Bioidentical Hormones 101 
The Book, by Jeffrey Dach MD

Chapter 47. The Grocery Store as Mine Field, Avoiding the Dangers.

Minefield Fast Food in Hospitals Jeffrey Dach MD

Chapter 47. 

The Grocery Store as Mine Field, Avoiding the Dangers. Is Your Supermarket a Minefield?

Recently, I went shopping with my 11 year old nephew, and was shocked and unprepared for the experience.  Like other kids his age, he preferred diet sodas containing aspartame and Brominated Vegetable Oil (BVO).  He also preferred processed foods high in MSG (mono sodium glutamate). I found myself protesting his choices, explaining the dangers of food additives, and removing these items from the shopping cart as fast I could.  These food additives are harmful to health, and represent a minefield at the Supermarket waiting for the unsuspecting consumer.

Left Image: A U.S. Navy diver attaches charge to a training mine, during exercises, courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

Aspartame's Dubious Honor - Diet Sodas are a Mine Field

Since the 1981 approval as a food additive, aspartame has the dubious honor of the most complaints reported to the FDA's Adverse Reaction Monitoring System, accounting for 75 per cent of all complaints.(9)   Aspartame is a chemical sweetener in diet sodas such as Diet Coke and Diet Pepsi with names such as Nutrasweet™, Equal™, etc.  Little packets of aspartame are placed on the tables at restaurants for use as a coffee sweetener instead of sugar.  The aspartame industry has sponsored 74 aspartame safety studies, all showing aspartame consumption is safe.  When studies are done privately, with no connection to the aspartame industry or the FDA, 89 of 90 aspartame safety studies identified problems with aspartame use.(1) A disturbing 2007 study by Soffritti at the Ramazzini Institute in Italy showed aspartame to be a multipotential carcinogen.(2) 

Avoiding the Aspartame Mine Field

Many people drink diet sodas with the mistaken belief that diet sodas will help them lose weight.  A recent study shows this is a fallacy, finding a 41% increased risk of being overweight for every can or bottle of diet soft drink consumed daily.(8)  The sweetener aspartame activates receptors in the brain to expect sugar (glucose), when none is forthcoming, the aspartame user merely increases junk food and sugar intake.


MSG, Monosodium Glutamate, and Aspartame are neurotoxins.


MSG - Chinese Restaurant Syndrome

Forty years ago, my earliest experience with MSG (Mono Sodium Glutamate) during medical school was a headache after eating at a Chinese restaurant.  The MSG causes the Chinese Restaurant Syndrome.(3) Since my old medical school days, MSG has been added to thousands of products at the supermarket, and virtually all forms of fast food.  Much of this MSG is hidden and does not appear on the label.

MSG  and the Obesity Epidemic

MSG stands for mono sodium glutamate, and Glutamate is an excitatory neurotransmitter in the brain.  Upregulation (stimulation) of the Glutamate pathway leads to neuron cell damage and cell death. MSG is associated with lesions in the hypothalamus (11), directly causes obesity (4), and a host of somatic and neurological symptoms.  Laboratory mice studies show that MSG is a direct cause of obesity.  Is our obesity epidemic caused by increased MSG consumption in the population? 

Hidden Sources of MSG - It's Not On the Label.

Virtually all Fast Foods contain large amounts of  MSG, and many processed foods now contain MSG.  In other words, the processed food contains MSG in some form, yet the name MSG does not appear on the label. 

Aspartame and MSG - Fibromyalgia Double Whammy

Both Aspartame and MSG are excitatory neurotoxins.(6)  When aspartame and MSG are consumed together, as commonly found with fast food and diet sodas in the same meal, there can be a double whammy effect.  A 2001 report describes four patients with fibromyalgia syndrome unresponsive to medical treatment.(7)  These four patients noted complete resolution of chronic pain upon removing aspartame and MSG from the diet.(7)  In addition, a lengthy list of medical and neurological symptoms are associated with MSG and aspartame.  One syndrome includes slurred speech which looks like a TIA (transient ischemic attack).  This usually resolves after elimination of MSG and aspartame from the diet.  A 1981 study by Dhindsa showed that MSG administered to lab rats caused marked hypothyroidism with striking histology changes in the thyroid gland.(10)  A study presented at the 2011 American Stroke Association Conference showed daily diet soda consumption had a 61 percent higher risk of stroke.(57)

BVO- Brominated Vegetable Oil

Bromine (BVO) is a toxic substance added to sodas such as Mountain Dew, Gatorade, Powerade, Pineapple and Orange Fanta, Sun Drop, Squirt and Fresca.  Bromine directly competes with Iodine in the body causing thyroid problems and Iodine deficiency states.  BVO has been banned in India.

