Have your say!

FDA Commissioner Dr. Robert Califf sits in front of a teleprompter on Feb. 23 holding his first virtual meeting with FDA employees.

FDA Commissioner Califf is looking for suggestions for staffing.  The Truth in Labeling Campaign tweeted that he should start by hiring someone who will oversee removing toxic chemicals from food.  Someone who doesn’t work for Big Food or Big Pharma.  Someone who will really do something.

Commissioner Califf’s twitter address is @DrCaliff_FDA.

Drop him a tweet to inspire the FDA to do something that will benefit consumers.  It’s @DrCaliff_FDA.

Released documents expose that Ajinomoto paid the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture over half a million dollars to do a study designed to prove that consuming MSG is good for you

Last December we revealed a remarkable finding, a 2010 press release issued by Ajinomoto telling about the company’s cozy partnership with the U.S. Department of Agriculture to study MSG.

At that time, we tracked down and sent some questions to the scientist named in the release, Dr. Kevin Laugero, who is still affiliated with the USDA/ARS (Agricultural Research Service). When we didn’t hear back from him, we took the next step, a Freedom of Information Act request with the USDA.

We recently received a response from the USDA. Here’s what we learned in a 53-page release of documents, many of them invoices from the USDA to Ajinomoto.

  • Ajinomoto, possibly the world’s largest manufacturer of MSG, paid the USDA a total of $674,000 to conduct a three-year “study” on the “effects of ingesting MSG on energy balance and eating behavior.”  The hypothesis proposed was that daily consumption of MSG will “reduce body weight rebound.”
  • Ajinomoto, known as “the cooperator” in the official “statement of work” filled out by the USDA, was given a wire routing number to zip those funds into an account at Citibank.
  • The original budget of $598,653 was increased twice to “expand subject recruitment efforts,” hire a staff recruiter, project manager and up the stipend paid to volunteers, which was originally $580 per person for a 25-week commitment.

Although Dr. Laugero finally did reply, he would only say that the Ajinomoto glutamate research project was completed and that scientists have analyzed the data, which have not been published. “I can’t really comment on the results.” he said.

But by far the most interesting part of the documents we received has to do with the “research plan,” a study to be produced by three USDA researchers – including Dr. Laugero.  The outline describes a six-month scheme for psychological and metabolic evaluations, cognitive testing, multiple blood draws, saliva samples, “snack food buffets,” mental stress tests, and MRI brain scans that collected data on the subject’s “neural responses to food cues,” none of which appear to be relevant to energy balance and eating behavior.  Volunteers were sent questionnaires, and for the MSG test group there would be consumption of MSG (supplied as a broth powder) prior to their breakfast, lunch and dinner – called the “intervention phase.”  

But evidently something went wrong, as the study was never published. Since we know the Glutes never publish anything that might suggest that MSG is toxic, and since the USDA was not even pretending to do an independent study, apparently when the results didn’t come out as desired the report of the study vanished. If not for the twelve-year-old press release we found online that tipped us off, no one outside of the USDA would know about this “partnership” payout.

One might ask why this study was done in the first place? And why done by the USDA?

We think we may know at least part of the answer.

Two years before the USDA/Ajinomoto joint venture, a study from the University of North Carolina clearly linked MSG consumption in people to weight gain. According to epidemiologist Dr. Ka He, those who consume large amounts of MSG increase their risk of being overweight by a whopping 175 percent.

To counter that, Ajinomoto jumped in with a rodent study that was published in the journal Physiology & Behavior, concluding that rats who drank MSG spiked water were lean and healthy. But perhaps comparing their lab rats to humans didn’t seem as effective – at least publicity wise.

So, why not collect a group of human lab animals to study, and have the good name of the USDA associated with Ajinomoto and the safety of MSG?  Ajinomoto found the USDA more than willing to play along.

As we said last year, this is a stunning example of how closely connected industry is with our so-called watchdog federal agencies.

