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Old 08-01-2009, 10:28 AM   #21
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A definitive word about the use of MSG, for me, comes from the Mayo Clinic:
A comprehensive review of all available scientific data on glutamate safety sponsored by the FDA in 1995 reaffirmed the safety of MSG when consumed at levels typically used in cooking and food manufacturing. The report found no evidence to suggest that MSG contributes to any long-term health problems, such as Alzheimer's disease. But it did acknowledge that some people may have short-term reactions to MSG. These reactions — known as MSG symptom complex — may include:
  • Headache, sometimes called MSG headache
  • Flushing
  • Sweating
  • Sense of facial pressure or tightness
  • Numbness, tingling or burning in or around the mouth
  • Rapid, fluttering heartbeats (heart palpitations)
  • Chest pain
  • Shortness of breath
  • Nausea
  • Weakness
Symptoms are usually mild and don't require treatment. However, some people report more severe reactions. The only way to prevent a reaction is to avoid foods containing MSG. When MSG is added to food, the FDA requires that "monosodium glutamate" be listed on the label — or on the menu, in restaurants.
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Old 08-01-2009, 10:43 AM   #22
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Originally Posted by TheMetalChef View Post
I use very little soy sauce. Again, there are so many choices out there in Asian cuisine, why would I lean on one specific one all the time?
Who ever said anything about leaning on MSG all the time? That was never mentioned anywhere in this thread by anyone.

I guess we will just have to agree to disagree on this. The reason I am passionate about this is that I have seen many people diss MSG over the years based on nothing more than hearsay. There are countless studies that show it is safe, yet because one person years ago said he felt sick and the media picked up on it and gave it a scary name like Chinese Food Syndrome, a perfectly normal ingredient has been ostracized for no real reason.
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Old 08-01-2009, 10:51 AM   #23
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Originally Posted by Arky View Post
A definitive word about the use of MSG, for me, comes from the Mayo Clinic:
LOL then let me point out the parts that you seemd to have skimmed over. I will bold them for you so they stand out.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Arky View Post
A comprehensive review of all available scientific data on glutamate safety sponsored by the FDA in 1995 reaffirmed the safety of MSG when consumed at levels typically used in cooking and food manufacturing. The report found no evidence to suggest that MSG contributes to any long-term health problems, such as Alzheimer's disease. But it did acknowledge that some people may have short-term reactions to MSG. These reactions — known as MSG symptom complex — may include:
  • Headache, sometimes called MSG headache
  • Flushing
  • Sweating
  • Sense of facial pressure or tightness
  • Numbness, tingling or burning in or around the mouth
  • Rapid, fluttering heartbeats (heart palpitations)
  • Chest pain
  • Shortness of breath
  • Nausea
  • Weakness
Symptoms are usually mild and don't require treatment. However, some people report more severe reactions. The only way to prevent a reaction is to avoid foods containing MSG. When MSG is added to food, the FDA requires that "monosodium glutamate" be listed on the label — or on the menu, in restaurants.
Now before you go and point out that there is a list of symptoms that I conveniently overlooked, let me point out to you that if you substitute the word alcohol for the word MSG then every single symptom still fits.

Also let me point out that this study does not indicate what "some" may mean in relation to where they say some people may experience these symptoms. I do not disagree that some people experience them. I have every reason to believe that "some" do. I also have reason to believe that "some" experience even more sever reactions. What I also have reason to believe though is that the number of people is far far far less then the media would have you believe. Talk to 10 people on the street and at least half will tell you they are affected by MSG, but when controlled scientific studies are done every time it shows less than 1% are honestly affected. Now compare that to how many people are affected with the same symptoms with alcohol and you have to wonder why people are so up in arms about MSG, but not their precious booze.
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Old 08-01-2009, 10:56 AM   #24
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LOL then let me point out the parts that you seemd to have skimmed over. I will bold them for you so they stand out.

Now before you go and point out that there is a list of symptoms that I conveniently overlooked, let me point out to you that if you substitute the word alcohol for the word MSG then every single symptom still fits.

Also let me point out that this study does not indicate what "some" may mean in relation to where they say some people may experience these symptoms. I do not disagree that some people experience them. I have every reason to believe that "some" do. I also have reason to believe that "some" experience even more sever reactions. What I also have reason to believe though is that the number of people is far far far less then the media would have you believe. Talk to 10 people on the street and at least half will tell you they are affected by MSG, but when controlled scientific studies are done every time it shows less than 1% are honestly affected. Now compare that to how many people are affected with the same symptoms with alcohol and you have to wonder why people are so up in arms about MSG, but not their precious booze.
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Old 08-01-2009, 10:58 AM   #25
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I recall, as a teenager, in my first "passionate about cooking" phase (before restaurant work and an ex-wife who hated everything I cooked killed it for a decade or so) I used to gather up cookbooks from yard sales, etc. all the time, just to find new ideas and recipes and concepts.

