Umami: the trend once again in 2022

Like a creeping fungus the PR firm Edelman Communications is covering the media landscape with as much propaganda as inhumanly possible related to all things MSG.

This gigantic public relations agency, with offices all over the globe, has several missions where its prize client Ajinomoto (one of the world’s largest producers of MSG) is concerned.  

Its bedrock campaign, however, is over the term “umami.”

Once again, umami has popped up as a “food trend,” for 2022, something Edelman has been peddling for years now.

A Japanese word loosely translated to mean a “pleasant” taste, Edelman’s efforts to rebrand MSG as umami has been gaining momentum for some time. But don’t just take our word about it. Ajinomoto, at its global website says in the first line of copy on its umami “fact” page: “Umami, which is also known as monosodium glutamate…”

The “facts” go on to say that “umami spreads across the tongue,” and “provides a mouthwatering sensation.” It also hypes the concept of the newly discovered “fifth taste,” which in case you didn’t guess is, of course, umami.

There are some basic flaws to those claims, clearly explained by Truth in Labeling co-founder Adrienne Samuels in a blog last year titled: “Umami: The con of the decade?”

She wrote:

“It’s common knowledge that there are glutamate receptors in the mouth and on the tongue. Could researchers be hired to produce studies demonstrating that glutamate containing food can stimulate those glutamate receptors, and then declare to the world that a fifth taste has been discovered — calling it umami? I wondered.

Never mind that for years monosodium glutamate was described as a tasteless white crystalline powder. Never mind that Julia Child, who in her later years was recruited to praise the use of monosodium glutamate, never once mentioned the additive in her cookbooks. Never mind that if there was taste associated with monosodium glutamate, people who are sensitive to MSG would be highly motivated to identify that taste and thereby avoid ingesting MSG – which they claim they cannot do.”

 As Adrienne said: “I don’t know whose brainchild it was, but it certainly was a brilliant move on the road to marketing monosodium glutamate – a move precipitated by a growing public recognition that monosodium glutamate causes serious adverse reactions. And even one step farther up the brilliance chart, this monosodium-glutamate-taste-of-its-own was given a name. Naming things makes them easy to talk about and gives them respectability.”

And that’s spot on.

What changed in 1957 that triggered the obesity crisis?

Did you ever wonder why consumers didn’t have problems with monosodium glutamate before 1968?   That’s one of the favorite stories told in the ongoing MSG-is-safe-for-you propaganda, and it happens to be true.  True, because of a 1957 invention that enabled production of so much MSG so quickly that it became easily and cheaply available. What had once been a harmless amino acid available and used in limited quantity became poisonous when available and used in great quantity.

Until Dr. Kwok wrote his well-known 1968 letter titled “Chinese Restaurant Syndrome,” physicians passed off reactions to MSG as allergic reactions, and the brain damage caused by MSG wasn’t obvious.

Prior to 1957, the amount of free glutamate in the average diet had been unremarkable.  But that 1957 change (in which Ajinomoto switched from extraction of glutamate from a protein source, a slow and costly method, to a method of bacterial fermentation), allowed them to churn out virtually unlimited amounts of MSG. And Ajinomoto began to market its product aggressively.  Shortly thereafter, food manufacturers found that profits could be increased by utilizing flavor-enhancing additives that contained free glutamate. Over the next two decades, the marketplace became flooded with manufactured/processed free-glutamate in ingredients such as hydrolyzed proteins, yeast extracts, maltodextrin, soy protein isolate, and MSG. And an ever-increasing variety of free glutamate-containing products became readily available to consumers who were being actively solicited.

Prior to 1957, the date of Ajinomoto’s launch of mass-production, there had been no reports of MSG-induced adverse reactions; no studies demonstrating MSG-induced brain damage; no obesity epidemic; no infertility crisis; and the incidence of glutamate-induced abnormalities such as multiple sclerosis (MS), Parkinson’s disease, and autism had not yet begun to skyrocket.

