidious product, it’s impossible to avoid ingesting it.
Food companies come up with clever ways to keep MSG in food supply
Food producers have apparently reacted to legislation demanding the clear labeling of products containing MSG by changing the name, or reintroducing it as separate components during the production process to eliminate the legally required need to specifically identify it. In other words, their “scientists” find ways to keep MSG in the food supply, however in ways that it’s not labeled as “MSG”.
MSG and it’s Evil brethren
MSG goes by over a dozen aliases in food products (http://www.radiomartie.com/articles/msgaliases.shtml):
- Autolyzed Plant Protein
- Autolyzed Yeast
- Calcium Caseinate
- Glutamic Acid
- Hydrolyzed Plant Protein (HPP)
- Hydrolyzed Vegetable Protein (HVP)
- Monopotassium glutamate
- Monosodium glutamate
- Senomyx (wheat extract labeled as artificial flavor)
- Sodium Caseinate
- Soy Protein Isolate
- Textured Protein
- Vegetable Protein Extract or concentrate
- Yeast Extract Glutamate
- Yeast food or nutrient
Why in the world is the food industry trying so hard to hide MSG?
Why are food manufacturers spending millions on lobbying efforts and campaign donations to congress to fight against labeling efforts? It could be that food manufacturers are counting on the addictive properties of MSG (http://www.msgtruth.org/addiction.htm) to keep a steady supply of return customers, taking advantage of those worse off economically by flooding their food supply with the substance. Pick up a box of any low cost food item and see how many contain one or more of MSG’s doppelgangers.
Think the above list isn’t sneaky enough? Consider that the FDA now considers monosodium glutamate to be a naturally occurring substance and can be lumped under natural flavors or enzymes (http://www.truthinlabeling.org/nomsg.html); free glutamic acid is typically what manufacturers label as natural flavor. Those two simple categories cover the greater majority of food items out there. The lobbying efforts of the food industry have produced great benefits for themselves and little benefit for consumers (http://www.truthinlabeling.org/WhoRuns.htm). They are systematically addicting American consumers to their foods, encouraging not only brand loyalty but also overconsumption resulting in obesity and other harmful physical effects to the human body.
Food companies acting a lot like tobacco companies
But why is this a big deal? Surely MSG isn’t that dangerous or the government wouldn’t allow it in our food (http://www.fda.gov/Food/FoodIngredientsPackaging/GenerallyRecognizedasSafeGRAS/GRASSubstancesSCOGSDatabase/ucm260903.htm). The same thing was said of smoking and the tobacco industry spent millions of dollars lobbying politicians to not have their products labeled as unhealthy for decades. In the 1940s and 1950s tobacco companies claimed the effects of smoking were not only harmless, but in some cases healthful (http://www.tobacco.org/resources/history/Tobacco_History20-1.html). Tobacco companies knew better, but were guarding their cash crop very carefully. It finally unraveled and the tobacco companies were hit with lawsuit after lawsuit; but if no one had stood up and taken a stand, you’d be looking at a pack of cigarettes that didn’t include a Surgeon General’s warning on the outside.
MSG is an excitotoxin
MSG is what is considered an excitotoxin (http://www.jpands.org/hacienda/article27.html). Excitotoxins like glutamate are neurotransmitters that damage or kill nerve cells in the central nervous system by excessive stimulation. In ALS (Lou Gehrig’s Disease), the process damages motor neurons which eventually lead to shaking and the inability to control your muscles – that inevitably leads to death. Excitotoxins are the culprits in many other neurodegenerative diseases of the central nervous system like multiple sclerosis, Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, alcoholism and Huntington’s disease. Plain and simple, this is a bad substance to introduce to the human body! Yet, food companies are doing it every day to shuffle millions in sales into their corporate coffers.
Scientists actually use large doses of MSG to create lesions on the hypothalamus of lab rats and mice to induce them to become obese (http://endo.endojournals.org/content/111/6/2031.short). Rats and mice are not naturally obese – they need to damage part of their brains with MSG to induce obesity.
So, we’re ingesting ever increasing amounts of a substance shown to be a major factor in neurodegenerative diseases and obesity. Surely, that’s the only food problem we have staring us in the face, right? Wrong.
Consumers speaking out, looking for healthy alternatives
Looked around the grocery store lately and spotted “gluten-free” this and “lactose-free” that? Turns out people are starting to take notice the food they consume might be making them sick and are trying to shop around for different options. What used to only be in the health food store is starting to creep its way into the mass market grocery stores. Ever heard of celiac disease? If you continue eating wheat products (a major food group in the food pyramid!), you may find yourself with gluten intolerance – now you have celiac disease (http://www.celiac.com/). Your body may not be able to process gluten correctly, and there’s more of it than ever before in wheat products; years of gluten consumption wreaks havoc on your digestive system and occasional bloating, gas and mild abdominal pains gradually progress to increasing inability to absorb all the vitamins and minerals you need from your food. Shocked? There’s more to learn about America’s food supply.
