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Grant Achatz Names MSG as a Top-3 Kitchen Staple

Alongside salt and black pepper.

http://www.tastingtable.com/entry_det...

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  1. "You can find it online, or look for it in Asian markets."

    LOL

    Or you can go to any grocery store and buy some Accent.

    54 Replies
    1. re: Chimayo Joe

      Ha! That was my thought. Right next to all the other "flavor enhanced" (main ingredient is MSG) products...Maggi, chicken bouillon, Knorr products, Goya products, etc. no shortage of MSG on any grocery store shelf, anywhere in the US.

      It was almost like they were elevating MSG to a real "specialty product" status, instead of mentioning that is in almost every cheap, trashy, ingredient mix on the market. Funny.

      1. re: sedimental

        Just so you know, Maggi doesn't have any MSG in it. This is one of those rumors that's taken on a life of its own and perpetuated itself for years on the Internet. Some of the many overseas versions do, and it wouldn't surprise me if many of their other products did too. But here in the States, Maggi Seasoning doesn't. It has loads of naturally occurring glutamates, but so do soya sauce, bacon, hard cheeses, tomatoes, mushrooms, and many other tasty things.

        As for MSG being common in junk foods, sure. The stuff is, after all, a flavor enhancer. I'm still amazed how many people claim it has bad effects on them, never realizing how much they ingest without knowing or reacting.

        The idea that MSG could be responsible for "Chinese restaurant syndrome" was debunked nearly twenty years ago. Yet the myth persists. There are indeed some in whom it can act as a migraine trigger, and a few who are genuinely allergic. But for the vast majority of us as reedux said it's harmless, and it adds deliciousness. Plus it's lower in sodium than the salt we overload our food with. And a little dash of MSG goes a long way.

        Does it belong in everything? Of course not. Especially when really good ingredients are used, food generally needs less enhancement; this applies equally to salt pepper, and other seasonings as well as MSG.

        I think it's about time we Americans got over our collective fear of the stuff. Understand, I'm not claiming that it's health food and we should be using it all the time. But MSG does not deserve its infamous reputation. What it does deserve in my opinion is a place on the shelf next to the salt and pepper.

        1. re: eclecticsynergy

          I use several versions, but prefer the original Maggi wurst, the German version. It has MSG. I believe the Mexican Maggi (and most others around the world,all have MSG, not just hydrolyzed soy or whatever). I think maybe the American version is the only one that uses "natural MSG" so it is not a "myth" for the rest of the world ;)

          1. re: sedimental

            I think the ingredient include some sort of sodium glutamate aka MSG. I also prefer the German version but have the Asian version on hand as well.

            1. re: fldhkybnva

              I use Aromat too (by Knorr) which reminds me of Maggi wurst a little, but is way saltier and lighter. It is a yellow powder so you can use it in a wider variety of things. Most Knorr has MSG as well.

              1. re: fldhkybnva

                Maggi was originally Swiss I think, Lord Maggi. The Indian version of MSG is amchur powder (sour mango powder) and contains many glutamates.

            2. re: eclecticsynergy

              It is not a myth. Surely it doesn't affect everyone, but MSG definitely has deleterious effects on most people's health, whether or not they are aware of it.

              Naturally occurring umami is not an issue, but that chemical MSG definitely gives some folks -- me included -- headaches.

              1. re: ChefJune

                "definitely has deleterious effects on most people's health"

                "definitely gives some folks -- me included -- headaches"

                So "some" is equivalent to "most?"

                1. re: ChefJune

                  AFAIK, there's not been a single study that has substantiated that. In addition, according to the FDA the two products are identical and cause no different reactions.

                  1. re: ChefJune

                    .... definitely has deleterious effects on most people's health, whether or not they are aware of it.
                    _________________________

                    Living on earth has deleterious effects on everyone's health.

                    1. re: ipsedixit

                      Yes, it's like the Curse Of The Pharaohs.....Dead. Every last one of them.

