Sodium glutamate or monosodium glutamate is one of the most common additives in manufactured foods and is used widely in foods served at restaurants. It is also present in some foods naturally. It is usually in the form of a white crystalline powder and looks very similar to salt and sugar. Monosodium glutamate is a flavour enhancer. It enhances the meaty taste of food items, and actually makes the food item tastier, and has an excitatory effect on the nerve cells, hence inducing over-eating. “By itself, MSG may be safe in very small doses but it could be harmful even in minute amounts for those who are allergic or sensitive to MSG. Large doses are certainly harmful. The point noteworthy is that MSG is mostly found in large amounts in processed food items like chips, packaged soups, canned foods, which by themselves are unhealthy and thus they must be avoided (not just because they have MSG). One must check food labels while buying any packaged stuff and avoid buying if MSG is listed”, says nutritionist Pooja Malhotra.
According to her, “Chemically, there is no difference between the one found in natural foods and the one in processed foods. Yet as an additive, it may be harmful because of the large doses or the other components in processed foods.”
Some of the food items which contain sodium glutamate are canned foods, sausages, chips, prepared soups, hot dogs, beer and many more. It is also naturally present in food items like cheese, tomatoes, peas, walnuts, wheat etc. An excess intake of sodium glutamate has been linked to increased cravings, overeating, obesity and other metabolic disorders.
Pooja Malhotra lists the other harmful effects of consuming excess of MSG:
1. Research says that over 2,00,000 tons of sodium glutamate is used all across the world. Excess consumption of this salt can cause problems like migraine, dizziness, hormonal imbalance, nausea, weakness, chest pain and much more.
2. Affecting our tongue receptors, sodium glutamate makes food tastier than it actually is and you want to have more and more of it leading to weight gain and obesity.
3. It makes us addicted to food in a way that we feel like eating anything and everything that we get when we feel hungry. Sodium glutamate has the same affect on the brain cells as drugs.
4. Indirect long term effects can include obesity and other metabolic disorders. Some studies have shown that there has been an increased number of cases of diabetes because of sodium glutamate in food.
5. Malfunctioning of the adrenal gland, high blood pressure or hypertension and stroke are other risks that can be caused by excessive consumption of sodium glutamate.
6. Other harmful effects include acute headache, muscle tightness, numbness, tingling sensation, flushing, weakness.
Avoid buying foods which have added MSG in them!
(Pooja Malhotra is a Delhi based Nutritionist)
Belly Fat: 6 Foods That Will Help You Burn Belly Fat
Maintaining a healthy lifestyle is closely connected with the kind of food choices we make in our daily life. Health and fitness help us avoid many diseases and build a strong immune system. Eating healthy food increases life expectancy and helps us combat various mental as well as physical problems that we face in our lives. Belly fat is dangerous not because it affects our physical appearance but because it may increase the risk of several diseases or conditions. It is closely linked to diabetes, heart diseases, etc and can affect anyone irrespective of age or sex. To stay healthy and cut the chances of getting a chronic disease it is necessary to pay attention to fat accumulated around the abdominal area which is known as belly fat. Increased stress, slow metabolism and unhealthy eating habits lead to the accumulation of belly fat. Consuming fats and carbohydrates free food will immensely help you reduce belly fat.
Here’s a list of 6 best foods that will help you burn belly fat quickly and efficiently:
Pulses are rich in protein and provide the required amount of fibre that our body needs for good digestion. They also contain vitamins and minerals. Pulses can be added to soups, or can be eaten with with rice. Consuming pulses can help us control hunger pangs and reduce overall calorie intake of the day. It is a great source of protein for vegetarians. Eating a good amount of pulses keeps our bones strong and can therefore help us stay fit and healthy.
2. Green vegetables
Green vegetables are a powerhouse of nutrients. Almost every nutrient can be found in green leafy vegetables. They are full of minerals, vitamins and dietary fibers. Including a good amount of green vegetables in the diet can help us maintain a good digestive system and cut down on calorie consumption as well. They prevent bloating and help in reducing belly fat. Vegetables like spinach, kale, broccoli etc help with water retention.
Oatmeal is a rich source of complex carbs and fibre. They play an important role in digestive and renal functions of human beings. Oats can be consumed for breakfast or as a pre-workout meal. Eating oats regularly can be extremely helpful for those who want to get rid of their belly fat.
