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.

  51. Ryan says:

    I’ve come to believe that MSG “natural occuring” is OK, although shouldn’t be consumed too much and the ones that process it ‘synthetically'(US/China) would cause some health problems in the long term.

  52. JP says:

    Believing is not, unfortunately, the same as understanding. MSG is a manufactured product – what occurs in very many foods is glutamic acid. MSG is simply glutamic acid in a form that has a sodium ion attached. This makes it stable. There is no good research evidence showing adverse health effects of either.

  53. Bendrix says:

    There’s an excellent series of articles about this on the WSJ blogs:

    Bringing Balance to the MSG Debate: http://blogs.wsj.com/scene/2013/04/05/understanding-umami-the-msg-debate/

  54. Renee says:

    I have read most of these comments and found one stating that if the FDA have not banned a food product, that means its safe. I say HECK NO! The FDA was informed 2 years ago by their own research scientists to ban yellow 5 & 6 food coloring but they have not yet complied. Why? They do not care! So why would they bother to ban MSG? They allow poisons in our foods and their contracts with Pharmaceutical drug companies press the need for high sales of drugs to the point we see them advertised on TV to only see lawsuits for them a couple of years later.
    Seriously though, I was raised on Campbell’s Soups that were all tainted with MSG until other alternatives came along. I am 58 and still healthy. No ill effects whatsoever. My son however got a flushed red stripe across his cheek whenever he ate any salty product. The thing is, all sodium should be used in moderation. I believe that most processed foods are way too salty. I could swear they have been adding more over the years and not less. Cookies have more sugar too. Things and getting sweeter and saltier! The low salt is too low and the regular is hardly edible. If I was greezy salt, I’ll eat a few potato chips. I don’t want that huge amount in my meals.

  55. Paula says:

    I’ve been rethinking my attitude to MSG lately too. It is amazing how many people are down on MSG — eg all my cookbooks either ignore it or talk badly about it — when it might instead be healthier than salt (specifically, enhance flavor allowing one to retain flavor at lower salt and therefore lower sodium levels, since MSG has much lower sodium levels than salt).

    Those who seem fairly neutral (wikipedia) point to there being no conclusive studies of its toxicity. Those who hate it point to articles like the one where rats were fed 10g of MSG a day for a few months, and are shocked that it led to retinal damage. Um, those rats weigh 300-400g, so that is like a 50kg woman eating over 1kg of MSG a day. (For comparison, when I cook with it, I use less than their recommended amount, which is 0.5g per serving). What do you think 10g of salt a day does to a rat? At those levels and less: edema, renal failure, sustained arterial hypertension (and significant elevations of blood pressure at 1/4 of that dose) and death.

  56. Denise says:

    I live in Cambodia, and they pile MSG on their food here (I have seen them put 5 heaped tablespoons on one single dish). In Cambodia, high blood pressure is an enormous problem. Is it possible that the high consumption of MSG (along with soy sauce, fish sauce and salt itself) and high blood pressure are correlated?

  57. richie rich says:

    Bottom Line people stay away from msg.it is scientifically proven to be unhealthy .just because msg is not significantly bad for your body doesn’t mean it is healthy.if you want to have a healthy diet, stay away from msg.

  58. Josiah says:

    Wow this is really stupid when you consider the other 98 percent of the facts…

    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.
    This is soooo stupid. Only students who excell in all subjects including and mostly math get to go to school to the point in which they get in this ranking. Almost every old kid in the US is in our sample that gets ranked…. come on people stop eating flouride and msg long enough to use whats left of your brain, stop being idiots….. wow.. so much stupidity.. I guess flouride isnt a poison either because it could help strengthen teeth and 1 out of 10 japanese people have al their teeth so we should just eat up then…. WOW….

  59. Josiah says:

    MSG has been proven to pierce the Brain barrier and act much like a mind altering drug. There are plenty of natural things out there that will kill you much less harm the function of your body/brain. Besides the fact that it doesnt pass the common sense test. Anything that has all the feel good effects that MSG has is not a vitamin or nutrient(not that any of those do either on their own) obviously has side effects especially when it messes with your nuerons.. Have some common sense and quit eating flouride and taking all the vaccines they through at you while your at it morons…

  60. JP says:

    Nonsense I’m afraid.
    The body produces large amounts of its own glutamate and glutamate taken in the diet (glutamic acid + a sodium ion = MSG) is used by the body in a variety of metabolic processes.
    There is NO evidence that it acts like a mind altering drug.
    Thankfully, glutamate does mess with your neurone – it is one of the major neurotransmitters in the brain.
    I suggest that you resist the web based crank science with a little more effort.

  61. richie rich says:

    Have you ever broken a sweat from eating pizza from pizza hut too fast? Overworking your jaw muscles does not cause your face to sweat. The grease in pizza doesn’t have enough time to travel out of the pores on your face. The pizza isn’t so hot it causes you to sweat when your smelling it. If you ask a doctor how msg affects your nerves, which connect to your brain, if msg causes them to react making your face sweat he will tell you”nope impossible that’s not true”. You are a complete ignorant imbecile.

  62. Frank Luo says:

    Someone from the anti-vaccine moronosphere.

    Why am I not surprised…

  63. richie rich says:

    Sorry frank you must have been fed to much msg as a child …

  64. Frank Luo says:

    *Snicker* Yep. MSG got me into MENSA. Enjoy your delusions dumbass.

  65. Michael Gooch says:

    MSG is essentially the sodium salt form of an amino acid (glutamic acid) that your body naturally produces anyway. Glutamic acid is not harmful in normal concentrations. (it can be neurotoxic in certain neuroendocrine diseases, but these disease processes are not brought on directly by dietary glutamate) It is used to make proteins and has a use directly as a neurotransmitter.

    The concern with manufactured MSG is if it is chemically synthesized you get impurities in addition to the L-glutamic acid. Some examples are D-glu and pyoglutamic acid or mono/di chloro amino acid derivatives. If we purify it out of a natural source, L-glu is not a problem, if it is synthesized, some of the impurities can be problematic.

  66. Michael Gooch says:

    I feel it necessary to add, you cannot be allergic to glutamate and not constantly be having allergic reactions to your own body. If you have a reaction tosomething containing MSG, you’re probably reacting to something ELSE in the product (potentially one of the impurities i mentioned), but not the MSG itself.

  67. richie rich says:

    Do u even know what a delusion is frank? I didnt know that cracking a rather lame joke was delusional. Besidds only delusional schizophrenics take IQ tests because they think they are smarter than albert einstiien. Is that what you are?

  68. Frank Luo says:

    Of course I know what delusion is. You apparently do not. Here’s the dictionary definition:

    a : something that is falsely or delusively believed or propagated
    b : a persistent false psychotic belief regarding the self or persons or objects outside the self that is maintained despite indisputable evidence to the contrary; also : the abnormal state marked by such beliefs

    Arguing against vaccination meets this definition exactly.

    As for me, I am someone who knows how to spell Einstein. I might not be smarter than him, but you are certainly a delusional dumbass.

  69. richie rich says:

    Soooo people im sure many of you have experienced a sweaty greasey faced feeling after a jumbo slim jim, or spicy cheetos, lays chips, doritos, jacks links, …. All that sheit has msg and that is how you nerves react when consuming too mich msg. Nothing alergic or psycological about it. Go back to school kiddies

  70. richie rich says:

    Realy frank, u need a dictinary to look that up. Just admitt this convo is making both our days at work go by faster. I used my android phone to type that. No hard feelings just convo.

  71. richie rich says:

    How in the world do u argue a vaccination? Did u read the wrong deffinitio When u looked that word up ? First u say im from the anti vaccine moronzone because im right. Then u say im delusional from cracking a joke. To top it, u argue that im wrong about msg being unhealtny. You my friend are the very definition of someone that beleives somrthing that is obiously not real.(delusional). What, i beleive is fact. Msg is unhealtny … Thats a simple fact everyone should now.

  72. Frank Luo says:

    Richie you pathetic dumb fuck. I wasn’t even talking to you about the vaccine. A few posts above yours gave us this gem:

    “Have some common sense and quit eating flouride and taking all the vaccines they through at you while your at it morons…”

    But hey you are just as stupid and deluded with your dumbass delusions because billions of people live perfectly well with MSG — in fact the people who built you phone probably eat that three times a day, with no issues. Yet you choose to believe what you want to despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary — which is why I called you delusional you sad, sad little person.

    You’re pathetic. Just go off in a corner and live with your delusions and leave the people who think with more than a spinal cord talk, you sad fuck.

    And do not call me friend. I’m not your friend and wouldn’t want to be — knowing that people as stupid and pathetic as you is punishment enough without having to pretend to like you. Fuck off.

  73. Jon says:

    Good God, Frank you are one massive gaping asshole. Seriously, you’re taking a thread of comments regarding the legitimacy of one man’s criticism of the notion that MSG causes negative reactions for some people and turning it into a holy flame war. Everything you post is bursting with needless ad hominem attacks against people who disagree with you. What the hell is your problem? Did daddy touch you too much? Or maybe not enough?

  74. Frank Luo says:

    Well if it isn’t the angry irrational douche. Except now you’re an angry, irrational, lying douche.

    I started the conversation calmly enough. But some people (yes this includes you) just had to turn it into a retarded little troll fest. How retarded? The article wasn’t even about whether or not MSG causes a reaction. Even if some people DO get reactions to it, that was not the actual point. The actual point was about the perception of MSG from the general public towards a cuisine, a general public the majority of which that does not even have any reactions to MSG.

    But then self-centered people like you, who think the world revolve around you, wanted — no, *needed* to make it into that. Because you’re angry that nobody would listen to you about your headaches. But no — te article is about *public perception* — the xenophobic suspicion with which mainstream America views something it sees as foreign. Whether or not MSG actually causes reactions in a few people has about as much to do with the main point of the article as the name of the hospital Obama was born has to do with people demanding his birth certificate. Just one connected factoid that obscures the real point — xenophobia, ignorance, and racism disguised as something else when given a foil to which people can attach their negative feelings.

    So far as for the tone — have you already forgotten what YOU yourself wrote? Your first post? How YOU came into this conversation? Let me quote it back at you:

    “the fact that you would claim its a myth is ridiculously ignorant and speaks volumes about your mental prowess.”

    Yeah. Real respectful, that. Great way to start a conversation. *While also missing the point.*

  75. Frank Luo says:

    And richie deserves whatever comes his way. He’s a sad little fuck. Who the hell hasn’t seen that whole “You had to look that up in a dictionary?” schtick from countless basement-dwelling trolls on the internet. Just fucking pathetic.

  76. Jon says:

    Do you seriously think you’ve got even an inch of higher ground here? Your first post was already labeling anyone who claimed to have negative reactions to MSG as “whiny hypochondriacs” and arguing that they only had issues because they were “face-stuffing gluttonous fatasse[s].” In my first post, I did in fact address the xenophobia claim and rejected it as the nonsense that it is, and provided a far more legitimate explanation. I have never once encountered a person who felt negatively about MSG due to any association with the Chinese. Most people don’t even care one way or the other about MSG, that tends only to come from health nuts or people who actually do suffer from negative reactions. It certainly isn’t some bizarre racist idea.

