By Emily Roberts MA, LPC
With back-to-school in full effect, many parents are packing their rouine lunches or giving kid’s money to buy lunch at school, but do you really know what your child is eating? Interestingly enough, we notice when kids are eating more prepared and prepackaged foods, often times their behavior gets worse. Why? Monosodium Glutamate or MSG is added to many “kid friendly” and fast foods. In many ingredient lists is hidden as “flavor enhancer” or “natural flavors”. MSG increases glutamate levels (glutamate is an excitatory neurotransmitters) thus increasing aggression, impulsivity, and decrease the ability to focus. This is not only occurring in our children’s brains, but ours as well. That bag of Barbecue chips is full of MSG, so is that “natural flavored” cereal bar….Just think about it.
“It taps out our inhibitory neurotransmitters causing inflammation to the brain.” Says Nikki Jackson-Drummond CCN. This is a normal reaction to ingesting MSG, even for someone who does not have an allergy to MSG. According to Grocery Warningby Mike Adams,” There is no regulation whatsoever on the use of MSG in school cafeterias despite its possible ill effects. In fact, current trends allow fast –food pizza and hamburger chains to sell their MSG-laden products during the children lunch hour.” Adams says, ” The sudden increase in glutamic acid within the body is rapidly absorbed an can raise the normal blood level of glutamate to eight or ten or even twenty times its usual amount.”
So what’s in your kid’s lunch box? Popular children’s soups, macaroni and cheese, even products that are labeled “natural” have “natural flavorings added.” If you are giving your child these foods, or they are getting them at school, the likelihood is that they are increasing the glutamate enough to disrupt your child’s brain chemistry. We have seen some kiddo’s brain chemistry levels plateau or become worse do to diets heavy in MSG foods, without parents even knowing it was disrupting their neurochemistry!
- Hamburger Helper Microwave Singles® (targeted towards children)
- Campbell’s® soups – all of them – based on their commitment to add “umami” (read – MSG) to their products
- Pringles® (the flavored varieties)
- Boar’s Head® cold cuts and most of their hot dogs
- Progresso® Soups – all of them
- Lipton® Noodles and Sauce
- Lipton® Instant soup mix
- Unilever or Knorr® products – often used in homemade Veggie dips.
- Kraft® products nearly all contain some free glutamate
- Cup-a-soup® or Cup-o-Noodles®
- Planters® salted nuts – most of them
- Accent® -this is nearly pure MSG
- Braggs® Liquid Aminos – sold at Whole Foods
- Hodgson Mill Kentucky Kernel Seasoned Flour®
- Tangle extract (seaweed extract) – found in sushi rolls (even at Whole Foods) Seaweed is what MSG was first isolated from.
- Fish extract – made from decomposed fish protein – used now in Japanese sushi dishes – very high in free glutamate.
- flavored ramen noodles
- boullion – any kind
- instant soup mixes
- many salad dressings
- most salty, powdered dry food mixes – read labels
- flavored potato chips
This is part of the list from MSG Truth http://www.msgtruth.org/avoid.htm
There are many safe, alternatives to MSG filled foods. Do an experiment, what is your behavior or your child’s behavior like after avoiding MSG free foods for just a few days? Check out this mom’s blog post for specific foods and where to buy them for an MSG free diet http://www.latitudes.org/forums/index.php?showtopic=2976
Next time your thinking about grabbing a quick bite, or throwing in that flavored bag of chips into the lunchbox, think about it, do you really want your child eating a flavor enhanced, chemical filled snack? Think about it….
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