Warning! Yeast extract contains the same excitotoxic free glutamate as that in MSG

There’s a world of writers who turn out propaganda pieces on the safety of MSG. They’re much like the “researchers” who authored the MSG-is-safe studies for the International Glutamate Technical Committee in the 1990s. These were individuals with little or no obvious connection to one another, affiliated with variety of universities and medical schools, who had no history of studying the safety of MSG and had no misgivings about using excitotoxic aspartame in their placebos.

So, it’s only natural to wonder if John Moody’s article “Yeast Extract: Not MSG But Is It Safe?” in The Healthy Home Economist was designed to be MSG-is-safe propaganda. It sure looked that way, but it also sent a warning to consumers that yeast extract contains the same toxic free glutamate that’s in MSG.

To understand the toxicity of yeast extract, you have to understand the basics of toxic glutamate found in food.

Glutamate must be free to be harmful, meaning it can’t exist as part of a protein. And toxic free glutamate found in food will always have been manufactured.

You can make/produce free glutamate (glutamate outside of protein) using carefully selected genetically modified bacteria. Feed the bacteria on some starchy stuff like sugar, and they secrete glutamate through their cell walls. That’s pretty much how the glutamate in MSG is made in Ajinomoto’s plant in Eddyville Iowa.

You can also free glutamate from protein. Begin with something that contains protein — almost any meat, grain, diary product, fruit or vegetable will contain at least some small amount of glutamate. Then, choose your method: 1) extract glutamate from protein, 2) use hydrolysis, autolysis, enzymes, acids or fermentation to break protein into individual amino acids (which would include glutamate), or apply high heat to protein.

All glutamate made/produced by man plus that which has been fermented contains D-glutamate, pyroglutamate and other unwanted by-products of manufacture (impurities which industry has been unable to remove) as well as the desired L-glutamate. In contrast, the glutamate in unadulterated fruits, grains, vegetables, and in the human body, which wouldn’t be manufactured, is L-glutamate only.

To be toxic, free glutamate has to 1) be present in excess – more than the healthy body needs for normal body function, or 2) act as a neurotransmitter, overstimulating and damaging glutamate receptors for some weak area in an individual’s body, the heart, lungs, or stomach for example.

Yeast extract contains toxic free glutamate.

Yeast extract contributes to accumulation of toxic free glutamate in two ways. First, yeast extract itself will contain toxic free glutamate. Moreover, yeast and yeast extract can also interact with other ingredients, causing the protein in those other ingredients to break down and release glutamate.

The way that the yeast extract is produced will vary from one manufacturer to another, but all break the protein found in yeast into free amino acids – one of which will be glutamate. Following are various descriptions of how that’s done:

1: Food Navigator-asia.com: https://www.foodnavigator-asia.com/Article/2019/09/25/Clean-label-less-sodium-and-vegan-Yeast-extract-specialist-company-Angel-Yeast-names-three-mega-trends-driving-the-industry#

“Angel Yeast’s yeast extract products are obtained from molasses-cultured yeast, which are autolyzed to obtain the extract and made into pastes or powders.”

2: European Association for Specialty Yeast Products:
http://www.yeastextract.info/yeast-extract/how-it-s-made

“Yeast extract is … made from natural bakers’ or brewers’ yeast. First sugar is added so that the yeast can multiply. Then enzymes in the yeast break down the proteins present in the yeast into smaller components and make the cell walls permeable. Finally the components present in the yeast cell – the yeast extract – are separated from the surrounding wall and dried.”

3: Biospringer: https://biospringer.com/en/explore-yeast-extract/yeast-extract/production-process/

“Yeast is a microscopic unicellular fungus that has been living on Earth for millions of years. Like any other cell, yeast is made of proteins, amino acids, vitamins and minerals gathered within the cell walls.”

“Yeast extract is simply the yeast content without the cell wall, making it a natural origin ingredient. Its production consists of 3 main steps:

Fermentation
Breaking of the yeast cell (also known as autolysis)
Separation”

4: By Elea Carey for Healthline: https://www.healthline.com/health/food-nutrition/is-yeast-extract-bad-for-me#1″ https://www.healthline.com/health/food-nutrition/is-yeast-extract-bad-for-me#1

“There are two kinds of yeast extract, autolyzed and hydrolyzed. In both, the cell walls are discarded and the contents of the cell are combined. In autolyzed yeast, the enzymes found in the yeast itself are used to break down the proteins. In hydrolyzed yeast, these enzymes are added to the yeast.”

Does yeast extract contain enough free glutamate to cause brain damage or adverse reactions?

If yeast extract was the only source of free glutamate ingested, toxicity would depend on the amount of free glutamate in the particular product ingested, and the sensitivity of the person ingesting it. There are glutamate-sensitive people who react to yeast extract.

