Why Do Americans Still Think MSG Is Bad for You?

By Dyske    April 3rd, 2012

MSG Crystals

MSG Crystals

Why do so many Americans, even very well-educated ones, still believe that MSG is bad for our health? It is an urban myth that it causes allergic reactions. Many studies from around the world have proven that MSG is no more harmful to our health than plain salt, yet the urban myth in the US continues. (Read Wikipedia entry on MSG ») In fact, in large quantities, salt is more harmful to our health than MSG is. When restaurants don’t use MSG, they just put more salt which is worse. I think it’s just because the name “monosodium glutamate” sounds too scary. If we called salt by its chemical name, I think the same thing would happen: “Would you like some sodium chloride on your French fries?”

Some people feel lethargic after eating Chinese food which lead to this myth called “Chinese Restaurant Syndrome”. I believe this has to do with the heaviness of the food. I feel the same way whenever I eat rich, heavy, greasy food. Cheap food in general tends to be so, specially cheap Chinese, Indian, and deep-fried food. If you were to stuff yourself with rich French food loaded with butter, cream, and cheese, the same would probably happen but because French food is generally expensive, we don’t stuff ourselves with it. And, that leads to another argument that enhancing the flavors with MSG would be good for us because we would feel more satisfied with less calories.

The main reason why the urban myth of “Chinese Restaurant Syndrome” spread so fast and wide, I believe, is xenophobia. Chinese food was a perfect candidate for it. MSG is strongly associated with Chinese food but it was actually invented in Japan, and the Japanese people probably consume more MSG than the Chinese.

MSG first went into production in 1909 in Japan, and since then, the Japanese people have been using it in just about everything. It’s nearly impossible to avoid MSG in Japan, or even in Japanese grocery stores in the US. You pick up any food product randomly and look at the list of ingredients, you will find MSG. For over a century, the entire nation of Japan has been consuming MSG every day. But, as it is commonly known, the Japanese are significantly healthier and live longer than Americans. So, what is there to be concerned about? More than one generation of people have already consumed it all their lives. Cutting down on sodium consumption is a common health concern even in Japan, but I’ve never heard anyone talking about cutting down on MSG.

It is true that using MSG in everything you cook is a form of cheating, but the same is true for salt and sugar. When you eat fruit, say strawberries or a grapefruit, you would want it to be naturally sweet, and not have to add sugar to it artificially. The same is true for savory food. You want to enjoy the natural amount of salt that’s in the ingredients, and if you get high-quality ingredients full of natural flavors, you wouldn’t need to add salt. We tend to add salt to food when flavor is lacking. High-end restaurants don’t usually have salt on the table, and asking for more salt is considered an insult. In that sense, yes, adding MSG is a form of cheating; we should enjoy the naturally occurring MSG if possible. But why single out MSG as a form of cheating? If MSG is cheating, then chefs should not add any salt or sugar in any of their food either, but they all habitually do. So, it’s hypocritical to single out use of MSG as cheating.

196 Responses

  1. Josh says:

    I’m starting to stray away from the idea that MSG is bad for me… Why? Because it makes food taste so good! There are some pretty big sources siting it as being bad in some new “main stream” health documentaries on NetFlix and the internet. This is the biggest website that I can think of right now. http://www.msgtruth.org/

    I love food with MSG but there is always that lingering fear of what could be in store for me years from now. A friend also brought to my attention the way that Japan produces their MSG as compared to the way it is produced in the USA. For example, Japanese people most likely harvest it from natural sources like seaweed. Americans from more synthetic sources, this could have a completely different effect on how it is received by different individuals.

    For the majority of the population MSG is probably harmless and they won’t see anything come of daily consumption but for some there are allergic reactions as with any consumable. I think I’ll stand right in between the argument and just enjoy my MSG in moderation like everything else and hope for the best. Great article!

  2. Steve says:

    It’s *not* a myth. MSG *is* bad for you, as is added salt. Try to educate yourself by reading actual empirical studies instead of relying on *laugh* Wikipedia.

