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Book Review "The food lie" by Hans-Ulrich Grimm

Industrial food is harmful because glutamate and sweeteners harm the enteric nervous system, or the second brain, and the brain.

Illustration of book "Die Ernährungslüge" by H-U Grimm with text on the right side.© CC-by 2.0, Collage Catalina Sparleanu, PhD, Foundation Diet and Health Switzerland


In this book, the author informs us about foods that cause harm to our brain and gastrointestinal tract (enteric nervous system, ENS). The culprits are convenience foods and ready-made preparations such as sauces and artificial flavorings, as well as soft drinks and too many sweets.

Hans-Ulrich Grimm pays special attention to monosodium glutamate and sweeteners, especially aspartame, but also deals with "Rita.." ("methylphenida..") and specific additives. He explains some of the side effects caused by consuming these substances.

It is, however, also important to know that monosodium glutamate is a salt of one of the amino acids and is present in almost all foods that contain protein. Only a minority of people suffer ill effects when they consume processed “free,” or unbound, glutamate.

A number of researchers have found processed glutamate to be the root of problems in children and adolescents with behavioral issues. Cooking, drying, and fermenting cause the cell membranes of bound glutamate to split, thus producing free glutamate.

The book highlights case studies from the print media, such as the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (FAZ), Neue Zürcher Zeitung (NZZ), The New York Times, Der Spiegel, Die Zeit, and New Scientist.

Grimm selected only cases that have been substantiated by authenticated scientific evidence and cites the authors of each of these scientific papers. The book is therefore a comprehensive look at, or if you like, a sort of meta-analysis of the subject. Wherever possible, the food industry portrays an entirely different perspective (See also medicine and evidence-based medicine).

The book “Die Ernährungslüge” (The diet lie) also shows how and why industrial food production causes harm, and that despite this harm, the trend is moving toward industrial foods. The book informs consumers of the importance of going back to a diet based on natural foods.

See also this book review on the harmfulness of milk — or even better the book review on Milch besser nicht! (Milk, better not!) by Maria Rollinger.

1. Summary

There is growing consensus in the scientific community that nutrition can permanently change the chemistry of the brain. However, neurotoxicity testing of food additives is still not carried out on a wide enough scale. Through industrial processing, many harmful chemicals are added to foods in order to prolong shelf life and enhance taste — with no regard to their impact on human health.

These additives can lead to an increase in speech, language disorders, autism, and attention deficit disorders in children and depression, multiple sclerosis (MS), Parkinson’s, and Alzheimer’s disease in adults.

Fear, aggression, psychiatric illnesses, and the way our brains experience feelings are also determined by changes in brain chemistry, which in turn are triggered by food and drugs.

Grimm reveals many ways in which the gut (considered to be “our second brain”) affects people’s health, behaviors, and emotions. From this perspective, leaky gut syndrome (an imbalance in the gut flora and a damaged gastrointestinal wall) is considered to be the cause of diseases such as autism, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, and multiple sclerosis.

Here are some of the most important facts aimed to help the reader avoid the harmful effects of the drugs and food additives currently promoted by the industry:

  • Eating gluten- and dairy-free diet (GFCF), along with avoiding certain kinds of additives, can lead to an improvement in ADHD symptoms, which is equivalent to 70 to 90 percent of that achieved with the drug "Rita..".
  • Called “the flavor that kills brain cells,” monosodium glutamate is one of the food additives that act as a neurotoxin and is a common factor in many neurodegenerative diseases.
  • Despite many fake studies that present it as a “safe additive,” the sweetener aspartame can cause side effects such as headaches, dizziness, short-term memory loss, endocrine malfunctions, and disruptions in sexual functions.
  • The consumption of sugar in cola, sweetened drinks, and chocolate bars causes high spikes in blood glucose levels, which are followed by sleepiness, lethargy, and decreased memory recall. In the long term, these products can become addictive and may also cause diabetes.
  • By promoting the absorption of aluminum and lead in the brain, citric acid is also a dangerous additive that unfortunately is used in large quantities by the food industry.
  • Other dangerous food additives that should be avoided include the following: sorbitan monolaurate (E number: E493), sorbitan monooleate (E number: E494), the emulsifiers E470 and E476, the sweeteners "mannit.." (E421), lactitol (E966), and isomalt (E953), guaran or guar gum, (E412), the E numbers E466 (carboxymethyl cellulose, CMC, or cellulose gum) through E469, carrageenan, (carrageenins, E number: E407), and sulfites (E220 through E228).