But in real life one helping of yeast extract isn’t going to be ingested in isolation. Combined with other sources of glutamate in the diet, yeast extract increases the likelihood of brain damage and adverse reactions.

About MSG-is-safe propaganda

John Moody’s article fits the present propaganda model perfectly. It doesn’t shout out that MSG is harmless, but in several sections feel-good words are paired with the words glutamate, MSG or umami.

“Why we love glutamate”
“the presence of natural glutamates”
“Glutamates… trigger a response in our brains that make us enjoy our food.”
“Glutamates don’t just taste good, they ARE good”
“essential for life itself”
“…glutamates are naturally occurring in a wide range of foods, especially if fermented or slowly cooked or simmered. Also, traditional cultures sometimes prepared foods in such a way to purposefully INCREASE the concentration of glutamates. Clearly, ancestral societies recognized the benefits of natural glutamate in the diet.”

And then there are even more clever sections that the casual reader might think speak of the hazards of glutamates, but actually minimize them: 1) it would be unnatural to ingest too much MSG; 2) it’s processed foods that are the problem if there is one, not MSG; 3) there are a few risks associated with ingestion of MSG, but lots of foods can cause them, and 4) natural forms of glutamates are not a concern.

And finally, at the end of the paper, where psychologists say it will have the longest lasting impression, are the words, “For healthy individuals, glutamates play a vital role both in good health and good hearth (food).”

If you have questions or comments, we’d love to hear from you. If you have hints for others on how to avoid exposure to MfG, send them along, too, and we’ll put them up on Facebook. Or you can reach us at questionsaboutmsg@gmail.com and follow us on Twitter @truthlabeling.

What do some vaccines have in common with plant-based protein substitutes?

Hint: When you get just a little it can cause a-fib, tachycardia, asthma, migraines, seizures and more.

Hint: When you get more than a little, it causes brain damage. (And you won’t notice losing just a few brain cells at a time.)

Send you answers to truthlabeling@gmail.com

All those who answer correctly will receive a link to a free download of the book “It Wasn’t Alzheimer’s, It was MSG.”

If you have questions or comments, we’d love to hear from you. If you have hints for others on how to avoid exposure to MfG, send them along, too, and we’ll put them up on Facebook. Or you can reach us at questionsaboutmsg@gmail.com and follow us on Twitter @truthlabeling.

Fact Checked?

People send us all kinds of articles, sometimes for information, sometimes to comment on. livestrong.com is one we’ve been seeing a lot of lately. Livestrong is the perfect venue for MSG-is-safe misinformation.

Every article about MSG has a certain sameness. Most important to industry is that the message you get, even if you don’t notice it, will be that MSG is perfectly safe. Sometimes the article will point out that MSG has gotten “a bad rap.” That was very popular for a while. Sometimes the story line revolves around there being less sodium in MSG than in table salt. That’s still circulating widely and is even mentioned in “The verdict on MSG: is it really safe to eat and where is it lurking?” one of the recent articles at livestrong.com.

To be effective, an article just has to make you think that MSG might be a safe food additive. It just has to make you doubt that MSG causes reactions you can see like obesity and migraine headache. The brain damage that can’t be confirmed unless an autopsy is done will never be mentioned.

“Everything You Need to Know About Food Ingredients and Additives” and the article it links to, “The Verdict on MSG: Is it really safe to eat and where is it lurking?” serve up lots of facts from various “authorities.” The hook is the claim that what they write is “fact checked” or “reviewed” before it is published. You, the reader, are supposed to believe you’re about to read something of merit that’s been meticulously researched. But behind the check mark link next to the words ‘Fact Checked’ is concealed the information that “fact checked” only means that “we’ve confirmed the information cited in it comes from reputable primary sources.” So, Ajinomoto, the company that produces MSG would be a reliable source for information on MSG, as would be their collaborators at the International Food Information Council, which has worked for them for years. And checking the truth of what is written is not considered.

A quick scan of the two articles we looked at suggested that all of their “experts” came through the glutamate industry. And when we looked a bit closer, it became obvious that neither authors April Benshosan nor Tiffany Ayuda, did any research of their own, but took material from Ajinomoto or one of its public relations firms and added some background material. Or maybe these ladies didn’t write the pair of articles at all. A simple Google search of “monosodium glutamate toxicity” turned up articles citing MSG toxicity by Niaz, Hyndman, Husarova, Nnadozie, Kayode and others who weren’t mentioned in the Livestrong.com articles. And authors Tiffany Ayuda and April Benshosan sure didn’t go to the website of the National Library of Medicine where “monosodium glutamate AND toxic” turned up 242 articles.