In 1968, eleven years after Ajinomoto began mass producing MSG, the first report of MSG-induced adverse reactions was made public. And soon MSG-induced obesity and infertility would be recognized in young adults who had suffered glutamate-induced brain damage before birth or as newborns.

‘Backed by science?’

It’s repeated over and over and over again in glutamate-industry propaganda: “backed by science.” The current meaningless feel-good phrase designed to con you into thinking monosodium glutamate is good for you. 

The only science that the Glutes use is rigged to guarantee to conclude that MSG is both “safe” and a good thing to eat.  Rigged?  Yes, “rigged.” The details are spelled out for you in a little post called “designed for deception.”  But if you don’t care to read all the details, just remember that the placebos they have been using in their double-blind studies since 1978 all produce the same reactions that are caused by MSG, and it’s on that basis they make their claim that MSG is harmless.

My goal for 2022: Making known the hidden truth about obesity and the obesity epidemic

Encouraged by an invitation from LinkedIn, I just posted my goal for 2022 on my LinkedIn page.  And that made me realize that I might achieve that goal a lot sooner if health-conscious people would start talking about ‘type one obesity’ – speaking out so loudly that healthcare professionals would act on the fact that there are people out there who have no control over their weight and would give them the help that they need to deal with their disabilities.  So, I’m sharing with you and hoping that you will share with others.

Losing weight is the number one goal for Americans in 2022. It was also at the top of the list last year, the year before that, and on and on.  

As I see it, there are two types of obesity (similar to the two types of diabetes). Type 1 obesity is something that can’t be controlled with diet and exercise. Type 2 obesity can be controlled with diet and exercise – if a person chooses to do so and is willing to put out the effort.  

My goal for 2022 is to share what I discovered about type 1 obesity as I was researching the dangers of MSG and MfG (manufactured free glutamate).  I’m hoping that doing so will help wipe out the shame and blame suffered by people with a condition over which they’ve never had control.

Most people understand that if you consume more calories that you need, you’ll put on weight.  What I discovered (or more precisely uncovered) is that before a child’s brain is fully developed, it is possible to damage that part of the brain that regulates appetite and turns off the desire to continue eating.  Each of us should have been born with a switch, so to speak, that turns hunger on and off, telling us when we’ve had enough to eat. I discovered that it’s possible to wipe out the part of the brain that contains the “switch.” And that happened to so many people in the 1960s and 1970s (and continues to happen to this day), that it’s being called the “obesity epidemic.”

My goal is to share that information.  In this age of instantaneous communication that shouldn’t be a difficult goal to attain. And the most effective way to be successful would be to publish a well thought out, well researched article in a medical journal focused on obesity, explaining that excitotoxic amino acids fed to pregnant women will be passed on to the fetus where it will damage that part of the brain responsible for weight control.

But editors of medical journals don’t seem to have an interest in publishing something that might displease Big Food. True, my goal for 2022 may appear difficult, even unattainable, but as Nelson Mandela said, “It always seems impossible until it’s done.”

Adrienne Samuels, Ph.D.

Why are these people standing in line for a bucket of soy protein isolate, yeast extract and some breadcrumbs?

Part of an ongoing series of Truth in Labeling Campaign blogs about plant-based protein substitutes.

Screenshot from | AP Images for Beyond Meat

Last August there was a five-hour feeding frenzy at an Atlanta Kentucky Fried Chicken location.

The restaurant, decked out in special green paint to match the new colored KFC buckets, had a parade of customers that went around the building. They all were lining up for the new offering, a “plant-based” concoction made by Beyond Meat dubbed “Beyond Chicken,” which sold out in a few hours.

All the hype, news stories, and press releases (the CEO of Beyond Meat said his “only regret is not being able to see the legendary Colonel himself enjoy this important moment”) becomes even more ridiculous when you realize what these folks were waiting to purchase – a brew of brain-damaging chemicals constructed to look like a chicken nugget.

