Thanksgiving is that time of year when health-conscious families have to
deal with sharing a meal with relatives who might not be as concerned
with their eating habits. Many people realize that MSG is an undesirable
food additive, but unfortunately, there are all too many people who
think that the only place MSG can be found lurking is in Chinese food.
Nothing can be further from the truth, and the typical Thanksgiving fare
at most American households is loaded with this harmful food additive.
MSG Causes Weight Gain
For those who are unaware of the perils of MSG consumption, many scientists have been warning about it for years. Many studies have found that MSG is directly linked to
obesity in laboratory animals back in the 1960s. So, why does the FDA
allow this stuff to be dumped into the food supply? That's a really good
question. Hasn't anyone noticed that the population is getting fatter
and fatter? That's not to say that MSG is the only reason for this, but
surely, it isn't something people in a country with growing levels of
obesity -- so bad that pediatricians are now offering lipid screening
for infants -- should be consuming.
Small Children at Risk
Unfortunately, according to Dr. Russell Blaylock, small children are at even more risk for the harmful effects of MSG
than adults. In fact, Blaylock notes that children are four times more
sensitive to MSG than adults, pound for pound. What's even worse is that
MSG can even be found in infant formula.
1. Self-Basting Turkeys Contain MSG
So, what common foods eaten at Thanksgiving contain MSG? Some people may be surprised to learn that
self-basting turkeys are often loaded with MSG. That's why it's
important for those who choose to eat turkey at Thanksgiving to select
the organic, free-range varieties that haven't been injected with any
2. Packaged Gravies Contain MSG
The next item sure to be on nearly every Thanksgiving
table across America is the gravy. Nearly every canned gravy or gravy
that comes in a little pouch is loaded with MSG, including most organic
brands. It may be more trouble to make one's own gravy, but it's really
the best way to be sure that diners won't be poisoned by MSG.
3. Stuffing Cubes and Sausage Contain MSG
a Thanksgiving turkey without stuffing? However, prepackaged croutons
used for making stuffing are often loaded with MSG. Some folks like to
make sausage stuffing, but nearly all sausage has added MSG, as well.
It's best to pass on the sausage and use homemade croutons for the
4. Green Bean Casserole Contains MSG
there's the favorite green bean casserole made with canned mushroom soup
with that crispy onion topping. Sadly, most canned soups, including the
organic ones, contain some form of MSG. It's also very likely that many
of prepackaged onion toppings do, as well. Instead of the canned
mushroom soup, take the time to make it from scratch, and fresh, sauteed
onions make a wonderful topping.
5. Other Sources of MSG
there any part of the Thanksgiving dinner that's safe from MSG? Well,
any casserole that contains parmesan cheese also probably contains MSG, also beware of anything made with bouillon cubes (i.e. gravy, sauces), gelatin, or powdered milk.
6. Beware of the Term "Spices"
examining food labels, one should also be aware that the FDA allows
companies to hide some of their ingredients under generic terms. Watch
out for terms like "spices" where the spices aren't individually listed.
Usually, when one thinks of "spices," things like cinnamon and nutmeg
come to mind. However, these days, MSG is considered a spice. Also,
beware of the term "natural flavors" -- this is another place on a food label that manufacturers like to hide MSG.
How to Know if a Product Contains MSG
How does one know which foods contain MSG? One must always look at the label before buying any packaged foods. According to an article
by Northwestern Memorial Hospital (available now only through the web
archive), words other than the word MSG that indicate that MSG is in the
food include "autolyzed yeast, calcium caseinate, sodium caseinate,
gelatin, hydrolyzed protein, fermented soy powder and yeast extract."
The article states that the more processed a food is, the more likely
that it contains MSG.
Remember, MSG is a poison that increases
your appetite and causes weight gain. Who needs to pack on pounds during
the holiday season? This Thanksgiving, just say "no" to processed foods
altogether, and help prevent that undesirable holiday weight gain that
may be caused (in part) by MSG consumption.
How Do You Stay MSG-free?