We’re just hours away from the weekend! So that means it is time to catch up on buzz-worthy health news. This week’s headlines include a story about yoga classes helping students succeed at school, the best fitness blogs of 2012, and three recipes for delicious vegan treats that you could sneak past anyone!
Our First-Ever Food Awards
DIR spent the summer scouting grocery shelves for the best nutritional food. Mary Hartley, RD, our resident nutrition expert, developed a nutritional criteria for 13 different grocery categories. Find out which brand of bread, ice cream, and many more food items were given the DIR approval badge.
Is MSG Bad for You? The Facts about Monosodium Glutamate Make for a Hung Jury
Monosodium Glutamate (MSG) is an ingredient in countless numbers of processed foods. MSG enhances the flavor of food without giving a flavor of its own. So is the ingredient good or bad for your health? A number of experts weigh in on the argument.
Students Succeeding with Yoga Curriculum in the Classroom
School is back in session! What will the school year be like for millions of kids across the country? For starters, cafeteria food is getting a healthy make-over and P.E. programs are being shut down. But, schools are using yoga to replace or enhance physical fitness classes. Not only is yoga benefiting a student health, but it is helping them perform better in and out of class. (more…)
It’s in ranch dressing, Doritos, canned soups, and french fries. You’re eating it if you go to KFC, have green bean casserole, or take a swig of Diet Coke. Really, any processed food likely includes some form of it. What is this ubiquitous food product? Monosodium glutamate, most commonly known as MSG.
For years, MSG has been the subject of debate. The Food and Drug Administration calls it safe, MSG-sensitive persons think it causes headaches and asthma, and scientists show conflicting research on the effects of MSG. What’s the truth? Should everyone stop eating it? Are the food companies and government in conspiracy against the public? Or is this product a safe and healthy flavor enhancer?
First, it is helpful to go over what monosodium glutamate is. MSG is added to foods to enhance flavor without giving a flavor of its own, according to the FDA. It was first discovered in Japan in 1908 by a scientist named Ikeda, who isolated the compound after wanting to know the secret of his wife’s delicious soup. Along with branding his product and making millions, he also came up with the idea of umami, a fifth taste translated as savory or deliciousness that is distinct from the senses of sweet, sour, bitter, and salty. (more…)
By Michelle Schoffro Cook for Care2.com
Considering that monosodium glutamate, or MSG as it is more commonly known, is linked to many serious health conditions, including: hormonal imbalances, weight gain, brain damage, obesity, headaches, and more, you may be shocked to learn how prevalent it is. MSG is almost always found in processed, prepared, and packaged foods. But, here are some lesser-known food sources of this harmful chemical.
1. Soup—Most soups, even most homemade soup, contains MSG, even if the cook swears it doesn’t. That’s because most soup bases, commercial stocks, and bouillon powder and cubes contain MSG.
2. Spice Mixtures—Love that cajun seasoning, TexMex rub, or other spice mixture? Most spice mixtures contain MSG—frequently as autolyzed yeast or yeast extract.
3. Infant Formula—As terrible as it sounds, some infant formula actually contains MSG in one of its myriad disguises.
The average person is supposed to consume no more than 2,400 milligrams of salt/sodium per day (or 1 tsp.). For those with high blood pressure, it’s about 1,500 milligrams. Most of us are consuming two-to-three times this amount each day. You’ll be hard-pressed to find a packaged or processed food, or a restaurant menu item that is low in salt. Food manufacturers are making an effort to include more reduced-sodium items, but even those still have astonishing quanities.
Avoid the risk of stroke and heart disease by following these simple tips for reducing salt in a low-sodium diet:
- Eat Fresh Foods. Cook your own meals, use fresh produce, use fresh meats and seafood, and rinse canned foods before serving.
- Read Labels. Carefully read labels and buy items that indicate no- or low-sodium. Beware of sodium agents like monosodium glutamate (MSG) and baking soda or powder.
- Skip the Instructions. Replace salt in recipes with any other spice or herb.