Now, this mixture of soy protein isolate, natural flavors, yeast extract and pea extract (all sources of manufactured free glutamate, or MfG) will be rolling out at 4,000 KFC locations around the U.S.

The entire concept of these so-called “plant-based meats” are the ultimate in deceiving the public. They are certainly not health foods, they won’t turn meat-eating consumers into vegans, and for those who already shun animal products this new KFC fake fare isn’t even prepared in a vegan or vegetarian manner, being cooked in the same oil as the actual KFC chicken is.

So, what’s the attraction?

As we said in a blog at the end of December, sales of these “substitute” foods (what the FDA calls them) have taken a nosedive. Despite scores of fake meat, chicken and even fish products easily available in both supermarkets and restaurants, sales have gone flat. It appears that consumers are catching on to this con. And for those still in the dark about what these foods are made from, the novelty of tasting something fake that’s pretending to be something real has worn thin.

Could it be that the only thing keeping this phony food market seemingly afloat is the sheer amount of press being given to it? The new KFC mock chicken was mentioned in practically every news source you can think of, including vegan and vegetarian publications. The ones we saw applauded it, some giving three cheers to all the chickens that will be saved by KFC (which certainly remains to be seen).

What you won’t be hearing from the media is how food chemists have managed to make a laboratory concoction comprised of highly processed ingredients that, when tweaked enough, will manage to have a chicken-like taste. It’s not easy to do. Perhaps that’s the “Kentucky Fried Miracle” they are advertising.

Here’s a look at what this faux foul is made from. The ingredients in red are all sources of MfG, the very same excitotoxic, brain damaging, glutamic acid found in all flavor enhancers, including MSG.

Water, Enriched wheat flour (Wheat Flour, Niacin, Reduced Iron, Thiamine Mononitrate, Riboflavin, Folic Acid), Soy Protein Isolate, Expeller Pressed Canola Oil, Enriched bleached wheat flour (Bleached Wheat Flour, Niacin, Reduced Iron, Thiamine Mononitrate, Riboflavin, Folic Acid), Wheat Gluten, Natural Flavor, Yeast Extract, and less than 2 percent of: Breadcrumbs (Wheat Flour, Distilled Vinegar, Sea Salt, Leavening (Sodium Bicarbonate), Inactive Yeast, Spice Extractives), Chili Pepper, Citric Acid, Garlic Powder, Leavening (Sodium Bicarbonate, Sodium Aluminum Phosphate, Monocalcium Phosphate), Modified Wheat Starch, Onion Powder, Pea Extract, Rice Flour, Salt, Spice, Titanium Dioxide (for color). (List provided by Women’s Health magazine).

Obviously, there’s no “miracle” here, just a witches’ brew of chemically processed ingredients and flavorings.

If you’re not a TLC blog reader, here’s a quick rundown of some of the things free glutamate is associated with: Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, multiple sclerosis, stroke, ALS, autism, schizophrenia, depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), epilepsy, ischemic stroke, seizures, Huntington’s disease, addiction, frontotemporal dementia, attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), and autism.

For a list of ingredients that contain excitotoxic amino acids, go here, also check out our website to learn more.

Another deceptive marketing term to watch out for

Screenshot from

“Delicious,” “hearty,” “nutritious,” and “wholesome,” are just some of the buzz words used to catch your eye in the supermarket. But nothing is as overused and fraudulent as the term “all natural.” 

Since all natural has no official definition, Big Food uses it without the least little concern on anything it cares to, including products that are so blatantly unnatural that companies have been sued for using the term. Kashi brand, owned by Kellogg’s, is one example. While the company settled several cases instead of going to court and paid out close to $9 million (much of it going to “reimburse shoppers” a small fraction of their purchase price), Kellogg’s only promised to clean up its language, not the Kashi ingredients.