Kiwi is a citrus food and is a powerhouse of vitamin C which is considered to be an excellent belly fat burner. It is a healthy and tasty fruit loved by many people. The edible acid present in kiwi fruit burns fat faster than any other alternative food item. Kiwi also helps with water retention.
Cucumbers are low in calories, fats and carbs as well. 95% of cucumbers is water. It helps us stay full for longer, thereby cutting down on overall calorie consumption. It can be eaten raw or included in salads. Some people also prepare detox drinks using cucumber.
Mushrooms contain vitamin B and D which help in regulating kidney functions and prevent kidney-related diseases as well. Crimini, Enoki, Oyster, Portobello, Shiitake or White button – all mushrooms are full of essential nutrients. They support our immune system and prevent any harm done to cells or tissues. Mushrooms contain vitamin D which effectively burns belly fat.
Mushrooms contain vitamin D which is helpful in burning belly fat
Vitamin and mineral supplements will not help your health, says study
Turns out, most popular vitamin and mineral supplements provide no health benefit, contrary to popular belief.
According to a study conducted by the St. Michael’s Hospital, common vitamin and mineral supplements have no consistent benefit for the prevention of cardiovascular disease, heart attack, stroke or premature death or no harm.
The systematic review of existing data and single randomized control trials published in English from January 2012 to October 2017 found that multivitamins, vitamin D, calcium and vitamin C – the most common supplements – showed no advantage or added risk in the prevention of cardiovascular matters or early death.
Generally, vitamin and mineral supplements are taken to add to nutrients that are found in food.
“We were surprised to find so few positive effects of the most common supplements that people consume,” said David Jenkins, the study’s lead author. “Our review found that if you want to use multivitamins, vitamin D, calcium or vitamin C, it does no harm – but there is no apparent advantage either.”
The study found folic acid alone and B-vitamins with folic acid may reduce cardiovascular disease and stroke. Meanwhile, niacin and antioxidants showed a very small effect that might signify an increased risk of death from any cause.
“These findings suggest that people should be conscious of the supplements they’re taking and ensure they’re applicable to the specific vitamin or mineral deficiencies they have been advised of by their healthcare provider,” Jenkins said.
His team reviewed supplement data that included A, B1, B2, B3 (niacin), B6, B9 (folic acid), C, D and E; and ß-carotene; calcium; iron; zinc; magnesium; and selenium.
The term ‘multivitamin’ in this review was used to describe supplements that include most vitamins and minerals, rather than a select few.
“In the absence of significant positive data – apart from folic acid’s potential reduction in the risk of stroke and heart disease – it’s most beneficial to rely on a healthy diet to get your fill of vitamins and minerals,” Jenkins said. “So far, no research on supplements has shown us anything better than healthy servings of less processed plant foods including vegetables, fruits and nuts.”
The study appears in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.
Eat walnuts to ward off diabetes risk
Consuming walnuts — rich in antioxidants — may nearly halve the risk of developing Type-2 diabetes compared to those who do not eat nuts, finds a study representing more than 34,000 adults. The findings showed doubling walnut consumption (or eating 3 tablespoons) was associated with a 47 per cent lower prevalence of Type-2 diabetes. “The strong connection between walnut consumers and lower prevalence of Type-2 diabetes is additional justification for including walnuts in the diet. Other research has shown that walnuts may also be beneficial for cognitive function and heart health,” said Lenore Arab from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). For the study, the team looked at 34,121 adults aged 18-85 years who were asked about their dietary intake as well as if they had been diagnosed with diabetes or if they were taking medications for diabetes.
Individuals were also assessed for diabetes using common laboratory measurements including fasting plasma glucose and haemoglobin A1c. Those who reported consuming walnuts showed a lower risk for Type-2 diabetes compared to those who did not consume any nuts regardless of age, gender, race, education, BMI and amount of physical activity.
Walnuts are a rich source of recommended polyunsaturated fat (13 grams per ounce), and the only nuts that contain a significant amount of alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) — the plant-based omega-3 fatty acid (2.5 grams per one ounce). It also offers protein (4 grams per one ounce) and fibre (2 grams per one ounce).
Previous studies have showed that consuming half a cup of walnut per day may help protect the digestive system by increasing the amount of probiotic bacteria in the gut and warding off risks of heart and brain diseases as well as cancer
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