A list of recommended further reading on the food industry can be found in the book reviews Lügen, Lobbies, Lebensmittel (Lies, lobbies, food), and Salt Sugar Fat.

Contents and notes
The Cover and Blurb
About the author

2. Book review

The book focuses essentially on the brain and the enteric nervous system (ENS) or the “brain in the gut.” As in the case of cancer, scientists have long claimed that the increase in the incidence of Alzheimer’s disease and dementia are simply a result of a longer life expectancy. This book reveals new information to the contrary.

2.1. A Blow to the Brain

Policymakers greatly underestimate how harmful today’s poor nutrition is to the brain, explains Dr. Beyreuther. The lack of neurotoxicity testing of food additives is especially tragic, he believes.

Many nutrients that are essential to the brain are removed from foods during industrial food processing, while chemicals are added that are harmful to the brain.

Beyreuther has noticed that the diet of many Alzheimer’s patients differs greatly to that of healthy people. He tells of one Alzheimer’s patient who reports having always eaten canned fruits and vegetables in jars, and who shopped her whole life at Aldi and never at farmer’s markets (p. 15).

If the most recent findings in the field of neuroscience are anything to go by, supermarkets, according to Grimm, are high-risk obstacle courses full of products which cause loss of brain cells (cerebral atrophy).

A frowning man bites in a junk food biscuit: are we eating us stupid?© CC-by 2.0, Collage Catalina Sparleanu, PhD, Foundation Diet and Health Switzerland

Are we eating ourselves stupid? he asks. We have an imminent worldwide epidemic, warns Edward Truschke, president of the Alzheimer’s Association (United States) (p. 16).

Alzheimer’s Disease

Several modern studies show how healthy, or unhealthy, children’s brains are.

One in five first graders has a speech, language, or voice disorder, says Klaus Ring, managing director of the reading foundation ‘Stiftung Lesen’ in Mainz, Germany (p. 19).

Children today consume many chemicals with their food. This was not the case in the past. Far too many children suffer from such conditions as autism and Lou Gehrig’s disease (Amyotropic lateral sclerosis — ALS). And there are many more cases of depression and multiple sclerosis (MS), as well as Parkinson’s disease or Alzheimer's disease in adults.

Scientific evidence that proves we are losing mental capacity

Dr. Christopher Williams, PhD, a colleague of Crawford’s, blames industrial farming practices for the decrease in the average IQ. While high-performance fertilizers and pesticides hugely increase yield, they also greatly reduce the amount of nutrients in foods that are essential to healthy brain function. This has resulted in changes in the brain, according to Williams.

A child’s early experiences and nutrition are crucial to brain function in later life

The book highlights the fact that citric acid, which is used as a food additive in many foods, colas, and Haribo gummy bears promotes the absorption of aluminum in the brain. This is believed to be one of the factors that cause Alzheimer’s. Note: Aluminum is also known as additive E173.

2.2. Bizarre Behavior

The author tells the story of a young boy who suffers from autism (from Karyn Seroussi), and notes: Obviously what we eat plays a huge role, and it plays a huge role that foods are increasingly moving away from their natural state. If there is an increasing amount of chemicals in the foods we consume on a daily basis, it makes sense that our body chemistry might sooner or later go awry and ultimately out of control (p. 35).

Dramatic increase in the incidence of autism

Unfortunately, other personality disorders are also increasing at an alarming rate. In 2001, the WHO reported that there were 450 million people with psychological disorders and behavior problems. See also the Thomas theorem (p. 37).

Tired head with hand in front of face: The pleasure deficiency syndrome, Dr. Paul Pearsall. Collage.© CC-by 2.0, Collage Catalina Sparleanu, PhD, Pixabay

Children suffer from fear and developing aggression.

Only recently have studies emerged showing that fear and aggression are correlated with food chemistry.

