Looking for a nice long-form article to read this weekend? We recommend you head over to BuzzFeeᴅ and check out this feature on the history of MSG—the much and unfairly maligned naturally occurring ingredient in so many of our favorite foods.
The piece, written by former PopularScience.com head honcho John Mahoney, dives deep into the science and history of monosodium glutamate. It should give you plenty of ammo the next time your older relatives refuse to eat at your favorite Chinese restaurant due to a mistaken belief that MSG causes headaches or other illness. An excerpt:
It's a great piece; the history of MSG and anti-MSG fervor is a heady mix of chemistry, racism, and taste, all folded up into the history of American food and the several renaissances it's seen in the past five or six decades. Read it here.
From my personal experience "MSG DOES cause headaches for me" and not because any person in the past told me it would.
Is your article trying to convince me it does not and my feeling of having the headache is generated from some ancient induce racist belief,..... really, seriouly, ROFL.
If MSG doesn't cause headaches then why has my Mom had severe migraine headaches for most of her life to the point where doctors put her on strong prescription pain pills, and as soon as she stopped eating foods with MSG her headaches went away?
Explain that situation.
It is a tactic used by the competition to corner a market and have exclusivity.
If you look for MSG in the supermarket you'll only find Accent brand.
They will charge you quadruple of what it costs anywhere else if you can find it.
Chinese markets will sell you a bag for a dollar.
It's all marketing ploy.
MSG is naturally produced by the body or can be added to foods like salt, so those who cut out MSG added foods are usually following a healthier diet which is the main reason for feeling better. "When I ask her which foods she has to avoid to control her exposure to MSG and her blood pressure, her list includes canned soups, Caesar dressing, sausage, “anything Parmesan encrusted,” soy sauce, and Kentucky Fried Chicken".
I read this article on the mobile site and knew instantly who the author is (mobile doesn't show author). Many people here complain about biases, but the real problem with PopSci is the unprofessionalism of their authors. Dan is a terrible writer who is less professional than the average teenager.
If MSG is so benign how come my mother suffers debilitating stomach cramps when she eats it, even without knowing it (thus no placebo)?
MSG darn near killed me before I understood what was causing my crohnes to flare. Once I finally understood that MSG was causing my illness I tried to remove it from my diet. Turns out that MSG has over 28 headings and chemical process names it can fall under, far more than any other additive. I also found the pharma research that showed when testing for diabetes and obesity they use MSG to make the rats fat, and give them diabetes. In a society of obesity and rampant diabetes it wasn't very hard to figure it into the equation. To test this I didn't have to go very far, my father was overweight, and was diagnosed with diabetes. We went through his cupboards, removed everything we could that had MSG, cut cambells' soups, doritos', salad dressings, basically everything processed. To my fathers amazement (but not mine), he lost 20 lbs and his diabetes went away. A side effect of this experiment was that my mother who has been plagued by migraine headaches for 15 years, had less frequent headaches, that eventually went away entirely. Now here is an interesting thing that happened after all our work taking it out of our diet, I got dosed by MSG and became quite ill, after I recovered I got in touch with the government in Canada, and asked them straight out why MSG was even allowed in foods, and specifically why it doesn't have to be labelled clearly. The lady I talked to was shocked by the information I gave her, and said "I am going to look into this, as my friends and I have been trying to lose weight with poor results". I talked to her at 3pm PST, when I awoke the next morning I had an email from the federal health minister of Canada, telling me how wrong I was, and that it was perfectly safe for the public, blah blah blah. Now for those of you that have never dealt with the Federal government in Canada, I can tell you from personal experience that it takes weeks, sometimes months, to get a response, but within an 8 hour period I had a personal email from the health minister, huh? Ya right, at that point I understood that she had to be following a narrative, probably sent a carbon copy of a reply with her signature on it, all of which his highly suspicious. Now to the author of this article, go back to school, or learn how to actually research, if in a couple weeks of reading studies I can find this information, what is your excuse??
This comment is not to say that anyone should or should not eat MSG. If one feels better by not eating foods with MSG, I see no reason to suggest a change. I'd even say avoiding food with MSG may be a good way to lose weight, as for the life of me I've never seen a "healthy" food item contain the additive. I say may as I have not looked very much into any studies regarding correlation between MSG as an ingredient and the nutritive status of a food product. Just to specify, I'm using healthy as a non-specific term to describe foods that have low fat (or healthy fat), low glycemic index, high fiber, complete amino acid profile etc.
Regardless, arguing with an article on MSG by reporting one's own experience with eliminating foods containing it is rather ineffective. This is not how scientific inquiry nor arguments take place in the research world. This may be how research begins, however. An investigator may note personal experience or reported anecdotes as he searches for a path for his research studies. These aforementioned stories would not, however, even be sufficient basis for a funding request, let alone a reason to recommend the public alter their behaviors
NotSheep writes "learn how to actually research". First off, I have yet to find an exhaustively researched popular science article with proper journal article citations. This is not to criticize the magazine, however, as there really is nobody that pretends that this is a scientific journal. I can't imagine the articles here go through a peer-review process or anything of the like (though to be fair "peer review" might indeed take place, as the peers of popular science authors are simply more popular science authors). Secondly, your own use of anecdotes as a reason to disagree with this article underline your own lack of knowledge in this subject. Not to say you have not found articles showing the dangers of MSG, but if you do indeed know how to research a topic it would be much more effective useful for you to present a synopsis of your findings here. I would welcome this, as I appreciate you having already done the legwork.
Anyway, this is just my little response to these sorts ofcomplaints about MSG. I'm not saying it's good or bad for you. I am saying that it's possible that when one cuts out MSG containing foods, they may be at the same time cutting out foods with high fat and salt content (though the health of salt intake is a completely separate issue). So to explain Bloo-Mahrz situation I can tell him/her that it is possible that MSG was causing those headaches, it is possible that food was causing those headaches, or any other fathamable reason. It is unknown. I am very glad to hear that his mother's headaches went away, and I have no reason to suggest that a change in food-consuming/purchasing behaviors was not related.
The same goes for tertertert. "If MGG is so benign how come my mother suffers debilitating stomach cramps when she eats it". I'm going to assume his/her mother is not eating the powdered form of MSG, rather MSG-containg food items. If the former is indeed true, then the cessation of this behavior is an obvious good choice. If you are again referring to MSG-containing foods then I refer you to my previous statements. Your reference to a placebo is misplaced, as this is not how a placebo-containing study would be conducted. Sample number and many other issues (blinding, etc.) aside, if you truly wanted to find out if it was MSG causing the stomach cramps you may do the following: Cook and feed her some chicken or beef with and without MSG (purchase the powdered form). Everything else should be the same. YOu may or may not want to correct for the alteration in taste, as the addition of extra ingredients confounds your experiment.
Anyway, NotSheep, definitely let me know about the research, I am indeed interested in the subject. Have a good day everyone!
I just don't like the taste of it. As a consumer of Campbell's Chunky Soups, I don't buy any of the varieties that contain MSG. They make many types of soups containing Beef that are just a shuffle of common ingredients. However, many of the "newer" (relative to 20+ years of history) soups contained MSG. All of these, to me, had a distinct bitter aftertaste not present in the soups that did not contain MSG. So, whenever find a Campbell's soup variety that I've not tried before, I check the ingredient list, and I do not buy the ones that contain MSG.