#1  
Old 02-12-2020, 07:25 PM
Melbourne is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Nov 2009
Posts: 5,729

Is MSG bad for you?


I'm seeing https://www.straightdope.com/columns...g-bad-for-you/ today. Which is interesting in a historical sense, but should have been put out to pasture long ago.
  #2  
Old 02-12-2020, 07:40 PM
GMANCANADA is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Mar 2003
Location: Toronto
Posts: 433
Definitely now a case of ignorance promoted, not ignorance fought.

Excellent Brian Dunning summary of MSG from a couple months ago.

https://skeptoid.com/episodes/4706
  #3  
Old 02-12-2020, 09:34 PM
sir viks is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Sep 2001
Posts: 191
The podcast This American Life had a great episode on the genesis of the "supposed" MSG myth. The transcript is listed here, but I recommend downloading & listening to the podcast:

https://www.thisamericanlife.org/668/transcript

Last edited by sir viks; 02-12-2020 at 09:38 PM.
  #4  
Old 02-12-2020, 10:26 PM
Chronos's Avatar
Chronos is online now
Charter Member
Moderator
 
Join Date: Jan 2000
Location: The Land of Cleves
Posts: 86,658
OK, so what's outdated about it? It says that critics say bad things about it, but that there's no conclusive evidence for what they're saying. Is that not still accurate?
  #5  
Old 02-12-2020, 11:01 PM
Senegoid is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Sep 2011
Location: Sunny California
Posts: 15,542
I continue to believe that some people must be overly sensitive to MSG and thus susceptible to the unpleasant effects Cecil mentions.

Data point: Myself. MSG sometimes affects me this way. It appears to be only large doses, as Chinese food was often reputed to contain. Foods like Campbell's canned soup or other such prepared foods have never bothered me, even though they often list MSG among the ingredients.

This cannot be a case of placebo effect. When I was about 15 years old, living in Honolulu, we regularly ate at a certain Chinese restaurant. Every time, I got vaguely sick. (Feeling lightheaded and short of breath mainly.)

I knew nothing about MSG, nor its purported effects at the time. So it couldn't have been a placebo effect. But the booths had rather deep upholstered bench seats, which caused the table top to be positioned high in front of my chest, which caused my arms (when my elbows or arms were on the table) to be held up high. I always assumed that this posture made breathing difficult.

Eventually, I made it known that I wanted to sit at the tables that weren't in booths. The posture was better, but the unpleasant effects remained.

At some point during that year, I became aware of MSG and its purported effects. I connected the dots immediately, and concluded that the food there must be full of MSG and that must be the problem.
  #6  
Old 02-12-2020, 11:28 PM
GMANCANADA is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Mar 2003
Location: Toronto
Posts: 433
@Chronos
Quote:
there's no conclusive evidence for what they're saying.
I haven't looked at Sir Viks link yet, but certainly in mine, the answer is crystal clear the evidence in 2020 is very conclusive that MSG is not a health risk.

Quote:
Is that not still accurate?
So no, that's absolutely no longer accurate.

I'd suggest the column should 1) updated or 2) flagged that it's no longer accurate or 3) (Last option) delete it completely.
  #7  
Old 02-13-2020, 02:06 AM
Melbourne is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Nov 2009
Posts: 5,729
I've never liked MSG. I don't like flavor 621, and I don't like vegetable extract, and I don't like yeast extract. I don't like chicken extract, I don't like chicken salt, I don't like chicken stock cubes, and I don't like "deliciousness" and I don't like "umami".

And though I've never been able to make any kind of test, I'm pretty sure that I don't like Potassium Glutamate either.

So I thought that the advice to avoid "natural flavoring” was also kinda weak

I did use to get headaches from Chinese food, but on the whole, I think that was more likely from the MS than from the G --- I was brought up on low-salt food.



I also don't particularly like pepper or five-spice

Last edited by Melbourne; 02-13-2020 at 02:07 AM.
  #8  
Old 02-13-2020, 07:41 AM
Jasmine's Avatar
Jasmine is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Jul 1999
Location: Chicagoland
Posts: 2,575
Quote:
Originally Posted by GMANCANADA View Post
Definitely now a case of ignorance promoted, not ignorance fought.

Excellent Brian Dunning summary of MSG from a couple months ago.

https://skeptoid.com/episodes/4706
Thank you for this! It was very informative!
__________________
"The greatest obstacle to discovery is not ignorance -- it is the illusion of knowledge."
--Daniel J Boorstin
  #9  
Old 02-13-2020, 08:34 AM
Chronos's Avatar
Chronos is online now
Charter Member
Moderator
 
Join Date: Jan 2000
Location: The Land of Cleves
Posts: 86,658
Quote:
Quoth Senegoid:

Data point: Myself. MSG sometimes affects me this way. It appears to be only large doses, as Chinese food was often reputed to contain. Foods like Campbell's canned soup or other such prepared foods have never bothered me, even though they often list MSG among the ingredients.
So, foods that contain loads of MSG don't affect you, and therefore you must be susceptible to MSG?

There's a hole in this thinking. OK, maybe there is something in Chinese food that isn't found in other food that you have a bad reaction to. But it can't be MSG, because MSG is not something that isn't found in other food.
  #10  
Old 02-13-2020, 08:49 AM
RitterSport's Avatar
RitterSport is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Mar 2002
Posts: 3,751
It's always worth pointing out that glutamate is very common in certain foods, especially mushrooms and tomatoes (and tomato sauce, obviously), so you'd think there'd be some reaction to Italian food as well. Glutamate is indistinguishable from MSG from your body's perspective:

Quote:
Originally Posted by The FDA
The glutamate in MSG is chemically indistinguishable from glutamate present in food proteins. Our bodies ultimately metabolize both sources of glutamate in the same way. An average adult consumes approximately 13 grams of glutamate each day from the protein in food, while intake of added MSG is estimates at around 0.55 grams per day.
From here:

https://www.fda.gov/food/food-additi...-glutamate-msg

So, maybe people are sensitive to something else in Chinese food, or maybe it's just so salty that they get dehydrated.
  #11  
Old 02-13-2020, 10:11 AM
GMANCANADA is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Mar 2003
Location: Toronto
Posts: 433
I can tell you exactly what is was in my case:
A few years ago after lunch at the Chinese buffet in our building, I was going on about how bad a reaction I always had to the MSG in Chinese food. Exactly as Senegokd describes it. My friend pointed out that I’d had about 10 cups of the free Chinese green tea during lunch and asked if I always did that.

He suggested that all the caffeine might be the real issue. I changed to water next time, problem solved. He was 100% correct. Like many others, I assumed that green tea was herbal. It’s not.
  #12  
Old 02-13-2020, 11:56 AM
Derleth is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2000
Location: Missoula, Montana, USA
Posts: 21,458
Quote:
Originally Posted by GMANCANADA View Post
My friend pointed out that I’d had about 10 cups of the free Chinese green tea during lunch and asked if I always did that.

