Another deceptive marketing term to watch out for

“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.

We often get questions about yeast: Does it contain monosodium glutamate?

Although yeast ingredients are popularly used to replace the flavor enhancer called monosodium glutamate (MSG), yeast does not contain any MSG. But don’t stop reading yet!

Yeast DOES contain the same toxic amino acid that’s found in MSG — excitotoxic glutamic acid. That’s why Big Food loves yeast so much. They can add as much of this noxious flavor enhancer as they want and not be required to mention MSG on the label despite what these two additives have in common.

A recent yeast industry (yes, there’s a yeast industry) market report tells some of the secrets of why it’s so popular.

“By product type, the global yeast ingredients market can be categorized into yeast extract, yeast autolysates, dry yeast, yeast flavor, and ‘others’. The yeast extracts market is high, as yeast extracts act as a replacement for monosodium glutamate, and consumers highly inclined towards natural ingredients and health concerns. Yeast extracts also offer a unique aromatic taste, which is important in low-salt-content foodstuffs…” Zenit News: “Yeast and yeast ingredients market 2020 research reports, industry size, in-depth qualitative insights, explosive growth opportunity, regional analysis by 360 market updates”

The basics

To understand the toxicity of yeast extract, you have first to understand the basics of toxic glutamate found in food.

Glutamate must be free to be harmful, meaning it can’t exist as part of a protein. And toxic free glutamate found in food will always have been manufactured.

You can make/produce free glutamate (glutamate outside of protein) using carefully selected genetically modified bacteria. Feed the bacteria on some starchy stuff like sugar, and they secrete glutamate through their cell walls. That’s pretty much how the glutamate in MSG is made in Ajinomoto’s plant in Eddyville Iowa.

You can also free glutamate from protein. Begin with something that contains protein — almost any meat, grain, diary product, fruit or vegetable will contain at least some small amount of glutamate. Then, choose your method: 1) extract glutamate from protein, 2) use hydrolysis, autolysis, enzymes, acids or fermentation to break protein into individual amino acids (which would include glutamate), or apply high heat to protein.

All glutamate made/produced by man plus that which has been fermented contains D-glutamate, pyroglutamate and other unwanted by-products of manufacture (impurities which industry has been unable to remove) as well as the desired L-glutamate. In contrast, the glutamate in unadulterated fruits, grains, vegetables, and in the human body, which wouldn’t be manufactured, is L-glutamate only.

To be toxic, free glutamate has to 1) be present in excess – more than the healthy body needs for normal body function, or 2) act as a neurotransmitter, overstimulating and damaging glutamate receptors for some weak area in an individual’s body, the heart, lungs, or stomach for example.

Yeast extract contains toxic free glutamate

Yeast extract contributes to accumulation of toxic free glutamate in two ways. First, yeast extract itself will contain toxic free glutamate. Moreover, yeast and yeast extract can also interact with other ingredients, causing the protein in those other ingredients to break down and release glutamate.

The way that the yeast extract is produced will vary from one manufacturer to another, but all break the protein found in yeast into free amino acids – one of which will be glutamate. Following are various descriptions of how that’s done:

1: Food

“Angel Yeast’s yeast extract products are obtained from molasses-cultured yeast, which are autolyzed to obtain the extract and made into pastes or powders.”

2: European Association for Specialty Yeast Products:

“Yeast extract is … made from natural bakers’ or brewers’ yeast. First sugar is added so that the yeast can multiply. Then enzymes in the yeast break down the proteins present in the yeast into smaller components and make the cell walls permeable. Finally the components present in the yeast cell – the yeast extract – are separated from the surrounding wall and dried.”

3: Biospringer:

“Yeast is a microscopic unicellular fungus that has been living on Earth for millions of years. Like any other cell, yeast is made of proteins, amino acids, vitamins and minerals gathered within the cell walls.”

“Yeast extract is simply the yeast content without the cell wall, making it a natural origin ingredient. Its production consists of 3 main steps:

Breaking of the yeast cell (also known as autolysis)

4: By Elea Carey for Healthline:

“There are two kinds of yeast extract, autolyzed and hydrolyzed. In both, the cell walls are discarded and the contents of the cell are combined. In autolyzed yeast, the enzymes found in the yeast itself are used to break down the proteins. In hydrolyzed yeast, these enzymes are added to the yeast.”

Does yeast extract contain enough free glutamate to cause brain damage or adverse reactions?

If yeast extract was the only source of free glutamate ingested, toxicity would depend on the amount of free glutamate in the particular product ingested, and the sensitivity of the person ingesting it. There are glutamate-sensitive people who react to yeast extract.

