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bourbon 08-01-2009 04:51 AM

How bad is MSG
 
I've searched online and have seen everything from it causes most every disease know to man, to it's harmless. Does anyone here have facts about msg.

Arky 08-01-2009 05:31 AM

MSG linked to weight gain

by Chris Sparling
Aug 28th 2008

Monosodium glutamate (MSG), a flavor enhancer frequently used in Asian cuisine, can cause you to gain weight, new research published in the journal Obesity suggests. Rural Chinese men and women who consumed the most MSG were more than twice as likely (2.75 times - ed.) to be overweight than their peers who didn't use the additive.

****************************
Health: MSG & Weight Gain

Reporting: Stephanie Stahl
PHILADELPHIA (CBS 3) ―

Researchers at the University of North Carolina followed people in rural China. They all ate the same healthy foods. Some used MSG, others did not.

"We analyzed the data and found that those who used MSG are more likely to be overweight than non-users," said Dr. Ka He, University of North Carolina.

In fact, the researchers found three times the rate of overweight people in the high MSG-use group compared to the non-users.

For years, animal studies have suggested a possible link between MSG and obesity. This study is the first to make the connection in humans, but at this point there's no explanation.

Because the government considers it safe, there are no warnings or restrictions on MSG.

***************************************
Does MSG Make You Fat?

Monosodium Glutamate Linked to Obesity

Fiona Wilkinson
https://graphics.suite101.com/icon_article.gif Oct 10, 2008


...There may be several reasons for these results. One could be that MSG led individuals to eat more food or be less active. However, this was accounted for in the study, meaning the link between MSG consumption and increased body weight appears to be independent of these factors.
This suggests MSG may have one, or several, metabolic effects on the body which may predispose people to weight gain. Giving MSG to animals has been shown to induce various changes that promote fat accumulation including suppression of fat breakdown.

GB 08-01-2009 06:34 AM

The stuff about MSG allergies is mostly false. Most people who think they are affected by MSG are not. It is all in their heads. I am not saying that no one is affected, but it is no more than any other substance. There are people who are allergic to every type of food out there. MSG does not cause more reactions than any of those. The media scared people about it years ago and people believe the crud they were shoveling. The mind is a very powerful thing so if you think something is going to make you sick then your mind actually will make you sick.

MSG is in tons of products that people eat every day who claim to have a bad reaction to MSG. Some of the products are:

bullion cubes
Doritos
BBQ sauces
Salad dressings
Canned, frozen, or dried prepared foods
Potato and tortilla chips
Seasoning mixtures
Canned and dry soup mixes
Soy sauce
Worcestershire sauce
McDonalds, KFC, Burger King and most other fast foods
Boars Head deli meats

The list goes on and on. Like I said, the mind is a VERY powerful thing. If you think something is going to make you sick then it will. Tons of people who claim to be allergic to MSG eat it every day without realizing it and do not have any issues. Again, I am not saying that it is in everyone's head. There are people who are genuinely affected, but it is just a vey very very small fraction of the people who claim it.

msmofet 08-01-2009 06:38 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by GB (Post 841238)
The stuff about MSG allergies is mostly false. Most people who think they are affected by MSG are not. It is all in their heads. I am not saying that no one is affected, but it is no more than any other substance. There are people who are allergic to every type of food out there. MSG does not cause more reactions than any of those. The media scared people about it years ago and people believe the crud they were shoveling. The mind is a very powerful thing so if you think something is going to make you sick then your mind actually will make you sick.

MSG is in tons of products that people eat every day who claim to have a bad reaction to MSG. Some of the products are:

bullion cubes
Doritos
BBQ sauces
Salad dressings
Canned, frozen, or dried prepared foods
Potato and tortilla chips
Seasoning mixtures
Canned and dry soup mixes
Soy sauce
Worcestershire sauce
McDonalds, KFC, Burger King and most other fast foods
Boars Head deli meats

The list goes on and on. Like I said, the mind is a VERY powerful thing. If you think something is going to make you sick then it will. Tons of people who claim to be allergic to MSG eat it every day without realizing it and do not have any issues. Again, I am not saying that it is in everyone's head. There are people who are genuinely affected, but it is just a vey very very small fraction of the people who claim it.

i agree!!

Arky 08-01-2009 06:40 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by GB (Post 841238)
...
MSG is in tons of products that people eat every day who claim to have a bad reaction to MSG. Some of the products are:

bullion cubes
Doritos
BBQ sauces
Salad dressings
Canned, frozen, or dried prepared foods
Potato and tortilla chips
Seasoning mixtures
Canned and dry soup mixes
Soy sauce
Worcestershire sauce
McDonalds, KFC, Burger King and most other fast foods
Boars Head deli meats

The list goes on and on...

I would say that pretty much makes the case for the rising rate of obesity among Americans!

GB 08-01-2009 06:43 AM

I would hardly say that makes the case. What about the lack of exercise Americans get or the ridiculously large portions we consume or the fatty foods we eat?