    Every post of yours on this page has been arrogant, sarcastic, dismissive, and demeaning. My comment regarding ignorance and mental prowess is probably applicable to the majority of the human race, whereas I am not in fact a female vaginal wash, nor do I suffer from a developmental disability, nor do I believe that the earth revolves around me. Which makes my comments a valid criticism and yours nothing more than insults. I never said anything about being respectful, I think it’s pretty obvious that I’ve got no respect for anyone here. What I said was that you are needlessly insulting in an argument that you haven’t actually even addressed to begin with. I mean honestly, “basement-dwelling trolls?” That line is only ever said by people who are mad because someone on the internet put up a fight. Richie was pretty obviously not being serious, but you took it way over the top for no good reason. You’re the troll here, Frank.

  77. Frank Luo says:

    Now you’re just outright lying. I never said that everyone who complained about MSG reactions was a whiny hypochondriac. What I said was in response to a comment citing a study.

    The “whiny hypochondriacs” I was referring to were the subjects of the study people who were already known to complain of fibromyalgia and irritable bowels syndrome, conditions *the existence of which as a physical ailment has filed to be proven despite many studies devoted to such.

    So the study basically found a group of people who are already complaining about one unproven medical condition in order to test whether they would complain of another unproven medical condition. Nice sample group. Great science there. ALMOST as scientific as your “because I never met anyone who said that it doesn’t exist” method of testing whether xenophobia was responsible for the stigma some have about MSG.

    You went from insults to outright lies, and by presenting your personal experience as proof in a matter of social psychology, all you’re doing is just proving my point about how puke-inducingly self-centered your motivation is — which, of course, was the point of my post that called you an angry, irrational douche. Because you consistently present the idea that does, in fact, demonstrate that you think the earth revolves around you.

    You’re turning out to be just as pathetic as richie.

  78. Anon says:

    Look how you people froth at each other, safe behind a wall of distance.

    Screenshotting quotes for future references on how not to act.

  79. Anon II says:

    Please watch this lecture by Dr. Russell Blaylock, a leading expert on excitotoxins, namely MSG and Aspartame. He talks through the birth of MSG and it’s use in current foods; why it is not widely known; the effect it has on our development and brain function and the horrifying effect it has on children. I know it makes food taste good, that’s its purpose but, the evidence against it is damning. Be safe people and eat fresh.

  80. Rick says:

    MSG is not bad. MSG is made from sugar cane. You can’t actually tell if the MSG is in the food or not.
    Cook food with some fresh ingredients and add some MSG. It will not going to hurt you. Eating McDonald is way more harmful.

  81. Robhingston says:

    Just like too much salt and sugar it is bad..

  82. Ben says:

    The human body produces large amounts of “MSG” or rather glutamate, a non-essential amino acid. monosodium glutamate is simple what you would get if you took human blood plasma and dried it, the sodium in the blood would bind to the glutamate in the blood plasma to make a salt form call MSG, add water and it returns to being regular glutamate and sodium ions. Adding MSG to food tricks the tongue and thus the brain into thinking food has a much higher protein content then it really has, simply by the fact that MSG is protein and that our tongues specifically detects glutamate to try to judge the protein content of our food.

    Sure eating huge amounts of even amino acids that your body produces can have damaging side-effects, but the amount of MSG adding to a food is usually much less then will be released when that food is digested.

  83. Chris says:

    I am in shock at this article. My wife is so highly sensitive to MSG that her body has shut down and I had to perform CPR. Stop posting your garbage!

  84. Dyske says:

    Remember Chris, there are a lot of people who have fatal reactions to sugar, nuts, and many other types of food. Are you going to go around telling people to stop writing about sugar and nuts?

  85. Gary says:

    Dyske, Chris said sensitive, not allergic. Some people’s system know that man-made MSG is a toxin, some will find out later, and the rest will die without ever knowing.

    It’s a toxin, not an allergy. Man-made MSG has impurities in it such as D-glutamic acid and pyroglutamic acid, unlike the pure L-glutamic acid found in blood plasma.

    To the author:

    Wikipedia? I don’t think I can even take you serious now knowing you are using such an erroneous and biased source of information in this article.

  86. Dyske says:


    I didn’t say “allergic” either.

    I’m curious. If Wikipedia is biased, what publications are not biased? And, by what criteria are they less biased than Wikipedia?


  87. Michael says:

    I’m staying out of the whole MSG thing here, just a comment to Gary.
    Wikipedia is currently about as accurate, detailed and up-to-date than the Encyclopedia Britannica, so stating that you can’t take anyone serious using Wikipedia as a source is a little excessive, isn’t it? Wouldn’t you believe someone quoting the EB, or one of the many research and scientific papers that most Wikipedia articles relating to medicine and science link to?
    (If you don’t believe the Wiki, read the links for original materials/sources)

  88. Michael says:

    *as, not than

  89. T Fish says:

    I think most of the posts here are really off track. I found this sight because I am trying to find a few frozen dinners and snacks that do not contain man made msg. If you have never had a bad reaction from msg you can not understand why for some of us it is important to find food with no msg. It is obvious that not everyone has a reaction but those of us who do deserve the respect and knowlege of what we know is harmful to our systems. I will continue to be positive that there are foods out there free of msg.

  90. Joyce says:

    MSG is an excitotoxin. It causes permanent brain damage by creating cell death, neurons die. For older adults who have had accumulated years of ingesting this stuff, they are more likely to get something like Parkinson’s disease. Look at the work of neurosurgeon Russell Blaylock who has done extensive research into this subject. We all have glutamate receptors in the heart, brain, and various other parts of the body, but excessive amounts of glutamates overload the system and break down cell barriers, which make the cell basically open and spill out it’s contents, killing the cell. Dr. Blaylock explains this much more eloquently than I can ever. But eating MSG can trigger a heart attack as well. MSG is highly dangerous. For me, I didn’t used to get reactions, but after decades of eating this stuff, now get raging migraines, heart fibrillation, insomnia, blurry vision, all from accidentally eating MSG in foods. You only have the ability to move excessive glutamates out of your system for so long. As you age, you lose that ability, and start having to deal with some neuro damage from the stuff. I’ve seen family members, constant eaters of Chinese restaurant food, now have all sorts of neurodegenerative issues and yes, I’m Asian and the stuff literally makes me sick.

  91. Frank Luo says:

    If what you say is true, the more MSG one eats, the more likely one would be to develop neurodegenerative diseases in old age.

    Here is a study on Parkinson’s. It is more common in whites than non-whites, and more common in the midwest and northeast. A quote:

    “Parkinson disease is substantially more common in Whites, and is nonrandomly distributed in the Midwest and Northeastern US.”

    Who eats more MSG? Whites or non-whites? Do people eat more MSG in the northeast and midwest than the rest of the country? I would say no. From my experience it is usually whites who fall prey to the marketing ploys and become obsessed with organic and other food fads.

    I’m sorry to hear about the prevalence of problems in your family, but it is probably genetic and not caused by MSG. You might be reacting to MSG as a symptom of your particular genetic makeup, but it is not at all common to everyone.


  92. Vita Soprannome says:

    I think monosodium glutamate is bad for me because of the six hour long migraine I get after I accidentally ingest some. Not very scientific. But good enough for me.

  93. Gary Hunt says:

    Mr Luo conclusions are based on his feelings, and very few facts. There are alot of other factors involved in Parkinson’s. MSG is just one of them.



  94. Gary Hunt says:

    In regards to Michael comment about the accuracy of wikipedia. You GAVE a link from wikipedia to support the accuracy of wikipedia!. Seriously?!

    Regarding linking information from Encyclopedia Britannia, this information is only given if it helps support their (the authors) bias. For instance you will not see this information below on any evolution wikipedia page.

    It cannot be denied that, from a strictly philosophical standpoint, geologists are here arguing in a circle. The succession of organism as has been determined by a study of theory remains buried in the rocks, and the relative ages of the rocks are determined by the remains of organisms that they contain.”—*R.H. Rastall, article “Geology,” Encyclopedia Britannica, Vol. 10 (14th ed.; 1956), p. 168.

    I will give no links from wikipedia to prove my point



  95. Frank Luo says:

    You are only making my point for me.

    My contention was that, because Parkinson’s disease does not correlate with the ingestion of MSG on the whole, the anecdotal sufferer of Parkinson’s within a family does nothing to advance the contention that MSG is an excitotoxin.

    You have contended that there are many other causes of Parkinson’s. This only further weakens the contention that MSG causes Parkinson’s.

    The argument that is short on fact is that MSG is an excitotoxin. More than a century of empirical evidence from all around the world has shown that it is safe, at least for the vast majority of the human population.

  96. Thomas Cushman says:

    To Dyske, the author of this article:

    Obviously MSG is not good for any one person. MSG is simply the sodium salt of glutamate, which is an excitatory neurotransmitter naturally occurring in the body. When one eats excess MSG or other sources of free/protein-unbound glutamate, you’re getting excessive amounts of glutamate passing through the CNS. Excess amounts of neurotransmitters in the brain are just not a good thing. High amounts of dopamine lead to psychosis and addiction. High amounts of norepinephrine lead to cardiac and circulatory damage by increasing blood pressure and cardiac output excessively. High levels of serotonin leads to hallucinations, reproductive inactivity, and anorexia due to appetite suppression. Excessive levels of GABA lead to respiratory failure and coma. All of these are bad things. Glutamate is of course also bad in excess, just like anything else. In high amounts, Glutamate serves as an excitotoxin due to its excitatory nature. This does pose a risk of degenerative neurological conditions later in life.


    But put all of this aside. Why do I personally avoid MSG? Well, I used to take benzodiazepines for an anxiety disorder. I had to withdraw from the drug I was taking, and ever since withdrawal, I’ve had a problem with high amounts of free glutamate in foods (this is due to disruption in my brain’s GABA-glutamate/glutamine cycle, but I won’t get into that here). The fact is, because of my current medical condition, eating high levels of free glutamate makes me feel HORRIBLE! No, it’s not directly dangerous to me, but I pose this question: why on earth would I eat a food that will make me feel like I am going to die when I can avoid it? It’s just not worth it. So my point is that people don’t necessarily avoid it because they think it’s dangerous. Many people avoid it because it makes them feel sick, and let’s face it; who wants to feel sick?

  97. Dyske says:

    Hi Thomas,

    Thank you for the medical/chemical explanations. Yes, what you say all make sense, and I agree. There are reasons why many people avoid consuming many things, and most them are good, valid, legitimate reasons. I support and agree with them. And, I feel sympathetic towards those who avoid certain kinds of food because they know they are not good for them, even though they want to eat them (like obese people avoiding high-fat foods). I think I made this quite clear on this page. There are no disagreements on these issues.

    The point that I’m trying to make, the issue that I have, is entirely different from this. (I’m actually baffled as to why so many people are having trouble understanding my point that I think is very simple.) My issue is simply: Why single out MSG? Why is it that “NO MSG” signs are everywhere on product packages and on restaurant menus? Even people who have no reaction and who actually enjoy the enhanced flavor from MSG are avoiding it like a plague in the US. Sugar and salt are bad for you too if you consume them excessively. Why aren’t there “NO SUGAR” or “NO SALT” signs everywhere on restaurant menus? Why don’t these people avoid sugar and salt like they avoid MSG? (I mean the people who have no reactions and who actually enjoy the enhanced flavor of MSG, not someone like you.) Why is MSG treated differently from other condiments? Where did this fear come from? There is no such prejudice or fear exists in Japan, so why does it exist in the US?

