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eugenep

Rescuing MSG’s Unsavory Reputation - WSJ article

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Link at https://www.wsj.com/articles/rescuing-msgs-unsavory-reputation-11556337610?mod=hp_lead_pos11

 

But if paywall - some choice quotes: 

 

8sr

 

OUT-OF-FAVOR FLAVOR

What’s it in? MSG is found naturally in some foods like yeast, tomatoes and cheese, and is commonly added to others, including chips, soups, frozen dinners and ranch dressing. When added to food, the FDA requires MSG to be listed among ingredients as monosodium glutamate. 

 

The image issue: Four in 10 Americans say they actively avoid MSG and many people identify themselves as sensitive to it. The average American consumes around half a gram of added MSG a day, according to the FDA.

 

Is it bad for you? Studies have found no conclusive evidence that MSG has any adverse health effects on the vast majority of people when consumed in normal concentrations.

 

Is it good for you? MSG is about 12% sodium, roughly one-third of the 39% in table salt. Makers of MSG say that when sprinkled on food it can help people reduce their salt consumption.

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"Hmmm....what would Don Quixote do?" 

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~Martin :)

"Unsupervised, rebellious, radical agrarian experimenter, minimalist penny-pincher, self-reliant homesteader, and adventurous cook. Crotchety, cantankerous, terse, curmudgeon, non-conformist, and contrarian who questions everything!"

The best thing about a vegetable garden is all the meat you can hunt and trap out of it! 

 

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I'm a fan of MSG... I never used it as an ingredient until I read the Singaporean cookbook "Nyonya Specialties".  This is a Singaporean book, not an American one, and it many recipes it has MSG as one of the ingredients.  I don't think an American cookbook would call for MSG at all.  Ever since trying it because of this book, I use it all the time with no ill effects - and my bloodwork has never looked better!

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At least here on the left coast I think we have gotten past that myth.  All good now here in the crazy state. 

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47 minutes ago, KennethT said:

I'm a fan of MSG

 

I'm an umami addict.

I use it frequently, but I'm more likely to use fish sauce and/or other umami treasures when appropriate.

One of my friends, who lives out in L.A. uses MSG in almost any savory food! LOL

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~Martin :)

"Unsupervised, rebellious, radical agrarian experimenter, minimalist penny-pincher, self-reliant homesteader, and adventurous cook. Crotchety, cantankerous, terse, curmudgeon, non-conformist, and contrarian who questions everything!"

The best thing about a vegetable garden is all the meat you can hunt and trap out of it! 

 

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I've seen numerous articles and studies about its use in geriatric nutrition. Because it's not perceived the way normal seasonings are, it's exempt from the broad deadening of taste that occurs in the elderly. A lot of facilities are now using it judiciously as a way to make food more interesting to seniors, and encourage them to eat adequately.

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"The only questions that really matter are the ones you ask yourself."

Ursula K. Le Guin

 

"Not knowing the scope of your own ignorance is part of the human condition...The first rule of the Dunning-Kruger club is you don’t know you’re a member of the Dunning-Kruger club.” - psychologist David Dunning

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I love MSG and used to buy it by the pound when the Korean-owned grocer was still in business near me. Now I must be content with Accent at much higher prices from the regular grocer.

 

Never had a headache or otherwise ill effect due to this delicious ingredient. 

 

It is made from seaweed, so please get over yourselves. 🙂

 

 

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> ^ . . ^ <

 

 

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I too use MSG in cooking.

I think I heard somewhere it is on the table at David Chang’s restaurants.😃

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4 minutes ago, Okanagancook said:

I too use MSG in cooking.

I think I heard somewhere it is on the table at David Chang’s restaurants.😃

I used to go to Ssam bar pretty frequently, and have never seen anything on the table other than a napkin holder with chopsticks, and a squeeze bottle of chili paste...

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I think we have been through this before.  A premise of today's WSJ article is that American prejudice against MSG is racial and xenophobic.  Evidence for which is lacking.  I can't believe it was Dr. Kwok's intent to deprecate Asian cuisine or Asians when he published his warning of MSG.

 

Speaking for myself, back in the '60's I was a devotee of the little red container.  Or sometimes not so little red container.  But a couple experiences have made me cautious.  Once in the 1980's a friend and I had lunch at a local Hunan restaurant.  Within an hour we were both incapacitated by a headache, an unusual form of headache:  it is as if your mind turns off.  The sensation is exceedingly unpleasant.  The rest of the day is ruined.  By happenstance I noticed an empty hundred pound drum of MSG behind the restaurant.

 

Another time I dined with my family at a Thai restaurant they favor.  My dish was delicious but within an hour I had the same reaction.  Quite horrible.  Next day my son ate the leftovers of my dinner with the same result.  He is convinced the problem could not have been MSG.  Perhaps, but then what is it?  The symptoms do not correspond to any known food poisoning.  At least known by me.  And I affirm the unpleasantness is real.  And if not MSG, what then is the cause?

 

I spoke once with a local Chinese restaurant owner who said there was no need to use MSG in Chinese cuisine and he did not use it.  Had no adverse reaction to his food.  If the cause of Chinese Restaurant Syndrome is indeed not MSG it would be best to identify the cause and exonerate MSG, rather than deny the Chinese Restaurant Syndrome symptoms exist.

 

 

 

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Posted (edited)

I don't think that it's safe to assume that intolerance or sensitivity to MSG is non-existent....among SOME folks!

Gosh, there's allergy, intolerance and sensitivity to a myriad of foods and various ingredients.

But, I think that the demonizing of some foods and ingredients the way some folk do is wrong.

I've got a friend who's sensitive to coconut...he thinks it's the work of the devil....LOL....especially since it and it's fat, etc. have become so popular in recent years.