[snip]

Like many others, I assumed that green tea was herbal. It’s not.
Teasing out some meaning from this, I'd expect you to get negative results from drinking about a fifth as much black* brewed coffee, assuming it's the caffeine and nothing else, based on the Mayo Clinic's estimates of caffeine content of the various drinks. Also, the generic "Cola" has about as much caffeine per unit volume as black tea, or at least the same range, which surprises me.

*(Or at least with no caffeine-free fillers like creamer.)
__________________
"Ridicule is the only weapon that can be used against unintelligible propositions. Ideas must be distinct before reason can act upon them."
If you don't stop to analyze the snot spray, you are missing that which is best in life. - Miller
I'm not sure why this is, but I actually find this idea grosser than cannibalism. - Excalibre, after reading one of my surefire million-seller business plans.
  #13  
Old 02-13-2020, 01:24 PM
CairoCarol is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Hawaii
Posts: 5,202
HELP FROM THE SCIENTIFICALLY LITERATE NEEDED HERE:

I've long understood, from reading lay versions of the scientific literature, that MSG is harmless. When people go on about how harmful it is and how badly they react to it, I point out that it is in mushrooms, tomatoes, and parmesan, so they must react badly to those too? That pretty much shuts people up.

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? (After all, don't the differences between glucose, fructose, and sucrose matter, even though they are all forms of sugar?)

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.)

Closing anecdote: just one time in my life I had a reaction after eating Chinese food: my hands and tongue started to feel noticeably tingly. So I am willing to concede the possibility that there is some ingredient (or perhaps some batches of some ingredient? - who knows, maybe an infrequently used variety of water chestnut, or an uncommon fungus that attacks bamboo and isn't noticed before harvesting, or chemical changes to wood ears from a certain kind of ant poop, or...whatever) that causes a reaction in some people.

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.
__________________
If I waited for memory to serve, I'd starve.
  #14  
Old 02-13-2020, 02:14 PM
Derleth is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2000
Location: Missoula, Montana, USA
Posts: 21,458
Quote:
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.

Quote:
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.

Quote:
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?)
__________________
"Ridicule is the only weapon that can be used against unintelligible propositions. Ideas must be distinct before reason can act upon them."
If you don't stop to analyze the snot spray, you are missing that which is best in life. - Miller
I'm not sure why this is, but I actually find this idea grosser than cannibalism. - Excalibre, after reading one of my surefire million-seller business plans.
  #15  
Old 02-13-2020, 03:09 PM
Senegoid is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Sep 2011
Location: Sunny California
Posts: 15,542
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chronos View Post
So, foods that contain loads of MSG don't affect you, and therefore you must be susceptible to MSG?

There's a hole in this thinking. OK, maybe there is something in Chinese food that isn't found in other food that you have a bad reaction to. But it can't be MSG, because MSG is not something that isn't found in other food.
@Chronos, were you hallucinating when you read my post? How is your post responsive to what I wrote?

I wrote that I believe small doses of MSG don't bother me, but I think large doses do. I don't think there are unhealthily large amounts of glutamate in cheese, tomatoes, mushrooms, or (probably) Campbell's soup.

Chinese restaurants had a reputation for loading MSG into their foods by the shovelful, at least in certain of their dishes, at least some Chinese restaurants. In recent years (recent decades actually), more and more Chinese restaurants have published that they no longer use MSG. I have no problem eating at those places.

Okay, what other mysterious ingredient do you suppose exists in Chinese restaurant food in restaurants that also use MSG, that doesn't exist in other foods nor even in Chinese restaurant food in restaurants that don't also use MSG?
  #16  
Old 02-13-2020, 03:19 PM
RitterSport's Avatar
RitterSport is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Mar 2002
Posts: 3,751
Quote:
Originally Posted by Senegoid View Post
@Chronos, were you hallucinating when you read my post? How is your post responsive to what I wrote?

I wrote that I believe small doses of MSG don't bother me, but I think large doses do. I don't think there are unhealthily large amounts of glutamate in cheese, tomatoes, mushrooms, or (probably) Campbell's soup.

Chinese restaurants had a reputation for loading MSG into their foods by the shovelful, at least in certain of their dishes, at least some Chinese restaurants. In recent years (recent decades actually), more and more Chinese restaurants have published that they no longer use MSG. I have no problem eating at those places.

Okay, what other mysterious ingredient do you suppose exists in Chinese restaurant food in restaurants that also use MSG, that doesn't exist in other foods nor even in Chinese restaurant food in restaurants that don't also use MSG?
I think Chronos was implying that the soups, etc., that have MSG as an ingredient have at least as much or more MSG than Chinese food. I'm not sure why you think Chinese restaurants load up the MSG more than prepared food -- they would surely need less, since their ingredients are fresher than canned soup, and so they would have more natural taste from their ingredients than the boiled to heck Campbell's soups.
  #17  
Old 02-13-2020, 04:01 PM
Chronos's Avatar
Chronos is online now
Charter Member
Moderator
 
Join Date: Jan 2000
Location: The Land of Cleves
Posts: 86,658
Yes, Chinese restaurants have a reputation for shoveling in the MSG, but that reputation is undeserved. You'll hardly ever find any Chinese restaurant that uses as much of the stuff as KFC, for instance.

And I have no idea what other ingredient could be causing your problems. I don't even know what you were ordering, or what restaurants you were eating at.
  #18  
Old 02-13-2020, 04:31 PM
Senegoid is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Sep 2011
Location: Sunny California
Posts: 15,542
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chronos View Post
Yes, Chinese restaurants have a reputation for shoveling in the MSG, but that reputation is undeserved. You'll hardly ever find any Chinese restaurant that uses as much of the stuff as KFC, for instance.

And I have no idea what other ingredient could be causing your problems. I don't even know what you were ordering, or what restaurants you were eating at.
I'm sure the reputation is undeserved that all Chinese restaurants did that (even many decades ago when that reputation was current). I certainly ate at a lot of Chinese places with no problem. Just certain ones. And even less so in more recent times.

I would like to learn more, or see a cite, about KFC shoveling in the MSG. I have eaten often at KFC with no problems, throughout my entire adult life at least. If they indeed are piling it in, then that would clearly repudiate everything I think I know about my own hypersensitivity to the stuff.
  #19  
Old 02-13-2020, 05:37 PM
needscoffee is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2009
Posts: 7,358
Quote:
Originally Posted by sir viks View Post
The podcast This American Life had a great episode on the genesis of the "supposed" MSG myth. The transcript is listed here, but I recommend downloading & listening to the podcast:

https://www.thisamericanlife.org/668/transcript
Anyone reading this transcript or listening to the podcast will see that MSG has never been shown to be responsible for any issues at all; it was completely made up and then taken out of context. If you think it's a problem for you, you're imagining it and using confirmation bias to make it so. Forget what you think you know about it; you're wrong.
  #20  
Old 02-13-2020, 05:43 PM
needscoffee is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2009
Posts: 7,358
Quote:
Originally Posted by CairoCarol View Post
<snip>

Closing anecdote: just one time in my life I had a reaction after eating Chinese food: my hands and tongue started to feel noticeably tingly. So I am willing to concede the possibility that there is some ingredient (or perhaps some batches of some ingredient? - who knows, maybe an infrequently used variety of water chestnut, or an uncommon fungus that attacks bamboo and isn't noticed before harvesting, or chemical changes to wood ears from a certain kind of ant poop, or...whatever) that causes a reaction in some people.