  98. Yerc razzy says:

    You must be a complete idiot to think that MSG is not harmful.
    No matter what Wikipedia says, http//:www.msgtruth.org will tell you everything you need to know about the way MSG is poisoning Americans every day.
    If you continue to use it, not only are you destroying brain cells but you are sure to develop cancer and several other diseases that could be prevented by abstaining from MSG. Get the real facts and stop poison yourself.

  99. Dyske says:

    I’m tired of responding to the same accusation of being an “idiot” over and over.

    The consumption of MSG is much higher in Japan than it is here in the US. As I said above, Japan has a much lower rate of cancer and their students on the average score higher than the American students do, so even if MSG is harmful to us, obviously it doesn’t manifest in any practical sense.

    Here’s a pie chart of MSG consumption:


    This is not a chart of how much MSG is consumed per person, but if you look at Japan and the US, you can see that Japan overall consumes visibly more than the Americans do, and the population in the US is twice as large as Japan, which means each Japanese person consumes more than double the amount of MSG than an average American does. Yet, Japan has the longest life expectancy:


    Japan’s cancer rate is significantly lower than the US too:


    On the same pie chart of MSG consumption, look at “Eastern/Central Europe”, it’s a small sliver, yet look at the cancer rate by country:


    A lot of them are European countries.

    So, what are you scared of? You are just fear-mongering. Even if MSG does contribute to brain cell destruction or cancer, it is obviously soooooooo minuscule that it’s not quantifiable in any practical way. There are so many other things that are obvious causes of cancer and brain cell destructions; I’m not sure why MSG has to be targeted with such irrational passion.

  100. Frank Luo says:

    It’s hilarious how MSG was first blamed for making people lethargic as a part of the so-called “Chinese restaurant syndrome” but is now being called an “excitotoxin.” Does it make you lethargic or overly active? Well? Which is it?

  101. mike roy says:

    The sodium in msg is negligible and glutamate is good for you. It is not an allergen so it cannot give you a headache. The American Medical Association calls it mass hysteria. I’m sorry, but msg is simply not harmful to anyone. It is in fact a healthy alternative to salt.

  102. Jon says:

    Mike, the fact that you think the “sodium” and “glutamate” are separate things shows that you know nothing about chemistry, the fact that you said “it is not an allergen so it cannot give you a headache” shows that you know nothing about biology, and the fact that you said the AMA calls it mass hysteria shows that you haven’t actually read the report (here is a pdf for your educational enrichment http://jn.nutrition.org/content/125/11/2891S.full.pdf). How about you keep your uneducated opinions to yourself, hm?

  103. Diana says:

    I suggest to read “The taste that kills” by Dr Rusell Blaylock.
    I don’t think he’s telling lies, you should avoid
    MSG because it’s an excitotoxin,it kills
    the neurons as aspartame,of course big food
    companies and FDA don’t care,they jut want
    to make more money but nothing is more real
    than processed foods have lots of chemicals.
    No wonder why many children are born with
    genetic and mental disorders.

  104. Frank Luo says:

    LMAO you mean this quack?


    “He is a prominent member of the mercury militia, having frequently written and given speeches on the dangers of vaccines and dental woo about mercury amalgam fillings.[1] He also attacks other classic alternative medicine boogeymen like aspartame and water fluoridation.[2]

    He peddles a mixture of vitamin supplements and other assorted nature woo he calls the “Brain Repair Formula.”

    Newsmax allows him to spread his blatherskite with their “Dr. Blaylock Wellness Report” segment, where, in addition to promoting his woo, he rails against the spectre of health care rationing and claims the Soviets were responsible for creating widespread drug usage and other health epidemics in America.[3]”

  105. John Sasso says:

    Is MSG bad for the majority of people, NO. Is MSG, or more correctly, any food that is high in glutamates bad for SOME people? YES. I am one of those IBS sufferers. Glutamate excites my digestive track, causing diarrhea. I have 30 years of suffering with this, and dozens of experiments of going back and eating something that I think will make me sick to see if it does, and it does. It’s not that it’s processed verses natural. It’s not an allergy. And the majority of people do not have to worry about it. But for some people with particular sensitivities, the way that companies hide their glutamate content causes me no end of problems. My favorite is “spices.” Invariably if you see “spices,” the food item is full of glutamates from some protein source, not necessarily MSG as such, but that doesn’t matter. Now glutamates are everywhere. Apples are pretty high in glutamates. I can eat some apple product, and I’m fine, especially if I eat other food with it. If I eat an apple on an empty stomach, I’ll be on the toilet within 10 minutes. There are tons of studies that show that there is no correlation between MSG and stomach problems. Statistically, there isn’t. That’s what I’d expect to see. I am in a small minority. So please do insist that since you don’t have any problems, that no one can. Even if the “sky’s falling” natural food freaks piss you off. Hell, it’s the same thing with gluten these days. Everyone claims to be allergic to gluten, but guess what? You are not! I have a friend who is, and his knees swell up to size of grapefruits when he eats a piece of wheat bread. There’s your allergy. Don’t give me any “I feel so much better since I’ve been off gluten or MSG” BS. If the sensitivity or allergy is not obvious and immediate, then you probably have nothing to worry about. But keep an eye on it, because it may get to that point, when you will really have to know what causes you problems, and what you can eat safely.

  106. Steven says:

    My mother gets severe migraines from MSG, and since they put it in everything she can’t eat anything at restaurants without getting a migraine.when she gets these migraines She can’t talk to anyone or do anything for 3 to 7 days at most. You would think Motrin would at least bring down the migraine pain but it doesn’t help. All it takes is a little small bite of it on something and boom she has it. It’s terrible

  107. Elizabeth says:

    This person writing about MSG being safe obviously has a special interest in getting us to believe this to be true. Why would someone randomly write about an additive in our foods?

    I KNOW for a fact that MSG has been ruining my life. Let me explain. I spent my whole life fighting migraine headaches. I went to specialists, had CT scans, MRIs and took powerful medicine that made me sick to my stomach. Every year the number of the migraines increase until I was up to 18 per month. At first I thought it might be gluten causing me this issue. So I took it out of my life. I did feel a lot better. My thinking was less foggy and much of my health improved except for one thing. I still was getting sever 3-5 day long migraines. Talk about your quality of life being reduced. The days of closed curtains and laying on the couch with an ice pack on my head were too, too often. In fact, my ex never had any sympathy for me as he assumed that I was just lazy and avoiding my ‘responsibilities’. One day I came across an article accusing MSG of causing headaches. I said to myself… ‘What if?’. So I gave it up completely. Almost over night and certainly within that week my migraines reduced down to only 1 minor headache per week. It’s felt like a miracle. What really makes me certain that MSG is the main cause of my headaches is the fact that when I eat something that I thought was MSG free, I get sick. I find out there was some hidden ingredient that I missed. It’s unfortunate when this happens as it takes me at least 3 days to get it out of my system. I wish we all could lobby against this hidden labeling. And while I’m mentioning this, beware of claims like, “No MSG Added”. That is a sure sign that there is MSG in the ingredients used but no more was added. I fell for this once and I sure was extremely sick afterward. It just seems to me that it is completely unfair that something that makes me so ill and ruined a great deal of my life can still be in our foods at all. I’m no longer the naive person I once was and know that if someone can make a ton of money off from us that they don’t care about those of us that get so sick. I’ve always thought of myself like the canary in the coal mines. I’m the first to react to other chemicals as well. And I promise you, the MSG in the foods you eat are toxic. You just haven’t been effected yet. But you will be. Take it from this canary.

  108. Anon says:

    After sorting through a crap load of comments it has occurred to me to answer your question Dyske, which I think this is what you are asking. The reason MSG is singled out over “salt” and “sugar” is because of the number of people who have come forward with complaints of reactions to MSG is higher than those of salt and sugar (which are worse for you in the long run but do not give off immediate effects). It is the reason people started shying away from it. Although, there is no proof I have asked my chemist friends and they said the problem may be that the American diet in general consists of many different chemicals allowed by the FDA that are not consistently reoccurring in the Japanese diet, and these chemical compounds are reacting to each other causing problems for American people in the form of reactions such as migraines, nausea, etc. It is widely known that the FDA allows many chemicals banned in many other countries into the diets of American people. My own mother gets allergic reactions in the form of rashes over her body when she has MSG, even though she loves all food with MSG including ramen, or popcorn chicken from our favorite boba spot. Sometimes she will take a benadryl to eat MSG to lessen her symptoms. We used to cook with MSG for years until we found out it was causing those rashes we thought were just part of her normal allergies.

    As for your claims that the Japanese have been eating MSG for ages and they are healthier than Americans there is a much larger reason for that. It is because their diet is significantly different than the American diet and is also the reason their cancer rates are lower. The Japanese diet consists of a lot of fish which is proven to be a healthy diet choice. It is especially healthier than beef which is a staple of the American diet and causes its own problems when eaten in excessive amounts. Americans consume a LOT of red meat, and a lot of chemicals in all food choices. Organic food is expensive in America. Japanese people also eat a lot of vegetables, which also have a significant effect on cancer rates. Red and green vegetables help fight off cancer causing agents as well as detox the body. They drink tea; green tea is exceptionally healthy when not riddled with sugar. It helps prevent gum disease, heart disease (which are sometimes linked to each other), and cancer. The polyphenols in green tea keep cells healthy and they lower inflammation in the organs and body. Alzheimer’s, prostate cancer, arthritis, and many other illnesses have links to inflammation in different parts of the body. People don’t always like the taste of green tea without sugar (especially not in America – at least not the people I have met, not all but most) but Japanese people will tell you “it’s good for you” and it is. Lots of Japanese people still walk daily which has significant effect on health, digestion, and brain function. It may also be that these seemingly small differences of lifestyle may override the effects any MSG may have on their brain and bodily health, which is entirely possible as it strengthens their immune systems and brain function. Japanese people are very conscious of health and Americans live a very sedentary and unhealthy lifestyle. While there are educated Americans making good choices, I think a lot of the population is ignorant over the types of food they are consuming and what is being put into it or where it comes from which is why they have health problems or reactions to certain things.

    I hope this answers your question somewhat. Japanese are healthier for many reasons, which is why their cancer rates are down and life expectancy rates are up when compared to Americans. It’s not the MSG. The MSG however does cause issues in many people in America (even though it can’t be proven there are enough complaints), which is why it is singled out and has to be labeled. I don’t meet too many people with allergies to things on my trips to Europe or Asia so it is probably just a bad reaction to the general diet of Americans and the things allowed in the food by the FDA – which is also why cancer rates may be up aside from their lifestyle choices. There are also so many chemicals encountered daily that it is difficult to put MSG against all of them and see which may be causing different reactions for different people. That’s why it has a bad rep in America. Maybe if Americans were as healthy as Japanese people then MSG might not affect them as much – or if we had an FDA that actually cared about our health because some of the crap they allow is just getting ridiculous… Everybody is different but until the heath providers start seeing less complaints in regards to MSG then it will continue to be labeled. I know plenty of people who still love and eat it regardless in America. Me included.