                    2. re: ChefJune

                      Chef June, it wasn't the MSG that caused the headaches, though, but something else in the foods you ate, probably tyramines or any of the biogenic amines (histamine, phenylethylamine, etc.) that are commonly in Asian dishes, and also the cause of many wine headaches (the ones not caused by over-consumption).

                      All to say, you're blaming the wrong culprit for your headaches. Lots of other posts by me and others about this, along with links to ample scientific evidence over many years to support my statements. Wish you didn't get those headaches, but MSG did not cause them. ML

                        1. re: maria lorraine

                          Probably not MSG, and I dunno if its even the tyramines as maria lorraine suggested.

                          Sometimes people just eat too much.

                          I know my noggin hurts when my tummy is too full. At least when I'm not too embarrassed to admit it.

                          1. re: maria lorraine

                            Part of why people blame MSG is that it is easy to note coincidences (I get a headache, I see MSG on the label -> ergo, MSG cause the headache). But it is harder to conduct the kind of blind test could rule out a connection. Someone would have to add MSG (or not add it) to a variety of foods, without the subject having any knowledge.

                            1. re: paulj

                              And that's exactly what happened in many double-blind clinical trials. Subjects with self-declared MSG sensitivities were given massive amounts of MSG or none at all, and neither they nor the researchers (in the double-blind studies) knew which subject had which. There was no correlation -- none -- in any of the medical studies between MSG and headaches or other negative effects.

                              When you're eating a foodstuff that has several potential headache-causing ingredients or chemicals, there's a tendency to focus on the thing you know that might be causing it, not the ingredients or chemicals you don't know about that are really the culprit.

                              1. re: maria lorraine

                                I'm honestly surprised that the myth remains. It can't get much better than double-blind.

                                1. re: c oliver

                                  There are many ingredients other than MSG/autolyzed yeast in Asian foods *known* to be the cause of headaches:

                                  soy sauce
                                  fish sauce
                                  shrimp paste, fish pastes
                                  spice pastes, curry pastes
                                  tofu, bean curd, soybean paste
                                  fermented black beans
                                  anything fermented
                                  soup base, prepared stock, bouillon,
                                  wine

                                  and many other ingredients.

                                  The effect of these ingredients with tyramines or histamines (or other biogenic amines) is cumulative. Two or three of these ingredients per meal might be OK for a person, but more than that causes a headache or hypertensive event in that person. Or your threshold for a reaction -- headache or otherwise -- might be especially low, and only one ingredient, even in a small quantity, triggers a reaction. Whatever your individual threshold, it is not MSG or autolyzed yeast that is causing the negative effect, but something else.

                                  1. re: c oliver

                                    Agreed. Although the flaw in big DB studies is that it assumes that the affected are large enough in number to have a statistical effect....in essence that all individuals are equal.

                                    For example if you have a real MSG problem in 1 out of 1000 people...and study 500...a big study actually...you would see no effect of the MSG. The one person affected would be hiding in the error bars and be undetected.

                                    1. re: sal_acid

                                      Some folks appear to have no problem, but to the ones that do, it can mean a trip to the ER. Just like someone can be allergic to eggs and others can eat them with no problem. The disturbing thing is that some of the folks defending MSG have so little empathy for folks who really react.

                                      1. re: CarolHoernlein

                                        I've worked in an ER. I've never seen, or frankly, heard of anyone coming in from a reaction to MSG.

                                      2. re: sal_acid

                                        Though in many of the studies that tested reactions to MSG in a clinical setting, the testing was done on patients who had self-described themselves as having terrible reactions to MSG. Those tests found no correlations between pure MSG and placebo.

                                        1. re: sal_acid

                                          That isn't true at all. You could see the result on the first (or only, for that matter) person who walked in the door and assume a 100% affected rate.