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.
This is exactly what happens if you eat fish/seafood which has just begun to turn, even before you can taste or smell anything wrong with it. It produces toxins which make your mouth (and hands) tingle and go numb. Often it's not throughout the whole fish, but in certain spots, so you can share the dish with someone and one of you react and the other one not. For years we thought my daughter was allergic to seafood, but turns out it only happens intermittently, when the seafood is old. The toxins have lovely names such as cadavarine and putrescine.
  #21  
Old 02-13-2020, 06:03 PM
D'Anconia is online now
Guest
 
Join Date: Oct 2014
Posts: 4,774
Quote:
Originally Posted by Senegoid View Post
I would like to learn more, or see a cite, about KFC shoveling in the MSG. I have eaten often at KFC with no problems, throughout my entire adult life at least. If they indeed are piling it in, then that would clearly repudiate everything I think I know about my own hypersensitivity to the stuff.
It's not just in the chicken. MSG is in the sides, including green beans, dressings, and condiments.

https://www.kfc.com/nutrition/food-a...-sensitivities
  #22  
Old 02-13-2020, 06:28 PM
Melbourne is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Nov 2009
Posts: 5,729
Quote:
Originally Posted by D'Anconia View Post
It's not just in the chicken. MSG is in the sides, including green beans, dressings, and condiments.
I /also/ don't like KFC, store 'gravy', or the stock used for Vietnamese beef soups.

On the other hand, (unlike some vegetarians I've known, who don't eat TVP because they don't like the taste) I do like lamb, beef and some cheese, so I'm not totally against glutamates. I think just not when MSG is a dominant flavor.
  #23  
Old 02-13-2020, 07:07 PM
GMANCANADA is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Mar 2003
Location: Toronto
Posts: 433
@ Derleth, as someone who didn't drink coffee or caffeine beverages at all, it didn't surprise me when he suggested that. The symptoms I was getting were exactly like what I get when I have too much caffeine; shortened breath, slight anxiety, heart palpitations etc. Presumably for me that's a few cups of coffee.

@ Jasmine - You're welcome. He does a great podcast, short, explanatory and full citations. I think of it as what a Straight Dope should have been from an imparting actual knowledge & fighting ignorance perspective. Plus, because he takes it seriously - he updates and corrects older podcasts, so he doesn't promote misinformation. You'll see in the transcript he has updates to the MSG episode since he published it in December.

@ CairoCarol - listen to or read the podcast I posted, if you haven't. In 12 minutes, he explains what MSG does biologically, the history of its use, how it became vilified (which is a great story - one letter started it all plus add in the "naturalist movement" and a dose of good-old anti-asian racism) and then modern scientific consensus. https://skeptoid.com/episodes/4706
  #24  
Old 02-13-2020, 07:27 PM
Senegoid is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Sep 2011
Location: Sunny California
Posts: 15,542
Quote:
Originally Posted by D'Anconia View Post
It's not just in the chicken. MSG is in the sides, including green beans, dressings, and condiments.

https://www.kfc.com/nutrition/food-a...-sensitivities
F'rchrisf*****ngsake, D'Anconia, are you looking at a web site in the same universe as I'm looking at? That page goes to a KFC "Nutritional Wizard" page where you check boxes to note what things you're sensitive too (MSG being one of the choices) and it brings up another page that lists page after page of items that do NOT contain the selected allergen and not a single item that does. Did you even look at the page you linked, beyond those checkboxes, and the additional pages it goes to?

Maybe my browser is fucked and only shows items without MSG. (I searched for items with "milk" and didn't find any of those either.) The page with the list of items has what looks like an option to filter only on items that don't contain the allergen (which seems to list their entire menu) and an option to list items that DO contain the selected allergen, which I couldn't get to work at all.

Do you have a way to post images somewhere on-line where I can find them? Take a screen shot and let me know.

All that site teaches me is to distrust ANY information coming from KFC and their food too.
  #25  
Old 02-13-2020, 07:58 PM
RitterSport's Avatar
RitterSport is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Mar 2002
Posts: 3,751
Quote:
Originally Posted by Senegoid View Post
....

Maybe my browser is fucked and only shows items without MSG. (I searched for items with "milk" and didn't find any of those either.) The page with the list of items has what looks like an option to filter only on items that don't contain the allergen (which seems to list their entire menu) and an option to list items that DO contain the selected allergen, which I couldn't get to work at all....
Clicking on the items that DO contain MSG worked just fine for me. Here's a list of items that DO CONTAIN MSG:


ORIGINAL RECIPE CHICKEN
[more info]Original Recipe® Chicken Breast
!
[more info]Original Recipe® Chicken Drumstick
!
[more info]Original Recipe® Chicken Thigh
!
[more info]Original Recipe® Chicken Whole Wing
!
EXTRA CRISPY CHICKEN
[more info]Extra Crispy™ Chicken Breast
!
[more info]Extra Crispy™ Chicken Drumstick
!
[more info]Extra Crispy™ Chicken Thigh
!
[more info]Extra Crispy™ Chicken Whole Wing
!
KENTUCKY GRILLED CHICKEN
[more info]Kentucky Grilled Chicken® Breast
!
[more info]Kentucky Grilled Chicken® Drumstick
!
[more info]Kentucky Grilled Chicken® Thigh
!
[more info]Kentucky Grilled Chicken® Whole Wing
!
SPICY CRISPY CHICKEN
[more info]Spicy Crispy Chicken Breast
!
[more info]Spicy Crispy Chicken Drumstick
!
[more info]Spicy Crispy Chicken Thigh
!
[more info]Spicy Crispy Chicken Whole Wing
!
EXTRA CRISPY TENDERS
[more info]Extra Crispy™ Tender (each)
!
[more info]Nashville Hot Extra Crispy™ Tender (each)
!
POPCORN NUGGETS
[more info]Popcorn Nuggets - Kids
!
[more info]Popcorn Nuggets - Large
!
NASHVILLE HOT CHICKEN
[more info]Nashville Hot Extra Crispy™ Chicken Breast
!
[more info]Nashville Hot Extra Crispy™ Chicken Drumstick
!
[more info]Nashville Hot Extra Crispy™ Chicken Thigh
!
[more info]Nashville Hot Extra Crispy™ Chicken Whole Wing
!
[more info]Nashville Hot Kentucky Grilled Chicken® Breast
!
[more info]Nashville Hot Kentucky Grilled Chicken® Drumstick
!
[more info]Nashville Hot Kentucky Grilled Chicken® Thigh
!
[more info]Nashville Hot Kentucky Grilled Chicken® Whole Wing
!
[more info]Nashville Hot Spicy Crispy Chicken Breast
!
[more info]Nashville Hot Spicy Crispy Chicken Drumstick
!
[more info]Nashville Hot Spicy Crispy Chicken Thigh
!
[more info]Nashville Hot Spicy Crispy Chicken Whole Wing
!
HOMESTYLE SIDES (INDIVIDUAL)
[more info]Green Beans
!
[more info]Mashed Potatoes With Gravy
!
[more info]Potato Wedges
!
HOMESTYLE SIDES (FAMILY)
[more info]Green Beans (Family)
!
[more info]Mashed Potatoes With Gravy (Family)
!
[more info]Potato Wedges (Family)
!
SANDWICHES
[more info]Chicken Littles
!
[more info]Chicken Littles - Buffalo
!
[more info]Chicken Littles - Honey BBQ
!
[more info]Chicken Littles - Nashville Hot
!
[more info]Crispy Colonel's Sandwich
!
[more info]Crispy Colonel's Sandwich - Buffalo
!
[more info]Crispy Colonel's Sandwich - Honey BBQ
!
[more info]Crispy Colonel's Sandwich - Nashville Hot
!
[more info]Crispy Twister®
!
[more info]Honey BBQ Sandwich
!
POT PIE AND BOWLS
[more info]Chicken Pot Pie
!
[more info]KFC® Famous Bowl
!
[more info]KFC® Famous Bowl - Snack Size
!
DRESSING AND CROUTONS
[more info]Hidden Valley The Original Ranch Fat Free Dressing
!
DIPPING SAUCES & CONDIMENTS
[more info]Buttermilk Ranch Dipping Sauce Cup
!
[more info]Finger Lickin' Good™ Dipping Sauce Cup
!
REGIONAL MENU ITEMS
[more info]KFC® Gizzards
!
[more info]KFC® Livers
!
  #26  
Old 02-13-2020, 08:17 PM
Senegoid is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Sep 2011
Location: Sunny California
Posts: 15,542
Sorry, D'Anconia and RitterSport, but I'm not able to see that display of items that DO have MSG. I am only able to pull up the list of items that do NOT have MSG.