Those interested in learning more about agency/industry cooperation will find interesting material at Industry’s FDA: https://www.truthinlabeling.org/assets/industrys_fda_final.pdf. Those with interest in methods used by the Glutes to come to the foregone conclusion that MSG is a harmless food additive can access How the “MSG is safe” game is played: https://www.truthinlabeling.org/safe.html

FDA turns a blind eye to policing ‘No MSG’ labeling

A group of California attorneys have filed a trio of lawsuits to try to stop food manufacturers from deceiving consumers with fraudulent “No MSG” claims on food products that contain free glutamates.

The first complaint was filed against Campbell’s in January in an action the lawyers hope will eventually represent millions of consumers across the U.S. who purchased Campbell’s brand Swanson broth products with “false and misleading ‘NO MSG ADDED’ claims.”

That was followed by two more class action complaints against Nissin Foods U.S.A. for its “No added MSG” noodle products, and Del Monte Foods for its “No MSG,” claim that prominently appears on College Inn broths.

The FDA rule regarding such “misbranding” is relatively simple – if you market a food product containing free glutamate in any form, you can’t say it contains “No MSG” or “No added MSG.”

Names of ingredients in addition to MSG that contain MfG (manufactured free glutamate) include hydrolyzed proteins, yeast extract, whey protein and dozens of others. And all those MfG-containing ingredients can trigger what consumers commonly call “MSG reactions.”

Years ago, a group of states sued companies that misbranded products this way — and won. At about that time, the FDA sent out a warning letter to a company not targeted by the state actions, but even that was surprising since the FDA has been denying the toxic effects of MSG since 1968 when then FDA commissioner Herbert L. Ley Jr. was speaking out on the safety of MSG.

Considering how many manufacturers do this (see our list at the end of the products we’ve found), it appears that Big Food has no fear the FDA will begin to enforce the law. 

Label laundering

Last year we investigated several of these brands, including College Inn, calling the company to ask about its “No MSG” claim when its products clearly contained MfG from numerous sources.

The College Inn customer service representative told us that the company had a “campaign” to remove MSG from its products over 15 years ago when they were reformulated. “MSG can’t be hidden or called something else,” we were told.

That’s true.  The ingredient called monosodium glutamate, a.k.a. MSG can’t be hidden.  But the law says that since consumers frequently use the term MSG to mean all free glutamate, saying your product has “No MSG” or “No added MSG” when it contains free glutamate is considered “false and misleading,” and in violation of the Federal Food Drug & Cosmetic Act. 

So, College Inn is breaking the law – one that the FDA refuses to enforce.

Attorney Jonas Jacobson, from the firm of Dovel & Luner in Santa Monica, California, who represents the plaintiffs in the three lawsuits hopes that they will soon be certified as class action complaints. Jacobson commented that “this labeling practice is misleading to consumers and is prohibited by consumer protection laws.  Yet a number of companies are still putting ‘No MSG’ claims on products that have added free glutamates.  We filed these cases to stop this practice…”

This practice, however, is so widespread that when you see “No MSG,” or “No added MSG” on a product it’s almost a given that it will contain sources of MfG. And that’s no simple labeling error.

Products we’ve noticed that state “No MSG,” “No MSG added,” or “No Added MSG” that contain free glutamates

Note: This list is by no means complete.

Campbell’s Chunky Classic Chicken Noodle

Despite pledging “No MSG added” Campbell’s filled up its Chunky Classic Noodle with wheat protein isolate, yeast extract, soy protein concentrate, vegetable broth (which can contain numerous unnamed sources of MfG), and two tell-tale ingredients: disodium guanylate and disodium inosinate, which work synergistically with MSG to enhance flavor. If those two expensive ingredients are added for flavoring, so is inexpensive MSG.

Progresso New England Clam Chowder

Progresso adds its “NO MSG ADDED” pledge right above the serving instructions to make sure it’s noticed. But if you turn the can a bit to the right, you’ll see that this soup contains at least two sources of MfG – soy protein concentrate, and yeast extract, along with natural flavors. Over a decade ago Campbell’s and Progresso duked it out over which soup brand used less MSG, spending a fortune on advertising bashing each other.