Dairy – Dairy farmers would have you believe that milk is an irreplaceable part of the diet. It is responsible for supplying calcium to our bodies which is instrumental in balancing the acid in our blood. The only problem with this is pasteurization actually cuts the amount of calcium in milk in half and destroys the enzymes in the milk that aid in calcium absorption (http://www.realmilk.com/15-things-milk-pasteurization-kills.html). Low fat milk is further hampering the process since fat is an essential part of the transportation and absorption of calcium. Milk makes our bodies more acidic – more acidic in fact than the amount of calcium we get through milk would neutralize. It’s a lose/lose proposition that has led to the most dairy-rich nations in the world seeing an increase in osteoporosis (http://www.freedomyou.com/nutrition_book/Milk%20and%20Cookies.htm). Drinking low fat or skim milk causes a net loss of calcium for the human body.
Gluten – This little protein found in most grains (including wheat, barley, rye, spelt, kamut, and oats) was a bugger when it was first introduced to the human diet in Europe in the Middle Ages, causing 30% of people of European descent to carry the genes for celiac disease, a hyper-sensitivity to gluten. Our own wheat has morphed to become super-gluten producers, and mild to serious gluten sensitivity and even full-blown celiac disease is the result.
Soy – if you have any issues with your thyroid, avoid soy at all costs. It is associated with affecting the normal function of the thyroid and hormones (http://www.westonaprice.org/soy-alert). Typically, the main problem is overconsumption of soy. As soy is now a big cash crop, we have seen the influx of soy products and supplements into the American food supply. Naturally occurring soy, of amounts less than 30mg per day is considered safe – everything else puts your body in the danger zone. Soy supplements and the isoflavones being added to some food products are a danger to the thyroid. When we find something with a good effect in small doses, why do we feel the need to go big and make it a danger?
Speaking of danger – many health advocates recommend not feeding soy to children under three years of age – they are still developing and could develop thyroid problems like autoimmune thyroid deficiency. Soy-based infant formula is a big no-no!
Soy protein isolate (an MSG doppelganger) is approved by the FDA and found to be GRAS (Generally Recognized As Safe) in food packaging only! It has highlighted concerns about the chemicals possibly found in the product and their effect on the human body (http://www.accessdata.fda.gov/scripts/fcn/fcnDetailNavigation.cfm?rpt=scogsListing&id=327).
Corn – the corn of today no longer matches or even biologically resembles the corn of our forefathers (http://www.ers.usda.gov/Data/BiotechCrops/). There has been so much cross breeding, contamination and now genetic modification of corn to resist pests, that it’s almost ridiculous to even call it corn anymore. The significance of the changes are that carefully controlled studies show the increased biological hazards of new strains of corn (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/01/12/monsantos-gmo-corn-linked_n_420365.html) – and those dangers are being politically camouflaged to get the foods authorized for distribution to the human population of the world. The chemical companies that produce the crossbred species literally have a cash crop on their hands – patented, genetically engineered food. They only have to get it past the government censors and then it gets distributed to all of mankind.
Attempts to block genetic corn fail in Europe
In 2005, several European Union countries attempted to stop the approval of Mon 863 corn from being authorized for sale and consumption in Europe (http://www.seedsofdeception.com/Public/Newsletter/June05GMCornHealthDangerExposed/index.cfm). The alarming studies of the safety of the product including lesions on organs, hormone imbalances and blood sugar dropping in tests on rats was glossed over and even outright ignored. There were enough pro-genetic modification countries to approve the corn – there rational echoed the same empty rational of Monsanto. Money talks – genetic corn is here to stay, the health of the consumer be damned.
Across the world in all sorts of different nations, Monsanto has pushed for and received acceptance of its genetically modified corn. The reason is obvious – how much money will the multi-billion dollar corporation take in if it gets a royalty from every piece of corn sold in the world? Think that’s enough incentive to lie, cheat, steal, and bribe its way into acceptance?
Here is a limited list of foods with genetically engineered ingredients (it is not all inclusive): http://opposingdigits.com/forums/about52.html
Where does the U.S.government stand in all this?