I played a bit more with it. I see now that the listed items I can see are not their entire menu (because searching for other allergens, like Milk or Gluten or Fish) appear to bring up different subsets of their entire menu -- but in each case, only items that do NOT contain the chosen allergen. For example, choosing Milk gives a list that omits several obvious milk, buttermilk, and cheesy items.

But I can't get it to bring up a list of items that DO contain the selected items. I can't get it to show me the list of items that RitterSport copied, above.

In any case, I still wonder just how much MSG they put in. I see Pot Pie on RitterSports MSG list. I've eaten that without problem. Other items on that list too.

I've been under the impression that way too much MSG affects me badly, as was reputedly used in some Chinese restaurants years ago. Nothing in this thread has yet to show me otherwise. So how does KFC MSG usage compare? @Chronos, it was you who wrote, above, that KFC uses more MSG than Chinese restaurants. Cite?
  #27  
Old 02-13-2020, 08:31 PM
Chingon is online now
Guest
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: the hypersphere
Posts: 859
I doubt anything will dissuade you from your stance that MSG from Chinese food makes you ill.
  #28  
Old 02-14-2020, 12:21 AM
Senegoid is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Sep 2011
Location: Sunny California
Posts: 15,542
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chingon View Post
I doubt anything will dissuade you from your stance that MSG from Chinese food makes you ill.
That is probably correct. I'd still like to learn more about MSG in KFC.
  #29  
Old 02-14-2020, 12:34 AM
needscoffee is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2009
Posts: 7,358
Quote:
Originally Posted by Senegoid View Post
That is probably correct.<snip>
Despite the fact that you've received cites that it was all made up in the first place? That you eat msg all the time in your food? That you don't even know how much msg may or may not have been added at the restaurant? That there could have been any other ingredient that disagreed with you? You insist on clinging to a made-up myth?
  #30  
Old 02-14-2020, 12:51 AM
Melbourne is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Nov 2009
Posts: 5,729
Some of the restaurants, like the one my housemate worked at, used to buy drums of the stuff, and throw handfuls of it into the product. I think it's entirely reasonable to notice that some foods have higher levels of one particular glutamic salt than other foods have, and to take an interest in food preparation. I don't think there is any need to be rude about it.
  #31  
Old 02-14-2020, 01:15 AM
needscoffee is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2009
Posts: 7,358
Quote:
Originally Posted by Melbourne View Post
Some of the restaurants, like the one my housemate worked at, used to buy drums of the stuff, and throw handfuls of it into the product. I think it's entirely reasonable to notice that some foods have higher levels of one particular glutamic salt than other foods have, and to take an interest in food preparation. I don't think there is any need to be rude about it.
He states:
Quote:
At some point during that year, I became aware of MSG and its purported effects. I connected the dots immediately, and concluded that the food there must be full of MSG and that must be the problem.
. So he has no idea if that particular restaurant even used msg. He has no idea if any other ingredient caused his problem. He's grasping at a false myth he heard and insisting it must be true. Ignorance is winning here.
  #32  
Old 02-14-2020, 11:03 AM
Inner Stickler's Avatar
Inner Stickler is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jul 2005
Location: Minnesota
Posts: 15,215
Quote:
Originally Posted by Senegoid View Post
F'rchrisf*****ngsake, D'Anconia, are you looking at a web site in the same universe as I'm looking at? That page goes to a KFC "Nutritional Wizard" page where you check boxes to note what things you're sensitive too (MSG being one of the choices) and it brings up another page that lists page after page of items that do NOT contain the selected allergen and not a single item that does. Did you even look at the page you linked, beyond those checkboxes, and the additional pages it goes to?
I imagine you must be feeling pretty stupid right now.
  #33  
Old 02-14-2020, 12:46 PM
CairoCarol is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Hawaii
Posts: 5,202
A really long time ago (like maybe a decade, I'm not sure) the New York Times ran an article about MSG - not safety, but flavor. They convened a panel of food critics/chefs and fed them two meals that wer identical in every way except that one contained MSG and the other didn't.

The diners were all certain that they would be able to tell which was which, and that the MSG-free food would be tastier.

In the event, as I recall it, they did as a group show a statistically significant preference for one of the meals, so they all claimed that that one was the MSG-free meal.

Need I add, they were all quite wrong


.
__________________
If I waited for memory to serve, I'd starve.

Last edited by CairoCarol; 02-14-2020 at 12:47 PM.
  #34  
Old 02-14-2020, 07:58 PM
Senegoid is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Sep 2011
Location: Sunny California
Posts: 15,542
Quote:
Originally Posted by Inner Stickler View Post
What hole did you just pull your head out of? Did you not notice that RitterSport posted this same KFC information yesterday (Post #25) and that I acknowledged it (Post #26)?

I envision further discussion later today, in my copious spare time. For the moment, just now, I have useful errands I need to be doing.

L8R.
  #35  
Old 02-15-2020, 05:58 AM
Senegoid is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Sep 2011
Location: Sunny California
Posts: 15,542

OMG! They're coming to take my MSG away!


Okay, here it comes. I suggest that the gentle reader wait until a substantial block of uninterrupted time is available before beginning to read this.


Well, I didn't realize I was stumbling into a hive of MSG cult worship here. Sorry, folks, I didn't mean to challenge all your inviolate certitudes. It doesn't matter to me, really, how y'all react (or not) to MSG, and I'm not aiming to take all your MSG away. If MSG floats all your boats, then go for it! Chow down, me hearties! But the prevailing tone of this thread certainly seems obsessed with convincing me that I'm really just imagining my own sensitivity to the stuff. You're really intent on proving someone wrong on the Internet!

