The “Killer” in the Kitchen

                    I recently came across one article on MSG called ,”The Brain-Destroying, Cancer-Causing Ingredient Hidden in Most of Our Food” (http://www.march-against-monsanto.com/the-brain-destroying-cancer-causing-ingredient-hidden-in-most-of-our-food/) and I was pretty taken back by what I saw. Not because I believed what it was saying but because it was just so absurd. The article basically says that MSG is an excitotoxin that overstimulates your brain cells until they explode and that it creates a lesion in your hypothalamus that will lead to obesity, infertility, and short stature. It also claims that MSG is in 90% of the food we eat but offers to information as to where that statistic came from and ends the article suddenly claiming that this is the reason why seemingly “everyone” we know is getting cancer.

                    Now even if you had read this article and not been suspicious of its truthfulness already just based off its content there are plenty of other reasons to be . For instance, the article was posted as part of the “March Against Monsato” movement which is a radical group who would like to completely eradicate all GMOs from society but is specifically attacking the GMO producing corporation Monsato . So you would be hard pressed to say that the author, Tami Canal, isn’t at all biased against the food additive MSG. Also, the actual site on which the article is posted is full of advertisements like a GMO detox kit designed to “cleanse your body of all GMOs”, a personal quiz to determine your risk of cancer in 42 seconds, and claims to offer lifesaving information about “The Truth of Cancer” only for a limited time . It also asks you to subscribe to their newsletter, follow “March Against Monsato” on Instagram and Pinterest, and even tries to sell “March Against Monsato” t-shirts. The article offers no actual research to support its findings there are no links to other sites to back up their claims. This is clearly a subjective article and cannot be taken for fact given its lack of support and biased undertones.

                  Tami Canal clearly has some motivation other than informing the people about the “dangers” of MSG for writing this article. As the founder of “March Against Monsato” she wants her message to reach as far as it can and by writing this grossly exaggerated and scary article she can do that. By fabricating these absurd statistics and health effects with regards to MSG she is playing on people’s emotions to get them to read this article. By scaring her readers she gets them to overlook the flaws in this paper and hopefully join her movement which is her real reason for writing this article. And in the process she also harms the companies that use MSG and GMOs like Monsato since she is spreading the notion that MSG causes cancer and is silently hidden in nearly all of our foods.

MSG, Cancer, and Misinformation

Link: https://thetruthaboutcancer.com/the-brain-destroying-cancer-causing-ingredient-hidden-in-your-food/

Summary: This article states that MSG is a widespread and silent killer that has been hiding in our food destroying millions of people’s health. It goes on to say that MSG has been poisoning us hidden behind the names of other additives and that it acts as a toxin, exciting our brain cells to death. It claims that MSG has been linked to brain lesions, leptin insensitivity, obesity, sudden cardiac death, strokes, and that it promotes cancer growth. It concludes by saying that MSG is likely in almost all the food we have in our pantries and that we to only eat foods that are unprocessed.

Evaluation: This article contains misinformation because according to the FDA, “MSG in foods is generally recognized as safe and although many people identify themselves as sensitive to MSG, in studies with such individuals given MSG or a placebo, scientists have not been able to consistently trigger reactions.” The FDA also has received reports of symptoms such as headache and nausea after eating foods containing MSG. However, they were never able to confirm that the MSG caused the reported effects. Therefore, Mr. Bollinger’s article would appear to be full of misinformation.

Attribution: The author of this article, Ty Bollinger,  is an author, medical researcher, talk radio host, and health freedom advocate. After he lost several family members to cancer, he decided that chemotherapy, radiation, and surgery were not the most effective treatments available for cancer patients. He then started to learn all about alternative cancer treatments and the medical industry. He now believes that the majority of diseases, including cancer, can be prevented and even cured without drugs or surgery.

Spread: This misinformation spreads really fast because of the dramatic nature in which it is written. By saying that MSG causes cancer Bollinger invokes fear in his readers which is a powerful tool in relaying his message and spreading his misinformation. Being eccentric and exaggerating the health effects of MSG makes his message spread based on the fact that people are especially frightened of what they don’t know.

Benefit: It would appear that the only party benefiting from this article is the author. Ty Bollinger has more subliminal messages in this article than it would appear. By using this misinformation to grab people’s attention and getting them to read his work he is working towards building an audience in which he can spread his overall message about alternative medicine and how he believes that cancer can be prevented without drugs or surgery.

Harm: Once again, the people being hurt by this misinformation are the food companies and restaurants that utilize MSG as an additive in their food. Their profits will drop as they lose customers and their overall image will hurt since they will appear as if their product was inflicting thousands of people. Now while I don’t think Bollinger attacked these enterprises on purpose he did exploit them for his own personal gain.

Misinformation and MSG

Misinformation and MSG

Link: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/dr-mercola/msg-is-this-silent-killer_b_491502.html

Summary: In this article on the Huffington Post, Dr. Joseph Mercola writes about what he believes is the worst food additive on the market and is silently doing major damage to our health, MSG. He goes on to say that ingesting MSG causes a variety of detrimental health effects known as MSG Symptom Complex. Some symptoms he includes are numbness, burning sensation, tingling, nausea, drowsiness, and headache. He also claims that obesity and depression have been “linked” to MSG and that MSG overexcites your cells to the point of damage or even death, causing brain damage and potentially even leading to learning disabilities, Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, Lou Gehrig’s disease and others. He concludes his article by suggesting to avoid all contact with MSG and offers advice as to how to keep it out our body.

Evaluation: According to Medline Plus, an organization that works within the U.S. National Library of Medicine, “monosodium glutamate (MSG) has been blamed for the condition. (Chinese Restaurant Syndrome or MSG Complex Syndrome) However, this has not been proven to be the cause. They go on to say that, “There have been many studies that have failed to show a connection between MSG and the symptoms some people describe.” Furthermore, they state that, “Most people recover from mild cases of Chinese restaurant syndrome without treatment and have no lasting problems.” So clearly Dr. Mercola’s opinions on MSG are clearly outdated and very dramatic.

Attribution: The author, Dr. Joseph Mercola, is an author and physician. He believes in natural medicine and  founded The Natural Health Center which is known for its whole-body approach to medicine. He was voted the 2009 Ultimate Wellness Game Changer by the Huffington Post, and has been featured in TIME magazine, LA Times, CNN, and Fox News. He also founded the website Mercola.com to share his own health experiences and spread the word about natural ways to achieve optimal health. Mercola.com now has over one million subscribers.

Spread: This information circulates because Dr. Mercola has a big following of people who read his posts and believe what he says. He writes this piece with such an exaggerated and dramatic fashion that it instills fear into those who read it and thus it becomes a talking point and as a result all manner of rumors and misinformation spread as people fall into the trap of online discredibility and misinformation.

Benefit: The main beneficiary of this misinformation is Dr. Mercola himself. He draws all  this attention to himself by appearing to be a savior, a protector of the people who exposed the life-threatening MSG. He gets all the fame and press and he does it all on purpose knowing that because of his fan base his article will be read all over the country and his words will carry  far beyond just his subscribers and Huffington Post readers.

Harm: This misinformation particularly harms the food companies that use MSG in their food and especially Chinese restaurants as MSG is generally known to be used throughout Chinese cuisine. Their business will be very damaged as they will lose many customers and this harm is intentional  because Dr. Mercola is a huge supporter of natural medicine. Thus, he doesn’t want people to eat anything that isn’t 100% natural and he wants them to boycott the institutions he deems unnatural and unhealthy.