  3. Al says:

    What a stupid post. Are you kidding me Xenophobia is the reason for MSG reactions. I am Chinese and I am completely allergic and sensitive to MSG. You need to pay some attention to how your body feels because you clearly have become desensitized. That said the way Japanese produce MSG is different to the way it is produced in the US and China.

  4. Dyske says:

    “That said the way Japanese produce MSG is different to the way it is produced in the US and China.” That’s interesting. I’ve never heard that. What is the difference? And, are you saying the Japanese-made MSG is not bad for you, but American and Chinese made MSG are bad for you? I thought that MSG sold in the US were all Japanese made (Ajinomoto).

  5. Guilty by Association says:

    If MSG had first been associated with a high-quality product, it might not be viewed so negatively today and while there might be some truth to the xenophobia angle when Chinese food first became popular (I guess in the 80’s?), you can’t just ignore and/or separate other contributing factors. Anecdotally, it seems that Chinese cuisine (and restaurants) has become a lot less popular (in Manhattan, at least) over the years due heightened competition from new cuisine entrants such as Thai restaurants, and more “authentic” Japanese yakitori, izakaya, or ramen restaurants, not to mention non-asian cuisine entrants. At the same time the stereotypical “hole-in-the-wall” Chinese take-out place hasn’t evolved, continuing to compete on price and suffering from negative perceptions of its food quality, healthiness, and level of hygiene. The belief that MSG use is prevalent in these types of restaurants just adds to these negative perceptions. But what about all the Chinese restaurateurs who moved on to opening a Thai or Japanese place? I doubt their businesses face the same skepticism from the public.

  6. Jenniverse says:

    The truth is that monosodium glutamate is linked to artificial flavors and preservatives in the public mind by advertisers because quite simply, it has a chemical-ish sounding name. Even as Americans are trying to eat healthier, they’re too lazy to research what they eat past the first half dozen hits on Google (which are usually linked to advertisers or food conspiracy theorists).

    I’d blame Madison Avenue before I blamed xenophobia.

  7. Guilty by Association says:

    I’m reading this again and I realize I am actually quite disappointed in this post. Let me simplify your argument:

    Question: Why do Americans think MSG is bad for you?

    1. studies have proven it is not more harmful than salt; the chemical name “monododium glutamate” is too scary. [counterpoint: Omega-3 does not sound scary; why is that?]
    2. “Chinese restaurant syndrome” is a myth because Chinese food is heavy. [counterpoint: are you discounting what people have reported to health officials? I’m sure that self-reported findings may be biased, but you don’t substantiate your conjecture. Also, milk is well known to cause an allergic reaction in many people, but that doesn’t mean most Americans fear drinking milk. Lastly, you fail to note that the FDA has not banned or restricted the use of MSG as far as I can tell. A quick search of “Is MSG unhealthy” clearly provides this information in top searches although one health food top search did have more alarmist information:
    3. Americans think that MSG is bad for you do to xenophobia [counterpoint: is soy sauce not popular in America? What about acai berry?; do you have anything to substantiate this xenophobia other than pure conjecture?]
    4. You return to the question of whether or not MSG is not harmful to your health by using Japan as an example where it is widely prevalent and yet Japanese people are healthy [counterpoint: health and life expectancy are complex phenomena; I wouldn’t conjecture a difference between the two countries based on this one difference in diet.]
    5. Using MSG shouldn’t be considered cheating since there are many other food enhancers.

    Lastly, I’ll note that if manufactures of MSG haven’t done anything to educate the public, that is really just their own fault. Most people don’t spend their time sifting through research about specific food additives.

  8. Andrew says:

    interesting points. it should be noted that MSG is not only used in Asian cuisine–how many people out there think about MSG when they eat KFC, McDonald’s, Doritos, etc??

  9. linda says:

    Can anyone tell me if it is made differently & could this be the reason some feel they have problems w/MSG? Janpanese seem to be healthier & kids very smart, so would like to know if there is a difference in the MSG used here in the us than what is used in Japan. lf555555@hotmail.com. Thanks.

