Learn more to explain the Maggi news to your children

 The Chinese food lovers are facing a tough time as the most popular two minutes Maggi noodles faces ban. The tasty noodles was not only famous among food lovers but also among the working population for ease of preparation.

Maggi was first introduced in India in 1980’s by Nestle. Ever since its introduction, Maggi had occupied the Indian market and was till recently, the number one trusted brand for instant noodles along with its associated products like Maggi masala, soup mixes and others. 
Why Maggi is considered unsafe?
Recently, an officer from UP Food Safety and Drug Administration conducted tests on Maggi samples and the results confirmed the presence of important food additive MSG and Lead in impermissible levels against the claims of Nestle that the product doesn’t contain any MSG.
Based on the reports from UP, nationwide tests were ordered by Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI).  These tests have confirmed the presence of MSG and Lead in impermissible levels followed by the ban from few states of India, Nestlé’s withdrawal of the product from shelves and the celebrities who endorsed the brand facing trial.
What is MSG? How does it affect the health?
MSG is the short form of Monosodium Glutamate, a naturally occurring nonessential amino acid found in vegetables, mushroom, cheese and other foods.
MSG is used as a flavor enhancer with umami taste – meaty, savory flavor of food which is commonly added in Chinese food, processed vegies and processed food to make food delicious.
Though U.S. Food and Drug Administration has declared MSG as Generally Recognized As Safe, the use of MSG as food additive is still controversial due to anecdotal reports.
Typical MSG complaints include:

  1. Weakness in arms
  2. Hypersensitivity / Allergic reactions
  3. Stomach and abdominal pain
  4. Head ache
  5. Numbness, tingling or burning sensation on face and neck
  6. Weakness and nausea

Research conducted in various parts of world confirmed that there is no link between symptoms mentioned and MSG, though some small population of consumers may have mild effects.
Facts of MSG
Now that we have heard so much about MSG as a bad food additive, it’s time to know why it is important and safe food additive, its role in body metabolism and maintenance.
MSG is best for people with low sodium diet as it balances the flavor of the food reducing the salt intake. Replacing the common salt with MSG is known to reduce 40% of sodium in food while still maintaining the flavor.
Glutamate is nonessential amino acid. It simply means that this amino acid is manufactured within the cells of the body and hence the food we take need not essentially contain this amino acid. Glutamate occurs naturally in vegetables, dairy products, mushroom and so on.  Most of the glutamate made by body or consumed, is rapidly metabolized in the gut and is used as energy source and for number of other body building processes.
The question which is not answered by the opponents of MSG is that when the body is making and using it, why should an MSG added externally be harmful and dangerous to human health?
Research confirms that the human body does not distinguish between the glutamate manufactured within body cells and that added externally.  Also to be noted is that only a small amount of MSG is added to enhance the flavor and that it does not bring anything else to food.
The research papers also fail to show any connection between MSG and adverse health effects. In fact, MSG gives the benefit of umami taste, which in turn is known to improve overall health of individuals.
How did the “Bad MSG” originate?
It all started with the letter written by Robert Ho Man Kwok in 1968, to The New England Journal of Medicine where he uses a term “Chinese Restaurant Syndrome” to refer the symptoms he experienced after having food in a Chinese restaurant. The chief food ingredient in Chinese food was found to be MSG and it was held responsible for the symptoms Robert Ho experienced after having the food.Web designing in vizag Web designing in rajahmundry Web designing in kakinada
This incident sparked mixed response and lead to further research on MSG, followed by FDA declaring it safe.  But unfortunately, the bad name still persists.
Lead as contaminant
Lead is a naturally occurring toxic element which when ingested or inhaled by living organisms, causes serious health issues, particularly the nervous system. WHO claims that lead poisoning accounts to about 143000 deaths per year most of it occurring in the developing regions. The sad part about lead poisoning is that there is no level of lead exposure which is considered to be safe. There are various methods through which one can be exposed to lead poisoning like water, air, food, underground water and others.
It is still unclear as to how Maggie noodles got contaminated with lead. Experts are in action to find out the source of contamination and say that the method of processing must have exposed the product for lead contamination.
Whatsoever, the detection of lead in Maggi samples is a matter of serious concern which has forced some state governments to ban the product.
What’s Your Opinion?
The ban is on one brand of instant noodles. Does that mean other brands are safe?
What is the nutritional value of noodles?
Even after the approval of FDA, even when the scientific research failed to prove MSG as harmful additive, why do people continue to condemn MSG?
What are the other food additives which are harmful? Are we eating healthy?
Is it important to be careful about the ingredient list on the food pack?
What is your opinion?
Are you aware of truth or you simply accept the news the media spreads?  Scientific and critical thinking is a very necessary talent in the fast growing world in order to save ourselves from misguiding forces of society. So, investigate before you accept.

“The food you eat can be either the safest and most powerful form of medicine or the slowest form of poison”       Ann Wigmore


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