Minors Soup Bases (Owned by Nestle)

These “No added MSG” products are especially devious as they are used by restaurants as a base mix for “homemade” soups, sauces and gravies. Since they are falsely advertised as “No MSG” products, asking your server or the chef about MSG or free glutamates in a restaurant that uses Minors soup bases is useless.

All of the Minors products we looked at contained some form of MfG. For example, the low sodium vegetable base contains autolyzed yeast extract, hydrolyzed corn protein, natural flavors and disodium guanylate and inosinate. The mushroom base contains hydrolyzed corn and soy proteins and natural flavors along with disodium guanylate and inosinate.

Newman’s Own ranch dressing

So what’s up with Newman’s and its “No MSG” claims on ranch dressing? Years ago The Truth in Labeling Campaign contacted the company about its “No MSG” ranch dressing. We were told in an email that only a small amount of “free glutamate” was found after a laboratory analysis. Then, they removed the claim. But now we see it’s back.

The ingredient of concern is “natural flavor,” which is basically a free FDA pass to add MfG to a product. We just sent Newman’s Own another email asking if the product has been tested (again) for free glutamates, and if so, what the results were. If we hear back we’ll post it here.

Imagine potato leek soup

Don’t automatically assume that organic products are “pure” or “safe.” Imagine Foods organic potato leek soup makes a “commitment” of stating “no added MSG” on its label, but also is committed to adding those “natural flavors.” While monosodium glutamate is technically not allowed in organic food, there’s nothing prohibiting the addition of any number of additives containing the same free glutamic acid found in MSG — what causes identical “MSG reactions” in people.

Nissin noodle products

Nissin, which is one of the companies named in the current lawsuits, is such a big fan of saying “NO ADDED MSG” that it plasters that statement not only in a big, bold circle on its packaging, but also on the shipping cartons. The product we purchased, Firewok, contains seven sources of free glutamates plus disodium guanylate and inosinate.

Knorr products

Knorr, which sells a variety of gravy and sauce packets along with “pasta sides” is perhaps the number one Big Food fan of fraudulently stating “No added MSG,” yet filling their products full of hydrolyzed proteins, yeast extract and natural flavors. Some of the Knorr packaging states that the no MSG claim is “Our Promise.” Last year we asked a Knorr customer service representative about this deceptive labeling and was told that MSG is the subject of “additional studies… by health officials” and that MSG isn’t used in any Knorr products.

McCormick flavor packets

McCormick is another company that loves to state “No MSG added” on products that contain numerous sources of MfG. We selected chicken gravy, beef stew and au jus gravy, which contained hydrolyzed corn gluten, soy protein and yeast extract. The chicken gravy also had natural flavor and disodium guanylate and inosinate, said on the product label to be included as “flavor enhancers.”

It’s obvious that consuming processed foods is a crap shoot when it comes to avoiding MfG. And relying on advertising claims of “No MSG” or “No added MSG” to make purchasing decisions will decidedly turn the odds against you.

We’ll try to keep you updated on the status of the ongoing litigation. If any are certified as class actions, depending on the state you live in, you may want to join in as a plaintiff. And if you feel you’ve been deceived by purchasing a product based on “No added MSG” claims, you may be able to find an attorney to start your own lawsuit. Since the FDA won’t enforce this rule, it looks like it’s up to consumers to take action.

Protein powders: healthy additions or brain-damaging toxin?

Adding a scoop of a protein powder to a shake or smoothie sure sounds like a good idea. After all, proteins are essential nutrients for the human body. They are one of the building blocks of body tissue and can also serve as fuel sources.

But there’s a very important distinction to be made between the protein in meat, fish, poultry (and other whole-food sources) and the powder that comes out of that box, bag, or jar. Read this post carefully before you touch another protein-fortified drink, snack bar or supplement. Your brain will thank you!

Amino acids

Proteins are polymer chains made of amino acids linked together by peptide bonds. During human digestion, proteins are broken down in the stomach to smaller polypeptide chains via hydrochloric acid and protease enzyme actions.   