Andrew Stoll, MD, director of the Pharmacology Research Laboratory at McLean Hospital in Belmont, Massachusetts (see also above), believes that the huge changes in our food have led to the increasing rates of psychiatric illnesses in the Western world.

Doctor and psychotherapist, Dr. Josef Zehentbauer believes that the balance of chemical messengers in the brain determines our personality: Brain chemistry shapes feelings, allows us to experience things like love and hate, aversions and aggressions, dreams and desires, and envy and jealousy. It allows us to move and act, and to remember nice experiences and block out the horrible ones.

There are said to be 10'000 different brain chemicals — hormones and chemical messengers which are a sort of “personality code.” Drugs alter these to a great extent, at least temporarily (p. 39).

Michael A. Crawford believes that our ancestors’ brains weighed between 400 and 500 grams and that this has increased to 1'500 grams over time. He attributes this to the consumption of omega-3 fatty acids in fish, from the freshwater lakes of Africa as well as from rivers and the sea. This is, however, easy to refute. See note.

We don’t need animal sources for omega-3

According to brain researcher Dr. Richard J. Davidson of the University of Wisconsin, faulty brain circuitry may underlie at least the impulsive form of aggression. These neural circuits are what regulate our emotions. The brain serotonin system is damaged (p. 43).

The aforementioned author Karyn Seroussi and also Verena Karg from Leimen, Germany, both of whom have children with Asperger’s Syndrome, were able to prove that their children’s conditions were related to the consumption of milk and dairy products. They noticed that milk caused bloated bellies and bad breath and that without milk these symptoms disappeared and the children’s behavior was normal.

Dairy products and gluten worsen the symptoms of autism.

In the 1960s, Dr. F. Curtis Dohan found a connection between schizophrenia and the consumption of milk and grains. The GFCF diet, a completely gluten- and casein-free diet, has since been gaining popularity, at least in the United States.

The history of research into the seat of the soul and mind

Experts believe that autism is a very particular form of food intolerance. Peptides cause problems in the brain and cause an almost addictive craving for the harmful substances (p. 49). The food intolerance in turn can be explained by leaky gut syndrome.

Grimm lists convenience foods such as mashed potatoes sold by the companies Pfanni and Maggi as culprits. He advises that we not only avoid dairy products and gluten, but also all food additives that are harmful to the gut.

GFCF (gluten-free casein-free diet) - positive results

2.3. High as the Sky — Glutamate

The author sees the flavor enhancer glutamate as especially harmful, calling it the flavor that can kill brain cells. He quotes the renowned and highly distinguished scientist Professor Konrad Beyreuther (born 1941, promoted to professor in the area of genetics): Glutamate is a neurotoxin, and an overstimulation of glutamate receptors is a critical indicator in all neurodegenerative diseases (p. 28).

It has been proven that the artificial sweetener (sugar substitute) aspartame (E 951) has similar effects to glutamate. Beyreuther carried out tests using the drug LSD (lysergic acid diethylamide) to show how quickly the brain is affected.

The results showed that it only takes eight or ten molecules of the drug before the brain gets out of whack (p. 30).

Collage of a pack of glutamate, heap of glutamate and more packages with text.© CC-by 3.0, Collage Catalina Sparleanu, PhD, Fastily, Ninosan, Dynomat

The risks and uses of glutamate as a food additiv

Wikipedia lists the following additional substances as neurotoxins: alcohol, "atropi..", "botulin.. toxin", caffeine, and nicotine. Despite the fact that glutamate causes obesity and other diseases, 1.5 million tons of the additive was produced by the food industry in 2003 — with an increasing tendency. Glutamate is a white powder, and is also available as such.

In Japan, the word umami denotes the quintessence of savory food.


Those in the food business love monosodium glutamate, which is also known with the molecular formula C5H8NNaO4. If you eat in canteens or in restaurants, chances are you’ll be eating glutamate (p. 58).

Grimm says, You can’t avoid glutamate if you like to buy convenience foods and other treats from the supermarket.

He gives a list of foods that contain glutamate and also points out that glutamate is often hidden under other names such as sodium glutamate, the E numbers E621 to E625, or simply under the term “flavor enhancer.”

