Cravings caused by MSG

sugar-cravingsCravings make weight loss challenging to be sure.  While some cravings are in our brain, others are caused by foods. We all know sugar sets off those crazy cravings but there is  thing you should know about that hides in food that causes cravings as well.  Monosodium Glutimate or MSG hides in all kinds of foods like chips , processed meats and assorted prepackaged foods.  MSG has been shown to cause the same chemical addiction in your brain as heroin.  Remember the old Lay’s potato chip commercials, “No one can eat just one Lay’s potato chip, no one can eat just one” ?  They were stating the truth to be sure; you really couldn’t only eat one, after a few you’ll want more and more.

You might think it would easy to just avoid MSG but turns out it’s hidden in common ingredients.  It’s super important to read ingredient labels.  Look for things like “yeast or yeast extract”, “dextrose”, “soy sauce”, “carrageenan” “citric acid” “barley malt, “protease”  “hydroylized” and “NATURAL FLAVORS OR FLAVORING”.

Common foods that may contain these ingredients include processed veggie burgers or other soy “meats, chips, crackers, ice cream, Chinese food (unless the use a non MSG soy sauce),  baby food, bottled sauces, bottled salad dressings, spice mixes and bouillons to name a few.  You might notice some of the things people tend to run for with emotional cravings also set off more cravings.

Not everyone reacts the same way to MSG.  Some people do fine with small amounts of it.  It pays to be aware though.  If you find yourself hungry a short time after you’ve eaten something (given that you’ve had your water of course) it may be that something you ate had MSG.  Fighting cravings isn’t especially fun and adds an extra challenge to weight loss. Reading your labels and sticking with whole foods as much as possible will make you efforts easier.

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