When protein is ingested and then broken into individual amino acids, those individual amino acids proceed slowly through the human digestion processes. Unless one is allergic or sensitive to the food that contains the protein, its amino acids continue along to be digested without adverse effect.

But if protein is broken into individual amino acids before it is ingested, those free amino acids take on a toxic potential that they would never have ingested as part of a whole protein.

Take glutamic acid (glutamate).  When released from protein during digestion, glutamate is vital to normal body function. Often referred to as “a building block of protein,” it is the major neurotransmitter in the human body, carrying nerve impulses from glutamate stimuli to glutamate receptors throughout the body.

Yet, when freed from its protein source (be it from milk, peas, soy, etc.) and then consumed in amounts that exceed what the healthy human body was designed to accommodate, glutamate takes on “excitotoxic” properties. What was a normally functioning neurotransmitter turns hostile, firing repeatedly and damaging receptor cells in the brain and elsewhere until they die.


The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) makes a labeling distinction between whole protein foods and potentially excitotoxic processed protein products that are made up of individual amino acids.

FDA rules say that an unadulterated tomato is to be called a “tomato.” A “pea” is required to be called a “pea” and whey is called “whey.” Those are their common or usual names. No reference is made to the fact that these protein-containing foods contain protein.  

In contrast, when amino acids are freed from proteins such as peas, the resulting ingredients will be called “pea protein,” or “isolated pea protein,” “pea protein concentrate,” or “hydrolyzed pea protein.” And you’ll find these ingredients in all kinds of food products, including a popular dairy-free drink called Ripple.

Other food ingredients that have the same excitotoxic properties have names that include the words “hydrolyzed,” “autolyzed,” “amino acid,” “L-glutamate,” “glutamic acid,” and “L-glutamic acid.”

So, why haven’t you come across this information before? Why are products containing these brain-damaging excitotoxins even allowed on the market?   

The answers lie in the dark history of an unregulated industry – “policed” by an FDA that chooses to look the other way. That history can be read in The Toxicity/Safety of Processed Free Glutamic Acid (MSG): A study in Suppression of InformationAccountability in Research. 1999(6):259-310; by A. Samuels.

To learn more about how the FDA cooperates with Ajinomoto, the world’s largest producer of monosodium glutamate, check out this page at our website.  

Yeast extract, now with more toxic, brain damaging ‘food flavor enhancement’

Yeast extract might well be called the darling of the processed food industry, and the straw that breaks the camel’s back for MSG-sensitive people. Like MSG it’s manufactured (not “natural”), and also like MSG it contains toxic manufactured free glutamic acid (MfG).

Yeast extract is one of those “clean label” ingredients, often used in products such as soups and fake proteins that state “No added MSG” on the label (which is actually against FDA regulations, but enforcing that rule is no longer bothered with by the FDA). Also qualifying as a “clean label” ingredient would be any ingredient other than MSG that contains MfG. (Check out over 40 ingredient names that contain varying amounts of MfG here.)

Now we’re learning of a recent invention, a method for “large scale” production of a yeast extract product with nearly triple the brain damaging “glutamic acid content” of other yeast extracts. Its patent describes how this new and improved yeast extract “possesses more delicious flavor and improved capability for food flavor enhancement.” Glutamic acid, the patent states, in free form can “strengthen the delicate flavour of food.” We’re being told in this official document that the more MfG an ingredient contains, the more flavor it will impart to any food it’s added to.

The patent was applied for and owned by Angel Yeast Co., which calls itself a “high-tech yeast company in China” with 10 “advanced” manufacturing facilities in China, Egypt and Russia. Angel provides yeast extract to food manufacturers for use in everything from soup to snacks, promising its product provides a “magic flavor explosion.”

It’s a “magic flavor explosion” that comes with brain-damaging — excitotoxic — glutamate.

When consumed in excess (which differs from person to person), free glutamate becomes excitotoxic, with the capacity to overstimulate glutamate receptors in the body, causing them to fire rapidly and die. In simple terms, it causes brain damage.

We know that the new and improved yeast extract will contribute to the accumulation of toxic free glutamate.