                                          That's not the *flaw* of big studies, it's the *benefit* of them, because the bigger they are, the less likely this is to happen. But to say that if there's a 1 in 1000 incidence of something you won't see it until you actually examine all 1000 respondents is just plain wrong. The one is exactly as likely to come up in sample #1 as it is in sample #1000. The odds are exactly the same with every roll of the dice.

                                          1. re: acgold7

                                            Big studies do not catch "outliers" if the general population is enrolled. This is a problem that vexes the FDA when evaluating new drugs and is why newly approved drugs often have adverse events crop up in the first few years of use. An uncommon AE, say 1 in two thousand will be undetectable over the background rate unless the study is impractically large.

                                            In the case of MSG sensitivity, if it exists, it is probably only in a very small percentage of the population since general population studies of MSG problems are negative. MSG studies that enroll people who claim to have the sensitivity are more revealing in that they are negative too.

                                            1. re: sal_acid

                                              I'm not questioning your conclusions about MSG at all.

                                              But your statistical assumptions are completely incorrect. Large studies may or may not catch outliers and it's completely wrong to just say they don't. There is a completely equal chance of the one in 2,000 being the first person interviewed or sampled as it is being the last. It's completely incorrect to say that one AE would be undetectable. It's more likely to look over-represented in a smaller study than the other way around.

                                              Big studies most certainly do catch outliers for the most part, (especially if the general population is the universe) and the bigger they are, the more outliers they catch. I did this stuff for almost 30 years and your reasoning is completely backwards.

                                              1. re: acgold7

                                                Well no it isn't backward at all. Adverse events all have a natural rate of occurrence in the absence of any experimental stimulus. If you ask 500 people if they had some symptom today, say dizziness, a small number ...lets say 5...will answer "yes". So the rate is 1 in 100.

                                                Because of this natural rate of adverse events you have to have a control group to compare the test group to in order to determine if an effect is attributable to the MSG or just random natural occurrence (were there no control groups in your 30 years' experience?)

                                                Now suppose you are doing a study of MSG vs placebo in a group of volunteers. And suppose that the study size is a total of 200... 100 in each group (big study). And the the real rate of MSG-induced dizziness is one out of 500 people.

                                                There will be 1 volunteer with dizziness in each group (because of the natural rate of the symptom), and at most...at most.. one more actually due to MSG in the MSG group. This is not a statistically significant difference, it could have happened by chance. The study would say there is no dizziness caused by MSG because the study wasn't big enough to detect the 1 in 500 people who actually have the effect. This is why study size determines the power of a study to detect abnormalities.

                                                1. re: sal_acid

                                                  In theory. In practice it doesn't usually work that way at all. The science of probabilities and sampling error (standard error and deviation and all that geeky stuff) always come into play and things never, ever work the way you describe.

                                                  Odd how people say 200 is a big study and then scream that the Nielsen sample of 12,000 isn't big enough.

                                                  I'm not a statistician but even I know enough to qualify every number in a study with the words "More or less." If you don't, you're just plain bullshitting people.

                                                  By the way, your last sentence is what I've been saying all along and the opposite of what you've been saying, so I now have absolutely no idea what your actual point is. So I think I'll just leave it here.

                                                  1. re: acgold7

                                                    Oh my. Things actually work exactly as I describe.

                                                    You need to study that geeky stuff some more.

                                                    1. re: sal_acid

                                                      It's a minor point, since I think we all agree that a large study (or aggregate of studies) is needed to distinguish statistically significant but rare outliers from false positives, placebo effect, etc. But while you understand this, you've also made some errors in understanding probability, it seems.

                                                      If 1 out of a 100 people in a large population have a significant reaction to something, a study of 100 random people would not necessarily yield exactly one positive result (even putting aside the issue of false positives, for the time being). In such a study, there would still be about a 37% chance of not finding anyone with a positive reaction. Likewise, there would be a strong possibility of finding more than one person with a positive reaction.

                                                      Similarly, if enough studies were done with just one or two participants each, some would find a positive result.