Even the word “flavor” alone may be used on labels of products that contain up to 30% glutamate content.

Other hidden sources of glutamate and restless legs syndrome

Glutamic acid was first isolated from wheat gluten in 1866 by German chemist Karl Heinrich Leopold Ritthausen. In 1908, Japanese chemist Kikunae Ikeda discovered why his tofu tasted much better with a spoonful of seaweed broth than in its natural form. And a year later, the Japanese food and chemical corporation Ajinomoto started manufacturing monosodium glutamate.

The history of MSG

Just as there are studies that highlight the dangers of glutamate in food, there are also studies that aim to disprove these. The food industry has a huge stake in the matter, and the last thing they want is that the harmful effects of glutamate be recognized by regulatory authorities and policymakers. The best strategy in this case is to hire renowned scientists to prove that it is harmless.

H.U. Grimm points out how this is done and shows how statistics can be manipulated to prove something that isn’t true.

How statistics can be manipulated to prove something that isn’t true and conferences on controversial scientific topics

There are three chemical substances which produce “umami.” These are monosodium glutamate (MSG), disodium inosinate (IMP), and disodium gluanylate (GMP).

MSG is the simplest way to add umami, the fifth taste, to food. Only certain animals have umami receptors. Seaweed contains the highest amount of MSG. It is important to distinguish between free and bound MSG.

If you eat glutamate together with, or after, rice, the negative side effects associated with consuming MSG are not felt. This is why the Japanese and Chinese eat soup after eating rice.

Bento Boxes in a Japanese Convenience Store.© CC-by-sa 2.0, Martin Lewison, Wikipedia

"As a general rule, all types of convenience foods contain MSG. There are particularly large amounts of it in frozen foods, savory munchies, spice blends, canned and packaged soup, powdered sauces, and sausage and ham."
Recommended Reading

2.4. The Sweet Club

Starting on page 79, Grimm discusses money and power, and how the food industry deals with criticism. He focuses here, in particular, on the views of scientist and toxicologist Dr. Hermann Kruse of Kiel University in Germany.

Redaction comment

You can also watch a YouTube video from Kruse on the topic called "Desinformation als Prinzip" (Misinformation as a principle, from December 12, 2012, in German only) and a video in which he discusses the problems with other food additives such as acrylamide.

A further topic discussed is how the sweetener aspartame can cause side effects such as headaches, dizziness, and short-term memory loss. Like glutamate, aspartame attacks the brain’s control center. Aspartame-containing products include Equal and Canderel, both manufactured by The NutraSweet Company (p. 82).

In the case of aspartame, it was determined that the industry had submitted fake information to the FDA

Retired neurosurgeon Dr. Russell L. Blaylock believes that very high levels of aspartame can even cause epileptic seizures and schizophrenia. Many aviation and Navy magazines have published articles warning pilots of the dangers of aspartame in the cockpit, and over 600 pilots have reported such symptoms. The NutraSweet Company attempted to ban John W. Olney’s findings (p.88). Despite evidence to the contrary, Friedrich K. Trefz, MD, of the University of Tübingen, Germany, managed to pronounce aspartame as harmless and testified that it is one of the best researched additives on the market.

More fake studies about aspartame

How aspartame was approved is a lesson in how chemical and pharmaceutical companies can manipulate government agencies, bribe organizations, and flood the scientific community with flawed and fraudulent studies, says aspartame critic Mark D. Gold.

FDA scientist Jacqueline Verrett goes so far as to call it a disaster. The Bressler-Report, named after former head of the FDA investigative task force Jerome Bressler, presents some of the flaws and frauds that were submitted to the FDA and led to the successful approval of aspartame.

The main points of the report

2.5. Next to Nothing

In this chapter, the author discusses powdered baby formula and children going to school on an empty stomach. According to researcher Stig Bengmark, MD, PhD, babies fed baby formula have on average an IQ (intelligence quotient) that is 10 % lower than those who are breast-fed.

The author shows that baby food in jars, for example, pureed carrot, potato, and beef mixtures, are deficient in iron, fat, and vitamins. The author gives reasons and compares foods. He also shows that children who go to school on an empty stomach perform comparatively worse.

