Stop eating fake meat thinking it’s healthy!

Looks like followers of The Truth in Labeling Campaign aren’t the only ones concerned about fake meats. According to Just Food, a trade publication that offers up-to-date international news and features on the global food industry:

“There is fevered debate about the outlook for meat substitutes amid slowing demand in two major markets – the US and the UK. Proponents argue the category remains one of the most attractive in food, fueled by consumer concerns about health and sustainability. Naysayers contend products aren’t good enough to convince shoppers to buy them regularly.”

Consumers who are buying meat substitutes because they are concerned about their health have it all wrong.  Some people believe that it’s healthier to eat plant-based food than to eat animals, and we won’t argue for or against that.  But there’s nothing healthy about eating food that is loaded with excitotoxic — brain damaging — glutamic acid (manufactured free glutamate), and when the only plants involved are the chemical plants that these products are made in. 

There are no exceptions.  Each and every fake protein product contains manufactured free glutamate. The protein in the plants used in “plant-based” meat substitutes is hydrolyzed or fermented to release its brain-damaging free glutamate, the same excitotoxic amino acid that is found in MSG.

Industry ‘safety’ propaganda on artificial sweeteners sounds very familiar

In mid-March, USA Today carried an article questioning the safety of increasingly popular sugar substitutes, which, according to author Karen Weintraub are being “added to everything from sodas to toothpaste, lip balm, to snack items.”

It’s a great article in which Weintraub tells it like it is, presenting industry’s claims of artificial sugar safety as well as noting that studies are now raising concerns about the health effects of these substitutes.  But as I read, my mind wandered, and it seemed as if I was reading about glutamic acid in flavor-enhancers, because the words that Weintraub quoted sounded just like the industry propaganda used by the Glutes to convince consumers that flavor-enhancers like MSG are harmless. Words such as:

“healthy alternatives…”

“one of the most thoroughly researched ingredients in the world…”

“have been proven safe by global regulatory bodies for decades.”

“also accepted as safe in Europe and by the World Health Organization…”

Do you think anyone could convince Weintraub to tell the story of excitotoxic – brain damaging – glutamic acid (in MSG) and aspartic acid (in aspartame).  She could go over the industry claims of safety as well as noting that for over 50 years independent researchers have raised concerns about the adverse reactions and the brain damage caused by MSG, and more recently about aspartame. 

I’ll bet that Weintraub could get her readers to realize that flavor-enhancers and protein substitutes, all loaded with brain-damaging free glutamate, will be found without limit in processed and ultra-processed foods.

There’s nothing in her article suggesting that she has even a clue to the fact that aspartic acid is an excitotoxic – brain damaging – amino acid that causes brain damage and adverse reactions identical to those caused by the manufactured free glutamic acid in flavor-enhancers and protein substitutes (which, by the way, the FDA also says is safe for use in food).

To date, the Glutes have managed to suppress any suggestion that free glutamate might be harmful.  What a breakthrough — an event — it would be if Weintraub found it in her heart to share the facts about the toxicity of manufactured free glutamate.  And greater yet if she could convince USA Today to carry her story.

If you want to avoid brain damage, it’s essential that you understand what free glutamate is, where it is hidden in food and eliminate it from your diet

The concept of excitotoxic free glutamate is difficult to understand, but essential to our well-being.

Glutamate is a Jekyll and Hyde amino acid — on one hand a building block of protein and neurotransmitter essential to life itself. But when consumed in excess, in quantities greater than needed for normal body function, it becomes a brain-damaging excitotoxin firing repeatedly until its targeted glutamate receptors die.

Understanding excitotoxic — brain damaging — free glutamate is not easy. But until we recognize the role that glutamate plays not only in obesity and infertility, but in autism, macular degeneration, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, multiple sclerosis (all abnormalities of the central nervous system), there will be no way to avoid the damage that it does, and there will be no antidote. Adding to the challenge is the role that industry plays in suppressing information on the dangers of manufactured free glutamate while disseminating disinformation about its safety/toxicity.


Concepts that today are commonplace, were unimagined 150-200 years ago. The first amino acid (named asparagine) was discovered in 1806 in France. Sixty years later, glutamate was identified by Karl Ritthausen. Then for years, despite its presence in every part of the body and the prominent role glutamate plays as a building block of protein, it went largely unnoticed by researchers. 

In the mid 1950s, the high concentration of free glutamate in the brain had caused scientists to speculate about its role in brain function. There had been claims in the 1940s that it could improve cognitive acuity and raise the IQs of patients with mental impairment. And in the 1950s Hayashi had found that glutamate could cause convulsions and proposed that glutamate might be a central synaptic transmitter.

In 1959, Curtis, Phillis and Watkins demonstrated that glutamate depolarized and excited neurons in the central nervous system, however, various aspects of the action of glutamate seemed to argue strongly against a transmitter function.  Neurotransmitters are chemical messengers that carry chemical signals (“messages”) from one neuron (nerve cell) to another brain cell identified as a receptor. 