                                                      In principle, this is for the same reason that if you flip a coin twice, you don't always get 1 heads and 1 tails (only 50% of the time, actually). Small studies can find 'real' outliers, but they can't differentiate between them and false positives or demonstrate their statistical significance on their own.

                                                      1. re: cowboyardee

                                                        Agreed, but It actually isn't so minor a point. Statistics are a mystery to many on this board. Randomized trials are likewise not well understood by the average or even above average CHer.

                                                        1. re: cowboyardee

                                                          I would distinguish between a study intended establish whether a particular sensitivity exists (and is testable), and one that seeks to estimate its frequency (once verified).

                                                          Testing a group of self-identified sensitives should be a good way of testing whether the sensitivity is real. Such a study could include a random control population.

                                                          A large random sample is appropriate for the frequency study.

                                                          1. re: paulj

                                                            That would help a lot. But the control group should be the sufferers given a placebo rather than the general population. They would be given MSG or placebo in a blinded fashion and then perhaps crossed-over (ie given MSG if they got placebo the first time and vice versa). This way they would be their own control group and would control around their potential bias (that they have a problem with MSG). If a subject believes that they have a problem they aren't an unbiased rater and this has to be controlled around.

                                                            A problem with the MSG issue is that people don't all report the same problem from it. It is hard to design a study that will answer all questions in one shot.

                                                            Another problem is that the symptoms they report from MSG are hard to quantify and differ in perception between each person eg..headache..feeling light headed.

                                                            1. re: sal_acid

                                                              Yes, MSG v placebo must be part of the study.

                                                              1. re: sal_acid

                                                                <<But the control group should be the sufferers given a placebo rather than the general population. They would be given MSG or placebo in a blinded fashion and then perhaps crossed-over (ie given MSG if they got placebo the first time and vice versa). >>

                                                                This is exactly the way several of the trials were designed.

                                              2. re: sal_acid

                                                The onus of proof is on him who asserts the positive.

                                                In other words nobody is obligated to chase an arbitrary claim with an eternity of studies and infinite samples, all the way to the end of the bell curve, trying to prove a negative (that there are no "outliers").

                                                If one asserts X (that MSG causes headaches or whatever else the claim may be), the burden is on him to demonstrate it and on nobody else to disprove it.

                                          2. re: paulj

                                            That's a pretty straight forward double blind study.

                                          3. re: maria lorraine

                                            I strongly disagree, maria lorraine. My research has extended over many years. It IS the msg that causes me distress. I do not get headaches because I do not consume that which gives them to me. You are free to disagree with me, but I know my body.

                                            1. re: ChefJune

                                              Glutamate is a substance the body itself manufactures, so I don't buy it.

                                          4. re: eclecticsynergy

                                            Sorry, but I am a former food process engineer and MAGGI and any type of hydrolyzed vegetable protein or meat extract or yeast extract is very high in free glutamate and acts exactly like MSG. That is why the FDA in 1995 proposed labeling hydrolyzed proteins so that those sensitive to MSG could avoid it.Sadly the food industry killed that recommendation, but the FDA understood that hydrolyzed vegetable protein = MSG.

                                            1. re: CarolHoernlein

                                              I'd never be one to say the FDA is a fine gatekeeper for the nation's food safety, or that it cannot be arm-twisted into being a agency for manufacturers' profit motives,
                                              but still...

                                              Free glutmates are still not MSG
                                              Nor are hydrolyzed proteins MSG
                                              Nor does MSG or cause adverse health reactions, according to many scientifically designed medical trials
                                              Enteral glutamates do not cause adverse health effects

                                              So, in this case, the FDA, flawed entity that it is, acted
                                              appropriately.

