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If you’re as old as I am – highly unlikely 😉 – you might remember commercials for Accent on TV. It’s a “flavor enhancer”, a way to make food taste even better.

It’s also MSG or monosodium glutamate.

We all know what that is, right?

MSG is a flavor enhancer, but it does not work by making your food taste better the way adding salt or other seasonings might make your meal more appealing. Instead, MSG works on your taste buds – a physical part of your body – and makes them more able to taste flavor.

By the way, because MSG makes your taste buds so much more sensitive, it also can cause binge eating for that same reason.

Think about that for a minute. What foods are you most likely to binge eat? Certainly not broccoli or cauliflower. More likely processed foods – the ones with a long list of ingredients.

And guess what? There is a law that allows food manufacturers to hide certain ingredients from the list on the package. This is so things like the Colonel’s recipe for KFC don’t become public. MSG can be hidden as “natural flavorings”.

MSG is what is known as an excitotoxin. This means that it stimulates the brain, causing you to eat more.

Diabetes, obesity, and even Alzheimer’s have been linked to MSG.

Chinese restaurants are notorious for adding MSG to their food. The truth is, some do and some don’t.

But avoiding Chinese food will not protect you from MSG. And you should protect yourself.

For those of us with ADHD, MSG can increase hyperactivity, cause headaches and insomnia, anger, mental confusion, depression, sleepiness, migraines, and even allergy type symptoms such as a runny nose or asthma.

Even people who do not have ADHD have felt the adverse effects of MSG.

So where do you find MSG and how can you eliminate it?

Honestly? It’s pretty much everywhere.

Processed foods and fast foods are a good place to start. Avoid them like the plague.

But you know what? I consider myself a healthy eater. I read labels. Between my issues and my dad’s, I have to in order for us to be healthy.

And yet, I found MSG in my pantry and fridge.

My favorite pre-packaged salad dressing that I can rely on to be gluten free? Has MSG.

My go to bases for more chicken or beef flavor in a dish? MSG.

Did you know that MSG is even found in health and beauty products?

I found out the hard way several years ago that avoiding gluten went way beyond food. There is gluten in cosmetics, nail polish, hair spray, over the counter drugs, and even (ahem) feminine products. And yes, they caused the same reaction that food did.

MSG can be found in similar places. Your shampoo, moisturizer, make up. Be especially aware of anything containing any sort of hydrolyzed protein.

Bottom line?

Try to eat like you live on a farm far away from the big city. Fresh meats, produce and fruits, healthy food choices.

And do what Weight Watchers tells you – avoid the science experiments. If you can’t pronounce it, you probably shouldn’t eat it.


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Lacy Estelle

Lacy Estelle is the writer of and the Podcast host for An ADD Woman.

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2 Responses

  1. MSG has been linked to a wide variety of symptoms and disorders, including ADHD, Autism, depression, anxiety, learning disabilities, behavior disorders, and even obesity. It is found in processed food and may be disguised as autolyzed yeast extract, maltodextrin, citric acid, hydrolyzed soy protein, whey protein concentrate, sodium caseinate, natural flavor, spices, and carrageenan. MSG stimulates your neurons, and at high levels – that is, if you eat a lot of it – can cause brain damage, not to mention hyperactivity and an inability to pay attention. It can cause you to think food tastes better than it does by stimulating your taste buds and as a result, you may eat more. It also causes your pancreas to release insulin – even if you have not consumed carbs – which will cause you to feel hungry soon after.

    You should also know that Aspartame works in a similar manner.

    Bottom line? Shop the outside of the grocery store and buy fresh produce, meat, and simple dairy products. Try to eliminate processed foods from your diet as much as possible.

    If that seems too hard, try it for a week, or just a few days and see if you feel better.