Saturday, December 24, 2005

MSG and obesity - If it tastes good it probably makes you fat

I saw an interesting note on about the link between MSG and obesity and thought I’d read the article. Unfortunately, it was for members only but a quick copy and paste of the title into Google yielded not only the background article but it opened up a Pandora’s Box.

If the topic of MSG interests you, have a look over this site for some really disconcerting information. But as to the topic of this blog, the gist of the headline is a quote from the Spanish scientists who did the research:

A team of scientists in the Faculty of Medicine at the Complutense University of Madrid has discovered that when given to rats, E-621 (monosodium glutamate) produces a massive 40 percent increase in appetite. The scientists think the additive affects the arcuate nucleus area of the brain and so prevents proper functioning of the body's appetite control mechanisms. According to this hypothesis, people (and children) who consume foods with large quantities of E-621 just feel more and more hungry the more they eat.

I guess this explains why we often over eat what Westerners accept as cheap Chinese food (moreoften found in rural towns and RSL clubs and nothing like traditional Chinese fare) and find that we are hungry about a half hour later.

Now, of course, the problem of obesity cannot be blamed on just one chemical as there are a huge number of differences between the hunter/gatherer diet of wild foods and our modern intake of highly refined, agriculturally selected, industrially modified edibles which are more adapted to the market supply chain than human nutrition. See my previous blog on this topic.

But it is certainly more grist for the mill.