How has the U.S. government’s involvement been twisted to hide the details from consumers? The Uniform Trade Secrets Act (first enacted in 1979 and revised in 1989 - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Uniform_Trade_Secrets_Act) was originally intended to protect companies from having their patented technologies made public due to problems with the patent process not always working correctly the first time, exposing a trade secret that may then no longer have the protection of patent law. That has morphed to cover any trade secret within an industry whose revelation would cause a loss of intellectual property pertaining to a formula, pattern, plan, compilation, computer program, method, technique, process, product, device or mechanism. This allows any industry, including the food industry, to hide the formulation of their food processing and manufacture unless specifically required by law (the FDA) to list the items.
Scientific studies, disturbing revelations and dangerous effects of substances within our food can all be hidden from the consumer’s view by the food companies using this Act.
MSG, dairy, soy, corn – it’s all subject to the cover-up of massive billion-dollar corporations’ avarice and greed. Corporate funded scientific studies are pretty much a sham, but are commonly used to justify the safety of a product vice non-industry funded studies. The disparity is alarmingly ridiculous, but when you’re being paid to look the other way… (http://www.fda.gov/ohrms/dockets/dailys/02/Aug02/080602/98f-0052-sup0002-vol5.txt)
Some good news
It’s not all bad news – knowledge is power, and training yourself to read and understand food labeling can help you clean out many toxic elements from your daily diet. However, it isn’t always easy avoiding these dangerous food substances
Ways to protect yourself
MSG – it takes a lot of hunting to find all the foods that contain this additive, but there are foods that truly are MSG free. Natural fruits and vegetables are going to be free of it. Your best bet is to find organic fruits and vegetables that haven’t been grown with pesticides, and to be sure to wash your food to clean off anything that may have been “unadvertised”.
Dairy – You can safely eliminate dairy from your diet completely – many lactose-intolerant consumers already do this. There are many foods natural in calcium and Vitamin D. If you really are concerned about the vitamins supplied to you by milk, cheese, yogurt, etc. look into vitamin supplements. Keep in mind there are some substances that your body may need for proper digestion (yogurt does have other beneficial qualities), so look for alternatives to keep your digestive tract in good shape, such as adding more specific fruits to your diet. Mangoes are said to be helpful to digestion, and many fruits are said to have a “cleansing” effect.
Gluten – this protein sensitivity (though reportedly increasing in the population) only affects a few million people in the United States (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/dr-david-perlmutter-md/gluten-impacts-the-brain_b_785901.html_). To find out if you’re one of them, you will need to go gluten free for about two to four weeks (pay attention to how you feel once the gluten has been eliminated from your diet). You can find a full list of foods that contain gluten at http://www.celiac.com; watch for hidden gluten in things like soup mixes, salad dressings, sauces, lipstick (sorry ladies!), certain vitamins, medications, and stamps and envelopes you have to lick. Once that is done, reintroduce the gluten into your diet and see if it affects you adversely.
Corn – there is non-GMO (genetically modified organisms) corn available on the market today. You might want to go the whole nine yards and search out non-GMO foods – here’s a link to a True Food Shopper’s guide - http://truefoodnow.org/shoppers-guide.
Learning to ‘detoxify’
Unfortunately, the tendrils into our food supply get increasingly disturbing every day. Processed foods are infused with so many elements our bodies were never designed to ingest that we’re getting sicker as a nation day by day. Toxins, pollutants, and genetically modified foods have contributed to a cesspool in our bodies that can only be cleaned by detoxifying our bodies regularly, something the average person rarely does.
In the end, we can’t sit back and just let things happen. Pro-active involvement in your local and national government is the only way to enact change on a national level. Personal perseverance in your food shopping and dietary choices will keep you and your family healthy. Fighting multi-billion dollar corporations takes a concerted effort – it’s anything but a free lunch.
One last thing on food – antioxidants are all the rage nowadays. The body has a natural antioxidant defense system against free radicals (http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/antioxidants.html). There’s no particular food or substance responsible for the free radicals – they occur naturally in the world and in our bodies. If left unchecked, free radicals can do some serious damage. The body’s natural antioxidant defense system counteracts free radicals, eliminating them from our bodies. This system does need help, though – it requires certain vitamins and other compounds found naturally in fruits and vegetables. The simplest way to ensure your body can fight free radicals properly is to supply it with five to eight servings of fresh fruits and vegetables daily.
Please note that is “fresh” not “canned, processed, steamed and diluted” fruit and vegetables. Any food that goes through a manufacturing process is subject to damaging effects. Keep that in mind the next time you go to the grocery store.
Keep in mind also that just because a product is labeled as “healthy” or “organic” doesn’t necessarily mean that it is. That tasty granola cereal you spot on aisle 2 may have an MSG related ingredient/ingredients on the label and may really be one to avoid. So shop carefully and eat wisely.