The Kashi California class-action lawsuit, settled in 2014, involved falsely advertising cereals, bars, cookies and crackers as “all natural” or made with “nothing artificial” when they contained,  according to the complaint, “an array of chemicals.”

The court documents also stated that Kashi shakes are “composed almost entirely of synthetic and unnaturally processed ingredients…” many of which are “shocking.”  Also mentioned in the complaint was this interesting tidbit: “Defendants (Kashi) also added several highly process excitotoxins to its products that are hidden sources of monosodium glutamate, a.k.a. ‘MSG.’”

We recently checked out some Kashi products starting with Kashi GO Original cereal. The very first ingredient is soy protein concentrate, which always contains manufactured free glutamate (MfG), the very same excitotoxic, brain damaging, glutamic acid found in all flavor enhancers including MSG.

Kashi GO dark cocoa contains even more MfG-containing ingredients, namely lentil protein, pea protein and natural flavors. Many in the “GO” lineup, in fact, contain soy, lentil or pea protein – all sources of MfG.

The Kashi Go Protein Waffles aren’t any better, containing whey protein concentrate (said to be organic, so that makes it an organic excitotoxin!), and natural flavors.

Soon after the class-action cases were settled, an odd array of feel-good Kashi stories started circulating. “Eat This, Not That!,” for example bragged about the “10 things you don’t know about Kashi,” such as how they “help farmers” and are “friends to honey bees.” Other articles focused on their whole grains and that they are “health-conscious foods.” Of course, it could have been a coincidence, but we’ve observed that it’s common for PR firms to plant such favorable press after getting negative publicity.

As shoppers are becoming leerier of “all-natural” claims, Big Food is looking for other ways to deceive consumers. One expert in food labeling said “I think we’re seeing the end of the golden age of natural. We’ll see more words like ‘Simply’ instead.”

So, now we know another deceptive marketing term to watch out for.

Brain damage, gross obesity, infertility, and migraine headache. MSG causes them all.

Don’t let your concern about such things as skin rash, migraine headaches, and heart irregularities caused by monosodium glutamate (MSG) distract you from the fact that MSG kills brain cells (that don’t repair themselves) and in turn disrupts the endocrine system.

You might say that just about everyone has heard of MSG-migraines. Every headache clinic that we know of lists MSG as a headache trigger. And the Glutes either ignore the relationship entirely or simply say it isn’t so.

If pushed to the wall, industry always falls back on its old standby called Chinese Restaurant Syndrome, which erroneously implies that MSG-reactions are limited to those reported by Dr. Ho Man Kwok in The New England Journal of Medicine in 1968.

You’ll never hear the Glutes talking about MSG-induced brain damage, MSG-induced obesity, or MSG-induced infertility. If you read the medical literature, you’ll find studies of MSG-induced brain damage, MSG-induced retinal degeneration, MSG-induced obesity, and MSG-induced infertility going back over 60 years to research from Lucas and Newhouse in 1957. And you won’t hear about that from the major media outlets (and even the not-so-major ones). Ever since 60 Minutes aired a segment on MSG in 1991, no media outlet has even suggested that MSG might be toxic.

Data suppression could be considered an art form – one the Glutes have been mastering for decades. Want to know how that works? You’ll find the details in the published, peer-reviewed article The Toxicity/Safety of Processed Free Glutamic Acid (MSG): A Study in Suppression of Information.

New Year’s resolution: Let it be a truly healthy new year

Although spring is still some weeks away, here at the Truth in Labeling Campaign we’re not waiting to do our spring cleaning.

The first thing that needs to be cleaned up and tossed out is the idea that the safety of MSG is controversial.  

Like everything else the “Glutes” put out to deceive you into believing that MSG is “safe,” claiming that the safety of MSG is controversial is part of their basic con.

The only “controversy” here is that the Glutes continue to say MSG is “safe” despite clear and copious data demonstrating MSG is toxic.

