Stop Being Afraid Of MSG

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If you’re still afraid of the seasoning MSG giving you headaches, you should know you’ve bought into a decades-old myth. Don’t despair! Now that you know the truth, you can go celebrate with a meal at your favourite MSG-using restaurant, or treat yourself to a cute panda-shaped bottle of the stuff.

The monosodium glutamate, or MSG, scare started with a 1968 letter to the New England Journal of Medicine, in which a Chinese researcher, living in the US, said that he felt a numbness in his neck and arms after eating at certain Chinese restaurants, but not after eating home-cooked meals.

Maybe it had something to do with cooking wine, he suggested, or more likely the large amounts of sodium in the combination of soy sauce and MSG. Shortly afterward, doctors and everyone else were talking about a “Chinese restaurant syndrome” and blaming it on MSG.

The only problem? The syndrome couldn’t be reproduced in the lab. Chemically, it never made sense: monosodium glutamate is just what it sounds like: sodium plus the amino acid glutamate. Both of those ingredients are present in plenty of foods, and not just in Chinese restaurants either. Soy sauce is rich in glutamate, and so are tomatoes and parmesan cheese.

That there was no “Italian restaurant syndrome” suggests that maybe people were eager to blame Asian restaurants long after the syndrome’s existence was disproved.

So if you feel weird after a big meal — Chinese or otherwise — you may be imagining the symptoms or you may be experiencing something totally unrelated to MSG. If that’s the case, consider seeing a doctor.


Comments

    Only when you stop being afraid of cigarettes and coal

    Is there a name for Amazon and ebay sellers who charge crazy amounts of money for things that would ordinarily be inexpensive?

    Did you (Beth) actually check to see how much this costs?

    Nearly $80!

    All the science today says that MSG is not harmful. Okay, we have brought that on board. Now what of the 70% who ingest mono sodium glue who experience a thirst, and dry mouth sensation for hours after?

    MSG is only used in low quality foods to fake up a nice flavour.

    Chow down guys :)

      "Now what of the 70% who ingest mono sodium glue who experience a thirst, and dry mouth sensation for hours after?"

      Eat some salt.

      Do you feel thirsty or have a dry mouth afterwards?

      Perhaps pay attention to the sodium part.

      MSG is essentially just salt. Thats all.

      Id love to see some citations for your 70% claim.

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