What About the FDA ?

The FDA is an agency of our government, and like all other agencies, is infiltrated and corrupted by corporate lobbyists.  Rather than an agency for the people, the FDA is an agency of the large corporations that manufacture food additives. The safety studies are manipulated to get FDA approval. And that's why the FDA cannot protect the American public from harmful food additives at our supermarket.

In Conclusion- Avoid the Minefield at the Supermarket

We have merely scratched the surface of harmful food additives to avoid at the Supermarket, concentrating on the excitatory neurotoxins Aspartame and MSG. There are other minefields at the grocery store to be avoided such as chemicalized food additives, flavorings, coloring, and trans-fats.  Genetically Modified Food (GMO) should be avoided as hazardous to health.

This article is part one of a series, for part two, click here.

For references and links, see my web site:

References for Chapter 47. The Grocery Store as Mine Field, Avoiding the Dangers

Aspartame: Diet-astrous Results By Rebecca Ephraim, RD, CCN , Weston

Soffritti M, Belpoggi F, Tibaldi E, Esposti DD, Lauriola M, 2007 Life-Span Exposure to Low Doses of Aspartame Beginning during Prenatal Life Increases Cancer Effects in Rats. Environ Health Perspect 115(9)

Science 21 February 1969:Vol. 163. no. 3869, pp. 826 – 828.  Monosodium L-Glutamate: Its Pharmacology and Role in the Chinese Restaurant Syndrome. Herbert H. Schaumburg et al.

Obesity (2008) 16 8, 1875–1880. doi: 10.1038/oby.2008.274 Association of Monosodium Glutamate Intake With Overweight in Chinese Adults: The INTERMAP Study

Aspartame and MSG Cause Painful Fibromyalgia Symptoms. Ann Pharmacother 2001 Jun;35(6):702-6 Relief of fibromyalgia symptoms following discontinuation of dietary excitotoxins. Smith JD et al.

Aspartame and MSG Cause Painful Fibromyalgia Symptoms.  Ann Pharmacother 2001 Jun;35(6):702-6. Relief of fibromyalgia symptoms following discontinuation of dietary excitotoxins.  Smith JD et al.

Drink More Diet Soda, Gain More Weight? Overweight Risk Soars 41% With Each Daily Can of Diet Soft Drink By Daniel J. DeNoon WebMD Health News. Reviewed by Charlotte E. Grayson Mathis

FDA Docket # 02P-0317 . Recall Aspartame as a Neurotoxic Drug.

Acta Anat (Basel). 1981;109(2):97-102. Histological changes in the thyroid gland induced by monosodium glutamate in mice. Dhindsa KS, Omran RG, Bhup R.

(10) J Toxicol Environ Health. 1976 Nov;2(2):471-80.
Hypothalamic morphology following ingestion of aspartame or MSG in the neonatal rodent and primate: a preliminary report. Reynolds WA, Butler V, Lemkey-Johnston N.

(11) The dirty dozen – 12 foods/food additives to avoid and why January 18, 2008. Food Democracy

High fructose corn syrup News (1-10 of 11) Cheat sheet: 20 worst food additives

(13) Food Additives to Avoid

(14) 12 Food Additives to Avoid , Dr Mercola.

(15) 10 Preservatives to Avoid

A review of Dr. Russell Blaylock’s book, “Excitotoxins: The taste that kills.”  

“The Dirty Dozen” details 12 foods/toxins which can pose serious health problems.

Dr. M.J. Wegmann.Posted April 8, 2009  Foods To Avoid . Huffington Post.

(19) Harmful Additives in Everyday Food: What You Should Know

Monosodium Glutamate (MSG) - Artificial Sweeteners (Aspartame)

(21) 24 Potentially Harmful Food Additives

(22) MSG Exposed

(23) Guide to Food Additives

(24) Food Additives - Protect Your Family From Cancer-Causing Chemicals

Here's some ammunition: Super Eco's list of the Top 20 food additives to avoid.

(26) What is brominated vegetable oil and why do soda companies put it in their drink?  By Matthew Alice, Thursday, July 29, 1999

(27) MSG - What is MSG and the Hidden Ingredients it lurks in March 5th, 2009

Obesity induced by neonatal monosodium glutamate treatment in spontaneously hypertensive rats: an animal model of multiple risk factors. Iwase M, Yamamoto M, Iino K, Ichikawa K, Shinohara N, Yoshinari Fujishima. Hypertens Res. 1998 Mar

 Hypothalamic lesion induced by injection of monosodium glutamate in suckling period and
subsequent development of obesity. Tanaka K, Shimada M, Nakao K, Kusunoki Exp Neurol. 1978 Oct

 A. Frieder, B, and Grimm, VE. Prenatal monosodium glutamate (MSG) treatment given through the mother’s diet causes behavioral deficits in rat offspring. Intern J Neurosci. 23:117-126,1984.

