HOME > Chowhound > Not About Food >


Dimsum and Neverending Thirst: Is there a doctor in the house?

After a rare dimsum feast this past sunday, my one major problem with dimsum-came back to me ALL DAY LONG, after eating there.
Thirst. Neverending thirst. Now, I'm well aware that soy sauce is the buidling block of chinese food and dimsum , but is that the only culprit? and why does it last ALL day? it amazes me. maybe this is a question for a food scientist or a medical doctor who studies 'taste' and the glands and organs associated...... ?
anyone? thank you.

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Sounds like MSG to me, it has that effect on me.

    1. I'm also very thirsty during and after dim sum. I think it's the amount of salt in the food. I drink lots and lots of tea and water during the meal, and continue afterwards. But I find most restaurant food high in salt so this isn't too unusual for me.

      1. It happens to me too... they're VERY salty snacks, which befits the Chinese equivalent of a bowl of bar peanuts.

        1. I suspect your body is trying to unload all the sodium including the MSG, coupled with all the caffeine-loaded tea which is a diuretic. A trip or two to the loo and you're dehydrated.

          1. Too much salt and sodium containing ingredients. Often a problem with Chinese food.

            How much sodium does MSG actually have in it?

            1 Reply
            1. Dim sum isn't necessarily too salty. haw gow -sp? for instance (shrimp in thin, translucent wrapper) isn't very salty, and you don't have to add soy sauce for it to have flavor. I agree with the first (and other) posts - sounds more like MSG to me. Often the pork dishes have more of this.

              I'm surprised that it lasted all day, since shouldn't you digest it in a few hours? Must've been a huge dose.

              1. soy sauce is incredibly high in sodium, MSG = monosodium glutamate, and dim sum usually means eating a lot of food with a low water content (which requires a lot of water to metabolize)

                So you need more water for 2 reasons: 1) to lower the salt concentration in your extracellular fluid so that it stays balanced with the concentration of salts inside your cells and 2) to adequately metabolize the starches and proteins that you have just injested.

                high sodium intake will stimulate thirst that can certainly last all day, and you will likely notice water retention the following morning. what happens is that your body notices that fluids have suddenly become more concentrated (from the influx of sodium), which stimulates the thirst sensation. if you don't drink extra volumes than you normally do, you'll feel thirsty all day. once your fluid concentration equilibrates again, it will take about a day? for your kidneys to excrete the excess salt, and the excess water will follow with it, and all will be back to normal.

                2 Replies
                1. re: amandine

                  Could this lead to migraines? I know people don't know the cause of them but I am sensitive to msg headaches & recently had a really bad bout that I think was msg-related.

                  1. re: bbc

                    hmm, possibly... migranes are a tricky issue, no one really knows what's going on with them. the only thing i can think of is that when you take in a lot of salt, your blood pressure can go up (i.e. more fluid retention in the extracellular fluid, which includes your blood). This could conceivably trigger a migrane if the blood vessels in your cerebrum dilate and put pressure in your brain. (part of the reason why caffeine is often effective in treating migranes-- some scientists suggest it's caffeine's diuretic effect)

                    your migranes reflect a worse-possible headache scenario from MSG, what happens when you're allergic to something.

                    that would be my best guess!