Arky 08-01-2009 06:47 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by GB (Post 841241)
I would hardly say that makes the case. What about the lack of exercise Americans get or the ridiculously large portions we consume or the fatty foods we eat?

I agree. Those too...!

GB 08-01-2009 07:17 AM

Some more info...

Quote:

Chemist Leonid Tarasoff and statistician Michael Kelly of the University of Western Sydney recently completed a double-blind study on 71 volunteers of the effects of high doses of MSG before a standard breakfast. Some reaction to MSG was experienced by 15 per cent of the volunteers. However, 14 per cent also reported aftereffects when given a placebo of gelatin powder. 'Most had no reaction at all to MSG or the placebo,' says Tarasoff.
Quote:

MSG Causes Headaches (aka Chinese Restaurant Syndrome): "Jeffery Steingarten, food editor of the Vogue in New York, debunked this myth pretty comprehensively. Given the widespread use of MSG in China, he asked why weren’t there a billion Chinese people with headaches? He then went around relentlessly researching the theory in his characteristically thorough way, and came to the conclusion that MSG, taken in normal quantities, was perfectly safe." (I know many people who swear they get headaches after eating MSG, so I'm reluctant to accept this as an urban legend. But some quick research reveals that a controlled study at Harvard University also concluded that MSG in food doesn't cause headaches.)
YouTube - Food Detectives proved MSG is Safe part 1
YouTube - Food Detectives proved MSG is Safe part 2

And see this NY Times Article.

bethzaring 08-01-2009 07:26 AM

I remember this discussion on this forum a few years ago....I went into it thinking MSG was evil, but came away from the discussion believing it is benign..

Arky 08-01-2009 07:48 AM

Not ever having suffered any of the reported side effects from MSG, I still prefer to err on the side of caution when possible and not play Russian Roulette with my health or the health of my guests by deliberately adding MSG to anything coming out of my kitchen.

GB 08-01-2009 07:52 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Arky (Post 841249)
Not ever having suffered any of the reported side effects from MSG, I still prefer to err on the side of caution when possible and not play Russian Roulette with my health or the health of my guests by deliberately adding MSG to anything coming out of my kitchen.

Do you drink coffee and serve coffee to your guests? There have been numerous reports that coffee is bad for you. What about wine? Same thing. Same with many many many other foods and food products. Do you feel you are playing Russian Roulette with those foods? If not, why not with them, but with MSG?

TheMetalChef 08-01-2009 07:54 AM

I don't know about the safety aspect, but since its sole purpose is to amplify whatever flavors already exist in a dish, I'd just as soon add more of those flavors. :wink:

GB 08-01-2009 08:00 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by TheMetalChef (Post 841251)
I don't know about the safety aspect, but since its sole purpose is to amplify whatever flavors already exist in a dish, I'd just as soon add more of those flavors. :wink:

Do you use salt when you cook? The same reason MSG is used is the very reason salt is used. Actually, MSG IS salt.

Arky 08-01-2009 08:03 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by GB (Post 841250)
Do you drink coffee and serve coffee to your guests? There have been numerous reports that coffee is bad for you. What about wine? Same thing. Same with many many many other foods and food products. Do you feel you are playing Russian Roulette with those foods? If not, why not with them, but with MSG?

Not to belabour this, but Yes, I drink red wine - 3,000+ years of history and dozens of independent studies have demonstrated that red wine, in moderation, has many health benefits. As for coffe, there again, recent long term studies have shown that moderate coffee drinking have heart health benefits and debunked some alarmist studies from the 1960s-70s. But, I only drink an average of one cup per day and only make coffee for my guests if they request it. Otherwise I offer them tea, juice or filtered water. I'm careful... not fanatical.

TheMetalChef 08-01-2009 08:38 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by GB (Post 841252)
Do you use salt when you cook? The same reason MSG is used is the very reason salt is used. Actually, MSG IS salt.

It's not salt, it's salt plus a free amino acid.

As demonstrated by phenylalanine, free amino acids in high concentration (doesn't take much to make a "high" concentration when dealing with aminos) can cause relative deficiencies that lead to all sorts of unintended consequences in human physiology.

I'll stick with salt if I think a dish needs salt.

What blows my mind about MSG is that so many Asian seasonings already contain an enormous amount of salt (being that they salt-pack ferment EVERYTHING over there) - so there really isn't a pressing need to add MORE sodium to the dish.

I don't recall ever, ever having to use straight salt in any of my Asian cooking. If anything, I've had to add sugar to a dish because another ingredient made it too salty.

Besides, there are so many wonderful choices out there for interesting flavorings that can add complexity to an Asian-style (I hate the word inspired, it's so trite) dish that I can't imagine resorting to an amplifier like MSG.