One such cookbook was all about Mexican food. I was so excited when I got hold of that book, because it was the first Mexican cookbook into my collection.

First thing I noticed as I explored it was that every single recipe included a teaspoon or so of "Accent".

I'd never heard of Accent before, had no idea what it was. So I set out to hunt it down. None of the local grocers carried it. I made some calls to specialty shops outside of the area. Finally one of them told me "No one carries Accent anymore because it's MSG, and everyone's freaked about the side effects."

I was shocked. Why would this cookbook feel the need to add a flavor enhancer to every single recipe?! Were the recipes so bland without it that they weren't worth eating?

So I experimented with the dishes in the book. And, lo and behold, I found myself needing to add other seasoning to the dishes because they were indeed pretty bland without the Accent. However, I also discovered pretty quickly that I didn't really need to resort to using such an ingredient, because there were many other ways to flavor a dish - and as we're all pretty much aware, MSG is not traditional in Tex/Mex or any other south of the border cuisine.

So, to answer your question about leaning on MSG all the time, yes, there have been time periods where cookbooks were published that did exactly that. That one was not an isolated incident for me. I found others out there that leaned on it in similar fashion. Most were published in the 50's/60's/70's - the height of our celebration in the US of chemical additives in home cookery....

Suffice to say, I stopped referring to those cookbooks other than for occasional raw ideas upon which I built completely different recipes from the published material.
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Old 08-01-2009, 11:09 AM   #26
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I agree with the Metal Chef - very well said.

And I'm not an angry prohibitionist nor do I depend upon a chemical crutch. I prefer natural flavors.
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Old 08-01-2009, 11:27 AM   #27
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A wonderful flavor enhancer is the humble mushroom. This fungus enhances the flavors of most meats, and a host of veggies. One of its main flavor componants is MSG, a naturally occuring substance in mushrooms. I use msg., but not a lot, as there are many great flavors out there, and it just isn't needed in much of what I prepare. But when it's needed, I do use it, & without fear. I am a believer in the idea of "all things in moderation". And that includes most herbs and spices too. Did you know, for instance, that both cinamon and nutmeg, as well as oregano, and most other herbs and spices have medicinal effects. Clove oil is sometimes used to relieve migrain pain. It can also make you sick. Cinamon helps control blood sugars. Harlic helps with cholesterol. Oregano relaxes the sphincter muscle at the top of the stomach and can contribute to acid refulx disease.

Our bodies rely on the foods we eat, and most of them have both benificial and harmful affects on us. Eaten in moderation, we metabolize the good things and remove the bad. But anything overdone overwhelms our systems. Use wisdom in what you eat. Use a wide variety of things, and don't consentrate on too few foods or flavors.

So says Goodweed of the North. And no, I don't know everything. But I do know a lot. Do the research on many of your favorite flavorings and you just might be suprized. For instance, check out the medicinal effectc of basil.

Seeeeeeya; Goodweed of the North
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Old 08-01-2009, 11:43 AM   #28
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A wonderful flavor enhancer is the humble mushroom. This fungus enhances the flavors of most meats, and a host of veggies. One of its main flavor components is MSG, a naturally occuring substance in mushrooms.
Ah, but here you have the operative point - it's a naturally occurring component of the ingredient, not a chemical synthesis of an isolated component.

I'm glad to use mushrooms, seaweed, and other ingredients that also happen to have glutamates in them. I'm just not real big on using a chemical synthesis thereof.
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Old 08-01-2009, 11:52 AM   #29
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You are the one talking about using it every single time though MC. No one else mentioned that. Quite the contrary actually. We have discussed using it in moderation, so I am not really sure why you keep coming back to this using it every time thing, but since you seem to be stuck on it let me ask you this. How many recipes that you make call for salt? Do you have the same aversion to the recipes that call for salt? Is that a crutch? Everyone I know who has gone to culinary school will say the same thing, that one of the very first lessons you learn is the importance of properly salting your dishes. 99 out of 100 recipes will call for salt, but I seriously doubt you could find a single chef who would say it is a crutch.
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Old 08-01-2009, 11:54 AM   #30
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Do you have the same aversion to the recipes that call for salt? Is that a crutch?
I haven't used the word "crutch" at all, GB. I'm not sure where you're getting that from.

Salt is a naturally occurring substance, as it sits. We mine it, pull it out of the sea, it's a huge component in our physiology - literally, without it we'd all die.

So no, I don't view salt the same way I view MSG.

As I mentioned above, I have no aversion to glutamic acid in its naturally occurring forms - mushrooms, seaweed, eggs, dairy products, meat, etc.

I just don't see a real necessity to add more of it (in a chemically synthesized form) to something that already contains it.
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