And you're certainly all twisting yourself into pretzels trying to do so.

Permit me to elaborate.

First, some premises:
(1) I noted that seemingly "normal" quantities of MSG added to a lot of foods (like Campbell's Soup) seem not to bother me.

(2) There was a widely known (or widely believed) notion that in the past, Chinese restaurants added massive amounts of MSG to their food.

(3) This was thought to be the cause of "Chinese Restaurant Syndrome", a compendium of vaguely off-kilter feelings that some people got when eating at some Chinese restaurants.

(4) MSG began to fall out of favor, as best I recall, about the late 1970's or early 1980's. So much so that a lot of Chinese restaurants not only didn't use it (or quit using it), but even publicly proclaimed so on their menus.

(5) I myself had a long history, way back then, of consistently becoming vaguely ill when eating Chinese food. This could not have been a placebo (or "nocebo") effect because in my teen years, I didn't even know about MSG or Chinese Restaurant syndrome. But I sure knew that eating at certain Chinese restaurants consistently made me vaguely (and sometimes more than vaguely), but transiently, ill.

The cult MSG worship fans of this thread are bending themselves into contortions trying to prove this wrong, but most of their above posts are decidedly lame.

We begin with the OP by Melbourne who links to Cecil's old article, Is the food additive MSG bad for you?, June 22, 1990. Cecil doesn't specifically say the MSG is or isn't healthful, but he does note:
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cecil
An alleged example of this is “Chinese restaurant syndrome.” A half hour after eating MSG-laden soup, once a staple of budget Chinese cuisine, some people say they experience headaches, tightness of the chest, and a burning sensation. Researchers have had difficulty reproducing this in the lab, but the feds got so many complaints from the field they’ve issued tougher label requirements for MSG in meat and poultry and are thinking of doing the same for other foods.
Cecil does, however, quote (and link) the Mayo Clinic article, listing the commonly noted symptoms, and this:
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mayo Clinic as quoted by Cecil
However, researchers have found no definitive evidence of a link between MSG and these symptoms. Researchers acknowledge, though, that a small percentage of people may have short-term reactions to MSG. Symptoms are usually mild and don’t require treatment.
Next is GMANCANADA with a helpful Skeptoid link:
Quote:
Originally Posted by GMANCANADA View Post
Definitely now a case of ignorance promoted, not ignorance fought.

Excellent Brian Dunning summary of MSG from a couple months ago.

https://skeptoid.com/episodes/4706
This guy goes on an anti-anti-MSG ideological rant, insisting that the whole MSG problem is just a hysterical fear promulgated by American pop hippie anti-everything (including anti-Asian) woo culture. But wait! There are a few useful bits here. Unlike the FDA link (cited elsewhere in this thread), Dunning makes a distinction between glutamate and monosodium glutamate: He agrees with FDA that we get about 13 grams/day of glutamate in our daily diets without any problem, but he also notes that a small number of taste-party subjects reported symptoms on the much smaller dose of 3 grams of MSG (on an empty stomach), about six times the usual 0.5 grams of added MSG/day that we usually get. But there is no comparison given against eating large doses of MSG with meals! So this remains unresolved.

Then sir viks tangentially posted a link to a post from This American Life which contributes absolutely nothing of use to this thread. It seems that someone suggested that the letter to New England Journal of Medicine that started it all was in fact just a prank hoax forgery. While this post does mention a few times that the MSG sickness is a myth, it says nothing to confirm or refute this. Rather, this garbled and nigh-unreadable article focuses on investigating that claim that the letter was a hoax, and ultimately refutes that claim.

Not long after that, I came in with:
Quote:
Originally Posted by Senegoid View Post
I continue to believe that some people must be overly sensitive to MSG and thus susceptible to the unpleasant effects Cecil mentions.

Data point: Myself. MSG sometimes affects me this way. It appears to be only large doses, as Chinese food was often reputed to contain. Foods like Campbell's canned soup or other such prepared foods have never bothered me, even though they often list MSG among the ingredients.
The rest of the thread seems to consist largely of MSG cult worshippers attempting lamely to debunk this first-person testimony that yes, someone does seem to get sick on large doses of MSG.

GMANCANADA, in Post #6, relies on the Dunning (skeptoid) article to say "the answer is crystal clear the evidence in 2020 is very conclusive that MSG is not a health risk." (GMANCANADA's emphasis.)

Well, no, Dunning didn't entirely say that. He did note that some people reacted badly to large doses of MSG, which is just what I claimed.

Next, Melbourne (the OP, remember) admits (Post #7) that he used to have problems with Chinese food, which only seems to add another data point to my own thesis. Ah, but he then rationalizes that it's the sodium in MSG that's doing it. That shouldn't matter — if MSG is equivalent to glutamate, as the FDA page says and some posters here parrot, then it's still the MSG that made him get headaches, even if it's just the sodium component of it.

Next comes MSG cultist Chronos who, in Post #9, thoroughly distorted what I had previously written and added additional nonsense:
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chronos View Post
So, foods that contain loads of MSG don't affect you, and therefore you must be susceptible to MSG?

There's a hole in this thinking. OK, maybe there is something in Chinese food that isn't found in other food that you have a bad reaction to. But it can't be MSG, because MSG is not something that isn't found in other food.
(I trust that we are all equally able to parse that convoluted triple-negative in the last sentence there.)

I already responded to some of this in Post #15. To give a bit more discussion:
(1) I said large doses, as Chinese restaurants were commonly thought to use, affect me while smaller doses as commonly added to other foods don't.
(2) The notion that it must be some other ingredient is thoroughly speculative with utterly no support.
(3) It could still be the MSG because Dunning noted that MSG seems to be different than glutamate: 13g glutamate/day (as in lots of natural food) didn't bother anybody, but 3g MSG did bother some people.
(4) Restaurants that may have used a lot of MSG caused this reaction, while other Chinese restaurants that were known NOT to use MSG did not. So you're saying that restaurants that omitted MSG must consistently and systematically have omitted some other mystery ingredient too?

Next comes RitterSport with a link to the FDA page Questions and Answers on Monosodium glutamate (MSG). This page says MSG is indistinguishable from glutamate, but that contradicts Dunning's report of some people having reactions to 3g of MSG but not to 13g of glutamate.

Now that's 13g of glutamate/day with food, versus 3g of MSG all at once without food. Quite possibly, 3g (or more?) glutamate all at once would also be bothersome, and maybe with or without food. That's what I suspect Chinese restaurants were doing by shoveling it in. But none of the links cited in this thread address those variables.

Next, GMANCANADA (Post #11) and Derleth (Post #12) suggest that it's caffeine. And Rittersport already suggested it's just too much salt.

Well, could be. I can believe that a megadose of either salt or caffeine would make one sickly. But the subject of this thread is what large doses of MSG do.