What we don’t know is how much it will take to cause an excitotoxic “explosion.”

Industry’s FDA

MSG is a flavor-enhancing additive used in so many processed foods you probably couldn’t count them all.

No doubt you’ve read that it is perfectly “safe,” only causing transient adverse reactions in a small set of people sensitive to it.

The Truth in Labeling Campaign, independent scientists and journalists (not on the glutamate payroll) will tell you a different story, how MSG and other sources of free glutamate can trigger adverse reactions ranging from simple skin rash to migraine headache, heart irregularities, seizures and anaphylactic shock.

However, no one — even those in the glutamate industry — can say that ingestion of MSG doesn’t cause adverse reactions. Despite that, there is no restriction imposed by the FDA on use of either MSG or its toxic free glutamic acid component in foods or beverages.

But here’s the really interesting part — food scientists and neuroscientists are turning out study after study exploring the “protective effects” of various chemicals, dietary supplements and even foods to shield against monosodium glutamate-induced abnormalities. On January 30, 2022, there were 377 such studies listed by the National Library of Medicine. And all this research is going on while the FDA, along with those who profit from the manufacture and sale of MSG, claim that MSG is totally safe for use in food.

The FDA has been representing the interests of the glutamate industry since 1968 if not before. The Truth in Labeling Campaign has told that story many times. See: https://www.truthinlabeling.org/fda.html and, https://www.truthinlabeling.org/assets/manuscript2.pdf

There are laws that specify just what the FDA must do to proclaim an ingredient GRAS (generally recognized as safe), which is how it lists MSG. And in claiming that monosodium glutamate is GRAS, the FDA violates its own rules.

That little fact was revealed in a citizen petition filed by TLC co-founder Adrienne Samuels in January of 2021, requesting that monosodium glutamate and its toxic component have its GRAS status withdrawn. The FDA has yet to respond.

Adrienne also filed two other petitions related to MSG last year. Check out this page link to learn the details of them all. Even better, click on the link there that says “vote,” and leave your own comment at the FDA docket.

How glutamate caused (and continues to cause) the obesity epidemic

I wonder if it’s a conspiracy that’s behind keeping the truth about the obesity epidemic from the public, or if it’s just one immensely powerful person pulling the strings.  There has always been propaganda by the boatload, even carried in distinguished publications such as the New York Times and Washington Post.  Sometimes as an advertisement.  Sometimes dressed up as news.  But ever present.

From the time that neuroscientist Dr. John W. Olney discovered that free glutamic acid (a.k.a. glutamate) given to animals killed brain cells in the part of the brain responsible for controlling weight, one rich and powerful manufacturer of glutamate (also the manufacturer of monosodium glutamate – MSG), set out to convince the American public that MSG is a harmless food additive.

The campaign began by pretending to replicate Olney’s studies.  That didn’t work out, because they were quickly exposed for what they were, and by 1980 researchers were using MSG to kill neurons and produce obesity in experimental animals to facilitate their research on a whole variety of abnormalities, all with ties to glutamate.

Then, as people began to realize that ingestion of MSG was followed by adverse reactions ranging from simple skin rash to asthma, migraine headache, tachycardia, atrial fibrillation, anaphylaxis and seizures, the Glutes turned to producing double-blind studies that failed to find more reactions to MSG than reactions to a placebo, claiming they now had what amounted to proof that MSG is harmless.  But since the placebos all contained excitotoxic amino acids that cause reactions identical to the reactions caused by MSG, they only demonstrated that they were not above doing something that might qualify as scientific fraud.

Now the idea of conspiracy has come back to haunt me. You see, I’ve uncovered the fact that the root of the obesity epidemic lies in damage done to the vulnerable brains of unborn children. I studied the 1970s studies done by Olney and others, thinking that if obesity could be caused by feeding glutamate to infant animals, it could be caused by feeding glutamate to infant humans – or even more effectively to fetuses.

These are the facts:

Olney began with infant animals. Newborn humans and fetuses would be comparable.

Olney began with animals whose brains could be damaged by excitotoxic glutamate.  Newborn humans and fetuses would be comparable.