Industrially produced baby food in jars is nothing other than preserved food

Grimm also discusses how the regular consumption of fast food puts the health of children and teenagers at risk. This happens because these foods contain high levels of phosphate, which binds with zinc, interfering with its absorption in the body.

Insulin syringe heaped over a spoon with sugar. Diabetes can not be reduced by this.© CC0, Myriams-Fotos, Pixabay

Grimm quotes U.S. author Kenneth Giuffre, who is especially critical of the way products such as cola, sweetened drinks, and chocolate bars cause spikes in blood glucose levels. They cause a short-lived improvement in concentration, alertness, and lucidity. However, as the level of serotonin rises this is soon replaced by sleepiness, lethargy, and decreased memory recall.

The author also discusses how these products are addictive and how they activate the same areas of the brain that are activated in drug use.

The spikes in blood glucose level

Citric acid (E330) is also discussed by the author, who shows how it attacks not only the teeth, but also the brain.

Grimm explains how citric acid increases aluminum and lead absorption in the brain.

Citric acid is used in unnaturally large quantities by the food industry to conserve and homogenize food, and also as an acidifier. It is only in these quantities that it is harmful.


2.6. More Than Scary

The subtitle of this chapter translates as “Children on Drugs — the "R-Experiment".”

"Rita." is classified by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) as a Schedule 2 narcotic, as is cocaine. The only substance classified higher is heroin.

"Rita.." is a trading name for "methylphenida..", which is an amphetamine.


Based on a book on ADS by Elisabeth Aust-Claus and Petra-Marina Hammer called "Das ADS-Buch", (The ADS book, 1999), Grimm very clearly shows the effect such conditions have on children.

Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) / attention deficit disorder (ADD) / hyperkinetic syndrome (HKS)

Grimm explains how small amounts of any drug can have positive effects in the initial stages. However, he emphasizes that negative side effects are usually experienced when larger doses are taken. He mentions several artists as examples, including the author Ernest Hemingway, who experimented with drugs to escape to another world.

Grimm tells us how the Absinthe Murders of 1905 (by Jean Lanfray) led to the drink being banned. In 1998 the drink, also known as the green fairy, was reapproved in the EU, and in 2005, Swiss policymakers thought they should follow suit. The authorities are well aware of the fact that absinthe can cause physical and mental harm, as noted in the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (FAZ).


Grimm also explains how drugs like ecstasy (MDMA), heroin (street names: H, smack, boy, horse, brown, black, tar, and others), and cannabis (marijuana) were first used as medicines.

In the nineteenth century, Bayer AG sold heroin legally as a cough suppressant. It wasn’t until addictive properties (substance dependence) were evidenced that policymakers were prompted to ban certain drugs — or to tax them highly.

The author points out that "R-package" inserts warn of possible side effects, including high risks of drug dependency. According to the author, children taken off "Rita.." after many years will be confronted with exactly the same problems they had when the drug was first prescribed.

Only the child is no longer a child, but rather an adolescent who has emotionally remained on the level of a child. Grimm gives examples to support his claim.

He lists the possible psychological changes and the increased risk of Parkinson’s disease later in life, as was hypothesized by Göttingen neurobiologist Gerald Hüther.

Collage with Ritalin Tablets with Text: Methods to Avoid Ritalin.© CC-by 2.0, Collage Catalina Sparleanu, PhD, Foundation Diet and Health Switzerland

He then discusses the case of Vreni Kälin, who on the recommendation of a Swiss working group on food and behavior, Arbeitskreis Ernährung und Verhalten (AEV), removed all sugar and dairy from her child’s diet. She achieved great improvements without using "Rita..". This is in line with numerous scientific studies showing how food affects the behavior of hyperactive children.

A new food plan for the school children

2.7. Straight from the Can

In this chapter we learn of the correlation between how our eating habits have changed and the alarming increase in illnesses such as Alzheimer’s. According to Edward Trischke, president of the Alzheimer’s Association (U.S.) (, We have an imminent worldwide epidemic.

Alzheimer’s and How Food Destroys the Brain

Several risk factors were determined for the disease, but the most significant one was diet. Luckily we can control this factor ourselves.