  10. linguarum says:

    I’ve never heard of MSG causing allergic reactions. But some people are allergic to nuts, pepper, lemons . . . I wouldn’t be surprised if some people are allergic to MSG too.

    However, most of the concerns I’ve heard regarding MSG are related to excitotoxicity The claim is that MSG can overstimulate brain cells, which has resulted in brain damage in animal studies. There’s a lot of debate about the validity of those studies, but at least there’s some science behind people’s concern – not just fear of the unknown or fear of chemicals..

  11. Anonymous says:

    Holton KF, Taren DL, Thomson CA, Bennett RM, Jones KD. The effect of dietary glutamate on fibromyalgia and irritable bowel symptoms. Clin Exp Rheumatol. 2012 Jul 4.

    “RESULTS: The MSG challenge, as compared to placebo, resulted in a significant return of symptoms (total symptom score, p<0.02); a worsening of fibromyalgia severity as determined by the FIQR (p<0.03); decreased quality of life in regards to IBS symptoms (IBS QOL, p<0.05); and a non-significant trend toward worsening FM pain based on visual analogue scale (VAS, p<0.07).
    CONCLUSIONS: These findings suggest that dietary glutamate may be contributing to FM symptoms in some patients. Future research on the role of dietary excitotoxins in FM is warranted."

  12. Dyske says:


    This study about fibromyalgia and irritable bowel symptoms was conducted on “FM patients who also had irritable bowel syndrome”. It’s like conducting a study on sugar with diabetes patients, or salt on patients with high blood pressure. As linguarum said above, I too would be surprised if MSG was completely harmless to absolutely everyone. It seems that no food is completely safe to everyone. But less is known about the effects of MSG, so it contributes to the paranoia.

  13. We don't know jack says:

    How many particle physicists do you know who eat a lot of MSG or sugar? Just a thought…

    Do yourself a favor and read the Talk page on Wikipedia. Then Google MSG Neuro.

    I’ve been convinced by people who study people with concentration issues, that MSG along with Food Colourants are poison to the brain. It’s not about any allergic reactions – it’s about the long term effects on your mental health.

  14. Dyske says:

    I would not be surprised if that were true. Just to be clear, ANYTHING can be bad for you if you consume too much of it. The question here is whether MSG is any different from other things we regularly consume like sugar and salt. Sugar too is bad for sustained concentration. If MSG is exceptionally bad for concentration, then the entire population of Japan would be suffering from lack of concentration and it would be a national problem, but this isn’t the case. MSG is virtually unavoidable in Japan, and even small children consume it regularly. But look at the ranking of math tests by country:


    Japan is 4th and the US is 24th despite the fact that most Americans avoid MSG.

  15. We don't know jack says:

    Wow, that’s an awesome revelation and something I’ll certainly study! Thanks for the post.

    One of my pet projects is to put up a website where any and all stats can be submitted, vetted, categorised and compared by anyone – to look just of such interesting correlations, or trivial refutals! I’ll call it Wikistats or something 🙂 But hopefully someone will beat me to it.

  16. John says:

    Warning: Too much water can kill you. It contains heavy amounts of hydrogen.

  17. john says:

    msg is not bad for you it is delicious!!!

  18. Quinne says:

    Guilty by Association … I am so disappointed in you.

    [counterpoint: Omega-3 does not sound scary; why is that?] <–1st, you are comparing a food additive with dietary supplement, I understand you're only comparing the chemical name, fine then look, doesn't monosodium glutamate sound much more alien than Omega (which is FAMILIAR, a Greek alphabet; the fabulous and expensive Swiss rolex brand name; and many more.) Not a fair comparison at all dude, we know omega, come on.
    2nd, have you heard of marketing? Omega-3 is manufactured through large pharmacutical corporations with public appearance vitually everywhere. we dont see any MSG companies with fancy ads and packaging.

    1. Have you even read through the the link you provided in your "attempt" to use articles to backup your statement? The link not only does not say anything about MSG being bad, it can actually be used to support THIS author's article.