  109. cody says:

    why?use it .chemicals.to make food taste better,for what!

  110. Jody says:

    I don’t know what the problem is here. Lots of name calling. I think most of the people commenting are on the same page. i.e.:

    1. There are probably some people in the world who actually, verifiably, respond negatively to MSG in food. There may be a tolerance for a smaller amount, and a reaction to a larger amount, or the individual may react to any amount of MSG. In order to scientifically ‘prove’ this, a group of people who claim they react to MSG needs to be gathered and systematically tested (double-blinded, of course) to show that they have symptoms. This may not be an ethical (or legally permissible) study since you are basically trying to elict (or not elicit) negative reactions from a group of people who already believe they are sensitive to the subject. Therefore this study may not have yet been done – I don’t know.

    2. There may be, but has not been proven to be, a difference between naturally occurring glutamic acid and artificially created MSG. This needs to be proven – does anyone have the studies?

    3. There are probably a lot of people in the world who have no noticeable ill effects whatsoever from eating either the naturally occurring glutamic acid, or the artificially created MSG.

    I have had chronic diarrhea since I was 4. I had ulcers in my colon. The doctors put me on anti-inflammatory pills and enemas. They talked about surgery. I have nearly resolved it recently. However, I found that I reacted to MSG. It took me a while to figure out since I used to use it in cooking all the time. When I use a soup packet (flavored with MSG) to make dip or to add flavor to a roast I have bad diarrhea for several days following. I don’t have headaches or nerve symptoms.

    It is my theory that I react to large quantities of MSG, therefore I avoid it. It’s not something everyone needs to do; it’s just something I do. However, it can be really hard to get the foods that I need. A lot of restaurants, even really nice ones, have MSG in all their soups and a lot of their sauces. I have to avoid them since I don’t know how much is there, or whether I will react. If I react it messes me up for a while and so I avoid it. That’s my choice. I love it when restaurants are honest to me and tell me if they use MSG in something, or have a menu I can use to select foods that are OK for me. If they lie to me, I get sick. That’s just how it works for me.

    I don’t react to Parmesan cheese, tomatoes, or mushrooms, as far as I can tell. I used to eat Doritos and never noticed a negative effect, but I stopped eating them long before I finally got my symptoms under control. Now that I’m better I avoid getting sick again. I’m much happier if I don’t have to go back to that place.

    Diabetics certainly react to sugar, since their bodies can’t absorb it properly. I guess for some people with MSG sensitivity, it’s kind of the same situation. Some people flush when they eat salt, or get high blood pressure, which is dangerous over time. These are not allergies, they are reactions. If you have a reaction to a food, avoid it or eat it at your own risk.

    I really appreciate the sensitivity with which some people treat my problem, and for the most part, I don’t share it unless I have to. I’m glad so much information is out there so people realize it’s really important for me not to eat added MSG. I only wish people were as understanding with diabetics, or people with nut allergies. That’s the only positive about the hysteria – at least there’s an awareness that for some people, it’s a problem. People make accommodations for me. That’s really helpful.

  111. Hrmph says:

    I love how so many Americans think they’re safety-conscious because they only go to the Chinese restaurants that don’t use MSG but then stuff their faces full of GMO soy sauce at those very same restaurants. Ridiculous! MSG is perfectly safe for the vast majority of people. GMOs are safe for nothing but the manufacturers’ bank accounts.

  112. Montreal healthy Girl says:

    There is a world of difference between the naturally occurring form of glutamate in whole foods versus the chemically stabilized lab-made version. The natural glutamate found in un-tampered food, reacts vastly different within the human cells than the chemically processed version does. This difference is where the problem lies. Chemically processed food or additives ARE not real food. Furthermore, besides MSG’s excitotoxic reactions within the cells, it has the ability to override our natural physiological processes by blocking our brain’s first ability to detect “fullness’; ensuring that we cannot stop eating and consuming until our stomachs are stuffed (when our second, and physical discomfort warning tells us to stop eating). This is why synthetic MSG use has such researched ties to obesity, and explains the true meaning behind Lay’s famous catch phrase “Lays, Bet you can’t have just one’. (LITERALLY-you cannot have just one!).

    Food’s role is primarily to nourish the body and it’s cells. Taste is secondary. We should eat for cellular energy, not only because it tastes good. As a passionate cook, and someone who has avoided MSG entirely for close to 8 years (when I learned more about it), I can assure you that MSG is not NECESSARY in the making of delicious and healthy food. MSG is merely a cheap, sneaky way to boost flavor without having to use quality ingredients or nutritionally sound food, in your preparations. The human tongue is made to detect nutrition in foods and measure calorie need and satiation on that, this is why we seek the ripest fruits which are also the sweetest, the healthiest and the most beneficial, over premature sour ones. Nutrient rich and properly grown foods, seasoned with extremely nutrient rich herbs and spices, taste delicious and immensely flavorful without the need for additives. By using MSG, you are tricking your body and tongue into eating something that has little or no health benefits; you would normally, without the MSG not be remotely interested in consuming these empty, bland, flavorless ‘cardboard’ like foods. By using MSG, you are overriding your body’s natural defense mechanism for seeking nutritious food and so willingly depriving yourself of the only true BENEFIT of food- the nutrients. LACK of nutrition and too much toxicity/ acidity in the body are the root causes of all disease. Please inform yourselves more on the subject, we are all entitled to a pain-free and optimal quality of life and your children, the next generation, will benefit greatly from your knowledge.

    For more information on important health issues please check out Montrealhealthygirl.com

  113. Dyske says:

    Hi Montreal healthy Girl,

    Although what you are saying is true, it’s a moot point and irrelevant to this particular discussion of MSG. I don’t think anyone here would claim that MSG is good for our health. The question here is why MSG is singled out so much. As I said in my original post, salt and sugar are also added as a form of cheating to “boost flavor without having to use quality ingredients”.

    “we are all entitled to a pain-free and optimal quality of life and your children, the next generation”

    As I also said above, in Japan, there are already multiple generations of people who have consumed MSG in their entire lifetime. And, they’ve been living longer and healthier than the average Americans despite the fact that they consume significantly more MSG than the Americans do. So, if informing ourselves is the key criteria for living longer and healthier lives, the Americans are obviously not doing very well. Perhaps the hysteria over MSG is just one manifestation of it. Perhaps they are focused (wasting their energy) on the wrong thing, when they should be paying attention to other, more important, health factors.

    What Jody says makes perfect sense to me (Thank you, Jody).

  114. Gary says:

    Fact: Frank has no friends.
    Fact: Anyone associated with Frank does not want to be.
    Fact: Frank simply thinks he is smarter than everyone else.
    Fact: Frank is the biggest douchebag there is.
    Fact: Frank was the inspiration for the Comic Book Guy on the Simpsons.
    Fact: Frank lives in his mom’s basement.
    Fact: I do not like Frank.

  115. Frank Luo says:

    *Snicker* People who know me in person know that I am a MENSA member who earned a black belt in Judo in Japan in under a year.

    The only fact here is that many people who lose online arguments are ignorant dumb fucks who willfully delude themselves with the notion that people who are smarter than they are have shitty lives, to comfort themselves in their stupidity and ignorance.

  116. Jon says:

    So Frank, not only are you an arrogant ass, you’re also an obvious liar. Having done martial arts for years, and having many friends who earned black belts, I can confidently say that no legitimate instructor/studio would award anyone a black belt in under a year, no matter how talented. Get over yourself.

  117. Frank Luo says:

    *Snicker* I had been in different martial arts since 15 and am unusually fast, strong, and coordinated. I happened to luck out and study with a 7th dan teacher who decided to spend time on me because he saw that in me. I earned a Kodokan certified belt, in Japan, not some shitty assed yellow green blue aquamarine whatever the fuck belt school in a suburban strip mall..

    Some people are just so far outside the realm of your experiences that you can only believe that they are lying. I feel sorry for you.

  118. Lyle Stevens says:

    MSG is a neurotoxin everyone needs to study this chemical very closely. I am hyper allergic to MSG , any food even a tiny few milligrams cause induce diarrhea , vomiting , blood pressure drops and core body temp falls to 94.3 . The only way I can recover from MSG poisoning is to get it out of my stomach and Bowles followed by several soaks in hot water to bring my core body temp back up . Testicals shrink up to a point of severe pain , I’ve dealt with this my entire life had extensive testing done at Batylor medical in Houston TX , UAMS in Arkansas and several specialist . I don’t have irritable bowel syndrome but for these who do MSG can cause severe cramping and violent diareah . Food corporations have fought long and hard to keep this neuro toxin in the food chain because using it on just about anything fools the brain in thinking they taste great . It’s a addictive product as well . Yes America MSG is very bad neurotoxin , study real medical testing and forget the BS put out by corporations they stand to build empires off of MSG .

  119. Dyske says:

    Again. I’ll repeat for Lyle. I do not think anyone here is disputing the fact that some people have adverse reactions to MSG. So, please stop trying to convince us of something that no one is disagreeing.

    The question here is this: Just because a minority of people have reactions, does it make sense to fight the use of it for everyone else? If so, where do we stop? There are so many food products and substances that people have severe reactions to. Why single out MSG?

    I keep repeating this over and over but MSG is obviously no more harmful than salt or sugar for the vast majority of people given that many generations of Japanese people have consumed it for their entire lives far more than the Americans. If MSG is so bad as you and others claim, and if the safety information is bullshit, then why don’t we see the consequences? Why are the Japanese people living healthier and longer lives? Why isn’t their intelligence dropping? People who are fighting against MSG seem to be willfully ignoring this. What more “testing” do you need to see? You have an entire nation whose population have consumed MSG far more than most other nations for generations.

    Yes, MSG is not good for you. Nobody needs to consume it. But there are so many food products that are not good but not bad for you either. And, EVERYTHING is bad for you in excess.

  120. Jon says:

    Here’s the thing: as someone who has adverse reactions to MSG, I really don’t care if other people eat it. What I do care about is when food companies and restaurants put it in everything because the flavor enhancement effect makes people eat more. I can’t eat most snack foods, and I can’t eat at most Japanese and Chinese restaurants. That’s a real pain in the ass, and all just because people refuse to accept that there are a significant number of people who experience a variety of negative effects from MSG. It’s not racist in the least, so get that idea of out your head. It’s about the fact that I get crippling migraines just because people want food to sell more.

  121. Dyske says:

    What do you consider “significant number”? What percentage? And, I assume it’s not your own anecdotal number but based on “real medical testing” (as Lyle says). Do you think it’s more “significant” than the number of people who are allergic to nuts or gluten?

  122. Jon says:

    Percentage wise it’s probably very small because there are just so damn many people on earth, but even just 1% of the population is still around 7 million. Given that there are literally no benefits of using MSG other than increased sales, I think it is entirely reasonable to say that the down sides outweigh that singular “benefit.” Why are you fighting so hard for MSG anyway? Would your life be made noticeably worse without it?