Alzheimer’s disease does not manifest itself until around 75 percent of our neurons are dead. It is therefore impossible for young people to see the harm they are doing to their brains by eating a poor diet.

Scientists see the metal food additive or coloring E173 (used in certain cheese rinds, for example) as a large risk factor, as well as aluminum compounds found in additives E520 to E559.

Aluminium accumulation in the brain and citritc acid, glutamate and aspartame

Glutamate critic Russell L. Blaylock said, in relation to the drug "Memanti..", which is used as a glutamate blocker in the treatment of Alzheimer’s:

I consider it ironic that the pharmaceutical industry is investing vast resources in the development of glutamate receptor blockers, while at the same time, the food industry continues to add great quantities of glutamate to the food supply.

GRIMM turns to sugar, and informs us that too much sugar also harms the brain. The author returns to Dr. Beyreuther, who believes that the "insulinsystem" of Alzheimer’s sufferers is overburdened, a fact that has been scientifically proven.

Deficiency in certain vitamins can cause mental deterioration. In the case of Alzheimer’s, the instrumental vitamins are A, C, and E, while a vitamin D deficiency is prevalent in patients with MS. Vitamins keep the brain, which is made of 60 % fat, healthy.

Sugar, vitamins and fats

2.8. Red Hot Ears

In this chapter we learn about food, the psyche, and the power of feelings.

The story of Phineas Gage

Antonio R. Damasio believes that the body and brain form an indissociable organism and that consciousness is body-related.

It is well known that chronic stress can cause damage to the nerve cells in certain regions of the brain. Specific regions in the brain can also be damaged by drugs — and even by certain types of food.

Evidence of this can be found in studies which show that the brains of Vietnam veterans had shrunk. Similar changes occur in victims of sexual abuse.

A group of writers led by neurobiologist Dr. Gerald Hüther believes that many people can assess the varying effects individual foods have, especially if they bring about bad moods. Foods too, and not only drugs can have psychotropic effects.

The more a food stimulates serotonin activity in the pleasure center of the brain (see also reward system and mesolimbic pathway), the higher the addictive potential of the food.

It is possible to be psychologically dependent on food. Women are often addicted to chocolate.

The behavior of cocaine addicts is similar to that of chocoholics

Grimm names the different substances and chemical messengers for the basic emotions of joy, sadness, and anger. The author puts the difference between "testosteronelevels" in men and women on a scale of one to ten. As little as six parts in a billion per milliliter of blood cause significant behavioral changes. The "testosteronelevel" can be changed by eating certain foods.

Substances, chemical messengers and basic emotions

Grimm explains how sunlight and coffee stimulate the production of serotonin, fasting activates it, and alcohol inhibits the breakdown of serotonin. He shows how bananas and muesli improve mood, as the carbohydrates are digested slowly.

Medical scientist Françoise Wilhelmi de Toledo, head of research at Buchinger Klinik in Überlingen, Germany, believes that fats are the ultimate feel-good foods. The omega-3 fatty acids cause a feeling of well-being in the brain because they raise the level of the chemical messengers "dopami..", norepinephrine, and epinephrine (adrelanine). They also increase serotonin receptor binding (p. 175).

The different views held in the field of brain research

2.9. Organ of the Year

In this chapter "The Brain in the Gut — How the Gut Has a Mind of Its Own", the author explains what is behind such colloquialisms as “to have butterflies in your stomach” and “to have a gut feeling.”

The Second Brain — Your Gut Has a Mind of Its Own

Grimm reveals many ways in which the gut affects our happiness and unhappiness. He points out that there are 500 different species of bacteria in the gut (note: more accurately the intestines) making up a total of 100 trillion bacterial cells. They weigh about three pounds and process our food. The gut organizes killer cells when needed, to destroy invading cells.

The author discusses the large number of more than 40 chemical messengers that affect the human body, including glutamate, "dopami..", norepinephrine, naturally occurring opiates, and benzodiazepines.

When the gut flora is out of balance, the body can’t cope with invaders. A large number of foreign substances in the gut can cause it to self-destruct.

New research shows that when the gut is overburdened with too many foreign substances, it can be the cause of illnesses such as Autism, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, and multiple sclerosis, and not the brain. The gut is also seen as one of the reasons that changes in the body and mind take place.