    "The additive is not unhealthful unless you happen to be sensitive to those side effects.." <– similar to people that are allergic to peanuts..? omg… peanuts are so bad for us! we should just band it all!

    2. [counterpoint: health and life expectancy are complex phenomena; I wouldn't conjecture a difference between the two countries based on this one difference in diet.] <–that coorelation is much better more convincing than your.. counterpoint of ..: hm, dont think you specified your counterpoint at all.

    3. Please read this FDA article, it's one of the most recent publication on MSG. and it is still listing MSG as a GRSS.

    4. [Lastly, I’ll note that if manufactures of MSG haven’t done anything to educate the public, that is really just their own fault. Most people don’t spend their time sifting through research about specific food additives]. <–Pharmacutical corporations charges PREMIUM X 100 for dietary supplements like FISH oil, which we can naturally get on our own when we consume fatty deep sea fish. Maybe thats why you are so EDUCATED by the million dollar ads. and as for MSG manufactuers, MSG is sold in the range of $1- $2, there's not much money there to build a world renown MARKETING department. You're right that people dont spend time sifting through research of specific food additives, instead, people spend loads of money to be educated on the benefits of GRAPE-SEED supplements, you and I both know the seeds of grape in the natural form are generally accepted as inedible trash.

    I have soo many more to say to you GUILTY BY ASSOCIATION, but now that my lunchbreak is over. It was really fun reading about how irrogant and pretentious people can be.

    To the arthor, great article. Funny and informative, I LOLed in the office.

  19. Jenny says:

    I was taught in school MSG can cause Alzheimer’s, maybe too much glutamate in the brain, eh?

    Regardless, whatever you eat in large amounts is going to cause you problems. Bananas cause constipation. In large amounts. BAN THEM BEFORE THEY KILL US.

  20. Galactus says:

    I can tell that you don’t know what you’re talking about at all. “I believe this has to do with the heaviness of the food” You are using an indeterminable attribute, “heaviness.” What the hell is heaviness? Heaviness isn’t an attribute of food that could affect you. You are trying to combat science with ignorance, you will never prove anything this way.

  21. gap says:

    As far I empirical evidence I think that there is no evidence that salt is bad for you. Previous studies relied on 500x a normal human dose and on mice. I bet neither is bad for you.

  22. Frank Luo says:

    If too much glutamate caused Alzheimer’s, most of Italy would not remember a thing — MSG is naturally occurring in hard cheeses, which the reason that it is shaved into pasta as a flavoring. MSG is naturally occurring in MANY foods, especially dried seafood.

    The actual existence of fibromyalgia has not even been conclusively proven yet. Get a bunch of whiny hypochondriacs together and give them something to eat, watch them complain. What a study.


    People feel lethargic when they eat too much. When the food is greasy it is even worse. But instead of looking at their own face-stuffing gluttonous fatassery, they use it to justify their xenophobia.

    And yes — too much water CAN kill you. Not from the hydrogen. Just water:


  23. JP says:

    An interesting discussion. It is not particularly difficult to get people to start to worry about food and food ingredients. My approach when anyone tells me that they are allergic to MSG is to ask “How do you know?”. I can’t tell the glutamate content of food I eat, but high sources of glutamate include tomatoes, parmesan cheese, mushrooms … hence the well-known Italian Restaurant Syndrome. I do know that there has been plenty of rubbish science behind claims of MSG as harmful.
    Personally, I’ve been worried for some time about excessive Dihydrogen monoxide (DHMO) in foods. Does anyone know if this is dangerous?

  24. Chang says:

    It’s racism pure and simple.

  25. Meganolia says:

    MSG is in the chicken broth that is sold with Campbells soup at the grocery store. Swanson, etc. you have to watch. All the bouillon cubes all have it.

  26. jon says:

    You’re straight up wrong about that entire post. I get migraine headaches without fail 30 minutes or so after consuming even very small amounts of msg. I’m taking about as few as 3 Doritos. It took me years to figure out what was causing that reaction, but after careful attention and elimination I determined conclusively that it was msg. I do not have any cultural associations with msg so don’t give me some bullshit about xenophobia. Cheap Chinese food often contains msg, but that has more to do with being cheap than Chinese. Not everyone suffers this reaction, but many people do, so the fact that you would claim its a myth is ridiculously ignorant and speaks volumes about your mental prowess.