Olney fed exceedingly large amount of glutamate to those animalsSince 1957, exceedingly large amounts of free glutamate have been available, accessible and consumed by humans.

In 1957:

1) the method for producing glutamate (found in MSG) was changed to facilitate virtually unlimited production of free glutamate and MSG, and

2) ultra-processed foods — all of which contain flavor-enhancing free glutamate in ingredients such as autolyzed yeast extract, sodium caseinate, maltodextrin, glutamic acid, and hydrolyzed proteins as well as MSG – became readily available, accessible, and increasingly more popular.

It is true that any one ingredient will contain a limited amount of free glutamate.  But glutamate in amounts needed to produce brain damage in vulnerable humans is readily available to those who consume a number of processed and ultra-processed foods during the course of a day.

The glutamate delivered to Olney’s neonatal animals was delivered in food fed to them.  The glutamate delivered to humans with vulnerable brains is delivered by their pregnant mothers.

Newborn humans could only receive glutamate in mothers’ milk or infant formula. But fetuses are “fed” through the umbilical cord, through the placenta.  And if a pregnant woman ingested large quantities of free glutamate, as she might if her diet included processed and ultra-processed food, the excitotoxic free glutamate would cause damage to the brain of her fetus just as it caused damage to the brains of Olney’s animals. And in humans that brain damage would be followed by intractable obesity just as it was in Olney’s animals.

(And isn’t it interesting that the obesity epidemic has hit hardest in low- income areas — locations with limited access to real food, and a dependence on processed and ultra-processed food).

Journal after journal has refused to publish the information that I have just shared with you.  The latest was Obesity, the prestigious journal of The Obesity Society.  It is common knowledge among the well informed that medical journals are now controlled by Big Pharma.  But that hardly qualifies as a “conspiracy.”  It’s just the way things are in the world of power and greed.

But when access to my account in LinkedIn disappeared along with all mention of the Safe Food group that I had established, the word “conspiracy” appeared brightly before me and will not go away.

Also finding its way into my consciousness are the assurances that 1) my description of how the obesity epidemic happened is accurate, and 2) that the Glutes have no way to defend against the truth that manufactured free glutamate consumed by pregnant women lies at the root of the obesity epidemic – except to bury that truth – which their assault on my LinkedIn account demonstrates.

Adrienne Samuels

An open letter to Dr. Anthony G. Comuzzie

This February 28, 2022 letter to Dr. Anthony G. Comuzzie, CEO of the Obesity Society (which publishes the journal Obesity), requesting that he suggest a vehicle for making information about brain damage caused by free glutamate ingested by pregnant women and passed to their fetuses and neonates available to researchers and healthcare practitioners, has not been answered or even acknowledged.   

A copy of the letter is being posted here as an open letter to Dr. Comuzzie, with the hope that someone may forward it to him, and that he will respond.

Anthony G. Comuzzie, PhD, FTOS

Dear Dr. Comuzzie,

Are you aware that the editors of Obesity have refused to publish studies that demonstrate that the obesity epidemic was set in motion, and is sustained, by brain damage caused by pregnant women passing excitotoxic free glutamate to their offspring?  

Both 1) an overview of the subject submitted as a Perspective, and 2) a Review, demonstrating the role that ingestion of free glutamate ingested by pregnant women plays in the production of intractable obesity have been offered to your journal Obesity, and been refused consideration. 

I find that very strange.  How can papers that suggest and document the fact that a common amino acid used in processed food is responsible for the obesity epidemic not be assigned sufficient priority to allow publication in Obesity

It is obvious from texts of rejection letters that the editors of Obesity have no interest in resolving the cause of the obesity epidemic, suggesting new lines of investigation, and providing those who are afflicted with obesity appropriate psychological and medical interventions. 