  123. Dyske says:

    My point about this whole debate is fairness. I’m always annoyed when people over-react to a particular thing while ignoring everything else that is guilty of the same thing. If having “benefits” is your criteria, why stop with MSG? You would find literally thousands (if not more) food products that have no “benefits”. A more relevant question here is why are so many people fighting so hard against MSG? Why are the complaints against MSG so disproportionately louder?

  124. Jon says:

    I just told you that, why did you completely ignore what I said?

  125. Dyske says:

    Where did you explain to me why so many people are singling out MSG? (Despite the fact that there are literally thousands of other food products that meet your criteria for the ban?)

    You just explained your reason why you think MSG should just be banned. And the reason is that it has no benefits. So, are you suggesting that we ban ALL food products that some percentage of people are allergic to and has no “benefits”? What’s the “benefit” of ice cream? What’s the “benefit” of bacon? How do you define “benefits”? A lot of Japanese people would argue that MSG does have a lot of “benefit”. After all, many of them have it in a shaker along with salt and pepper on their tables.

  126. Jon says:

    You’re either willfully ignoring and twisting what I’ve said, or you are genuinely incapable of understanding it. In either case, I have no more patience or interest in dealing with you, you’re just covering your ears whenever someone makes a valid point against you anyway. It’s pointless trying to make a reasoned argument that you’re wrong since you won’t even acknowledge what is said.

  127. Lyle Stevens says:

    Why would Dyske defend this neurotoxin ? Why can’t we purchase simple wholesome un touched food in a resturant ? Why are there so many deaths contributed to MSG poisoning and why again without being redundant is there so much being used ? Simple it’s profits, replace good spices with a poor excuse chemical .
    Every person should be able to consume foods without worrying you’ll end up on a slab . If I did not know better Dyske could be a seller or producer of this poison . Turn the table and if you had this severe alergy you would see things differently .

  128. Dyske says:


    What am I ignoring? I understood what you said. Your argument is that despite the fact that the percentage of people who have adverse reactions to MSG is small, in absolute number, it would be significant. And, since MSG has no benefit, why not just eliminate it for the sake of the minority of those sufferers.

    What am I ignoring? Did I understand you correctly?

    So, then, I’m making a “reasoned argument” that, if I were to agree with you, I would then need to consider other food products that meet your criteria. If you are a reasonable person, it would only be fair to consider it, so that you are not arguing out of some personal vendetta against MSG. You have two criteria:

    1. It has no benefit.
    2. A small percentage of people have adverse reactions.

    Well, if you are a reasonable person, you would have to agree that thousands of food products would meet this criteria. In fact, some people are allergic to black pepper. And, what is the “benefit” of black pepper? I’m not sure if it has any. Even if it does, it would be no greater than the benefit of MSG. So, as a reasonable person, you should also fight to eliminate black pepper from all food products, but you are not doing that. Why is this reasonable?

  129. Dyske says:


    “Why would Dyske defend this neurotoxin ? Why can’t we purchase simple wholesome un touched food in a resturant ?”

    I would not disagree here. I do certainly prefer food cooked without MSG. It’s healthier and if the ingredients are of high quality, it tastes better. No disagreement here.

    “Why are there so many deaths contributed to MSG poisoning”

    I’ve actually never heard of anyone dying from MSG. Where did you get this?

    “why again without being redundant is there so much being used ? Simple it’s profits, replace good spices with a poor excuse chemical.”

    Yes, as I have said in my original post, MSG is indeed a form of cheating, but the same goes for the use of sugar and salt. Various food businesses use whatever the cheapest ingredients they can use for the maximum taste/flavor for the sake of increasing profits, but again, there are so many other ingredients out there that meet this criteria.

    “Every person should be able to consume foods without worrying you’ll end up on a slab . If I did not know better Dyske could be a seller or producer of this poison . Turn the table and if you had this severe alergy you would see things differently .”

    I don’t hear people who are allergic to nuts and gluten fighting to ban/eliminate these ingredients. I’m sorry that you have adverse reaction to MSG. I’m not saying you are lying or trying to minimize your suffering, but it would not be fair for you to force everyone else to your standard just because you happen to have reactions to MSG.

  130. Jon says:

    It has no benefit, it does have negative effects for many people, and it’s very use to begin with is out of manipulation. It isn’t the use of MSG *at all* that I am arguing against, it is the oppressively widespread use of MSG that upsets me. There is no legitimate reason for it to be as common as it is. There are indeed people who are allergic to black pepper, my grandmother was one such person. And she never had a problem avoiding it. More meaningful to producers than the fact that some people are allergic to black pepper is the fact that many simply simply do not *like* black pepper, so they don’t put it in everything. People do like the taste of meat however, so they put MSG in as many products as they can. I’m not saying “ban MSG,” I think that’s a bit unreasonable. What I’m saying is “please use less MSG, please label it honestly rather than trying to hide it through wording such as ‘autolyzed yeast extract’ or whatever they say, and please stop saying that it’s racist for people to ask for these things.”

  131. Dyske says:

    Hi Jon,

    That sounds reasonable to me. I understand.

    By the way, I never said it’s “racist”. And, my argument is directed at people who have no adverse reactions to MSG. You are an exception. The way we see “NO MSG” in so many things, and the way so many people (who are not allergic) avoid MSG like a plague is completely disproportionate to thousands of other ingredients that are just as harmless or harmful as MSG. There is no logical consistency. It’s a hysteria. So, my question is where this hysteria is coming from, and I think it’s xenophobia (which is not racism). I think it came from the fear of foreign things, and it spread fast because it was tied to Chinese food.

  132. Jon says:

    I think it’s a bit simpler and more pathetic than that. Rather than just foreign things, I think people are afraid of things they do not understand, and things that other people are afraid of. Think about this: statistics would dictate that 50% of people are above average intelligence, while 50% are also below, since that’s just how averages work. Now think about how stupid the average person is. Now think about the fact that 50% of people are even more stupid than that. What all that adds up to is a whole lot of people who have no idea what they are talking about but still go around yelling at the top of their lungs.

  133. Frank Luo says:

    Yeah kind of like some dumb fucks who, after years of martial arts study, still don’t know that Kodokan belts only come in black and white until 6 dan.

  134. Jon says:

    You are such a phenomenal ass, Frank. First of all, having studied a couple forms of martial arts does not mean that I know everything about every other style as well. Secondly, a few brief minutes of research has enlightened me as to the fact that there are four primary belt systems in Kodokan Judo, of which only ONE uses the system you speak of. So you’re basically just talking out your ass while being as much of a douchebag as you can. You should call Guinness Book of World Records and see if you’re reaching a new level of pathetic internet machismo, or if you’ve fallen short as I assume you do in most aspects of your life. Thirdly, and perhaps most importantly of all, go fuck yourself.

  135. Frank Luo says:

    YOU are the one who falsely accused ME of lying publicly. That is the very definition of libel. And now YOU are accusing ME of being an ass.

    You’re a sad shit whose assumptions — which are obviously just forms of wishful thinking that protect your self image because you have trouble accepting that other people outperform you by margins beyond your wildest imagination — only say things about you.

    Oh and only one belt system is used in Japan and gets certified by Kodokan.

    Pathetic dumbass.

  136. Frank Luo says:

    Oh and having negative reactions to something that 99%+ of the population tolerates well doesn’t make you special. You’re nothing more than a genetically flawed mutation, who also has such a sad, self-centered character, that you demand that the rest of the world accommodate your weakness, when all it would take for you to protect yourself would have been to cook for yourself. But noooo that is not going to work for Jon. Jon is special. The world needs to change for Jon’s genetic flaw.

    People like you would make me fear for the future of the human race, if not for the fact that you can’t even function on the normal diet of your society. Enjoy your sad self delusions. I’m sure you don’t have much else to look forward to.

  137. Jon says:

    Rage harder, bro. Maybe if you get flustered enough people will think you’re cool.

  138. Frank Luo says:

    *Snicker* I’m not your bro.

    Enjoy your little mediocre, mutant existence you pathetic self-centered shit.

  139. Jon says:

    Harder, bro! Rage harder! I could hardly even tell your jimmies were rustled that time. Gotta bring your A-game if you want the internet to think you’re cool, and that come back was a real let down. Roid up and come out swinging!

  140. Joe says:

    Monosodium Glutamate (MSG) is the sodium salt of glutamic acid (glutamate), a COMMON AMINO ACID, the building blocks of proteins in our body. It has one little harmless sodium ion associated with it. So does salt.

    Use in moderation, like everything else; relax children.

  141. Nishi says:

    America is full of dumbshit nutjobs. What do you expect? I also work with a bunch of nitwits who won’t get a flu shot. I mean Jesus, you can die from drinking a gallon of water–I guess these nutjobs better not drink water anymore.

  142. Miko says:

    this article is full of shit.

  143. Saveloy says:

    Parmesan cheese will kill us ALL!!

  144. Craig says:

    MSG used to be added to baby food. NOT ANYMORE!!! The reason being it isn’t safe to do so. Period.

  145. Dave says:

    If ignorance is bliss, you must be one happy fellow. Some people are sensitive to MSG and this fact has been recognized by Health Canada. I am one of those people and my reaction is not just a “heavy” feeling; I experience far more serious effects. The problem is that the food industry can hide the fact they’re using MSG by using different names such as hydrolyzed soy protein. The fact that studies don’t show a problem is not conclusive since those studies are (surprise, surprise) financed by the food industry. Furthermore, individuals like me are not keen to participate in such studies only to repeatedly experience negative effects. Thus, the food industry is likely only studying people with no MSG sensitivity.

  146. ARose says:

    I don’t know if MSG is harmful to everyone. But I do know that it is an extremely common preservative found in most foods that are not straight of the vine. I have a friend that suffers from migraines with aura. She has become aware that one of the triggers for a migraine is MSG. For this reason I believe it is extremely possible that people can be allergic or have allergic reactions to it. I wouldn’t go crazy about cutting MSG from your diet unless you notice negative affects from it but I would like to see scientist do some studies on it and the reactions some people experience from eating it.

  147. maroy says:

    The scientific community, AMA, etc. has researched MSG for 100 years. It is not vasoactive, therefore it cannot cause headaches. MSG is not an allergen,; therefore cannot produce serious allergic reactions. It is naturally occurring in most foods including mothers milk. It is also in 80% of the foods you have been consuming your entire life. The reason food manufacturers use the phrase “NO MSG ADDED” is because they know they will sell more product to the idiot on the street. MSG is absolutely harmless.

  148. TOXIC says:

    Dyske is correct that MSG is probably not really any worse for “most” people that a diet high in salt and sugar.

    Although I know one korean girl who has really bad skin reactions when eating at korean and other asian restaurants because of the MSG. I note that she can eat home cooked korean food since koreans largely do not use MSG at home (based on Personal Experience). And she does not get MSG and mexican, middle eastern and italian restaurants.

    I have felt also effects (light headedness , tingle in my hands and arms after having cheap pho or dongchimi guksu which I am guessing were basically just big bowls of MSG water (I shouldn’t have finished the whole bowls but it tastes so damn good). So maybe a few people are hyper reactive to it and maybe some people to down a gallon of cheap Pho to feel something.