In Post #16, RitterSport tries to wave away Chronos's remarks by suggesting that soups have at least as much MSG as Chinese food, and wonders why I think Chinese has more. Chronos, in Post #17, makes the totally unsupported suggestion that KFC has more MSG than Chinese food.

We note here that Chronos and others in this thread, like Vonnegut's Tralfamadorians, doesn't seem able to tell past tense from present tense. I've already noted (and it's even part of Dunning's thesis) that Chinese restaurants allegedly used massive amounts of MSG in years past, but quit using it more recently (in the late 1970's or early 1980's, I think). So nobody, not even me, is complaining about MSG in Chinese food NOW. The discussion of Chinese Restaurant Syndrome refers to a common complaint from years ago. I don't know what Chronos is trying to prove by comparing MSG in KFC versus MSG in Chinese food NOW.

But DID Chinese restaurants really shovel it in? That was the common belief back then. Melbourne, in Post #30, offers second-person witness to that:
Quote:
Originally Posted by Melbourne View Post
Some of the restaurants, like the one my housemate worked at, used to buy drums of the stuff, and throw handfuls of it into the product. I think it's entirely reasonable to notice that some foods have higher levels of one particular glutamic salt than other foods have, and to take an interest in food preparation. I don't think there is any need to be rude about it.
Well, getting rude about it is what cultists do when challenged. (I think he's referring to needscoffee's snarky Post #29.)

Derleth, et al, hand-waves it all away as confirmation bias:
Quote:
Originally Posted by Derleth View Post
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.
But did I mention that I felt effects of "Chinese Restaurant Syndrome" consistently and repeatedly at certain Chinese restaurants, and not at steakhouses or Mexican or Italian or KFC? And that this happened before I even knew what MSG was? Someone explain to me how confirmation bias happens in those situations? (needscoffee also waved it off as confirmation bias on Post #19, while also citing the This American Life post to show that the original NEJM letter was just made up, which is exactly what that post concludes it was NOT. The letter might be right or wrong, but it wasn't a hoax as claimed. Dunning notes this too.)

I'll pass over (for now) the other useless drivel that needscoffee wrote in his several posts. Suffice it to say, for the moment, that he should have had more coffee and gotten himself a little more awake before reading the linked cites or writing any of his posts. I'll elaborate later, if I'm not too exhausted before I finish here.

Now, we get to some posts that were potentially helpful:
D'Anconia posted a link to KFC's nutritional page, listing products with MSG. I never did manage to view the stuff he cited, but RitterSport helpfully found the page and cut-and-pasted the text into Post #25. I already noted that there are several items on that list that I do eat without ill effects. Again, I presume that these foods contain normal and reasonable amounts of natural glutamate and added MSG, but not the megadoses that I think some Chinese restaurants used to use. Again, Melbourne attests to at least one Chinese restaurant that did this.

CairoCarol, in Post #13, supposes that her ill effects, which happened just once, must have been from a bad batch of food that happened once upon a time. needscoffee, in Post #20, imagines much the same thing, that food may intermittently be bad. These ignore the stated claim that I got bad effects consistently at certain restaurants. Did low-budget Chinese restaurants routinely buy up the two-week-old unused ingredients that other restaurants didn't use? Did they routinely shovel in megadoses of cadaverine and putrescine? (And, tangentially, can you believe that this spell-checker knows the words "cadaverine" and "putrescine"? But I digress.)

MSG cultist Chingon unhelpfully remarks, in Post #27:
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chingon View Post
I doubt anything will dissuade you from your stance that MSG from Chinese food makes you ill.
Actually, I did say what evidence might be dissuasive there, way back in Post #18:
Quote:
Originally Posted by Senegoid View Post
I would like to learn more, or see a cite, about KFC shoveling in the MSG. I have eaten often at KFC with no problems, throughout my entire adult life at least. If they indeed are piling it in, then that would clearly repudiate everything I think I know about my own hypersensitivity to the stuff.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Senegoid in Post #26 View Post
I've been under the impression that way too much MSG affects me badly, as was reputedly used in some Chinese restaurants years ago. Nothing in this thread has yet to show me otherwise. So how does KFC MSG usage compare? @Chronos, it was you who wrote, above, that KFC uses more MSG than Chinese restaurants. Cite?
So, if somebody can demonstrate that some common food I am likely to be eating (KFC or otherwise) now has megadoses of MSG, and I'm not keeling over from it, that would be convincing. D'Anconia and RitterSport gave steps in that direction with their KFC cites — but nothing there to suggest KFC uses abnormal quantities.

This thread is, for the most part, little more than a compendium of Recreational Outrage that somebody on the Internet, in this day and age, still reports having had Chinese Restaurant Syndrome back in the day. Come to think of it, I really don't have the energy or enthusiasm to respond much more to needscoffee or Chingon or Inner Stickler, whose posts are mostly just the sort of snark that cultists tend to spew when their particular religions are challenged. I'll just leave that at that.
  #36  
Old 02-15-2020, 09:27 AM
RitterSport's Avatar
RitterSport is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Mar 2002
Posts: 3,751
I give this rant an 8 out of 10. It would be tastier with some added MSG, I think.

I can't tell whether I'm in the cult or not from the post, but want to applaud the use of Tralfamadorians (which the spell-checker doesn't recognize, even after all this time ).

I don't think it's possible to go back in time to find out how much MSG Chinese food restaurants used to use, nor will it be possible to find out how to compare that to Campbell's soup or KFC, since they wouldn't give out their exact ingredients either. If they give out an ingredients list that doesn't contain salt, that could put an upper limit on the amount of MSG depending on how much sodium is in the nutrition facts.

You could experiment with Accent (assuming you're in the US) or whatever they call MSG where you are -- have someone cook you a steak or soup or something and add either MSG or some other salty rub to it without telling you. Do this over a few days and keep a log without telling that person what you guessed. After a week, compare notes and see how well it lines up. It's not a perfect experiment, but it might be fun to try out.

I haven't tried straight up MSG, but if it tastes salty from the sodium, adding too much could make the food unpalatable, so that would put a limit on how many bucketfuls the Chinese restaurants used to add.
  #37  
Old 02-15-2020, 10:19 AM
Qadgop the Mercotan's Avatar
Qadgop the Mercotan is online now
zymolosely polydactile
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2000
Location: Slithering on the hull
Posts: 27,737
Quote:
Originally Posted by RitterSport View Post
I haven't tried straight up MSG, but if it tastes salty from the sodium, adding too much could make the food unpalatable, so that would put a limit on how many bucketfuls the Chinese restaurants used to add.
I'd eat it by the teaspoon as a kid. Very tasty, not overwhelming like salt. You can add a lot to a dish without making it inedible. We cook with it a lot; a friend who claims to not tolerate MSG helped herself to a dish loaded with it (a tbsp in 8 oz of dip), consumed a bunch before we found out hours later. Had no symptoms.
  #38  
Old 02-15-2020, 10:52 AM
Chingon is online now
Guest
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: the hypersphere
Posts: 859
If someone is determined to believe that MSG specifically from Chinese food makes them sick, more power to them.
  #39  
Old 02-15-2020, 01:39 PM
pulykamell is online now
Charter Member
 
Join Date: May 2000
Location: SW Side, Chicago
Posts: 48,920
Quote:
Originally Posted by Qadgop the Mercotan View Post
I'd eat it by the teaspoon as a kid. Very tasty, not overwhelming like salt. You can add a lot to a dish without making it inedible. We cook with it a lot; a friend who claims to not tolerate MSG helped herself to a dish loaded with it (a tbsp in 8 oz of dip), consumed a bunch before we found out hours later. Had no symptoms.
Damn that's a lot of MSG!