We checked out some of their “experts.” In 1990 the International Food Information Council (IFIC) was employed by Ajinomoto (producer of MSG) to scuttle, or do damage control, for the anticipated 60 Minutes program on MSG. Besides doing odd jobs for Ajinomoto, IFIC often parrots the disinformation that MSG is made by the same process used to produce beer, yogurt and sourdough bread. Actually, MSG is made using carefully selected genetically modified bacteria that secrete glutamate through their cell walls. Beer, yogurt and sourdough bread aren’t made that way. Tiffany Ayuda listed IFIC three times as a resource.

Mayo Clinic was used as the reference for “researchers haven’t been able to find a reliable link between MSG and allergy.” Taking things out of context is a specialty of the Glutes. The fact is that the reaction to MSG isn’t an allergic reaction. It’s a reaction to a poison. Allergic reactions are IgE mediated. Reactions to poisons are not. So, no informed person would dream that there would be a link between MSG and allergy. But the casual reader may not know that, and the sound bite makes good propaganda.

Bonnie Gaub-Dix, author of “Read it before you eat it” is quoted as saying that “MSG has been around or centuries…it is safe to consume…” But if they’d done their homework, Tiffany Ayuda and April Benshosan would have known that MSG was only invented around 1908, at which time it was made by extraction of glutamate from a protein source, with production of MSG limited by its slow and costly method. And they would have known that in 1957 Ajinomoto began producing the glutamate in MSG using genetically modified bacteria that excreted glutamate through their cell walls. And that it was only after there were sufficient quantities of glutamate in the food supply to cause that glutamate to become excitotoxic (killing brain cells), that the world began seeing MSG-induced reactions such as a-fib, seizures, and migraine headache – and behavior dysfunction, obesity and infertility caused by the brain damage that couldn’t be seen with the naked eye.

Women’s & Children’s Hospital (which one we don’t know) is another interesting resource. It’s strange that it is not included in the list of references following the article. It is also strange to find some allegedly authoritative source listing hydrolyzed and autolyzed products as containing MSG. They contain glutamate, the same toxic ingredient found in MSG, but they don’t contain the ingredient MSG. Wherever the list came from, it didn’t come from someone who had carefully researched MSG.

And then there’s the predictable industry clincher: “Researchers haven’t been unable to find a definite link between these symptoms and MSG.” (Just for fun, note the Freudian slip, “Unable.”)

Why predictable? Because every article put out by industry must deliver the message that MSG is harmless. And psychologists will tell you that what comes at the very beginning or at the very end of a story has the greatest impact.

Big Food has some big plans for you. Here’s how to fight back!

At a time when gathering provisions to feed your family has become an unprecedented challenge, the matter of what is in that food seems to have taken a back seat. And don’t think Big Food isn’t well aware of that.

That’s why a book like A Consumer’s Guide to Toxic Food Additives (Skyhorse Publishing, March, 2020) by longtime health and environmental journalists Linda and Bill Bonvie couldn’t be timelier.

This well-researched and fully updated book makes clear the kinds of processed foods we’ve gotten into the habit of consuming – and which are now being labeled as indispensable “comfort foods” – are just the kinds that can be lowering our ability to resist illness, be it COVID-19, the flu or any number of other opportunist infections. And that’s in addition to many of the devastating diseases we’ve grown to accept as “normal” such as diabetes and dementia, along with a variety of auto-immune illnesses.

First, however, let’s take a brief look at how industry is using this deadly pandemic to make sure we keep buying its products. There is no crisis, big or small, that Big Food isn’t ready, willing and able to take advantage of.

Gotcha!

What could tug at your heartstrings more than a little girl quarantined with her loving dad who misses her mom and grandma? That’s the “spin” the Uncle Ben’s brand (owned by Mars) is now using in its commercials. Yes, the spot is endearing, and it will keep plenty of consumers focused on “grandma’s recipe” and the difficulties of isolation instead of the many chemical additives in Uncle Ben’s Ready Rice mixes – including some you’ll find covered in A Consumer’s Guide.

Kraft/Heinz, another mega-multinational that makes billions churning out ultra-processed foods such as Lunchables, Ore-Ida, Kool-Aid and Velveeta, has adopted a rallying cry incorporated in its new commercials for this pandemic of “We Got You America.” Yes, they certainly do.

Post Cereal, makers of Fruity Pebbles (which comes with five artificial colors and the preservative BHA – more additives covered in the book), has started providing kids with daily videos to help “ignite” their “creativity, imagination, happiness and sense of exploration in every bowl of Pebbles.”

And Impossible Foods, makers of the impossibly additive filled, ultra-processed fake meat products such as the “Impossible Burger,” has been able to use this crisis to maneuver its goods into a trifecta of 777 additional grocery stores around the U.S.