  27. Dyske says:


    I thought I made myself abundantly clear in the post and the comments above, but obviously you don’t get it. So, let me elaborate further.

    Firstly, let’s clear up what I mean by “allergic reaction”. As you probably know, “allergy” is an immune disorder. There is no scientific evidence (that I know of) that proves or suggests that MSG causes allergic (immune system) reactions. And, you are not claiming that it’s allergic reaction either. You are simply saying you have reactions; you are not saying what kind of reactions but you know that you have migraine headaches as a result of consuming MSG. (I assume you also avoid naturally occurring MSG.)

    As I’m sure you know, there are people who have adverse reactions to sugar or salt. So, I would expect that some people will have some reactions to MSG. Yet, do we see “NO SALT” or “NO SUGAR” signs all over the place? Do we criticize chefs for using salt or sugar? No, we don’t. So, why do we single out MSG? How is MSG any worse than sugar or salt? Where is this overreaction coming from? THAT is my question. I’m not saying your headache is a xenophobia.

    I’m not trying to negate that some people have adverse reactions to MSG. Every food substance causes adverse reactions to someone. So, just because you happen to get migraine headache from MSG does not mean that it should cause a wide-spread phobia or paranoia for MSG.

    Do you get it now?

  28. Steven says:

    I totally agree Dyske. I am so tired of living in a world where everything is bad for you. You can’t eat this, you can’t use these. It seems like there is something wrong with everything. I refuse to live like a paranoid person, what kind of life is that? I mean seriously, now they are saying that sitting down is bad for you. I can’t take this anymore.

  29. captainjoe says:

    MSG is in, hidden valley ranch, Doritos, Cheetos’s, and all kinds of other things that have nothing to do with Chinese or Asian food. my question mainly is, why does it seem like people only link this chemical with certain foods, when in fact, it is found in all kinds of different dressings and snack foods. so next to you reach for your ranch notice that there’s more MSG than allot of other ingredients. BBQ chips MSG, plain potato chips, just taters salt and vegi oil. READ THE PRODUCTS INGREDIENTS, its in almost everything we eat.

  30. just eat it says:

    To know what we are eating is sensible and gives us a chance to decide for ourselves the healthful quality of what we put in our bodies. I think most people would agree that the more processed a food is the more it gives us pause. Processing foods tends to diminish the nutrient value and quality of a food.

    MSG is a processed food additive. Like many foods/food products the way it is processed has changed over the years, (from chemically processed to a bacterial fermentation process), but it does not change the fact that it is processed.
    In my opinion, when you give over the handling of any of your food to a factory or corporation you are taking a chance with what you get.
    Which is all fine if that is the choice you want to make. Moderation, which can be hard to exercise when eating tasty foods with flavor additives, probably goes a long way to ease our consciences when making these food choices.
    But over all, we may benefit from making choices based less on how tasty we can make a food and how much profit a corporation can earn from it, and consider more the nutritive value and quality of what we eat.

  31. just eat it says:

    I should amend my first comment to address MSG as a food additive and not naturally occurring Glutamic acid.

  32. Jacquelyne Hodasi says:

    The question here is can we safely consume MSG in freshly cooked food without adding salt for the period of 70-80 years ( our lifetime) with little negetive effect on our health? I cook dinner daily and I’m just trying to make it tasty…Are we going to stop breathing because there is bacteria in the air? MSG, salt, sugar, all have side effects..our lifestyle is daily affected by MANY SIDE EFFECTS…one cannot stop living though, can one?? If the side effect is minimal, then enjoy your MSG meals…if for you its serious, stay away from it. WE do not all have the same reaction to things we consume- our bodies/ chemical reactions vary from person to person.