    So maybe MSG is a little different than salt and sugar in health issues but only in these more extreme cases.

    Many Restaurants are lazy and cheap. For instance adding MSG to your kimchi is cheeper then using oysters, shrimp and fish sauce, and is more flavorful then a purely vegetarian kimchi. Adding MSG is cheeper and a lot faster to make than boiling beef bones for hours to make Pho or Mul Nengmyun. This is one reason why MSG is to be avoided. Its because you may be getting lower quality food. If al you need to do is add MSG (and salt and sugar) then they can feed you crap.I have heard of restaurants or cooks using MSG judiciously and not as a replacement for good ingredients and cooking but so often that is not the case.

    Many Chinese american restaurants (Not the ones catering to the Chinese population) were possibly the first in the US to begin using MSG in large amounts which is possibly why it is associated with “Chinese restaurant syndrome” . They were giving americans what they wanted which is food hyped with extra flavor and the more the merrier. This was probably around the time when european americans began eating at Chinese restaurants commonly like they would italian food. Other american Chinese restaurants nowadays don’t use MSG but they have so much sugar and salt in their food (Panda Express Im talking to you) which is why the food is so unhealthy. Over the years restaurants and food processors have learned that you get more customers with more sugar salt and yes MSG and I have a feeling that the amounts have gotten higher over time.

    And please people, the biggest reason why japanese people are on average healthier and live longer is they eat a lot less, lower calorie foods. And maybe even because they are on average smaller than some other ethnic groups. Lower calorie intake and energy consumption is associated with better health into old age. There are probably other life style factors like exersize probably. Not because MSG is good for you. Some asian countries have higher rates of specific illness such as stomach cancer which is linked to salt intake and MSG is salt.

  149. DDD says:

    You are correct. MSG is completely harmless. You neglected to mention that people eat naturally-occurring MSG all the time without reporting any issues. It’s naturally present in mushrooms, tomatoes and seaweed for example. In fact, MSG is often derived from these foods. Double-blind scientific studies have neglected to find any problems whatsoever with MSG in food. The only time people seem to show “allergic” symptoms is due to psychosomatic reasons, when they are told beforehand that MSG is present in the food. Most tellingly, they also show symptoms when they are told MSG is in the food even when it’s NOT present.

  150. TOXIC says:

    Im not so sure there are not some sensitive people. There are 5 or so billion people on the planet and the double blind studies looked at a few hundred self reporters who claimed a wide range of symptoms. What that means is most people who claim sensitivity are expecting the response. I think it still possible that there is some subset of people who might be sensitive in some way. My korean friend with the skin reactions does not have head aches. You can see the results right in front of you. But she has skin reactions often and they particularly flare up whenever she outs at asian restaurants which don’t say no MSG and she does not have the same problem at home. But who knows, maybe there is something else besides MSG common to many asian restaurants she responds to.

    Yes glutamate is natural and I am sure some percentage of free glutamate is a sodium salt. So your right, it is natural (glutamate is a significant part of all protein). As possible explanations why MSG might be somewhat different, there could be a dose related response to higher than typical amounts of free glutamate as a sodium salt which modifies absorption, metabolism etcc.. or as some people speculate, the industrially made MSG might have some amount of something else in it.

    I admit this is speculation. I’m just saying your 2 arguments that it is 1) common in nature and 2) results of double blind studies don’t completely close the case for some sensitivities for small populations. There are small populations sensitive to a lot of things.

    I wonder why the truly vehement defense of MSG by other posters who are convinced its racism why people are paranoid about MSG. According to the great wikipedia, the term Chinese restaurant syndrome was based on the writings of someone with the asian name Kwok and it stuck in the popular imagination.There are all kinds of anecdotal beliefs floating around about all kinds of issues with no little basis in reality. I heard on NPR this morning that the common belief that people get depressed and suicide at the holidays goes back to one guys writing about family stress during the holidays but the suicide and depression rates are actually highest in the spring. The idea just stuck with people.

    And people have all kinds of beliefs about health related issues which have no basis in reality or based on as little information as the worry about MSG. The list is enormous. People spend billions on supplements and billions on “alternative medicine” which do nothing. The are paranoid about GMOs and food and water and are sure that corn syrup or refined sugar is evil compared with “natural sugar”. It sounds to me like some commenters have adopted MSG as a poster boy for racism to asians rather than the victim of health related fears about food and water etcc.

  151. L says:

    jon says:
    August 29th, 2012 at 8:01 pm

    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…”

    Same here! Except I usually only get ocular migraines – bad enough – but not as bad as the full blown migraine I’m sure – tho I usually don’t feel well for from 1 to 3 days afterwards. It took me years to narrow it down to MSG too. By the way I am Asian so – ha ha – I’m not prejudiced against Asians or Asian cuisine!

    One person above reported getting a terrible migraine at a Japanese sushi bar. Do they add MSG to the sushi rice or what – or could it be the seaweed that has naturally occurring MSG? Surely it can’t be the fish.

    MSG is NOT part of traditional Chinese cuisine and culture (or any other Asian cuisine and culture) which is THOUSANDS of years old. It was only invented 100 years ago by a Japanese man, and didn’t become cheap and ubiquitous until 50 years ago.

  152. L says:

    “One person above reported getting a terrible migraine at a Japanese sushi bar. Do they add MSG to the sushi rice or what – or could it be the seaweed that has naturally occurring MSG? Surely it can’t be the fish.”

    I’ll answer my own question. The soy sauce! MSG occurs naturally in soy sauce, and may be added to some, especially the low sodium kind.

  153. Kathryn says:

    What an idiot.
    I resisted the idea that I was sensitive to MSG for a long time because I didn’t want to give up my favorite processed foods. Finally, my migraines became so severe, I had to earn all of the names it is hidden under. Before I learned them all, I would eat something, react, then go look it up and notice, after the fact, that one of the MSG clones was in it. If it is not harmful, why do they use it to INDUCE obesity, diabetes and more in animals to test medicines for those same diseases? Perhaps DYSKE had too much MSG and it caused brain damage.

  154. Vanessa says:

    Racism? You people are crazy!! I don’t have Chinese food often, every few months..and every single time I wake up with a massive headache. I am looking it up right now because of this. It isn’t just because of the sodium..it’s a more severe headache with MSG. It’s every time I have Chinese. I think people go overboard on worrying about what’s bad for you..BUT, it does cause some effects. If all of us Americans were against Chinese people as some of you say, we wouldn’t go to the restaurants at all.

  155. CJL says:

    I had to reduce my sodium consumption due to high blood pressure. As result my food was bland and flavourless despite the addition of other spices such as garlic, onions, basil, et al. This led to an unsatified feeling after eating a meal and to me searching for something else to snack on 20 or so minutes after I has eaten. This of course led to weight gain, a factor that did not help my high blood pressure diagnosis and that could lead to Type II diabetes if I did not get my weight in check.

    I had grown up eating MSG as a flavour enhancer added to meat, fish, and chicken when they were marinated. It was added to soups and vegetables and anything that we cooked. I remember food tasted soooo great when I was growing up and none of us had any adverse reactions to eating it. So I decided I was going to add MSG back to my diet.

    I bought a bottle of Acc’ent and began using. Now, my food tastes great again!!! I am using even less sodium. I am satisfied after my meals and not grazing 20 minutes after I eat. The best part is that I begun to drop the weight. I lost 5 pounds the first week I reintroduced MSG to my cooking and have been losing steadily. I don’t eat any other processed or prepared packaged food so I know I’m not getting too much MSG or regular sodium.

    MSG is back in my life to stay! MSG=My Saving Grace

  156. CJL says:

    Too much sodium can cause headaches as well. And if you are predisposed to high blood pressure, even more so. Chinese food is loaded with sodium, both types. Don’t just single out MSG, sodium chloride is a major contributor to what makes you feel like crap after eating Chinese food or processed food.

  157. CJL says:

    We all have to do what is works best for us individually. We can’t say that MSG is bad for everyone and cause X,Y, and Z reactions in everyone who uses it because that is not the case. If you are sensitive to MSG, it behooves you to eliminate it from your diet just like some with diabetes must eliminate or limit sugars in their diet.

  158. CJL says:

    As ChuckRamone stated in a comment above MSG is made up of Sodium and Glutamate which is an amino acid essential for cellular metabolism.


  159. Suzanne says:

    Hello, I read your new stuff daily. Your humoristic style is witty, keep up the good work!

  160. OhZone says:

    I’m one of those who are hypersensitive to the Poison. Worse is that it resulted in a cascade of sensitivity to anything that my body thinks even looks like it. My hearing has been destroyed. One of my symptoms was that my ears hurt.
    Now then:
    Did you know that only One Ounce of MSG will kill a medium size dog within 20 minutes?
    For all you scoffers — would you dare to try this on your dog. Really, if you think it is harmless, Prove it; just go ahead and pour out an ounce of it, mix it in some gravy and feed it to you beloved dog.

  161. Dyske says:

    Not sure what that proves, OhZone.

    You can pick from this list of poisons and feed it to your dog too, some of which are considered healthy food for humans:


  162. Cindi says:

    Obviously, this MSG-scare is foolish and downright malicious. I have been studying here in Japan for four years now. I know that my Japanese and Chinese classmates do use Ajinomoto when cooking. (We go to the grocer together.) And they are perfectly fine. If using MSG is bad, how come Japan has one of the longest life expectancies in the world, not to mention the country with the least cases of cancer, hypertension, obesity, etc.? To add, most of them are quite intelligent too.

  163. WEME says:

    people are just dumb. You can be allergic to anything. Just because you are allergic to MSG doesn’t mean that everyone else is. Plus how the heck do you know that you are allergic to MSG unless you take a spoon of MSG into your mouth? It could be something else like psychological thing because you have been brainwashed by the public and your high school teachers that MSG is BAD. Or you have Chinese food syndrome. If you are allergic to MSG, too bad. Kelp, cheese, tomatoes, and oyster contains MSG. Why aren’t they banned? A lot of dumb heads would say, “because they are natural.” or “they contain small amount of MSG.” They are same except that they are made in the lab. MILK is way worse than MSG.

  164. L says:

    “If using MSG is bad, how come Japan has one of the longest life expectancies in the world”

    How much MSG do they use in Japan? Japanese people like pure fresh natural flavors so I doubt if they would overdo this “flavor enhancer”. I think that it is when its usage is abused, like in Chinese junk food restaurants, like tossing in a pile of it into the fried rice or soup, is when it really causes problems, but I would really like to see it outlawed completely. I do not think it is good for you. And MSG is NOT part of traditional Chinese cuisine (or any other cuisine) which is THOUSANDS of years old. It was only invented 100 years ago by a Japanese man, and didn’t become cheap and ubiquitous until 50 years ago.

  165. Ishy says:


    I live in Japan, and I can say that yes, MSG is used heavily here. Not as heavy as China though. You’d think that Japanese people like “pure fresh natural flavors” but most common people live off of convenient store lunches and Japanese fast food restaurants (think of Yoshinoya). Life is fast-paced, not everyone thinks of eating healthy all the time. Maybe in the rural areas yes what you say is true, but not so much in the urban areas. Note that this is my simple observation and not proven statistically or scientifically.