There really is nothing to debate.  But being that selling MSG is their business, they work very hard on twisting the truth. Here are the facts of the matter: 

1. The opinion that free glutamic acid (the active component in MSG) causes brain damage, is based on data amassed between 1969 and 2021 by neuroscientists studying the brain.

2. No data demonstrating anything to the contrary exist.  Those who manufacture and sell MSG say that MSG is harmless or “safe” by pointing to studies that failed to find toxicity. That’s a big difference.

Here’s how it works:

  • They claimed to have replicated studies of glutamate induced toxicity from the 1970s without finding toxicity, but they were not true replications.  Rather, the methods and materials used in setting up studies and analyzing results prevented identifying evidence of MSG toxicity.
  • From the 1980s until it was made public that they were using placebos in their double-blind studies that caused reactions identical to those caused by MSG test material, their claims of “safety” were based on studies that were rigged to exclude the possibility that MSG was anything but “safe.”
  • Since being exposed, claims of safety now come from what’s called consensus meetings. These are meetings organized and paid for by the U.S. manufacturer of MSG or their agents where participants discuss the safety of MSG and publish the conclusion that they find it to be “safe.”

MSG is a toxic ingredient.  There should be no question about the truth of the matter.  In that sense, there really is no controversy.

The second thing that needs to be tossed is the notion that the FDA protects consumers.

With our interest in the toxicity of MSG, it is not surprising that we know a fair amount about industry/FDA collusion (

But industry’s control of the FDA reaches far beyond that.  An opinion piece in the September 2, 2021 New York Times titled “America Desperately Needs a Much Better F.D.A.” gives some detail.

New year’s resolutions

1. Start thinking MfG

MSG is toxic as ever and you don’t want to forget that.  But you need to also know that the poison in MSG is manufactured free glutamic acid (MfG).  And MfG can be found in dozens of other ingredients, not just MSG. (

If this seems confusing remember that the U.S. manufacturer of MSG has spent millions of dollars trying to confuse you and everyone else – and has been quite successful.

We’ve written about how that works previously.

2. Realize that you are not alone in reacting to MSG and MfG.  Besides possibly suffering reactions, everyone is vulnerable to brain damage from ingesting MSG and MfG.

It’s likely that you, along with millions of others, have been conned into thinking that there’s something mentally wrong with you. You’re not just told that no one is sensitive to MSG.  The big con is to get you – personally — to doubt yourself.  You’re told that:

  • if you were truly reacting to the glutamate in MSG, you’d also be reacting to the glutamate and beef and chicken and mushrooms and tomatoes. Here’s why that’s one of the big scams the Glutes push to make consumers doubt themselves. The glutamate in MSG is free glutamate.  The glutamate in unadulterated beef, chicken, mushrooms and tomatoes is not free.  It’s bound, tied in chains to other amino acids.  Bound glutamate does not cause either brain damage or adverse reactions.
  • If you think you are reacting to MSG, get tested by an allergist. That’s another one of their big scams. The reaction to MSG/MfG is not an allergic reaction.  It’s a reaction to a poison, and an allergy test will be negative.

Not so personal is the alleged “evidence” that MSG is safe.  Put simply, the U.S. manufacturer of MSG designs and executes studies that couldn’t possibly find anything wrong with MSG. Basic to getting that job done is setting up double-blind studies where the placebo causes reactions identical to reactions caused by the MSG test material. “Designed for deception” has the details.

3. If you are overweight consider that your obesity may have been preset when your pregnant mother consumed large amounts of MfG, which would have destroyed that part of the brain needed for weight regulation – leaving you without the ability to use diet and exercise to control you weight.

“Dose dependent toxicity of glutamic acid: a review,” published in the International Journal of Food Properties, explains.  

Adrienne Samuels (2020) Dose dependent toxicity of glutamic acid: a review, International Journal of Food Properties, 23:1, 412-419, DOI: 10.1080/10942912.2020.1733016


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