The leaky gut syndrome

Grimm discusses how various medical professionals have been trying, almost in vain, to raise the alarm. They believe we are overwhelming our guts with too many substances. Some of these are known to harm the gut, or the intestines, for example:

  • sorbitan monolaurate (E number: E493) and sorbitan monooleate (E number: E494). The author tells us that according to a report submitted by the EU Commission on Dietary Food Additive Intake, the Acceptable Daily Intake of these additives for children is more than six times too high (p. 199).
  • the emulsifiers E470 and E476 can cause increased intestinal permeability.
  • the sweeteners "mannit.." (mannite or manna sugar, E421), lactitol (E966), and isomalt (E953) can cause diarrhea and gas.
  • guaran, or guar gum, (E412) causes the intestinal wall to allow larger substances through.
  • The E numbers E466 (carboxymethyl cellulose, CMC, or cellulose gum) through E469, which are used as emulsifiers, stabilizers, and thickeners, can cause diarrhea and abdominal cramping.
  • arrageenan, (carrageenins, E number: E407), has been shown in animal tests to induce inflammation of the intestinal tract and to cause ulcers and also to slow down the immune system response
  • Grimm believes that the substances most harmful to the intestinal tract are the group called the sulfites (E220 through E228). Adults consume more than twice the acceptable intake levels of these, whereby children often consume up to twelve times the acceptable intake levels. The author provides a list of products that contain sulfites as well as their manufacturers. He then includes a list of adverse effects of glutamate.
Sorbitan monolaurat

The author finishes the chapter by explaining that in the case of conditions like Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, BSE (bovine spongiform encephalopathy), autism and hyperactivity in children, the same changes take place in the enteric nervous system, or the brain in the gut, as take place in the brain itself.

2.10. Listen to the Signals

In this chapter, (from page 207), the author explains how junk food causes a breakdown in the brain’s control mechanisms. It also brings about changes to the brain, similar to what happens when tobacco or heroin are consumed. He concludes that we need to eat basic, natural foods that don’t cause imbalances in the brain.

He is however aware that the trend is in the opposite direction. New products are coming onto the market that supposedly minimize the harm of high-tech processes. By means of example he mentions Roche and BASF, whose products don’t bring the benefits they claim to.

Grimm goes on to explain how brain researcher Dr. John Ratey warns that consumption of excessive amounts of vitamins A and D destroy the brain's neurochemistry. Ratey refers to product information by the pharmaceutical company Roche, which warns that large doses of folic acid can prohibit the absorption of zinc and also cover up vitamin B12 and other deficiencies. This is also the case for some vitamin products and foods, a full description of which would be too extensive here.

However, in this context, Grimm does discuss traditional cooking tips from Germany’s “gourmet pope” Wolfram Siebeck, such as slow cooking at low temperatures. He also mentions Alain Ducasse, named by the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (FAZ) the world’s most famous and influential chef in reference to his ultraslow cooking at precision temperatures (pp. 221–222).

2.11. Lexicon

Pages 229 to 271 contain a lexicon of everything that’s good and bad for the brain, a type of brain-food ABC. This is an alphabetical list of everything from acetyl-l-carnitine (ALC), ADHD/ADHS and alpha lipoic acid to alpha-linolenic acid, alcohol, and zinc. Grimm explains each entry in about a half a page.

This is followed by an extensive bibliography on pages 273 to 301, which includes a general list of newspapers and magazines.

3. About the book

Title Die Ernährungslüge (The food lie)
Subtitle Wie uns die Lebensmittelindustrie um den Verstand bringt (How the food industry robs us of our senses)
Author Hans-Ulrich Grimm
Publisher Droemer, Munich, Germany
Date 2003
Pages 301
ISBN 3-426-27286-5

This book is available in German only. An inexpensive paperback version appeared in January 2011 — with a completely different front cover.

Wolfram Siebeck, food critic, journalist, and author, on Hans-Ulrich Grimm: Yet another piece of consumer education from tenacious food detective Hans-Ulrich-Grimm, the importance of which cannot begin to be estimated.

Short book reviews from an external source


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