Excitotoxins like MSG and aspartame have a negative impact on sleep. They can make you restless and excitable, and also give you a nervous stomach. Caffeine has an amplifying effect on MSG. Give your child a bag of doritos and a coke and see what kind of mood they’re in shortly after (my guess: hyper). Unfortunately, it’s very hard to look at a label and see whether not your food contains glutamate or other synthetic food substances. MSG alone has many different names, and food companies are always coming up with new names for it as they know it’s not a popular ingredient. Here are some of the various foods that contain excitotoxins (many of the following are just alternative names for MSG):
- Monosodium Glutamate – this is a big one, and you should be aware that anything with glutamate in the name is to be avoided (MSG is just the sodium salt of glutamate).
- Glutamic acid
- Anything with hydrolyzed in the name, like hydrolyzed vegetable protein
- Textured protein
- Anything with autolyzed in the name, such as autolyzed Yeast Extract
- Avoid anything with caseinate in the name (calcium caseinate & sodium caseinate)
- Anything with aspartate in the name
Jello could potentially be a double whammy since it diet forms of jello contain the following two ecitotoxins:
- An artificial sweetener like Aspartame
Aspartame and MSG are the two most common forms of excitotoxins.
What are excitotoxins and why are they so damaging?
Excitotoxins like MSG overload the brain with too much glutamate and ultimately lead to brain self-destruction. Although the blood-brain barrier is designed to remove excess glutamate from the brain, the amount of MSG in food can overwhelm this protective barrier. Also, as people get older, their blood-brain barriers become porous and allow more and more substances through.
What you can do to stop excitotoxins like MSG and aspartame from entering into your body?
It should be noted that many people are able to consume MSG with few ill effects. That said, it’s not particularly wise to let a hazardous substance into your body, particularly one that kills brain cells. The important thing to remember about glutamates like MSG is that they are added solely to make food taste better, and do not contribute anything toward making the food last longer. To help avoid these glutamates, try the following:
Avoid processed foods. The smaller the ingredient list, the less likely the food item contains artificial ingredients.
Teach your children early to appreciate natural food. Get your child to use natural seasonings to make their meals taste how they would like.
Avoid Chinese fast food, and fast-food in general. Although MSG shows up in lots of Chinese cooking, it’s also used liberally at fast food restaurants like Taco Bell. It’s best to avoid fast food restaurants if you want to avoid MSG.