The fast food industry now uses hundreds of modified food compounds as biochemical triggers to increase appetite and food cravings. Fast food chains such as McDonald’s spend vast amounts of money in this new food science of using addictive substances to keep their customers munching.

For instance, the chemical compound that gives popcorn its aroma is modified to make it more powerfully addictive.  Other compounds that cause many people to overeat are derived from yeast.

Individuals vary in their genetics and biochemistry.  Some people’s biochemical makeup will react to some types of appetite stimulants, and other people will react to other types of these food compounds that will cause them to want to keep eating the food.  The most popular junk foods often have a broad range of appetite stimulants (Oreo cookies have 23) that will increase the appetites of the majority of the population.

These substances used in junk food contribute to weight problems, depression, attention deficit disorder, mood disorders and alcoholism.  In research, the rats used as controls were fed nutritious food.  Given a choice of water and alcohol to drink, these rats chose water.  Rats fed junk food chose alcohol to drink over water.

The glutamic acid in the form of MSG and Aspartame (Nutrasweet) is a nervous system “excitotoxin” that cause brain cell death especially in the hypothalamus that controls appetite.  Both MSG and Aspartame cause hunger soon after consuming them.  The destruction of neurons in the brain contributes a susceptibility to neurological diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease, ALS and seizures.

In children, it can cause developmental brain defects including learning disorders, ADD and ADHD and autism.  (The man-made glutamic acid is not the same as the l-glutamine found in protein foods and amino acid supplements.  L-glutamine is a beneficial molecule.)

As with other toxins, MSG attacks one’s weakest physical areas, and can cause or contribute to: migraine headaches, balance difficulties, shortness of breath, asthma, rapid or irregular heartbeat, chest tightness or pain, stomach and/or intestinal discomfort, JOINT PAIN, MUSCLE STIFFNESS AND ACHINESS, rashes, sinusitis, depression and schizophrenia.

MSG is the third most common flavoring in commercially prepared foods, after salt and pepper.  A major source is commercial bouillon powder and cubes.  In the ingredients lists on labels, MSG can be hidden as “TVP” (texturized vegetable protein),  “natural flavoring”, “broth flavoring”, “natural beef or chicken flavoring”, “spices”, “seasoning”, and “malt extract” and maltodextrin.  Other sources of, and names for MSG: Accent, Vest, Gourmet Powder, Chinese seasoning, HVP (hydrolyzed vegetable protein), soy protein isolate, whey protein isolate and sodium and calcium caseinates.  American beer made for American distribution is often spiked with it (not imported German beer).  It’s even added to some ice creams without having to be on the label.  Some manufacturers have the audacity to put “No MSG” on the labels of foods that contain it in the form of hydrolyzed proteins.

Aspartame (Nutrasweet) contributes to: headaches/migraines, dizziness, insomnia, numbness or shooting pains, blurred vision and other eye problems, ringing in the ears, asthma/chest tightness, memory loss, anxiety, depression, personality changes, stomach or abdominal pain, muscle cramps, menstrual cramps, seizures, skin rashes, hormonal problems, uterine polyps, birth defects, blood sugar problems, fatigue, low brain seratonin, irreversible brain lesions, brain cancer (especially lymphomas), and neurological diseases such as MS, ALS and Parkinson’s.   In 1986, The American Cancer Society documented that persons using artificial sweeteners gain more weight than those who avoid them.

Splenda (Sucralose) is a chlorocarbon (such as found in pesticides.)  Chlorocarbons have long been known to cause organ, genetic and reproductive damage. Splenda also causes liver enlargement, and kidney swelling and calcification, with the symptoms of kidney pain, cramping and irritated bladder.  It also causes atrophy of the lymph follicles in the thymus and spleen (our immune system) and decreases the red blood cell count.  When my patients go off all Splenda, chronic pain often clears up.

Puffing grains produces toxic substances and destroys lysine and other essential amino acids.  Eating puffed grain products (including rice cakes) causes protein loss in the urine, which leads to muscle wasting.

To get children (of any age) off junk food: For 4 weeks, eat a diet of fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains and pure protein foods, specifically consuming no food additives. After a month, record how you feel.  Then have a day of eating one’s favorite junk foods.  That evening and for 3 days after, record how you feel – mood, head, stomach, muscles and bones, sleep.  Now, you know.

Beating the Food Giants by Paul Stitt.
Excitotoxins: The Taste that Kills by Russell Blaylock, MD.
Fast Food Nation by Eric Schlosser.
In Bad Taste: The MSG Symptom Complex by George Schwartz, M.D., and Kalthleen Schwartz.
The Bitter Truth about Artificial Sweeteners by Dennis Remington, M.D. and Barbara Higa, R.D.
Truth in Labeling Campaign, PO Box, 2532, Darien, IL 60561, (312) 642-9333.