                                              1. re: maria lorraine

                                                The very reason food makers hydrolyze protien is to release the bound glutamate so that it acts as a flavor enhancer. But in that form it also increases plasma glutamate levels dramatically. http://ajpendo.physiology.org/content... Even the makers of MSG state that the glutamate in MSG is chemically identical to glutamate found in the human body. That is why it is a problem. Sprinkling a known neurotransmitter on your food in any amount is not a good idea. I have a degree in food science and worked at the top global food companies and actually took courses in food chemistry. What is your background that makes you so sure of yourself?

                                                1. re: CarolHoernlein

                                                  I work in biochemistry, research in food and wine chemistry mainly, but more importantly I work with the scientists who do the testing and develop the studies. I read data and medical studies every day, and report on findings. Which is why I don't think a study on nine people means diddly-squat, especially this one, when there is so much other data that contradicts this one.

                                                  You don't eat neurotransmitters. The body makes them from amino acids you eat. This includes the neurotransmitter glutamate. Your body makes it -- it doesn't go from the digestive track into the blood.

                                                  1. re: maria lorraine

                                                    Sometimes I wish I *could* eat neurotransmitters.

                                                    1. re: maria lorraine

                                                      No but when you eat it - the plasma levels increase.

                                                      1. re: CarolHoernlein

                                                        Again, a study on nine people means nothing. Lots of things raise plasma glutamate: carbohydrates, gout, any digestion of any food, psychosis, among them.

                                              2. re: eclecticsynergy

                                                Actually reactions to MSG were not debunked. They were upheld. The independent study commissioned by the FDA and reported in 1995, showed that there were adverse reactions to MSG intake of as little as 0.5 grams. In fact, asthma was found to be affected as well as heart rate. More recently though, studies have been done in China to find things that lessen the impact. http://www.foodconsumer.org/newsite/N...

                                                1. re: CarolHoernlein

                                                  http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22...
                                                  Cochrane meta review 2012
                                                  "There is no evidence to support the avoidance of MSG in adults with chronic asthma, but as data were limited, this review cannot provide a reliable evidence base for determining whether MSG avoidance is a worthwhile strategy."

                                                  http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23...
                                                  "While a 'Traditional' food pattern was positively associated with asthma among Chinese adults, there was no significant association between MSG intake and asthma."

                                                  1. re: paulj

                                                    A Meta review is not a real study. The FDA's independent study did find asthma with as little as a half gram.

                                                    1. re: CarolHoernlein

                                                      Most likely that meta review included the 'independent study'. Did you post a link to that study?

                                                      1. re: CarolHoernlein

                                                        <<A Meta review is not a real study.>>

                                                        It's a review of many studies.

                                                        Since the quality of studies is important to you,
                                                        any studies you cite should be on humans, not rats.

                                                        Also the studies should be on glutamate that is eaten, not glutamate that is made by the body (the neurotransmitter).

                                                        You seem to repeatedly cite studies on rats or on the neurotransmitter glutamate. Those studies do not prove your point, yet those are the type of studies you have repeatedly offered as truth. Do you understand why they do not prove your point, and instead seem to suggest you do not understand the difference between dietary glutamate (which is completely changed by the digestion process), and the neurotransmitter glutamate, which is made in very large amounts by the body.

                                                        To prove your point, remember that the studies need to be on dietary glutamate (not the neurotransmitter) and on humans (not rats). Those two factors need to be the basis of any scientific study or information you cite.

                                                    2. re: CarolHoernlein

                                                      Carol, there's no medical study or science at foodconsumer.org link, just some unsubstantiated claims. I'm sorry -- I realize you are very emotionally invested in your stance, but it is not supported by science.

                                                  2. re: sedimental

                                                    What about salt? There's no shortage of salt on any grocery store shelf in cheap products.

                                                    What if we were to sub that in:

                                                    "It was almost like they [Grant Achatz] were elevating salt to a real 'specialty product' status, instead of mentioning that [it] is in almost every cheap, trashy, ingredient mix on the market. Funny."

                                                    By that line of reasoning nobody should ever use salt in their cooking.