The following major neurotransmitters are frequently discussed in scientific journals: Dopamine, Serotonin, Gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), Glutamate (glutamic acid), Norepinephrine, and Acetylcholine. Of these, glutamate is the only excitotoxic neurotransmitter.

Glutamate: an excitotoxic — brain-damaging — neurotransmitter

Over the course of the next ten years, glutamate was confirmed as a brain damaging neurotransmitter.

In 1969, Dr. John Olney actually coined the term “excitotoxin” to describe the brain-damaging actions of glutamic acid.  Olney had been using Accent brand monosodium glutamate (MSG) in research as his source of free glutamate because Accent brand MSG (which is 100 percent MSG) was as effective for inflicting brain damage as more expensive pharmaceutical grade L-glutamate.

Olney’s identification of glutamate as an excitotoxic neurotransmitter triggered two initiatives.

The first came from researchers who wanted to understand the science of excitotoxicity.  That included study of obesity, behavior disorders, reproductive dysfunction (including infertility), macular degeneration, autism, neurodegenerative diseases and more. And they explored remedies that might be used to ameliorate those conditions.

The second was introduced by a company that produced monosodium glutamate in the United States — a Japanese firm that set out to discredit the work of those who had exposed the fact that monosodium glutamate causes brain damage. In 1968 they launched an initiative to do whatever was necessary to keep the truth about monosodium glutamate’s toxicity from having a negative effect on their profits.

As a courtesy prior to publication, Olney had shared the results of research confirming that MSG causes brain lesions with its producer. In response, glutamate industry researchers produced studies that they claimed were replications of Olney’s work. But their procedures were different enough to guarantee that toxic doses had not been administered, or that all evidence that nerve cells had died would be obscured. Industry-sponsored researchers said they were replicating studies, but did not do so. Instead, discussion was phrased to suggest that studies were “replications,” and the conclusions were based on what was said, not on what was actually done.

By 1980, the evidence for MSG-induced brain damage and subsequent obesity was irrefutable, and glutamate industry interests moved from attempts to refute the work of Olney and others to simply asserting that Olney’s work was invalid because animal studies do not represent the human condition.  The U.S. Food and Drug Administration, the agency charged with protecting consumers against impure, unsafe, and fraudulently labeled products, did not comment.   

From that point forward, the defense against MSG-induced brain damage turned into a series of propaganda campaigns making the case that MSG did not cause adverse reactions such as numbness of the neck, arms, and back with headache, dizziness, and palpitations — or anything else MSG was accused of causing. 

At the heart of this endeavor were a series of seriously flawed studies that each violated the assumptions their statistical analyses were built on. Publication of those studies ceased after Jack and Adrienne Samuels discovered and pointed out to the FDA that placebos used in glutamate-industry studies, each approved by the FDA, all contained excitotoxic aspartic acid known to cause reactions identical to reactions caused by MSG test material. The FDA did not comment.

Science vs. special interests

The science is clear:

  • Free glutamate is a neurotransmitter.
  • When consumed in excess, in quantities greater than needed for normal body function, it becomes an excitotoxic — brain-damaging neurotransmitter, firing repeatedly until its targeted glutamate receptors die.
  • Records show that since 1957, there has been sufficient free glutamate available in processed and ultra -processed food to cause it to be excitotoxic.
  • Studies of glutamate-induced brain damage, glutamate-induced autism, multiple sclerosis, macular degeneration, Huntington’s disease and more are being recorded daily on PubMed, the publication of the National Library of Medicine.

Suppression of information about glutamate-induced toxicity is less obvious:  

Prior to 1957, the first year that virtually unlimited (and therefore potentially brain damaging) amounts of free glutamate were produced for use in food, if there was new information about any amino acid, it was devoured by medical journals and sent in a press release to the media. But since the 1957 explosion in production of free glutamate, information about glutamic acid has been hidden from public view.

The Citizen Petitions filed in January and March of 2021 asking the Commissioner of Food and Drugs to:

  • revoke the GRAS status of monosodium glutamate and L-glutamic acid for any use in human food;
  • add the names of all ingredients that contain excitotoxic glutamic acid to the Food Code, Annex 4, Table 2b, Added Chemical Hazards at Retail, Along with Their Associated Foods and Control Measure; and,
  • replace the FDA webpage: “Questions and Answers on Monosodium Glutamate,” which has been displayed on the FDA website since 2012 with accurate, scientifically correct information about MSG,

have not been answered.

Freedom of Information Act requests asking for copies of studies or other evidence used by the FDA in coming to the conclusion that MSG is “safe” have been ignored. 

And legislators who are charged with the oversight of the FDA? They’re not in the majority party or they’re on the wrong committees – or they’re just too busy to see to eliminating brain-damaging amino acids from food. 

Despite clear evidence that manufactured free glutamate causes brain damage, and that the people who manufactured it are suppressing that information, unlimited amounts of excitotoxic free glutamate are being used in processed and ultra-processed food, promoting obesity, infertility and behavior dysfunction, autism, macular degeneration, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, multiple sclerosis, and a host of other abnormalities of the central nervous system.