I use it pretty liberally, as well, but I do notice that too much makes things taste a bit ... I dunno ... "processed"? It's like up to a point it amplifies flavors and makes food more savory, but past that point it's just too umami. For me, in a 4-to-5 quart stew/chili/soup that level is about a teaspoon of MSG; maybe two if I'm pushing it.
  #40  
Old 02-15-2020, 02:11 PM
Mijin's Avatar
Mijin is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: Shanghai
Posts: 9,348
In China, MSG has a single-syllable, non-sciency sounding name, like "salt". It's popular, not just in restaurants but in home cooking, and when I've mentioned the concept of MSG sensitivity / intolerance to Chinese friends, they had no idea what I was talking about. AFAIK it's not a thing in China.

It's a bit frustrating reading posts like Senegoid's self-awareness and skepticism-free rant in a forum that is supposed to be about fighting ignorance, but I can agree with Chingon's pragmatic approach here; if a person chooses to believe that MSG uniquely in Chinese food makes them feel sick, well, at least it's not going to affect me in any way.

Last edited by Mijin; 02-15-2020 at 02:12 PM.
  #41  
Old 02-15-2020, 07:02 PM
don't ask is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: May 2001
Location: Australia
Posts: 18,440
Quote:
Originally Posted by Qadgop the Mercotan View Post
I'd eat it by the teaspoon as a kid. Very tasty, not overwhelming like salt. You can add a lot to a dish without making it inedible. We cook with it a lot; a friend who claims to not tolerate MSG helped herself to a dish loaded with it (a tbsp in 8 oz of dip), consumed a bunch before we found out hours later. Had no symptoms.
That is the general trend in double blind studies of self-reported sufferers of CRS. For instance: Review of Alleged Reaction to Monosodium Glutamate and Outcome of a Multicenter Double-Blind Placebo-Controlled Study.

Quote:
In subjects who report adverse reactions to MSG, rigorous DBPC challenge studies indicate that large doses of MSG given without food may elicit more symptoms than a placebo in individuals who believe that they react adversely to MSG. However, neither persistent nor serious effects from MSG ingestion were observed, and the frequency of the responses was low. More importantly, the responses reported were inconsistent and were not reproducible. The responses were not observed when MSG was given with food.
  #42  
Old 02-15-2020, 10:50 PM
DrDeth is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2001
Location: San Jose
Posts: 43,515
Quote:
Originally Posted by Senegoid View Post
I continue to believe that some people must be overly sensitive to MSG and thus susceptible to the unpleasant effects Cecil mentions.

Data point: Myself. MSG sometimes affects me this way. It appears to be only large doses, as Chinese food was often reputed to contain. ...
This cannot be a case of placebo effect. When I was about 15 years old, living in Honolulu, we regularly ate at a certain Chinese restaurant. Every time, I got vaguely sick. (Feeling lightheaded and short of breath mainly.)...

At some point during that year, I became aware of MSG and its purported effects. I connected the dots immediately, and concluded that the food there must be full of MSG and that must be the problem.
Except that the food may well have had something else you were allergic too. Chinese food actually doesnt necessarily contain much MSG.

The double blind studies talked about here in GMANCANADA post make it clear- it is very unlikely it was the MSG. Same with Migraine headaches.
https://skeptoid.com/episodes/4706



Free Book
Recent episodes received support from:





MSG: How a Friendly Flavor Became Your Enemy
The history of this vilified flavoring is a wild ride through 20th century cultural influences.

by Brian Dunning

Filed under Health

Skeptoid Podcast #706
December 17, 2019
Podcast transcript | Subscribe

Listen:

Share Tweet Reddit

Today we're going to pull up a seat at our favorite restaurant, order our favorite meal — and whether we want to or not, we're going to gorge down on glutamic acid, better known in its commercial form as MSG. Although vilified by many, glutamic acid is something we all eat lots of every day, as it occurs naturally in our bodies and our food, and yet it is strangely claimed to produce a staggering array of unpleasant symptoms when any additional amount is added to our food as a flavoring agent. This is the story of MSG, and how it went from being a natural and important amino acid, to a favorite flavoring for chefs all around the world, to being reviled as a threat to your health.

...
Ever since then, through to the present day, people have been self-diagnosing with MSG sensitivity. The claimed symptoms have broadened considerably, popularly including just about any negative symptom that a person might feel: headaches, sweating, anxiety, numbness, palpitations, chest pain, nausea, weakness, dizziness, and facial flushing, tingling, or pressure.
....
In 1995, the US Food & Drug Administration set out to resolve the question of MSG sensitivity once and for all. They contracted with FASEB (the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology) to assemble an Expert Panel to review all of the existing research on MSG. Their final report, which is 350 pages long, is called Analysis of Adverse Reactions to Monosodium Glutamate. What they found is interesting. An average person gets 13 grams of glutamate in their normal daily diet, with only about half a gram of that (about 4%) in the form of added MSG. So MSG is a pretty small contributor to the amount of glutamate that anyone gets. Research found no adverse effects from this. Meaning that if you consume MSG in a normal amount in the normal way, exhaustive controlled testing has found that even people who self-diagnose as MSG sensitive do not experience any symptoms that correlate to the MSG in their meal. However, the Expert Panel was able to identify two groups of people who may experience symptoms.

The first of these were healthy test subjects who were given 3 grams of MSG on an empty stomach with no other food — just the MSG — about six times as much as the average person gets in a whole day of meals. When given this extreme amount, a small number of test subjects reported feeling some of the symptoms within one hour, though the symptoms were both minor and transient and soon disappeared. Given anything less than that, no blinded and controlled trials have ever found that people experience any negative symptoms as a result of MSG in their food.

To put that in perspective, it's comparable to being given three tablespoons of salt on an empty stomach with no other food (that's six times what the average person gets in a day). What symptoms would you experience? It doesn't really matter, because nobody ever does that.
  #43  
Old 02-15-2020, 10:54 PM
DrDeth is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2001
Location: San Jose
Posts: 43,515
Quote:
Originally Posted by Senegoid View Post
Okay, here it comes. I suggest that the gentle reader wait until a substantial block of uninterrupted time is available before beginning to read this.
...
(5) I myself had a long history, way back then, of consistently becoming vaguely ill when eating Chinese food. This could not have been a placebo (or "nocebo") effect because in my teen years, I didn't even know about MSG or Chinese Restaurant syndrome. But I sure knew that eating at certain Chinese restaurants consistently made me vaguely (and sometimes more than vaguely), but transiently, ill.