But in real life one helping of yeast extract isn’t going to be ingested in isolation. Combined with other sources of glutamate in the diet, yeast extract increases the likelihood of brain damage and adverse reactions.

New name for an old poison

It’s obvious that your PR campaign is working really well when you can influence the Merriam-Webster dictionary to modify the definition of a long-used word.

Such is the case with “savory,” a respectable word meaning pleasant or having high moral standards. In a food sense, savory can be two types of aromatic mints as well as a tasty food that is “spicy or salty but not sweet.” And that’s how savory was defined for a very long time, its first known use being in the 13th century.

But at some point in 2019, as confirmed by the Internet archive way-back machine, Merriam-Webster added additional meanings that include none other than the all-time favorite word of the glutamate industry – umami – now defining savory as the “…taste sensation of umami” and the “taste sensation that is produced by several amino acids and nucleotides (such as glutamate and aspartate)…” (For more on “umami” check out our blog “Umami: the con of the decade?” here).

Savory is also utilized in what’s called the “savory market,” not surprisingly consisting of ingredients that all contain excitotoxic, brain damaging, free glutamic acid, such as: yeast extracts, hydrolyzed vegetable proteins, hydrolyzed animal proteins, monosodium glutamate, and nucleotides.

And that “savory market,” according to a new research report is booming. Of interest, included in that report are references to not just people food, but pet food as well. That makes careful label reading an important part of buying food for all members of your family.

Leaked Nestlé in-house document admits most of its products aren’t healthy

Did you see this blog: Ultra-processed foods: Little nourishment, lots of toxic amino acids? We reported on the unfortunate fact that although U.S. supermarkets contain a wide variety of packaged foods, they mostly all come from 10 giant conglomerates.

One of those mega-companies is Nestlé, considered to be the world’s largest fast moving consumer goods company. Fast-moving consumer goods are products that sell quickly and at a relatively low cost.

This week Nestlé’s news came from a leaked document initially sent to its top executives, stating that over 60 percent of its “mainstream” food and drink products do not meet a “recognized definition of health” under Australia’s health star rating system.

(Health Star rates the nutritional profile of processed foods by assigning a number of stars, up to five. Only 37 percent of Nestlé products managed to rate above 3.5 stars.)

But low nutrition ratings aren’t the only concerns consumers should have, because Nestle products are loaded with manufactured free glutamate (MfG), an excitotoxic – brain damaging – ingredient. Their top brands include Hot Pockets (with a book-length list of ingredients including excitotoxic yeast extract, natural flavor, citric acid, disodium inosinate, disodium guanylate and dough conditioner), Lean Cuisine (soy protein isolate, yeast extract), Stouffer’s (textured soy protein concentrate, autolyzed yeast extract) and Maggi products, including the Liquid Seasoning (monosodium glutamate, disodium inosinate, flavour, protease).

According to the Indian digital news station CNCBTV18, the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) banned Nestle’s Maggi “two minute” noodles in 2015 after test showed that it contained excessive lead and the labelling of its packets deceptively mentioned ‘No added MSG.’

Of course, what Nestlé tells it executives about its products, as revealed in that leaked in-house document, is far different than what it tells consumers, saying on its website that: “we unlock the power of food to enhance quality of life for everyone, today and for generations to come.”

Aspartame: the placebo used in ‘MSG-is-safe’ studies

To make sure the conclusion that MSG is harmless would be beyond reproach, glutamate-industry researchers guaranteed that subjects would react to placebos with the same reactions that are caused by MSG. They did that by using aspartame as the toxic ingredient in their placebos, which worked well for them because the aspartic acid in aspartame and the glutamic acid in MSG cause virtually identical reactions (as well as identical brain damage). Having set that up, glutamate-industry researchers (and the propaganda artists who quote them) will say “These people aren’t sensitive to MSG, they reacted to the ‘placebo’ too.”

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.”

A Must Read!

The Perfect Poison is now available at See links to buy below.

The Perfect Poison is a tell-all about the toxic effects of monosodium glutamate (MSG) and the U.S. regulatory agency that has successfully suppressed that information for over 50 years.  

But more than a myth-shattering book, The Perfect Poison provides readers with the tools needed to deal with reactions to excitotoxic manufactured free glutamate found in processed and ultra-processed food, or better yet, to avoid it altogether.   

The Perfect Poison also offers an introduction to the thought-provoking hypothesis that excitotoxic manufactured free glutamate, ingested on a daily basis, plays a significant role in the many abnormalities with which glutamate toxicity is associated. 

Available in print and e-book format at