February 18, 2007, the NEW YORK TIMES had an editorial that emphasizes the true meaning of ignorance-failure to acknowledge facts! In China's ''True Dash of Flavor'' Fuchsia Dunlop extols the flavor-enhancing value of one of the most ubiquitous and dangerous food additives, MSG, or monosodium glutamate. To some extent her ignorance is equally rampant in the world today. I am not as certain that the food industry is ignorant. The food industrial complex is more likely immorally greedy in the almost universal sprinkling of this 20th century pseudo-flavoring into the most widely consumed foods-the so-called fast foods, which represent 40% of meals consumed in the United States. Pop, transfats and sugar are earlier examples of junk food – indeed it is an oxymoron to call them food! There is not only no true nutritional value in them; they are cumulatively harmful to health. And so also are the vast majority of ''foods'' sold at fast food restaurants, not just because of poor quality of nutrients, but because of the dosing of those inadequate ''meals'' with MSG!

There are at least 1500 scientific articles on MSG. Many are in rats where there is overwhelming evidence of brain damage, retinal damage, hypothalamus damage, induced obesity and diabetes. Just two doses (note not servings but doses!) of MSG during the second half of pregnancy damage the developmental process, appetite control and various hormones in offspring of rats. Even total destruction of the arcuate nucleus occurs at high dosages! Indeed MSG has become the ''model'' for inducing obesity in animals! Incidentally, monkeys are at least as sensitive to MSG damage as are rats.

The fact that MSG is particularly bad for humans with hypertension and migraine is only the tip of the iceberg. In a landmark study published in January, 2006, in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, vol. 60, pages 25-31, M. Hermanussen and colleagues collected data from over 2 million Germans as well as the experimental evidence in rats and concluded that the worldwide obesity epidemic is linked to consumption of glutamate and particularly to monosodium glutamate.

Finally, it is of considerable interest that damage to glutamate receptors in the brain may be related to such diverse neurodegenerative diseases as Alzheimer's, Huntington's chorea, Parkinson's disease, amyotrophic sclerosis, as well as stroke and epilepsy. Although there have been no studies of damage to glutamate receptors in obese humans, it seems possible that it is damage to those receptors by MSG that induces obesity. Incidentally the reported increase in macular degeneration may be due not to age but to cumulative MSG damage! Fast Food Nation may well become blind, fat and dememted!

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