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Tuesday, November 23, 2010

MSG or Aspartame: What Brand Ingredient Will You Thank for Your Thanksgiving "Pigout"?



Yesterday I happened to flip through this month's Health magazine (which features an amazing-looking Janet Jackson BTW - between her and Emma Thompson, who thought the pixie haircut could look so good on so many?) and see an interesting "diagram" purporting to help you avoid the traditional Turkey Day pigout.


(Photo source: Health Magazine)

Normally I am one of those people who reads such diagrams intently, trying to understand why this factor or that has led me to overindulge in the party tray full of chips or the brownies piled high on the side.

On this particular day however I had been testing the argument being made by a variety of doctors and medical researchers that MSG and aspartame make you crave food, and therefore, get fat. Names include:

* Kevin Trudeau - "More Natural Cures Revealed"
* Suzanne Somers - "Breakthrough"
* Mike Adams - Web articles under the name "The Health Ranger"
* Dr. Joseph Mercola - Website
* Dr. Russell Blaylock - Web articles and interview in Somers' book.

(Google all these names for more info if you're interested.)

Anyway, these people have quite a bit to say about the unnatural state of our environment and our diets. While it might seem drastic to hear that pretty much every brand you use is a problem, I tested the thesis about MSG and aspartame out of purely selfish reasons.

I am here to tell you the following:

* The minute I ate or drank anything containing aspartame I spent the rest of the day eating sweets or refined carbs.
* The minute I ate anything containing MSG or anything related to it, I experienced elevated hunger the rest of the day.
* Every processed food in my cabinets had MSG, including every soup, sauce, Mac & Cheese mix, pre-prepared rice mix, everything.

Eating out, the prospects aren't much better.

Interestingly, I had a Subway vegi delite with a scoop of tuna for lunch and another for dinner. And didn't put anything with preservatives on the sandwich, didn't have any of the salad dressings either. (Looked up the bread ingredients and couldn't find MSG). Thank goodness, I felt OK.

So maybe this year, if you're worried about a pigout...you might want to choose a simple tuna sandwich.

Brands are neither good or bad but what we make of them. It's up to us to open our eyes and reward them for being "good."