I was upset recently when I found out that my son’s beloved snack, Annie’s Cheddar Bunnies, has yeast extract as an ingredient! I feel silly that I just realized this recently. Yeast extract always contains MSG (Monosodium Glutamate) which is a food additive that can cause many problems. We avoid MSG like the plague and I read ingredient labels on everything, even at Whole Foods and other health stores. I am even very knowledgeable about “weird” sounding ingredients and I *knew* what yeast extract was. Yet for over a year, my eyes missed it on the nutrition label.

From Mercola.com:

MSG is an excitotoxin, which means that it overexcites your cells to the point of damage, acting as a poison.

MSG is also a probable cause contributing to the obesity epidemic. As the FDA continues to vouch for its safety, scientists have known that MSG causes obesity since the 1960s!

It is clearly not worth a few bites of tasty junk food to give your body the green light to produce visceral fat, the most dangerous type that surrounds your organs and increases your risk of heart attack, stroke, insomnia, type 2 diabetes, and more.

Yet, that is exactly what you’re doing when you eat foods that contain MSG.

I called Annie’s and talked to the customer service representative. He admitted that yeast extract does contain MSG, but tried to explain how low of an amount it is. I mentioned how I thought it was deceitful and unethical and I didn’t think their statement on the box which reads “No icky additives or pesky preservatives” was truthful labeling. He replied that yeast extract is not an additive and it’s “like adding salt”. He also went on to talk about glutamate that occurs naturally in foods like tomatoes and corn, and tried to convince me that it was the same as the MSG in yeast extract. He did get a bit of an attitude and asked me if I stopped eating foods like tomatoes, corn, and fish due to the glutamate they contain. How can someone try to compare a naturally occurring item to a manufactured one? Sorry, that doesn’t work for me.

At any rate, I wasn’t going to argue with him. I just asked him to record my wishes that Annie’s remove yeast extract from all their products. And I informed him that I would no longer purchase Annie’s products and would do my part to let everyone else know about this.

It’s a very deceptive practice, in my opinion. According to NaturalNews.com, using yeast extract (instead of MSG) is a common practice among “health foods” manufacturers. Many people who shop regular grocery stores may not know or care about MSG in their food, so products still contain it and label it as such. But health-savvy customers know to avoid MSG-containing products. So what do manufacturers do? They use ingredients with different names, like yeast extract. Check out this list of hidden sources of MSG. Why do they use it? Simple – money. It’s cheap and makes the food taste good.

Let’s let Annie’s know what we think of this practice. Call them or write on their website to ask them to remove yeast extract from their products.

Since we believe in “voting with our dollars”, we no longer buy any Annie’s products, even ones that don’t contain yeast extract. I took back the four boxes of cheddar bunnies we had to the store and now I’m searching for an easy, portable, alternative snack for my son. Yes, ideally we shouldn’t eat any processed food, even “healthy” ones; real foods are best. But sometimes it’s nice to have an easy snack to give to my son, especially if we are out and about.

In just a few minutes’ time, I was able to do an online search and find many recipes for cheddar crackers. Some of them don’t seem too bad so I am excited to try them! Yes, it seems that if you want any decent food, you have to  make it yourself. I am going to pick a recipe (probably one of the first two below) and make it in the near future and will report back here with the results. Here are a few of the recipes I found, but there are many more online:

Look at the ingredients in these recipes; surely Annie’s can figure out a new recipe for their cheddar bunnies that does not contain yeast extract. Come on Annie’s, step up to the plate!

In case anyone wants more info on MSG, here are some links:

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