....
No one doubts your history. But you dont know it was MSG. Maybe there was something else in the food that caused this reaction.
  #44  
Old 02-16-2020, 02:23 PM
TubaDiva's Avatar
TubaDiva is online now
Capo di tutti capi
Administrator
 
Join Date: Mar 1999
Location: In the land of OO-bla-dee
Posts: 11,335
The column has been updated with a note from the Mayo Clinic site, which states the following:

https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-l...e/faq-20058196

=====
Monosodium glutamate (MSG) is a flavor enhancer commonly added to Chinese food, canned vegetables, soups and processed meats. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has classified MSG as a food ingredient that's "generally recognized as safe," but its use remains controversial. For this reason, when MSG is added to food, the FDA requires that it be listed on the label.

MSG has been used as a food additive for decades. Over the years, the FDA has received many anecdotal reports of adverse reactions to foods containing MSG. These reactions — known as MSG symptom complex — include:

Headache
Flushing
Sweating
Facial pressure or tightness
Numbness, tingling or burning in the face, neck and other areas
Rapid, fluttering heartbeats (heart palpitations)
Chest pain
Nausea
Weakness

However, researchers have found no definitive evidence of a link between MSG and these symptoms. Researchers acknowledge, though, that a small percentage of people may have short-term reactions to MSG. Symptoms are usually mild and don't require treatment. The only way to prevent a reaction is to avoid foods containing MSG.
=====

I've personally known people who were allergic to MSG -- mostly they seem to get pounding headaches -- and while I'm sure the percentage of people with true MSG sensitivities/allergies are few compared to the general population, they're out there for sure. Not all body chemistry is the same and there's probably someone allergic to most everything around us.

Jenny
your humble TubaDiva
Administrator
  #45  
Old 02-16-2020, 03:47 PM
Jackmannii's Avatar
Jackmannii is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: the extreme center
Posts: 32,841
Referring to those who take evidence-based positions on matters of science and health as being followers of religion or "cult worship" is both inaccurate and counterproductive.

I run into this a lot. A weekend editorial in the Wall St. Journal sneers at climate change "religion". Antivaxers claim that supporters of vaccination are part of a "religion" or "cult".

Adhering to facts and requiring evidence to support a proposition is the opposite of taking things on faith.

Getting off my soapbox now.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Melbourne View Post
Some of the restaurants, like the one my housemate worked at, used to buy drums of the stuff, and throw handfuls of it into the product.
I'm trying to picture sinister Asians cackling as they throw "handfuls" of MSG into vats of chow mein, but having difficulty. Maybe I have trouble recognizing hyperbole.

It wouldn't surprise me if certain people experienced sensitivity of some kind (maybe not an "allergy") to food high in glutamates (for one thing, I suspect everything on earth can be a trigger for migraines, depending on the individual). It does appear from what we know now that the hoopla over "Chinese restaurant syndrome" and similar maladies alleged to be caused by MSG was vastly overblown.

Could be it's the soy sauce. Ever notice how dark and grungy the contents of those little packets get after indeterminate storage in your kitchen drawer?
  #46  
Old 02-16-2020, 05:11 PM
needscoffee is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2009
Posts: 7,358
Quote:
Originally Posted by TubaDiva View Post
The column has been updated with a note from the Mayo Clinic site, which states the following:

https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-l...e/faq-20058196


However, researchers have found no definitive evidence of a link between MSG and these symptoms. Researchers acknowledge, though, that a small percentage of people may have short-term reactions to MSG. Symptoms are usually mild and don't require treatment. The only way to prevent a reaction is to avoid foods containing MSG.
=====

I've personally known people who were allergic to MSG -- mostly they seem to get pounding headaches -- and while I'm sure the percentage of people with true MSG sensitivities/allergies are few compared to the general population, they're out there for sure. Not all body chemistry is the same and there's probably someone allergic to most everything around us.

Jenny
your humble TubaDiva
Administrator
But how can these people you know know it was MSG that set it off? Do they know that the restaurant used excessive (or any) MSG? Do they know some other ingredient didn't cause it? Or even just overeating? "I felt sick, therefore it was MSG", when it's been cited that the notion of MSG syndrome was MADE UP in the first place, is just not reasonable.

Last edited by needscoffee; 02-16-2020 at 05:12 PM.
  #47  
Old 02-16-2020, 07:54 PM
Melbourne is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Nov 2009
Posts: 5,729
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jackmannii View Post
Getting off my soapbox now.I'm trying to picture sinister Asians cackling as they throw "handfuls" of MSG into vats of chow mein, but having difficulty. Maybe I have trouble recognizing hyperbole.
There is nothing 'sinister' about it. MSG is one of the most popular flavours in the world, including the USA and Aus, not just in China. It's also (as noted above) not a concentrated flavour: it's an ingredient, not a spice. To get a fairly strong MSG flavour in a large pot, you add a handful.

There is another common approach, particularly in Vietnamese food: you retain the stock from one year to another, constantly cooking with it: the salts from the meat become more concentrated from one year to the next.

To avoid the evil "MSG" label, food here often uses sources other than the purified salt: seaweed extract, chicken extract, yeast extract, vegetable extract etc. Snack foods (crackers, potato crisps, cheese rings) use the straight salt, and, at least before "MSG" became contentious, so did Chinese restaurants here.
  #48  
Old 02-16-2020, 08:02 PM
pulykamell is online now
Charter Member
 
Join Date: May 2000
Location: SW Side, Chicago
Posts: 48,920
Quote:
Originally Posted by Melbourne View Post
To avoid the evil "MSG" label, food here often uses sources other than the purified salt: seaweed extract, chicken extract, yeast extract, vegetable extract etc. Snack foods (crackers, potato crisps, cheese rings) use the straight salt, and, at least before "MSG" became contentious, so did Chinese restaurants here.
Same here in the US. There's stuff like "autolyzed yeast extract" and "hydrolyzed corn/soy/vegetable protein," etc.

Last edited by pulykamell; 02-16-2020 at 08:02 PM.
  #49  
Old 02-16-2020, 08:13 PM
GMANCANADA is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Mar 2003
Location: Toronto
Posts: 433
@ Tuba Diva Jenny

Quote:
The column has been updated with a note from the Mayo Clinic site...
Thank you for continuing the fight against ingnorance.
  #50  
Old 02-16-2020, 11:32 PM
DrDeth is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2001
Location: San Jose
Posts: 43,515
So someone goes to a "Chinese" restaurant, where they use different vegetables, different spices, and even different cuts of meats that your body is used to. Not to mention, the portions tend to be large.

You have a odd reaction. Ok, sure. but why is it the MSG?

why not the Five spice powder? or Szechuan peppercorns (which are not peppercorns at all) or Star Anise? Fennel? Black Fungus? Seaweed? Bitter Melon? Bok Choy? Various shellfish and fish?

It could be any of a dozen things.
Reply

Bookmarks

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is Off
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT -5. The time now is 09:06 PM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2020, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.

Send questions for Cecil Adams to: cecil@straightdope.com

Send comments about this website to: webmaster@straightdope.com

Terms of Use / Privacy Policy

Advertise on the Straight Dope!
(Your direct line to thousands of the smartest, hippest people on the planet, plus a few total dipsticks.)

Copyright © 2019 STM Reader, LLC.

 
Copyright © 2017