In 1957, the major U.S. producer of MSG and the free glutamate contained in it had started producing free glutamate in virtually unlimited amounts — amounts sufficient to cause that free glutamate to become excitotoxic — brain damaging. 

Prior to 1957, excitotoxicity had been unknown.

Adrienne Samuels, Ph.D.
April, 2023

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

Recently, 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) has rolled 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’ve said before, 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 bold 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.

MSG: a double whammy to your liver

When Dr. Russell Blaylock came out with his eye-opening book in 1994, “Excitotoxins: the Taste that Kills,” he forecast an ongoing obesity epidemic based on the sheer amount of MSG and other excitotoxins dumped into processed foods and beverages.

Now, almost three decades later he says, “Unfortunately, my prediction has come true. Obesity is now a national epidemic – not just among adults, but also among children, even the very young.”

But the damage caused by our national obesity epidemic didn’t stop with extreme weight gain. It has helped to foster another widespread condition (even called a “pandemic” by some doctors and researchers), known as non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, or NAFLD. This chronic liver condition was a rare occurrence only a few decades ago. Now it’s not only rampant among adults but being diagnosed more and more in kids, some just toddlers.

As the name implies, NAFLD is a buildup of fat in the liver, something that can progress to a life-threatening condition called non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH), which can lead to liver failure and liver cancer.

MSG has the distinction of contributing to NAFLD and NASH is two ways. As Blaylock revealed in Excitotoxins, it had been decisively shown in research that baby mice fed MSG became “grossly obese,” and that their “obesity was very difficult to reverse.” (Today, researchers turn to MSG as a tool to fatten up their lab animals for obesity studies.)

The other way MSG is helping to create this pandemic of liver disease was found in a study showing how low doses of MSG (extremely easy to consume if you eat any kind of processed food), combined with the ever-popular sweetener high fructose corn syrup, “greatly increased the risk” of both liver conditions, Blaylock recently reported.

HFCS, a cheap genetically modified sugar substitute, is extremely toxic to the liver. Study after study has found a significant connection between ingesting all forms of processed fructose and liver damage.

As for MSG and the manufactured free glutamate (MfG) it contains, it not only is a major cause of obesity that leads to NAFLD, but has been linked to numerous other conditions including many incapacitating neurological disorders.

Ironically, many processed foods labeled as “low-cal,” which are pitched to those hoping to lose weight, contain the worst additives when it comes to weight loss, as well as liver health. For example, HFCS-90, with a whopping 90 percent fructose, is often added to diet dishes, as only a small amount is needed for sweetening. And since lower-calorie processed foods are typically made from cheap, tasteless ingredients, MSG and other forms of MfG are added liberally.

While Dr. Blaylock has made a significant contribution to our understanding of the toxic nature of MSG and other excitotoxins — warning for decades about the dangers of consuming them – unfortunately, you still don’t have to look very hard to find them in our food supply.

But perhaps as even more children sadly fall victim to suffering the consequences of the widespread use of such additives, more people will join those already demanding change in how processed foods are made and regulated.

Grocery cartels: Gobbling up food dollars at the ‘expense of farmers, food chain workers and eaters’

When the non-profit Oxfam created a graphic several years ago showing how just 10 companies* control practically everything you’ll find in the supermarket — from pet and baby food to soup to nuts — it was an eye-opening look into the world of Big Food.

Now, Food & Water Watch has gone a step further. Its recent report The Grocery Cartels explains how the Covid-19 pandemic became a profit-maker for mega food retailers, helping dish out the final death blow to smaller grocers.

While operations such as Walmart and Costco appear to offer convenience and lower prices, the pandemic “pulled back the curtain on the idea that the current food system offers abundance, efficiency, and resilience.”

Despite the myth of a competitive marketplace, or the “illusion of choice,” the current food retail system we have now, says Food & Water Watch, “is functioning as it was designed: to funnel wealth from local communities into the hands of corporate shareholders and executives.” 

For example, Food & Water Watch found that in 2019, four companies, Walmart, Kroger, Costco and Albertson’s, were taking in an estimated two-thirds of all grocery sales. When the pandemic took over in 2020, major supermarket chains saw “double-digit growth and surging stock values.” Walmart, in fact, takes in $1 out of every $3 spent at a food retailer.

Despite Walmart’s “Save money. Live better” slogan, Food & Water Watch reveals that the mega store is well-known to up its food prices once “it becomes the dominate grocery retailer in town.”

As Food & Water Watch points out, “market power enables intermediaries like retailers and processors to capture an ever-growing share of food dollars, at the expense of farmers, food chain workers and eaters.”

And while we’re encouraged to “shop small” at independently owned retailers, it seems our options where food is concerned, both brand-wise and where it’s purchased, are becoming smaller and smaller.

Read the Food & Water Watch full report here:

*The Big Ten food companies: Nestle, Coca-Cola, Unilever, Danone, Mars, Mondelez, Associated British Foods, Kellogg’s, General Mills and Pepsico.