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Old 02-13-2020, 01:14 PM
Derleth is offline
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Join Date: Apr 2000
Location: Missoula, Montana, USA
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Originally Posted by CairoCarol View Post
However, I feel just slightly disingenuous leaving the discussion there, because if I understand correctly, the precise molecular structure of added MSG is different from what is found in foods like mushrooms. Is this true, and if so, can someone explain the mechanism by which this makes no difference, health-wise?
Read what RitterSport posted above, especially where he quoted the FDA saying it's metabolized the same way as the glutamate in things like tomatoes and cheese. If there's no difference, there's no difference: The body can't get sick on one thing and be fine on another if it reacts the same way to both.

I would like to be able to go on and explain in more detail exactly why those differences, if any, don't change the harmlessness of MSG. (As I also like to point out, half of Asia would be dead by now if MSG were bad for you. They sell it in tins similar to tea canisters in Indonesia - it's called "vetsin" - for adding to food.)
There's also a spice called Accent which is MSG. Again, if MSG were terrible, people who used Accent would know it.

But then again, maybe not. What are the chances that, given all the times in my life I've eaten at Chinese restaurants, that I would coincidentally experience certain symptoms, from a different cause, afterward? Pretty high, I'd say. And knowing the story of how "Chinese Restaurant Syndrome" got started makes it seem pretty likely that it is nothing but confirmation bias when people experience it.
Confirmation bias plus a lot of people eating at the "exotic" Chinese restaurant and remembering if they felt even a little bit off afterwards, whereas they wouldn't give it a second thought if they felt less-than-great after eating at a steakhouse.

(My inner scientist is piping up with an experiment to test the implied hypothesis: Is "Chinese Restaurant Syndrome" becoming rarer or becoming an old-person disease now that there's more ethnic variation in the average mix of restaurants in America? That is, now that you can get Thai and Japanese and Indian in most larger towns, Chinese is practically native, as opposed to being the weird foreign stuff, so do as many people feel sick after eating Chinese food?)
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