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How Do You Make a Rat, Fat?
And what it means for you.

By Chuck Fenwick, Director Medical Corps

In the wild, rats and mice don't get fat. When they are full they stop eating.

Most animals, including humans, are like that. When we are full our brain says, "Stop Eating." And so we do. Enter the worldwide obesity epidemic, especially among European nations.

Why are people gaining weight? I know they are eating too much food, but the question begs to be asked, "Why are they eating too much food?"

While doing some studies on PubMed, National Institutes of Health, I kept running across research which involved "MSG treated" mice and rats. What stood out was not that researchers were researching monosodium glutamate (MSG), but that they injected or fed lab animals MSG to make them fat. That's how they do it.

It is a given in research that if you need a fat-rat then you give it MSG. Now that's interesting considering that MSG is often added to everything we eat.

It's found naturally in most food, but many food suppliers often add more of it to our food products. It makes bad food taste good. It makes good food taste better.

From the tree, one apple tastes good. The second apple doesn't taste quite as good and the third doesn't taste good at all because the body says, I'm full, don't give me another apple or I will give it back.

If you put MSG on the apples then the third one tastes as good as the first and your body won't give you the, "Stop Eating!" command. But, I think, that just doesn't make sense because my stomach gets full and I stop anyway.

Right, however, the body will adjust over a period of time and make room for the food by extending stomach capacity. From the body's perspective, it's still food and it makes sense to accommodate and store it for later use.

In medicine we call this process, establishing fat reserves. It's good to have fat reserves to carry you through times when you can't eat, like when you are sick or when no food is immediately available.

  Another point to consider is if indeed MSG would correspondingly affect humans then why would two people eating the same MSG laced food, not gain weight the same way.

The answer is, for the same reason that one drug does not always affect two people the same. Codeine makes one person drowsy while the other can't sleep because the codeine stimulates them. Similarly, some people seem to be ultra sensitive to MSG while others are not.

After finding out about the MSG Treated Fat-Rat, I wondered if MSG might cause other problems in mice and rats.

Causing Other Problems?

As a result, I started looking for other tox problems with MSG. Granted, rats aren't human and humans aren't rats (except for some of those people in Washington… okay, and possibly at least one of my ex sons-in-law), but we do use animal research to see if a new drug is dangerous.

With that in mind, if a standard research practice causes a rat to get fat then what else does MSG Treatment do to the animal?

I'll put this in human terms: MSG treated rats and mice produce offspring that have learning problems, eating disorders and need glasses because their eyesight isn't very good after the MSG treatment.

Examination of their hypothalamus shows they also suffer brain damage.

At the end of this article, I've included some of the research abstracts as examples.

Keep in mind what this article is about as well as what it is not about. It is about how to make a rat, fat. It is not about food industry conspiracies or how to lose weight.

The one thing I know for sure from the research is this: If you want to make a rat, fat then give it monosodium glutamate (MSG).

   Clinical Reference 1 :
Effects of monosodium glutamate-induced obesity in spontaneously hypertensive rats vs. Wistar Kyoto rats: serum leptin and blood flow to brown adipose tissue.

   Clinical Reference 2 :
Effect of perinatal monosodium glutamate administration on visual evoked potentials of juvenile and adult rats.

   Clinical Reference 3:
Effects of maternal oral administration of monosodium glutamate at a late stage of pregnancy on developing mouse fetal brain.

   Clinical Reference 4  Effect of monosodium glutamate given orally on appetite control (a new theory for the obesity epidemic.
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