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Protein drinks may contain dangerous ingredients

Monosodium glutamate (MSG)

MSG stands for monosodium glutamate, a flavor enhancer that's probably best known for its use in Chinese foods. But you may not realize that MSG is present in foods many people eat every day, from soup to condiments. MSG is a popular additive because it is cheap and makes foods taste good.

According to Dr. Russell Blaylock, author of Excitotoxins: The Taste That Kills, MSG overexcites cells to the point of damage, essentially making it a poison. MSG has been linked to the production of visceral fat, the most dangerous type of fat, which increases the risk of heart attack, stroke, insomnia, type 2 diabetes, and more.

MSG is also known to cause health problems such as allergic reactions, memory loss, nausea, shortness of breath, sweating, headaches, chest pain, and far more serious conditions including brain damage, Alzheimer's, heart disease, and cancer.

Sources of MSG

MSG is hidden in many ingredients, some of which are commonly used in protein powders.

Watch for the following ingredients, which always contain MSG:

  • Glutamate
  • Magnesium glutamate
  • Calcium glutamate
  • Anything "hydrolyzed"
  • Yeast extract
  • Yeast food
  • Yeast nutrient
  • Autolyzed yeast
  • Calcium caseinate
  • Sodium caseinate
  • Textured protein

The following ingredients also often contain MSG or create MSG during processing:

  • Natural pork flavoring
  • Natural beef flavoring
  • Whey protein
  • Whey protein concentrate
  • Whey protein isolate
  • Flavors and flavoring
  • Natural flavors and flavoring
  • Maltodextrin
  • Malt extract
  • Malt flavoring
  • Soy protein
  • Soy protein isolate
  • Soy protein concentrat
  • Rice protein
  • Anything protein fortified

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Choosing healthy sources of protein

  • Do not rely on protein powders. Get as much of your protein as possible from whole foods, such as grass-fed beef, organic chicken, and wild salmon. Tuna fish, organic DHA-enhanced eggs, plain organic yogurt, quinoa, and almonds are also good sources of protein.
  • Be wary of product claims such as "No MSG" or "No added MSG," which may still contain hidden sources of MSG.
  • Always read ingredients and look for hidden sources of MSG. In general, the fewer ingredients a product has, the better.
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