The first manuscript was submitted as a perspective, a category that limits submissions to 1000 words and 10 references.   As specified by the journal’s instructions, “Perspectives can provide new ideas on an old problem or commentary/opinion of a hot topic.”  Accordingly, the manuscript provided a new idea on an old problem within the limited (10) references allowed, although there are many more references available to support its thesis. Appropriately, given that this was submitted as a perspective, taking seemingly unrelated things and putting them together to generate a new idea as Einstein was in the habit of doing, there was no hypothesis testing or experimental design for new data demonstrating suitable controls, and there were no statistical tests reported.  

In rejecting it, editor Eric Ravussin stated that “there was really nothing novel on the specific role of glutamate as a trigger of obesity in your piece. All the scientific references but one were from more than 20 years ago.” 

I find it hard to comprehend how it could be that the idea of glutamate ingested by pregnant women causing brain damage in fetuses and neonates followed by intractable obesity is not novel.  To suggest that data have a shelf life of 20 years would put Einstein and Galileo out of business. 

The second submission was a request to submit a review to Obesity.  It was rejected in part because it was submitted by a single author, and in part because there was “no systematic evaluation of clinical trials or meta-analysis to evaluate glutamate on obesity risk,” neither of which would necessarily be appropriate for a review.  Moreover, it was rejected because “we also request reviews on hot topics in the field of obesity.”  I can’t think of any hotter topic in the field of obesity than the cause of the obesity epidemic. 

Given that the journal of the Obesity Society will not publish information on the cause of the obesity epidemic, sharing insights that will benefit those who suffer intractable weight gain, would you, please, suggest a vehicle for making information about brain damage caused by free glutamate ingested by pregnant women and passed to their fetuses and neonates available to researchers and healthcare practitioners? 

I look forward to your response.

Adrienne Samuels, Ph.D.
Truth in Labeling Campaign
Chicago, Illinois   USA 


Questions and answers: What’s causing the obesity epidemic?

What’s causing the obesity epidemic?

They’re called excitotoxins.

These are Jekyll and Hyde amino acids.

On the one hand, they’re absolutely necessary for human

On the other hand, they turn toxic/poisonous when more are
eaten than needed.

What damage do they do?

They damage the brains of vulnerable people.

People who have had head injuries,

People whose brains are not yet mature,

A newborn child,

A child in the womb: a fetus.

How can excitotoxins get to the immature brains of newborns and

Excitotoxins are eaten by pregnant women.

Pregnant women pass what they eat to their unborn offspring
(fetuses) through the umbilical cord and the placenta.

Nursing mothers pass what they eat to their babies through mother’s

Exactly what damage do these excitotoxins do to the brains of fetuses and newborns that brings about obesity?

They obliterate (wipe out) the neurons (nerve cells) in that part of the
arcuate nucleus of the hypothalamus that would have played a role in
weight control, had they not been destroyed.

And although the empty space left in the brain when the neurons are
destroyed is filled in with other cells, the neurons are not replaced.

What excitotoxins do this?

The one known best from research done in the 1970s is glutamic acid
(a.k.a. glutamate).

Glutamate is essential for normal body function. There has always
been glutamate in food. Why haven’t more people always been

Until 1957, the glutamate in food (and there is glutamate in
essentially all food) was almost always part of something larger than
itself. It was a part of protein. Scientists who wanted to examine
glutamate had to break the protein apart before they could examine it.
(They speak of glutamate being “bound up” in protein: tied to other
amino acids in long chains. That’s still true.)

Glutamate bound in protein is not excitotoxic. Only glutamate outside
of protein causes brain damage.

In 1957, the U.S. manufacturer of excitotoxic glutamate (for use in
monosodium glutamate) revised its manufacturing process, and from
that point on, virtually unlimited amounts of excitotoxic manufactured
free glutamate (MfG) were produced. After 1957, there was sufficient
MfG in ultra-processed food (at least in the U.S.) to provide the
“excess” amounts of MfG needed to cause brain damage.

Then why didn’t the “obesity epidemic” happen in 1957?

1957 was the year that the new and improved method for fabricating
virtually unlimited amounts of the excitotoxic – brain damaging – MfG
was put into production. But 1960 was the year that increased
obesity began to be noticed. 1960-62 saw the first statistics kept on
numbers of overweight people.