Have you ever heard of the term “shop the outside”? This type of shopping is one of the simplest and best ways to avoid food additives, such as added sugar, artificial colors, and flavoring agents. Namely, the bakery, dairy, produce, and frozen sections are found outside the walls of the store while snacks, preserved products, and packaged foods are found in the aisles. Sticking with this simple guideline will help you stay away from chemicals like MSG within these sections:
The Bakery Section
Stay away from processed snacks and desserts. Look for gluten-free alternatives!
The Meat Section
Avoid seasoned or pre-marinated meats. Very often products like chicken breasts are likely to be labeled as seasoned, referring to the process of adding salt & water to make it juicier.
The Dairy Section
Always check the ingredients on cheese products and yogurt. Many yogurt brands, particularly those designed for kids, contain food coloring agents and added sugar.
The Frozen Section
Skip TV dinners and make sure you stick to organic frozen fruits and veggies.
It can be quite difficult to know what is good and what is bad when looking at the ingredients list. Here is how to stay away from the two most common culprits: MSGA and HFCS, or high-fructose corn syrup.
What is MSG?
Monosodium glutamate, commonly referred to as MSG, is a salt form of glutamate amino acid, an acid that is naturally found in savory food items like tomatoes, cheese, and mushrooms. However, it is found in very small amounts in these foods, and in artificially high concentrations may lead to MSG allergy or other health complaints.
MSG Health Risks
- Chest pain
- Facial pressure or tightness
- Numbness, tingling or burning in the face, neck and other areas
- Rapid, fluttering heartbeats (heart palpitations)
Although the root cause of these symptoms is unclear, Mayo Clinic suggests that experiencing discomfort after eating MSG is associated with an MSG allergy and means that you should avoid it. Multiple studies have confirmed the problems in brain development when newborn infants are exposed to MSG, while further research into the MSG health risks is needed.
Ingredients that may contain MSG:
- Yeast Extract
- Malted Barley
- Rice Syrup or Brown Rice Syrup
- Hydrolyzed Vegetable Protein (HVP)
- Textured Vegetable Protein (TVP)
Other names of MSG include:
- Sodium glutamate monohydrate
- L-Glutamic acid
- Monosodium salt
- Monosodium glutamate monohydrate
- Monosodium L-glutamate monohydrate
- MSG monohydrate
- Monosodium salt
The Dangers of High-Fructose Corn Syrup
According to a 2015 study, there is a strong link between dietary fructose intake and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). A study done last year showed that increased consumption of sugar-sweetened drinks is the major contributing factor for the development of this disease. It includes the following factors, too:
- HFCS leads to formation of free radicals in the body
- HFCS is the most widely consumed sugar these days
- The consumption of fructose may raise the risk of diabetes as it supports insulin resistance
How to Spot High-Fructose Corn Syrup in the Ingredients
Not long ago, the manufacturers of HFCS have lobbied the FDA to change the name to corn sugar. Needless to say, this is a marketing move as consumers have gradually started becoming aware of the dangers of HFCS. Watch for these signs:
- Cane Juice
- Corn Syrup Solids
- Fruit Juice Concentrate
- Dahlia syrup
- Crystalline glucose.
- Invert Sugar
- Corn Sugar
- Corn Syrup
- Maize syrup
- Agave Nectar
- Tapioca syrup
- Glucose/fructose syrup