(31) Excitotoxins - The Taste That Kills’ By Dr. Russell L Blaylock, MD , Health Press, December 1, 1996.

Bunyan J, Elspeth A, Murrell A, Shah PP. The induction of obesity in rodents by means of monosodium glutamate.   British Journal of Nutrition 35(1976): 25-39.

Kanarek RB, Marks-Kaufman R. Increased carbohydrate consumption induced by neonatal administration of monosodium glutamate to rats. Neurobehavioral Toxicology Teratology 3(1981): 343-350

Nikoletseas MM. Obesity in exercising, hypophagic rats treated with monosodium glutamate. Physiology & Behavior 19(1977): 767-773.

Obesity (2008) 16 8, 1875–1880. Association of Monosodium Glutamate Intake With Overweight in Chinese Adults: The INTERMAP Study

Science. 1969 May 9;164(880):719-21.Brain lesions, obesity, and other disturbances in mice treated with monosodium glutamate. Olney JW.

Toxic Additives in Your Food and Drink Not Just Another Scare by Russell L. Blaylock, M.D.

Food Additives:What You Eat Can Kill You  by Russell L. Blaylock, M.D.

(38) //
Aspartame - Nutrasweet video on You tube

(39) //
Aspartame - the hidden poison for society- Viddeo on You Tube

The Obesity Epidemic: Should We Believe What We Read and Hear? By Jack L. Samuels. Weston Price.

(41) Reif-Lehrer, L. "A questionnaire study of the prevalence of Chinese restaurant syndrome." Fed. Proc. 36:1617-1623, 1977.

(42) Kenney, R. A. and Tidball, C. S. "Human susceptibility to oral monosodium L-glutamate." Am. J. Clin. Nutr. 25:140-146, 1972.

(43) Scopp, A. L. "MSG and hydrolyzed vegetable protein induced headache: a review and case studies." Headache. 31:107-110, 1991

(44) Allen, D. H. et al. "Monosodium L-glutamate-induced asthma." Journal of Allergy. 80: No 4, 530-537, 1987.

Aspartame  Disease: AN FDA-Approved Epidemic, by H. J. Roberts, M.D.

Tex Heart Inst J. 2004; 31(1): 105.  Aspartame Disease - A Possible Cause for Concomitant Graves' Disease and Pulmonary Hypertension. H. J. Roberts, MD.

J Neuropathol Exp Neurol. 1996 Nov;55(11):1115-23.  Increasing brain tumor rates: is there a link to aspartame? Olney JW et al.

Regul Toxicol Pharmacol. 2002 Apr;35(2 Pt 2):S1-93. Aspartame: review of safety. Butchko HH et al.

Aspartame: Diet-astrous Results By Rebecca Ephraim, RD, CCN  Weston Price

California Opens Proposition 65 File, Could Lead to aspartame State Suits re: Carcinogenic Properties by Stephen Fox.

J Toxicol Environ Health. 1976 Nov;2(2):471-80. Hypothalamic morphology following ingestion of aspartame or MSG in the neonatal rodent and primate: a preliminary report. Reynolds WA, Butler V, Lemkey-Johnston N.

Anat Rec. 1976 Oct;186(2):185-205. Monosodium glutamate induced lesions of the arcuate nucleus. I. Endocrine deficiency and ultrastructure of the median eminence.Holzwarth-McBride MA, Hurst EM, Knigge KM.

British Journal of Nutrition (1976), 35:25-39 The induction of obesity in rodents by means of monosodium glutamate. J. Bunyana et al.

Braz J Med Biol Res, May 1997, Volume 30(5) 671-674 . Monosodium glutamate (MSG)-obese rats develop glucose intolerance and insulin resistance to peripheral glucose uptake.  A.E. Hirata et al.

Oral Surg Oral Med Oral Pathol. 1991 May;71(5):560-4. Monosodium glutamate-related orofacial granulomatosis. Review and case report. Oliver AJ et al.

Allergol Immunopathol (Madr). 1988 Nov-Dec;16(6):425-8. Monosodium glutamate and skin pathology in pediatric allergology. Botey J et al.

Diet soda may raise odds of vascular events. American Stroke Association Meeting Report: Abstracts P55 and 25. Study Highlights: Drinking diet soda daily is linked to a higher risk of stroke, heart attack and vascular-related deaths. American Stroke Association’s International Stroke Conference 2011.

Author: Jeffrey Dach MD

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