                                                    1. re: Soul Vole

                                                      That is my point. Why didn't they say "salt can be purchased at any specialty store or over the internet"???? That would have been an equally dorky comment.

                                                2. other than those who aget MSG sensitive migraines and such, its proven to be
                                                  harmless and delicious. David chang is also super fond of that crystal gold.

                                                  26 Replies
                                                  1. re: reedux

                                                    There's never been anything medically documented that shows that MSG has that effect.

                                                    1. re: c oliver

                                                      None!
                                                      Even the claims of it being an excitotoxin are pretty weak

                                                      1. re: scubadoo97

                                                        Yes, but it is lame to "poo poo" other peoples dislike of it (for whatever personal reasons). I don't drink tap (unfiltered) water, no research tells me I will die from it, but I don't want to routinely drink it. I don't give a shit that there is no research proving anything. I don't drink it.

                                                        I am okay with MSG used at my discretion. I am also okay with saturated fats, not okay with many carbohydrates, not okay with sugar, okay with nitrates in preserved foods, not okay with hydrogenated anything, etc. I don't "dis" people for holding to something that is not "scientifically proven". I was a published researcher, I understand the bullshit of what science can be, on many levels.

                                                        Personal choice.... is just that. If someone thinks it is bad for them or gives them a headache, then don't use it. I won't think them stupid or ignorant. But, I think it makes some of my meals "over the top" delicious :)

                                                        1. re: sedimental

                                                          But there's NO evidence that people get "MSG sensitive migraines and such." I think it's unfortunate that people perpetuate things like this and then other people believe it and then won't try it.

                                                          1. re: c oliver

                                                            Yes, but there is no evidence for a lot of things. That doesn't mean it doesn't happen.

                                                            If they don't try it, then they won't know...one way or the other. Not my problem. This is an American issue, not anywhere else that I have been. I grew up in different countries and cooked there. Each one has their "seasoning" that contains MSG. I lived in Turkey for over 2 years..... It is called Tuzot there. It just struck me as funny.

                                                            My posts were more about how funny it was that an American chef, seems to have "discovered" this, and wants to "teach" about it.....when it it ubiquitous in America already, and amongst most all international home cooks (via typical cultural seasonings) all over the world.

                                                              1. re: c oliver

                                                                It's okay. I am shamelessly trying to steer the conversation about MSG actual "use". Not wanting this to devolve into the old..."msg, good or bad" circular arguing nonsense that always seems to happen.

                                                                It would be great to actually discuss how, why, where and when to use MSG. I don't think chowhound can handle that discussion though...for whatever reason. My guess is that is an American bias. I have been making my own seasoning salts with it lately (Cajun style) and would love to share ideas, get inspired...as I often do here. Again, it appears that is unlikely :(

                                                                1. re: sedimental

                                                                  I talked with the reigning King of French Chef's in New York City during the 1980's. He was a good friend of the chef that mentored me early in my career. We were talking about making consomme and how the clarifying process, while making the broth crystal clear, also took away flavor by trapping the suspended particles in the stock into the "raft" at the top of the pot. He showed me his solution, a 5# can of Accent.

                                                                  1. re: zackly

                                                                    Definitely! Plain Accent works in that application for a really light consumme.

                                                                    I also really love Osem chicken consumme powder (usually found in the Jewish food section) for a kick ass chicken soup addition. I think it is better than the plain Latino chicken powders. They have a new one boasting " no MSG" for Americans. I am not sure if it is as good as the old one, but if you run across Osem ...try it. Very chicken-y in a natural flavor kinda way!

                                                      2. re: c oliver

                                                        Actually there is a mountain of evidence about how MSG and glutamate in excess affect the human body http://msgtruth.org/related.htm

                                                        1. re: CarolHoernlein

                                                          Edited post: Rats! And more rats!

                                                          I did check the first 100 or so of the studies listed there, and most of the studies were on *rats* and on the neurotransmitter glutamate the body had made, and not dietary glutamate.

