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MSG

  • Monica Aug 21, 2007 08:56 AM
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I know most restaurants put tons of MSG into the food I order but how about those so called upscale restaurants? Do they put MSG to make their food taste better?
I am currently pregnant and all of suddent, I am very curious of all these little facts.

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  1. If you haven't noticed a sensitivity to MSG before, you don't need to worry about one just because you are pregnant.

    Personally, I have a sensitivity to MSG -- have since I was a small child (please, don't argue with me, I have one. It triggers migraines. I'm not claiming an allergy here folks, just a sensitivity to the larger concentrations/quantities of MSG that some companies add to food -- I'm generally okay with naturally occuring glutamate, because it is in smaller quantities . . . )

    Anyway, most restaurants don't add MSG to food, because ppl do have sensitivities. Some Chinese restaurants do add it, but you can ask for it to be left out at any decent place.

    The things to be concerned about are soups, gravies, and processed foods. Take a look at the soup aisle at your local grocery. Every condensed soup (except tomato for some reason) has it. Boullion cubes and soup "bases" are full of it. They may try to hide it under the name "Yeast extract". It is the same thing.

    Anyway, I'm more concerned about processed foods from the grocery and anything made with a soup stock than I am with just dining in a restaurant. But, like I said, MSG won't hurt your baby (talk to your doctor if you need confirmation), the only reason to avoid it is if you already have a sensitivity -- but bear in mind, it is a real PITA to avoid, it is in almost everything from the middle aisles of the grocery store.

    Oh how I miss doritos and salami . . . :(

    Oh, and congrats! When are you due? I'm due in December, and am already tired of being pregnant. :)

    5 Replies
    1. re: tzurriz

      I do have a mild sensitivity to MSG too. I get thirsty and get a mild headache but it doesn't happen too often. Interesting to know about the middle eastern food.
      I am due in March 08 and I miss drinking wine and eating sushi!!!

      1. re: Monica

        umm, maybe I wasn't clear . . . middle aisles, as in where the processed / non perishable foods are, not middle eastern foods.

        Although it wouldn't surprise me if falafel mix had it . . .

        Shh, don't tell my doctor, but I'm still eating sushi. My local sushi place is very very good, and scrupulios about safety. I'm not having raw shellfish or anything, but the concern about sushi is more to do with mercury than with parasites (because in the U.S., any fish served raw had to be frozen to such a low temp and for so long that parasites can't survive). So, I make one of my monthly "1 seafood meal per week" meals sushi, and it keeps me sane.

        I also miss martinis and good deli sandwiches!

        1. re: Monica

          I can't resist chiming in on this thread. I'm due in January, and earlier on, when I was too sick to enjoy eating, I was able to sustain myself by reading about food on chowhound. I agree with tzurriz; when I looked into it, it seemed like MSG is safe in pregnancy. I will say, though that, as with all salty things, I've had to be extra careful to drink enough fluids or I get a very bad headache.

          1. re: clee0601105

            so I went to my favorite ramen restaurant last night and had a big bowl of pork soy ramen. it was good though i was very thirsty...at least i don't feel guity. haha.

        2. re: tzurriz

          Hear, hear! I have to avoid MSG completely because I have a health condition that is wickedly exacerbated by it... Crohn's Disease, and if I eat MSG in any significant quantity, I am guaranteed about six hours of laying in bed screaming in physical pain. It is such a pain to avoid and some foods are near impossible to locate without it. God, how I miss breakfast sausages, but even the organic ones around here contain MSG from organic sources.

        3. MSG = mmm, so good!

          ...or so some food product companies and restaurants may think. Generally speaking, upscale restaurants wouldn't put it into their foods. Should you suspect that that isn't the case, it's not so hard to avoid it-- just ask the kitchen (through the server) not to add it to your food. Just be more vigilant about looking at labels; it's good to be knowledgeable about what your putting into your (and your child's! congratulations!) systems.

          You'd be shocked at the amounts of sugars in most products. Ew.

          1 Reply
          1. re: PseudoNerd

            Of course, some people are actually allergic to MSG and shouldn't consume it, just as some people are allergic to eggs and shouldn't eat them. but this is no reason other people cannot.

            MSG was freely used in various Asian cuisines for hundreds of years. It sems as if some yuppies, of late, decided to obey the yuppie dictum of "if it feels bad, do it." and said that MSG must be bad, because it makes many (but not all) foods taste better, when used moderately, of course.

            Thus the prevalence of "Chinese Restaurant Syndrome". Now, i wonder - suppose you went to an Italian restaurant, ordered a large plate of spaghetti and meatballs, ate it, and found that afterwards you had lost your appetite - would you say you were suffering from "Italian Restaurant Syndrome"?