  33. Rachel says:

    I can tell you why I don’t like MSG and is has nothing to do with xenophobia.
    The simple fact is if I eat anything with MSG within 24 to 48 hours I will have a migraine. The worst headache I ever had came after eating in a Japanese sushi bar. The food was wonderful until 48 hrs went by and I felt like someone was putting a drill right though my head. I can have canned soup again because Campbell’s started selling products with no MSG.
    MSG really doesn’t add anything to the taste of the food. Hidden Valley Ranch has an organic dressing with no MSG and it tastes the same as there other dressings and I don’t end up in bed with an icepack on my head

  34. susan says:

    I have severe reactions to what I assume are large amounts of MSG added to food. I believe it’s quantity that causes my passing out [or wanting to if i don’t keep moving] within 10 minutes of ingesting the food. I am out of it for up to 12 hours unless I vomit.

    I eat all sorts of other foods such as doritos mentioned above that have msg added. But it seems to me no one has mentioned that the issue for some may be quantity of the ingredient not solely the ingredient in itself.

  35. Drwq says:

    MSG may possibly be neurotoxic in very high amounts because is the sodium salt of glutamic acid.
    In neuroscience, glutamate (salts of the amino acid glutamate- aka something you eat continually anyways!) is an important neurotransmitter that plays a key role in long-term potentiation and is important for learning and memory. Both glutamic acid and MSG have been researched as treatments for mental retardation.
    So yes, OMG its an excitatory agent for the nervous system. So is sugar aka glucose.
    “Glutamate is the most abundant excitatory neurotransmitter in the vertebrate nervous system.” ( yes Wikipedia oh no!)
    Read more- speak less!

  36. JP says:

    Large amounts of msg are not added to foods. There is no flavor enhancement advantage to adding more than 0.8%

  37. RangDipkin says:

    Accent is the shit!

  38. Ken says:

    The reason why MSG causes “reactions” in people can be entirely explained by the psychosomatic effect. In other words, it’s all due to the misinformation you’ve been provided.

    The Japanese invented MSG. They use it in their restaurants and it’s freely available to purchase in their grocery stores. If it’s so bad, you got to wonder why Japan has the longest average human life span in the world.

  39. Ken says:

    There is a marked difference between the general public perception of “good” and “bad” foods and the educated opinion of academics and scientists in the field of food science. And food conspiracy theorists and their websites, such as http://www.msgtruth.org and http://www.truthinlabelling.org, do nothing but serve to widen this gap by spreading misinformation and promoting pseudoscience.

    The truth is that there is little to no MSG-phobia among food scientists. The issue of MSG is so insignificant that it isn’t even on their minds. To a food scientist, glutamate is a run-of-the-mill amino acid found in virtually every protein and there’s no scientific reason why it should have any special effects on people.

    No food constituent is categorically good or bad. Even things like saturated fat, sugar, and sodium only become “bad” when consumed in excess. And a pinch of MSG is definitely no worse than a pinch of salt. And if you know high school level stoichiometry, you can deduce that MSG has one-third the amount of sodium in table salt. That, plus a very common amino acid, is essentially what MSG is!

  40. Jeanette says:

    I was in the hospital for an unrelated problem and my heart rate was fine. After eating a meal that they said did not contain MSG within an hour I went into a-fib and my heart rate went up to 200 beats a minute. The
    dieition came the next day and I told her MSG is also in Hydrolized Protien. she said she would check the labels , my next check off menu came with the added no hyrolized protien as well as no MSG. This happened in another hospital in Florida as well as one in Ohio. I watched what I ate (and talked to a lot of chefs) and for a year and a half and had no problem than I ate some steak that had Hicory season in it and back in the hospital with a-fib. I have cronic a-fib with an extra beat and that is why I’m super senitive to MSG in any form.So don’t ban it just don’t put a disclamer on the lable but be honist that it does contain MSG.

  41. JP says:

    Sorry to hear about your heart problems Jeanette, but there’s no evidence that MSG could produce such reactions, nor is there any plausible reason how it could. I imagine that there are quite a lot of occasions where you consumer glutamate (without knowing it) and do not have a-fib.