Edited by DiggingDogFarm (log)
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~Martin :)

"Unsupervised, rebellious, radical agrarian experimenter, minimalist penny-pincher, self-reliant homesteader, and adventurous cook. Crotchety, cantankerous, terse, curmudgeon, non-conformist, and contrarian who questions everything!"

The best thing about a vegetable garden is all the meat you can hunt and trap out of it! 

 

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Posted (edited)

I use MSG and water in place of stock sometimes when for example, a recipe says to do a 2-3 hour braise of offal in stock (to take out the gross gamey odor in offal) and then to throw away the stock. 

 

I would be wasting 2-3 liters of my hard to make stock if it weren't for MSG + water substitute. 

 

I grew up with the media bias against MSG when I was a kid so as an adult it's like I still have this childhood belief that's difficult to change. 

 

But based on new information about MSG, when I go to an Asian restaurant and if they use MSG, I would be okay with that and no longer feel like my life is at risk. 

 

I learned that MSG is in our potato chips and many other foods we consume everyday. It could be the MSG in chips that make us have a craving for it (can't eat just one). 

 

So...it could be that all Americans have been eating MSG on a regular and daily basis (if they eat potato chips etc.) 


Edited by eugenep (log)

"Hmmm....what would Don Quixote do?" 

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Mmm kay. 

 

I see that there are divergent opinions on this topic, and I respect those, especially coming from long time members who have contributed so many valuables posts here.

 

All I have to say on the matter is that when I would buy a pound of MSG at the Korean grocer for less than what it now costs me to buy a little 4.5 oz. container of Accent, that pound of MSG would last me at least a couple of years when I was feeding two. So I don't use a ton of it. 

 

I do like it, though, both as an ingredient, and I have been known to taste it on its own, as I would almost any ingredient that did not threaten food poisoning, like raw meat or eggs.

 

I like it, I have never, nor has anyone I've ever fed with MSG as an ingredient been negatively impacted by MSG. So this is my anecdotal story to add. 

 

It IS made from seaweed, so I just fail to find the harm.

 

Anyone who is familiar with my postings knows I am a huge Monsanto/Roundup foe, and not a big fan of genetic engineering so that we can dump more poisons on our food crops so Monsanto can continue to profit from poisoning the population. Roundup now has a class action suit against it, fairly recent, although Monsanto ducked out and sold its liability.

 

Hate Roundup/Monsanto.

 

I'm still fine with MSG. It's made from seaweed.

 

If someone would like to change my mind, you know I'm always completely open to that.

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> ^ . . ^ <

 

 

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Posted (edited)

I am someone who has a negative reaction to it.  It's possible that if I ate seaweed in the volumes that equalled the concentrations of disembodied MSG, I would have the same reaction.  

 

I have a negative reaction to a few foods, actually, and some wines, and most indoor pets.  I'm not saying that it's the same mechanism in effect -- just noting that bodies do have genuine reality-based reactions to entirely "natural" foods. 

 

That said, I wish I'd known that @chromedome tip in my 30s, a time when I invested a whole lot of stress in getting elderly ailing people to eat enough to survive their medicine.  My technique was LARGE PINCHES of sugar.  


Edited by SLB (log)
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1 minute ago, SLB said:

I am someone who has a negative reaction to it.  It's possible that if I ate seaweed in the volumes that equalled the concentrations of disembodied MSG, I would have the same reaction.  

 

I have a negative reaction to a few foods, actually, and some wines.  I'm not saying that it's the same mechanism in effect -- just noting that bodies do have genuine reality-based reactions to entirely "natural" foods. 

 

That said, I wish I'd known that @chromedome tip in my 30s, a time when I invested a whole lot of stress in getting elderly ailing people to eat enough to survive their medicine.  My technique was LARGE PINCHES of sugar.  

 

Yes people are different and have different sensitivities. My 96 year old father had a horrid reaction couple weeks ago. I could use it as a sprinkle all the time. We have to recognise what in fact affects us. He schools me on not eating enough fruit and won't listen when I tell him fruit causes food cravings for ME. Literally every body is different. 

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I of course, have plenty of my own health problems now at 60, but I'm really glad that eating fruit isn't even close to causing any of them.

 

Eating MSG isn't either, but again, that's just my take on it.

 

So you all do what you want to do, but let's not demonize an essentially natural ingredient that many, many people enjoy and eat without any problems at all. We're talking billions of people, mostly Asians. And little, insignificant me. 🙂

 


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On 4/28/2019 at 8:59 PM, eugenep said:

learned that MSG is in our potato chips and many other foods we consume everyday

 

Indeed, it is used in many savory snacks. I don't know about the US, but in Europe it is often declared on packaging as E-621, using the EU's food additive coding system.

 

It is astonishing how many people claim to be intolerant of, or allergic to MSG but are fine with E-621!

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A lot of food-based discomfort turns on dose.  The thing about metabolic processes, they can be remarkably complicated!  And highly varied!

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In Chicago there's a fraternal organization of beer and meat called "Man-B-Que." Being a fan of meat, beer, and Tocqueville's view of American civil society, I joined the organization with much enthusiasm. Unfortunately, I lived an hour outside the city when I lived there, and now live 13 hours from the city. So my time there was brief and fleeting, but I think my ManBQue piece on MSG was pretty good. I took some photos of my own glutamate stores, but they didn't survive the migration to the new website. The formatting is now also a disaster. Oh well... that's creative destruction for you, I guess. Anyway, here's a link:


MSG: Meaty Savory Goodness 

 

I'll leave it for others to decide if there were any choice quotes. I provide a lot of references, which are sorely lacking in what passes for most "science journalism" these days. I use less MSG now than I used to, as I have many more non-synthetic sources of free glutamic acid in my pantry now. I still add a dash of Accent to my stir fry. It's so necessary!

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