All of these brands, and many, many more, are running creative spots produced by some of the best and brightest advertising minds in the land, all hoping to craftily convince you that ingredients don’t matter. Unfortunately, most of these processed foods contain additives that make them basically unfit for human consumption.

While A Consumer’s Guide only covers 13 of the many toxic food additives in use, they are, in fact, a baker’s dozen of what you’re most likely to find in today’s processed products. It tells you not just why you need to avoid them, but how to as well.

Along with aspartame, artificial colors, fluoride (yes, it’s an additive), and genetically modified ingredients (also additives), the book covers some lesser known issues such as what commercial fats will be taking the place of partially hydrogenated oils, what preservative is linked to impaired immune function and how the media is easily manipulated to sell products under the guise of “news.”

It’s certainly a cliché, but still true: Knowledge is power. And when you’re up against Big Food and all of its resources you need all the power you can get.

A Consumer’s Guide to Toxic Food Additives can be purchased here:
https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/consumers-guide-to-toxic-food-additives-linda-bonvie/113273321
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Will a pandemic encourage a return of the kitchen pantry?

How our lack of cooking skills and reliance on processed food is biting back

One of the realizations hitting many households hard in these days of self-isolation is how little we actually cook the food we eat from basic, real-food ingredients. That, and our dependence on frequent supermarket runs means there’s no need to think too much about what we’re going to serve up for mealtime down the road.

But not very long ago a pantry (also called a “larder” in earlier days when it was typically a cool room that could store perishable items) was an essential part of any well-run household. More than mere cupboards, a pantry is a dedicated space with shelving and drawers containing the basics needed to make a wide assortment of meals, such as a variety of canned and dried beans, all types of root veggies, garlic, dried herbs, oils, flour, pasta, oats, cornmeal, rice, nuts, sugar, honey, condiments, canned fish, and on and on. And no, a well-stocked pantry is not a sign of a hoarder.

Baked goods, especially breads, often had a dedicated pantry drawer.

It seems, however, that as kitchens grew into the high-tech appliance realm they now occupy, we downsized the space needed to store food and have the ingredients necessary to make authentic meals.

Even a huge refrigerator and your typical cupboards can’t take the place of a pantry when it comes to being prepared for when you can’t – or don’t want to – go shopping for prolonged periods of time.

Perhaps not surprisingly the demise of the pantry appears to have paralleled the rise of ultra-processed foods filled with risky additives. This includes items from frozen meals (even organic ones) to “protein” drinks to fake meats — such as the Impossible Burger.

But aside from self-quarantined consumers feeling the pinch of running short on their Stouffer dinners or Marie Calendar’s frozen pot pies (and stores having trouble keeping such items on the shelves), eating this way has many other pitfalls.

As revealed in a just-out book I co-authored, A Consumer’s Guide to Toxic Food Additives, regularly consuming foods containing harmful, chemically derived ingredients are known causes of today’s most prevalent health issues, such as diabetes, heart disease and even Alzheimer’s. And Big Food is working round the clock to convince consumers that whatever laboratory creation of ooze and garbage they put on the market is not only fit for human consumption, but good for you as well.

For example, take the latest “health” trend – “plant based” meats.

These products are “ultra-processed” in every sense of the word. The Impossible Burger contains six ingredients (one being soy protein concentrate) that contain manufactured free glutamate, the same toxic component found in MSG. Beyond Burger patties are formulated from pea protein isolate, along with several other sources of free glutamate.

My favorite, however, on the fake food list would have to be JUST EGG – a urine-colored liquid made from mung bean protein isolate (more free glutamate) and transglutaminase, a.k.a. meat glue – another additive covered in A Consumer’s Guide.

While putting thought into a pantry might seem like an irrelevant issue right now, feeding your troops well with meals comprised of genuine food might just be the turning point in helping us through these strange and frightening times.

Linda Bonvie

Can you be allergic to MSG?

By and large, reactions to MSG are sensitivity reactions to a toxin, not allergic responses.  That’s probably why the Glutes suggest seeing an allergist if you think you’re having a problem with MSG because allergists have no tests for sensitivities.  The only test for MSG (or any other sensitivity) is a challenge — ingesting the substance and waiting to see what happens.  So, most allergists will tell you that you’re not allergic to MSG, which would be true.

We’ve had reports from a handful of people who said they tested positive for an MSG-allergy but it’s not common.

If you have questions or comments, we’d love to hear from you. If you have hints for others on how to avoid exposure to MfG, send them along, too, and we’ll put them up on Facebook. Or you can reach us at questionsaboutmsg@gmail.com and follow us on Twitter @truthlabeling.