  42. rob says:

    Steve, instead of just *using* unnecessary *asterisks* to try (and fail) to prove a point, you should provide links to the empirical studies that show MSG is bad for you. And this isn’t 10 years ago where anyone could edit Wikipedia and make up whatever they want. Sources are required. Sources like empirical studies. That you seem so fond of. The MSG page has 32 sources. That’s a lot more than you used. So, next time, maybe think before you speak. How about it?

  43. Honest John says:

    MSG is awesome! I’m a total salt fiend!

  44. ChuckRamone says:

    It’s hilarious to read the comments from people being all hysterical about MSG’s negative health effects. It consists of sodium and glutamate, a naturally occurring amino acid. Glutamate is in parmesan cheese, soy sauce and other regular foods. But I’m not surprised most of the hysteria is coming from America, conspiracy theorist nutjob capital of the world.

  45. Jon says:

    OK, to anyone saying “glutamate is just a natural amino acid, it’s perfectly fine,” you are a fucking idiot. The fact that something is natural has NOTHING to do with whether or not it can have negative effects. Stop trying to make that stupid argument, it fails miserably.

    And to the people saying “Americans are just stupid and crazy, their thoughts about this are clearly irrational,” you are ALSO a fucking idiot. While I will be the first to agree that a staggering number of Americans are shockingly uneducated and depressingly religious, those people are NOT the ones saying that MSG can have negative effects on a person’s health.

    I am American. I am well educated. I have empirically proven via repeated consistent testing that consumption of MSG causes me to get migraine headaches. This isn’t something I’m just pulling out of my ass. I’ve actually verified these results, so you absolutely cannot tell me that MSG is perfectly harmless, when I am a living example of the problems it can cause.

    Now obviously, not every single person on earth experiences these symptoms. No one is saying that. You don’t get to use the fact that you personally have no reaction as any sort of evidence that NO ONE has a reaction. That’s just plain ridiculous.

    Quit being so mind mind-bogglingly stupid.

  46. Frank Luo says:

    Funny how you’re bitching about people generalizing with such venom, all the while generalizing yourself. Exactly ONE person here has said that he effects are “entirely psychosomatic.” Everyone else at least acknowledge that it is possible that some people have MSG sensitivity and experience bad reactions. If you actually read the post carefully, you’ll see that the xenophobia being described is about “Chinese restaurant syndrome,” not MSG itself. Americans talk about “Chinese restaurant syndrome” but do not talk about “American holiday dinner syndrome” because of xenophobia and racism, and then attribute the problems to MSG, to whitewash the racism they feel.

    Scientifically, glutamate is a necessary amino acid that helps your brain to function. Excess amounts of it can cause problems, but glutamate transporters generally remove any excess quickly enough to prevent problems. If you are born with glands that are less efficient in producing these transporters, you might have an issue. But instead of actually reading the posts and finding this out, all you do is bitch and whine and generalize while accusing others of generalizing.

    You’re just mad that people don’t listen to you. Your posts are angry and irrational, and you just want to vent, which basically just makes you an angry, irrational douche.

  47. Alibaba says:

    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:
    -Facial pressure or tightness
    -Chest pain
    Thus, it is bad for health and I encouraged everyone not to consume it too often.

  48. JP says:

    The key word here is “anecdotal”. All of these symptoms appear following placebo at the same frequency as following ingestion of capsules containing MSG.
    This is why the FDA labels MSG as GRAS
    It is however an interesting sociological issue – how a disorder can arise without evidence of its existence.

  49. kim sue says:

    If reactions to MSG are due to xenophobia, why are people eating in Chinese restaurants in the first place?
    Do any anecdotal reports of reactions come from Chinese or Japanese people? Is there any difference between those who grew up eating large amounts of MSG containing foods and those that are recently introduced to MSG?

  50. Dyske says:

    The reactions are NOT due to xenophobia. Some people do have real physical/chemical reactions just like some people have reactions to salt and sugar. What we are questioning here is the degree to which MSG is perceived as bad. “NO MSG” signs are everywhere even though MSG is no more dangerous or unhealthy as salt and sugar.