GB 08-01-2009 09:01 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Arky (Post 841253)
Not to belabour this, but Yes, I drink red wine - 3,000+ years of history and dozens of independent studies have demonstrated that red wine, in moderation, has many health benefits. As for coffe, there again, recent long term studies have shown that moderate coffee drinking have heart health benefits and debunked some alarmist studies from the 1960s-70s. But, I only drink an average of one cup per day and only make coffee for my guests if they request it. Otherwise I offer them tea, juice or filtered water. I'm careful... not fanatical.

MSG has been in use longer than red wine and dozens apon dozens upon dozens for independent studies have demonstrated that MSG, in moderation, causes no health problems. Look at Asia. They have been using MSG forever and they are some of the healthiest people there are.

GB 08-01-2009 09:09 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by TheMetalChef (Post 841258)
It's not salt, it's salt plus a free amino acid.

As demonstrated by phenylalanine, free amino acids in high concentration (doesn't take much to make a "high" concentration when dealing with aminos) can cause relative deficiencies that lead to all sorts of unintended consequences in human physiology.

I'll stick with salt if I think a dish needs salt.

What blows my mind about MSG is that so many Asian seasonings already contain an enormous amount of salt (being that they salt-pack ferment EVERYTHING over there) - so there really isn't a pressing need to add MORE sodium to the dish.

I don't recall ever, ever having to use straight salt in any of my Asian cooking. If anything, I've had to add sugar to a dish because another ingredient made it too salty.

Besides, there are so many wonderful choices out there for interesting flavorings that can add complexity to an Asian-style (I hate the word inspired, it's so trite) dish that I can't imagine resorting to an amplifier like MSG.

Yes it is a salt plus an amino acid. That does not mean it is not a salt. It still is a salt and it is used for the same reason sodium chloride is used in cooking, to enhance flavor. Enhance does not mean add more of the same flavor. It means bring out flavors that would not be present or noticeable on their own without a little help. Have you ever had a vodka sauce? Vodka is basically flavorless. Why add something that is flavorless to food? Because it enhances what is already there. There is a flavor compound in tomatoes that you will never ever taste unless in the presence of alcohol. Adding more tomato will not bring those flavors out. It is the same with MSG. It is a flavor enhancer, just as sodium chloride is a flavor enhancer. Salt and MSG are not interchangeable though so saying you will stick with salt if something needs salt is kind of like saying you will stick with wine beer if something needs alcohol. Yes they are both alcohol, but the affect food in different ways.

As to your point about not needing to add any more salt to your Asian cooking, is that because you use soy sauce? Guess that is in soy sauce?

Arky 08-01-2009 09:15 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by GB (Post 841263)
MSG has been in use longer than red wine and dozens apon dozens upon dozens for independent studies have demonstrated that MSG, in moderation, causes no health problems. Look at Asia. They have been using MSG forever and they are some of the healthiest people there are.

According to "Truth In Advertising.org" "Monosodium glutamate" was invented in 1908 by Kikunae Ikeda of Tokyo, Japan who noticed that glutamic acid had flavor-enhancing potential. Prior to that time, the Japanese had used seaweed as a favorite flavor enhancer, without understanding that glutamic acid was its flavor-enhancing component. I would say that wine was used just a few years earlier than that!

Also, the science research department of North Carolina might disagree with your statement about it causing no health problems, unless you don't consider obesity a health problem.

GB 08-01-2009 09:16 AM

MSG as a stand alone compound was invented in 1908, but naturally occuring MSG has been in existence a lot longer than wine.

TheMetalChef 08-01-2009 09:25 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by GB (Post 841265)
As to your point about not needing to add any more salt to your Asian cooking, is that because you use soy sauce? Guess that is in soy sauce?

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?

And there is no MSG in any of the soy sauces I use.

Salty ingredients typically in my rotation:

- Fermented Black Bean Sauce
- Alamang Guisado (sauteed shrimp paste)
- Fish Sauce
- Miso Paste
- Oyster Sauce
- Abalone Sauce

Each give a dish a particular character along with the salt content. And, again, if you know how to look, you can get them without MSG.

You mentioned that Asians have been using MSG for thousands of years - except they haven't. They've been using seaweed extract for thousands of years, which includes all the requisite flavinoids from the seaweed. MSG is an isolation of one particular chemical in the seaweed extract, and it's not even made from seaweed anymore, it's made from fermented sugars (usually beet sugar or molasses) - and they (and we) have only been using it in that form for the last 100 years.

I guess I don't quite understand why you're being so dogmatic (well, that's how it appears, anyway) about using synthesized MSG. I choose not to, because I'm not convinced that it's a safe ingredient. If I'm losing out on some potential enhancement to the food, I guess I'll just have to lose out. I've never had any complaints about my Asian dishes lacking in flavor.

People thought phenylalanine was a safe ingredient for two decades - until people started turning up with MS-like symptoms, elevated glucose levels (despite not eating any sugar) and other much, much worse side effects - all of which ceased after removing the phenylalanine from their diets.


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