There are those who claim that what we eat is not capable of influencing our behavior, or even the way our brain works. If, on the one hand, those who defend this perspective are forgetting examples such as alcohol, coffee or even some hallucinogenic mushrooms, on the other hand, they are forgetting that for many years we have stopped eating just “food”. it is full of compounds, more specifically food additives, and some of them are capable of altering brain function. Let’s take a closer look at some of these additives.
E621 or Monosodium Glutamate :
This food additive is classified as a flavor enhancer, and is responsible for the Umami taste. Yes, for those who don’t know, there are no longer just 4 tastes (salty, sweet, acid and bitter), there is a 5th called Umami, which can be translated to “Tasty”, and which is mainly given by an amino acid called glutamate.
There are different foods that are naturally rich in this amino acid (such as ripe tomatoes), but the food industry wanted to take advantage of this compound’s ability to make foods more flavorful and began to market the compound in concentrated form, so that everyone our cooking could be tastier. Monosodium Glutamate quickly became the secret of many small and great cooks. But this comes at a price for health…
When we ingest monosodium glutamate in concentrated form and used as a food additive, it is absorbed quickly, unlike the glutamate naturally present in food that is absorbed as the food is being digested. This rapid absorption conditions a rapid increase in the levels of glutamate in the blood, and consequently in the brain. Some of our neurons use glutamate to communicate with each other (these are called glutaminergic neurons), having an excitability effect. The entry of high amounts of glutamate into the brain can induce excessively high hyperexcitability at the level of these neurons capable of “listening” to glutamate, which can even induce neuronal death. Hyperactivity, migraines, nausea and vomiting are just some of the symptoms.
Currently this food additive can be found in different food products, and under different names. If you want to avoid it, read the labels carefully and avoid the words “monosodium glutamate”, “Sodium monoglutamate”, “yeast extract”, “hydrolyzed vegetable protein” or E621.
E 951 or Aspartame
This sweetener was discovered “by accident” in 1965, when trying to create a drug for the treatment of peptic ulcers, and is still with us today. Aspartame consists of 90% of two amino acids ( 50% phenylalanine and 40% aspartic acid ) and by 10% methanol. As in the case of glutamate (also an amino acid), when they are ingested as part of the food they are moderately absorbed, but in the form of free amino acids, they are absorbed too quickly, reaching the brain and inducing imbalances and hyperstimulation of the cells neural. Methanol constitutes the remaining 10% of aspartame, and its consumption is associated with symptoms such as headaches, fatigue, nausea, convulsions. This methanol can be transformed into another compound that is also very undesirable, called formaldehyde, which is known to be toxic to the brain and retina.
The consumption of this sweetener may be at the origin or aggravation from: headaches and migraines, depression, severe mood changes, memory loss, dizziness and balance changes, aggressive behavior, disorientation, hyperactivity, excitability, changes in vision, panic attacks, convulsions, changes in sleep and insomnia, memory loss, and even increased incidence of Alzheimer’s disease.
For all those who might argue “just a little bit is not bad”, did you know that there is a maximum recommended dose for consumption of this compound? And did you know that the labeling does not indicate any reference to the amount of aspartame contained in that food? that you exceeded your safe dose? With the 2 tablets you put in your coffee? With the flavored water you drank? With the “sugar-free” chewing gum? With the low-fat yogurt? Or was it just after sugar-free cookies? You’ll probably still have room for that sugar-free candy, for that Light gelatine, or for the Light juice for lunch… Or maybe you’ve already exceeded your dose with the pills you had for breakfast. With the amount of food products currently containing aspartame, if you are not aware,
It is undoubtedly a compound that, after giving you a sweet taste on the tongue, can give you a lot of bitterness. Start by reading the labels carefully and avoid all those that mention “aspartame” or E951.
Food colors: E102, E133 and E124
Food colors are here to stay: gums of all colors, brightly colored ice creams, juices and jellies and many other colorful examples have been trying to replace the colors of nature for a long time. Children’s parties are full of color, but when this color is contained in food, the result can be anything but colorful. The consumption of these food dyes is associated with childhood hyperactivity, triggering asthma attacks and eczema. Tartrazine or E102, Ponceau Red or E124 and Brilliant Blue or E133 are some of the names to avoid, but there are more!
Currently there are already dyes made from natural products that promise to color your child’s birthday party, without causing any discomfort.
Once you know this, our advice is for you to start using nature to give flavor and color to your dishes, using different aromatic herbs and spices, to sweeten your mouth opt for natural sweeteners such as stevia or xylitol and for coloring your children’s parties, use food coloring made from natural compounds.