Does your food really taste good or is your brain being tricked into thinking so?
by N J Howell
What is Brominated Vegetable Oil?
An excitotoxin is rather what it sounds like - it's a substance that has an excitation effect on the system and it is also toxic, or poison. Excitotoxins are often used in foods to stimulate the system into thinking you are eating something really, really, really good when you are actually eating something with poison in it. Excitotoxins in food are often called "flavor enhancers". The most popular of these is MSG or monsodium glutamate.
I found out about MSG the hard way, decades ago after eating some stir-fried veggies that contained monosodium glutamate. Within less than an hour after consumption, I had cramping and intestinal pain so badly that I thought I had food poisoning.
When this reaction happened a second and third time while eating out, I researched and found out about MSG. I try to avoid MSG now at all costs, which is not as easy as it sounds since it is a hidden ingredient in products. Anyway, back to excitotoxins....
Why are Excitotoxins in so many foods? There is only one answer to that question - Money. If you think a food tastes particularly good, you will tend to eat more of it, right? In fact, that's one way I spot MSG in restaurant food - if I put the first bite in my mouth and think, OMG, that's good! I suspect MSG because even great food does not stimulate that over-stimulated response in me.
The fact that MSG makes food taste shockingly better than it would without it is why it is added to substandard, cheap foods. The fact that msg instantly overstimulates and causes a craving for more is why I believe almost all processed children's foods have excitotoxins among the ingredients. It's also why I believe consumption of excitotoxins is a significant factor in why our kids are having so many concentration and focus problems in school and part of the reason so many are being diagnosed with Autism and ADD.
How to identify excitotoxins in your food: If you see the following on labels, you are most likey about to ingest an excitotoxin: Aspartame MSG, monosodium glutamate, NutraSweet, NMDA, hydrolyzed vegetable protein, Equal, AminoSweet, Splenda, glutamate, gelatin, sodium caseinate, hydrolyzed corn gluten, textured protien, etc. In addition to those dead giveaway ingredients, there are a myriad array of other ingredients that are suspect and may contain hidden msg. Excitotoxins are often hidden within other ingredients such as natural flavorings, spices, seasonings and flavors. Also, processed free glutamic acid may be added to foods, and not mentioned, even if you ask if the foods contain monosodium glutamate.
Related Article from Dr. Russell Blaylock: In his book and in this article, Dr. Blaylock chronicles the history of excitotoxins in foods (started in Japan). Dr. Blaylock talks about how animal studies on MSG toxicity are really not applicable to humans because humans are so much more susceptible to the impact of MSG and how it was discovered that MSG destroys cells in critical parts of the brain, etc. How did such a harmful ingredient get in our food supply? The answers may shock you. Read Dr. Blaylock's article MSG as an excito-toxin for more information.
Health Care Disclaimer: Excitotoxins kill brain cells thru over-stimulation and excitation. While the FDA says excitotoxins such as MSG, aspartame and others are ok to consume, most all in the natural health community emphatically do not feel this is true.
While natural supplements such as NMDA and glutamate, taken as they naturally occur in foods, do not pose a heath threat for most people, the concentrated consumption of these, as far as I'm concerned, does pose a real health threat. I hope the FDA will remove MSG, aspartame and Splenda from shelves for the benefit of the consumer.