    And let’s not forget to point out that there are lots of consumption of preservatives and deep-fried food here as well. Lots of instant noodles action too. You have to wonder how the inventor of instant noodles, Momofuku Ando, lived that long.

    Back to the original article, I think the post have weight in it, in a way that some food companies single out MSG, causing paranoia. I think it’s ok to just say in the label that the food “contains MSG” just like how they do it on allergen advisories. Not all people have adverse reactions to MSG, so labeling food as having “NO MSG” I think puts the wrong message. There is nothing wrong with the consumption of MSG, but seeing as people reportedly have reactions to it, an advisory would suffice.

  166. L says:

    Ishy – Have you heard of any anti-msg sentiment in Japan?

    As for instant ramen noodles, I don’t know if they’re so bad, but the flavor packet is generally a heavy dose of msg.

  167. Ishy says:

    L – None that I am aware of. Note that I don’t understand written Japanese so I don’t know if there are advisories for food with MSG. Going beyond MSG, they also have lots of “instant” products here. I don’t really feel that there’s a significant number of people against these products.

    Ajinomoto is a prominent brand here. They currently market stuff beyond the infamous taste booster. They are also manufacturing amino acid supplements and stuff on that category. My boss said that their amino acid supplement is the best. High-quality stuff. They also delve into pharmaceutical stuff. So I think people are quite confident about the quality of their products.

    I’ve heard of restaurants not using MSG, but it’s more on the “bringing out the natural flavor of food” slant than “we think MSG is bad”. So I think there’s no bad rap about MSG here.

    Note that this is my observations only. I hope another person from Japan, probably someone who can understand Japanese in full tell about their experiences with Japanese’s view of MSG here.

    Oh and one more thing, search for “Jiro Ramen”. That thing is the bomb. I’ve eaten it once, and I can only imagine how much MSG was used on that. The recipe on the link calls for 1/2 teaspoon per bowl, wow.


  168. Ishy says:

    Quite a lot of grammatical error on that last post, sorry about that.

  169. aodhan says:

    I never understood the issue with MSG. I mean what’s even supposed to be so awful about it? No one’s ever told me. All I know is that my mom is like militantly anti-MSG. She doesn’t let me by anything at all with any amount of MSG in it; she doesn’t even always let me buy things that might have the potential to have unmentioned MSG if she’s not 100% sure. She’s never said why it’s bad, just that “no you can’t get that, it’s awful for you.” My dad’s fine with it, he says there’s absolutely nothing wrong with MSG and the idea that it’s so awful has no scientific backing whatsoever. Of course neither of us can mention such a thing around my mom, she’d go on a rampage. I just don’t get it- what’s the big deal??

  170. L says:

    Aodhan – Your mom is right. Google “MSG is poison”. And here’s another one for you: Google “garlic is poison”.

  171. Ishy says:

    L – don’t believe everything you see on the internet. Or did you fall for that Nigerian scam eh? Just kidding just kidding.

    Besides, most of us search on English, but what about the wealth of information available in other languages? It’s one of the reasons Stack Overflow decided to open up for a different language, because you can’t call it universal if it’s all in English, else it would be unfair. It’s also probably the reason why most of us don’t even know how Japanese actually perceive the use of MSG, or how other countries in the world does. Being a follower of Western trends, we Filipinos also have stigma with MSG, and I remember in the 90s there is a prevalent hate towards MSG, with products baring the “NO MSG” and restaurants also endorsing their food not having MSG. But once the truth came out, the stigma disappeared. There are still people against it, but not so much as it was before.

    It’s hard to reason things like these that often falls into the anecdotal side of things, so all I can say is decide for yourself whether something is good or bad for YOU, whoever you are. The internet is tainted with too much information that it’s hard to discern which is which. Don’t take it from another person, and research that facts yourselves. I’ve read of so much contradicting statements on the internet about stuff, and I dislike it. Stuff about MSG, stuff about garlic, stuff about onion, stuff about fiber supplements, etc. I partake in stuff which I feel responds to my body well, and I can’t say it will do the same for others. I’m not affected by caffeine, sometimes I even feel sleepy drinking the stuff. But I can’t say the same for everyone.

    I’ve been eating MSG and garlic since I was a child and I’m quite heavy with the soy sauce too, and here am I today, quite alive and normal. Can’t say the same for everyone. Also, the key is moderation. And if you know you have reactions to something, stay away from it.

    After searching about it, I found a forum talking about garlic being poison. My favorite quote from that board:

    “so is oxygen, only it takes 70~80 years to kill us.”

  172. Ishy says:

    BTW it says on my response that it is still in moderation. Can you see it, L? I suspect that you don’t since you haven’t responded about it.

  173. L says:

    “the key is moderation.”

    Yes, my friend, that is the key, and I don’t think it was until I was exposed to cumulative *overdoses* of MSG that I began to notice its very harmful effects upon me, namely migraines. And an *overdose* of garlic seems to have had even a far worse effect, I think (not sure) that all animals – except humans! – are repelled by garlic – and maybe onions too.

  174. vanboy says:

    I am glad Very little Caesar’s would not suck, they do fundraisers on the kid’s college and it’s awesome to acquire a couple of frozen crusts all set to go from the freezer.


  175. Daniel says:


    Don’t tell people that MSG and glutamate allergy is a myth because that is a LIE.

    Some people have severe effects and some have minor effects. It IS A NEUROTOXIN and when you develop neurological disease after years of consuming this poison don’t come crying to me.

  176. DX2 says:

    Do you get seizures when you consume tomatoes, mushrooms, eggplants, nori, or any of the other foods with naturally occurring MSG?

  177. amphilos says:

    Clearly, there are people who think MSG is a wonder for flavor as well as shelf life of the food its prepared with. I walked through the majority of the replies some are great and some are just pure bias and mean. Of course there are those people who pride themselves in being mean, sometimes they can’t help it, and in others they just like it because they think its fun. For me MSG is dangerous to my system and well being. I’m 61 and in pretty good shape just a little over weigh 6′ and 223lbs The other night I had a Guinness and a shot of Jim Beam with three soft tacos I was not buzzed and was not driving. The next morning I knew that I had eaten some MSG. For me personally, people can eat all the MSG they want, I don’t think its hard or a chore, since I’m spending my earned money. I would just like food companies to start labeling what is in their foods. For me I’m all about labels whether store bought or in restaurants. If Business’ are going to serve food they need to acknowledge whether or not their food(product) contains MSG, just like all other labels required. All I’m asking is that it hurts me, whether you think, feel or mock about MSG it is my enemy not you, nor am I your enemy. I don’t need to be bad mouth because you think its psychosomatic. Thanks for this post surely, you have found answers for a lot of folks.

  178. DX2 says:

    Do you get these symptoms when you consume tomatoes, mushrooms, eggplants, nori, or any of the other foods with naturally occurring glutamates?

  179. manda says:

    I eat msg with practically everything I cook (we make our own special blend of seasonings including msg in them), other then sweets. Healthy as can be and not one sign of it being bad for me. They also said iodine was bad for us lol… honestly life’s to short enjoy it! Also to those that had a migraine after consuming was this a one time thing and can you honestly say it was from msg?? or did you consume it once get a migraine and assume it was due to your consumption of msg? just curious I mean its totally legit people are allergic to things, msg may be one you are allergic to. But just because you may be and it isn’t good for your body doesn’t mean its bad for everyone!

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  181. Pay the Piper says:

    I feel very sorry for many on here, how ignorant in their understanding of nutrition and the human body, I guess it may be a lack desire for self-education. As some have pointed out Wikipedia is not a source of scientific information, nor this forum. I don’t have an Asian background but live in Singapore, I eat at friends places who do not use MSG and their Chinese food is wonderful, I can see recognize the food and is nutritionally excellent, I feel great that day and the next. I eat at the local MSG laced place down the road and yes it tastes good, food is not recognizable and is nutritionally toxic and sometimes I will feel like crap within half an hour. Do I have an allergic reaction hell yes, just like anyone would have a reaction to say arsenic the body does not like it, you may be numb to its physical symptoms but it is still doing you harm.

    If you want to know the effects of something make the effort to read multiple credible scientific studies. By credible I mean impartial and the study has fully disclose there criteria, if any of you attended University you will understand the concept of research.

    Reading Wikipedia or Mens Health is not education.

    To answer the question, Americans think its bad because they believe the information presented to them. Fortunately in this case they are true.

    Unfortunately for them the majority of people eat crap, and yes MSG is well ingrained in their prepared food sales economy. Along with HFCS, GMO’s.

    One other question raised, yes MSG is made differently in each country, different ingredients and varying quality controls. I wont even go into the poisons put into MSG coming into Singapore but it’s a great place to work if you want to make money in the health industry.

    A common argument I saw was; does MSG in real foods affect you. Think about what is being said? Lets put it in perspective.

    The concentration of MSG in a take away meal compared with a tomato in your sandwich is not even comparable, MSG is a high concentrate of an individual group of molecules. When someone eats a tomato for example the body digests that along with carbohydrates, potassium, fiber, Vitamin A and lots of Vitamin C, not to mention enzymes all of which support various life processes.

    Just to be clear to all those lacking nutritional understanding, something can be organic however it does not mean it is good for you. Take a can of coke for example, its molecular structure is 100% organic and yet it is full of refined crap that is not good for you and will have an adverse affect on your body, maybe its not noticeable but its there.

    One other question mentioned was that MSG companies don’t do enough to promote their product is safe. This is true because they know its not. They learnt from the mistakes of the Cigarette companies, if they make false claims they give law suits great leverage.

    When food is refined the nutritional value is removed, the concept of “everything is in moderation” no longer applies. Adding MSG, sugar salt is BAD, how bad well that’s relative to how much you consume, what ingredients(poisons and toxins) the supplier used.

    I have been cooking for 20 years and never use crap, why because I don’t have too. I live in Singapore and these guys love MSG in restaurants and hawker stalls. Therefore. I eat out only when I have to which I try to avoid.

    Food stalls here use MSG by the bucket load because it is a great way to make crap quality produce taste good. Your brain is being tricked into believing its good. Yes it may taste good, but no it’s not good for you. You can guarantee anyone or any business putting MSG in their food is because they use crap produce and maximizing their $$. Who buys a $60/kg steak and throws on some MSG.

    For the MSG pro camp, try this recipe:

    400g of Cardboard (any old cardboard box will do)
    3 cups of water
    2 table spoons of MSG

    Bring to the boil and simmer for 15min.

    Mmm how yummy it tastes. How do I know this, because a shop I used to frequent replaced chicken with cardboard and MSG. fortunately this place has been shut down.

    There is no argument MSG tastes good, what most people seem to think is that there is a relationship with how good nutritionally it may be, in a world of convenience if people don’t like the taste they wont eat it. The reason Japan has one of the lowest childhood obesity rates is because in primary school they are forced to eat real food, no vending machines no crap. Yes there may be MSG but its too early to early in life to see the effects.

    Speaking to those who actually care about their health. The only way to avoid MSG is to eat your own real food, if it came from a carton or package throw it out if not you run the risk its that simple.

    For those of you that are pro MSG I really urge you to try my recipe, you will save thousands of $$ on food bills. However be prepared to pay the piper! Diabetes, cancer, stroke, they are all coming for you.

  182. Ishy says:

    @Pay the Piper

    I won’t argue with most of what you’ve written, since MSG affects everyone differently. At least at this point of the discussion we can already arrive at this conclusion. Also, the point of moderation is also laid down.

    I just want to point out the following:

    1. It’s plain common sense not to use too much MSG, since very little can do much. It’s also common sense that a premium steak should be cooked at most medium-rare, with very little seasoning, as to appreciate the taste of the meat. Also, it’s plain common sense to be aware of what you’re eating. If you can’t differentiate between the texture of cardboard and chicken, then it’s your problem. I’m glad to hear though that the shop you’re talking about is closed down. No scammer should be allowed to continue their trade.

    2. You did not cite your sources. If you were a researcher, you’d cite them. Also, the very reason Wikipedia can be considered as a legit source of information is because you can verify it via the sources cited. If there is no source, you can question the validity of the information.

    3. I remember Ajinomoto promoting their MSG as safe to use. I’ve attended such events in the Philippines and I’ve seen how they promote their products here in Japan.

    4. I was planning to go to Singapore for a vacation, but nevermind.

    5. I just can’t accept it that your argument revolves around eating cardboard. If you had have eaten it, I feel sorry for you, but you don’t need to be bitter about it.

    Read on this and click the links:

  183. Dianne says:

    Frank Lou .. Mensa ? More like Mensy. Yea, you sound like you’re on your period. Ass hole. Talking about Mensa.. When you’re on here arguing with people about msg. Sure.

  184. CJL says:

    I have a physical allergic reaction if I were to eat fresh pineapples. My tongue swells to the point where it starts to split and bleed on the surface. However, I will never in my wildest dreams call pineapples a POISON. I just know to stay away from pineapples.

  185. Maxine says:

    MSG is not good for you, nor is table salt. If you want to eat MSG – then you have the freedom to do so, but to present MSG as only being bad based on xenophobia (read: racism) is a bit of a stretch. The comments presented here were very insightful.

  186. Jon says:

    This is completely anecdotal, based on my personal experience and conversations with physicians who treated me, so take it as you will…

    Three years ago, I was in a bad place financially. Doing the typical single guy with not a lot of money thing, I ate a lot, A LOT, of food that wasn’t good for me. The overwhelming majority of it laden with MSG. Chinese take-out, pizza, frozen meals, ramen noodles (15 cents a pack?! I’d be stupid not to buy it!). Sometimes the ingredients in the food I was eating did not out right say “sodium glutamate” but one of the many other names it hides behind; hydrolyzed proteins (vegetable, soy, chicken, etc), textured proteins, yeast extract. I ate this way for 6 months. My health deteriorated over that 6 months. Everything I was putting into my body was terrible for me and it showed. My skin was red all over, looking almost like measles. Easily fatigued, constantly dehydrated despite drinking a gallon of water a day. Got sick without even trying. Susceptible to infection. I was a mess.

    It got to the point that I had to be hospitalized for a few days. All the doctors that saw me were confused because they said they hadn’t seen inflammation like this before. They asked about my diet, which towards the end of that six month period shifted to healthier whole foods. But I let them know of my bad diet. After running a few tests, they told me to stay away from highly processed foods, especially those containing MSG. This was at Harborview Medical Center, one of the top hospitals in the nation, so no, it was not advice from some hippie naturopath or anything like that. The attending nurse, dermatologist, and ER doc all agreed, I am highly sensitive to MSG and it is something I should avoid from now on. As they got me back to a state of normal, and I began eating more whole foods, my body changed for the better.

    MSG is in many foods. It’s the main reason I eat at home, which has made me a better cook. As far as the “MSG is not cheating” BS goes…I don’t use it. I’m very mindful of what I make for myself, my family, and my friends. I’m capable of using the herbs I’ve grown and basic seasonings to make something that is delicious and not going to harm my body.

    As a side note…I recently visited family in the Philippines, where they use Ajinomoto/Vetsin/MSG in almost everything. I had to ask family to not cook with it. They didn’t purposefully add it, but it was in the seasoning packets of the soups they made. Sure enough, similar symptoms. As soon as I got to where my family was staying and I had more control over my food and what went into it, right back to normal.

    Like I said, these were simple anecdotes based on my personal experience. MSG does affect everyone differently. Some people are super sensitive to it. Some people aren’t. I go out of my way to avoid it.

  187. Maleficent says:

    It’s just another load of b.s. they’ve been spewing to the sheep over the years, just like the idiots who proclaim that vaccines are also harmful and shouldn’t be given to anyone. People like this are the reason that diseases that were nearly erradicated are making a comeback, because of the stupidity of sheep that believe every quack doctor that comes up with this garbage. Some people might have a bad reaction to MSG, but some people also have a bad reaction to peanuts. This doesn’t mean it holds true for the majority of people. But hey—keep letting the whack jobs scare you silly and run your lives for you. They LOVE to appeal to your basic fears, and you keep buying their garbage. I personally use MSG in half of everything I cook—it’s a wonderful addition of flavor to recipes and it makes bland recipes taste MUCH better. Not everyone can eat everything–some people have allergies and sensitivities to things that most people don’t. If you’re one of those–don’t eat it. Common sense. But telling everyone that MSG is going to wreak havoc on everyone who consumes it is ridiculous. Moderation is the key word here, just like everything in life in general. Enough with the scare tactics, tho, okay? Just because some of you have issues with one food product doesn’t mean everyone else does.

  188. Nishi says:

    Pay the Piper–you are a complete fucking retard

  189. Blue says:

    @Pay the Piper Just because you know some people who don’t know how to cook properly with MSG doesn’t mean it’s bad. I add 1/4 of a teaspoon of MSG per pound of meat (just like the bottle on my accent seasoning says) when I cook and it’s enough to make the meat taste more “savory” but not enough to overpower the flavor. I get no migraines or allergic reactions nor does any of my relatives that eat my cooking.

    Just because a small percent of people are allergic to something doesn’t mean it’s bad. Some people get bad allergic reactions to shellfish or peanuts but that doesn’t mean the rest of the world should stop eating it.

    I know that a lot of companies put a lot of MSG in their processed food to make it taste better and a little addictive but I think that people should still learn a little self control. There’s nothing wrong with processed food if you eat it in moderation. People should watch the calories they intake everyday if they eat processed food frequently so they won’t gain a ton of weight.

  190. admin says:


  191. liam says:

    msg is harmless the biggest culprit in food poision over time . y . it has destroyed my life . y . i losted my spleen at 8 years of age …. looking back on life msg fucking destroyed me im now in the process of launching a major claim , y . as a kid i was a normal kid until i got knocked down losted my spleen . within 5 years my head had swelled i had diagnosed anaphylaxis …. swelling from within …. my teenage life became non exsistant i was deformed head swelled body swelled sick from head to toe … from being a brainiac i become a nonentity …. hyponothalmus caused brain damage caused memory problems school work down the drain ,,,, took up running try cure my handicap …. i always dated beautiful girls dont know how but i married a beaut …. at 27 10 days off the drink and diet coke …. as you do when you the girl finishs with you … you always try better yourself well i couldnt believe the reaction … on a nite out i was tackled by 13 girls best reaction you are so beautiful id love to make love to you on this floor … a\nyway spent a week with a girl then went with the ex now the the bat mean wife lol … god bless her how she stuck me …. back to the girl who told me she had never seen nobody more beautiful in derry …. 4 weeks after we met told me i looked like fuck all … y …. y after elimating the toxins i slowly put them back on and bacame deformed again ….. latest blood results showing on december 13 immunogloblns safe range between 0 -120 mines were 2520 june 2014 same test was 3014 …. wheat rast test safe range 0 to 0.35 mine was 61.1 … latest blood test for erectile dysfunction … testosterone was 11.2 regarded borderline so had do it again so b4 test i ate 2 fray bentos pies lined with hidden msg ingredients …. within 2 days my testosterone had dropped to 8.7 … msg killing me slowly destroying the world …. dr russell blaylock describes it perfectly the taste that kills

  192. Mimi says:

    I have ate msg for the past 18 years of my life.,. So did my mom+dad+grandpa+grandma and my mom’s side families,And my uncles and aunt , and their kids , and their mom+dad and grandparents . ……..
    You name it all.

    Oh and my grandparents are pretty old and still living :) They ate msg for ehh about 70 years or so? And my grandpa still active as ever! Can walk can drive 12 hrs if needed be for trip to a different state,can run and even own a business+business trips on the plane !

    So maybe msg is just anti american instead? Because my parents are excellent at math …yet they consume msg for everyday of their lives …… Overstimulate brain cells….kills brain cells….?? Wait what!? My parents… But they are so good at math ….how!?

    Ehhhhh maybe it’s only bad for some people! Since my grandparents lives this long and yet still living , but kept eating msg… ….why ban something that’s only harmful to some people?

    If msg is harmful they wouldn’t live this long , none of us would still be eating with it. It’s just some people , not all.

  193. Annabeth says:

    As someone who has a more intensified reaction to mono sodium glutamate, along with my mom and my sister, it is not a myth. Msg actually makes you addicted to it and is awful for you. Obviously there is going to be tons of false claims about msg not being bad for you, mostly coming from the companies using msg to make billions of dollars. My mom and my sister are both medical professionals and they will never eat msg because it is awful for you.

  194. Liberty says:

    If you want to eat MSG, go ahead. I choose not to and I’m aggravated that food producers find ways to sneak it in under other names. It’s so deceptive. I have a relative who experienced migraines. Only after a lot of trial and error and keeping a food diary was she able to identify the culprit. It was MSG. Now she no longer suffers from the headaches. But it requires a lot of effort to keep from getting MSG that is hidden in food under other names. So, it’s a free country. Not as free as it once was, but still free enough that you can consume MSG if you want. Or avoid it if you are willing to work at it.

  195. World Traveler says:

    Here’s a fun story: I went on a trip to Japan with a girl who claimed to be “extremely sensitive to MSG.” She said it gave her “migraines” and “difficulty breathing,” amongst a litany of other adverse reactions. I asked if she’d been tested by an allergist, and she claimed she had gone to the doctor, but he told her she had a “sensitivity” to it, not an allergy (which I never believed, truth be told). In every restaurant we ate at in Japan, she would ask the server, “does this have MSG in it??” and the server would say “yes, it does” or “no, it doesn’t” and she would avoid the food that did and if it were unavoidable at a particular restaurant, she would grab a burger from McDonald’s instead. Needless to say, she ate a LOT of McDonald’s burgers for the week we were in Japan. During my trip, I met up with my brother, who lives in Japan, and the subject of McDonald’s hamburgers came up. My brother told me “McDonald’s hamburgers taste SO much better in Japan because the mayonnaise is made with MSG instead of salt.” My MSG-“sensitive” friend was not around when he told me this, so for the rest of our trip, I just snickered to myself as she continued to turn down delicious authentic Japanese food for McDonald’s burgers that she mistakenly believed were MSG-free.

    If that’s not a perfect example of how full of shit most MSG “victims” are, then I don’t know what is.

  196. zeeman says:

    I buy MSG by the bag at the Vietnamese store….and I make the best split pea soup….ha