                                                          You do know that dietary glutamates are completely broken down by digestive enzymes as part of the nitrogen cycle, right???

                                                          I have been researching this for many years, you know, and am quite aware of how MSG has been unfairly blamed for health events when biogenic amines are the likely culprits.

                                                          1. re: maria lorraine

                                                            So you checked out every reference in those 16 pages in the past two hours. Sure you did...

                                                          2. re: CarolHoernlein

                                                            Wait a minute, Carol...Msgtruth is *your* website??
                                                            And you're linking to your own info that's so inaccurate??

                                                            1. re: maria lorraine

                                                              Like I said before.

                                                              We have seen the enemy. And it is us.

                                                              1. re: maria lorraine

                                                                Why can't I link to a list I made of scholarly research about this topic not paid for by the MSG industry? I did not do the research myself, silly. Are you saying that Chapel Hill is not a valid research outfit? Are you disparaging ALL of the researchers from around the world that I am citing simply because you like MSG?

                                                                1. re: CarolHoernlein

                                                                  OK. I went to the list of articles on your website, and copied them all into a Word document. There were 188. I went through each one.

                                                                  I eliminated all the articles that weren't current, published before the year 2000. Fair enough??

                                                                  Most of the older studies were on rats or mice or on the neurotransmitter glutamate anyway, so they had no bearing on this discussion. I eliminated the ones on aspartame too, just so you know.

                                                                  Of the 7 that remained, I eliminated the two on glutamate receptors, since that concerns the neurotransmitter and not dietary glutamate. OK?

                                                                  I eliminated the one that was a press release, since it was s press release. OK?

                                                                  And I eliminated one that was on rats.

                                                                  That leaves 3. I eliminated the one on fibromyalgia and dietary glutamates because it was only on four patients, and that means nothing. But congrats on citing a study on glutamate that is eaten.

                                                                  Two left. The study on allergies was on a nerve growth factor and not on dietary glutamate. So that one doesn't work.

                                                                  That left one. This study, published in 2000 was on pituitary hormone secretion after a single large dose of MSG.

                                                                  But you should take this one off your list too, really. Because it doesn't support your point. It disproves your point, actually.

                                                                  Did you read the full text??

                                                                  It's here, a .pdf doc at the Journal of Nutrition:
                                                                  http://jn.nutrition.org/content/130/4...

                                                                  What is says is:
                                                                  -- the study was on 8 men (too few)
                                                                  -- none of the pituitary hormones were affected by MSG.

                                                                  -- *Important* It also says the pure MSG had an effect "below that of the protein meal and was not significant."

                                                                  So, of the 188 studies in your list, not a single one proves your point. Not one.

                                                                  Again, I'm so sorry, because you are so invested in believing MSG is a substance that's really bad for humans. But not one study you've cited, not one link, has proven your case.

                                                                  I'm always willing to read a study or research that might be relevant, though -- that's on humans, on MSG or dietary/enteral glutamate, published in the last 10 years.

                                                                  1. re: maria lorraine

                                                                    maria,

                                                                    I applaud this effort. I really really do. It deserves to be recognized, if not for thoroughness, then for pure utter diligence on your part.

                                                                    But, in all sincerity, even my old friend Sisyphus knew when to stop pushing that boulder.

                                                                    Sometimes there is no reasoning with myopia.

                                                                    Happy holidays maria.

                                                                    1. re: ipsedixit

                                                                      My grandfather once told me "Boy, you can't win a pissing contest with a skunk".

                                                                      Great effort on your part, but the energy is wasted. You are fighting against True Believers.

                                                                      1. re: ipsedixit

                                                                        It's not so much that you will win over an opponent in a debate, but you might educate some else who was swayed by pseudo science into thinking that MSG is dangerous

                                                                        Thank you Maria for the time you took to expose the type of studies used to make these claims

                                                                        1. re: scubadoo97

                                                                          It was important to me to be clear, and to show how the "evidence" was not evidence. It was also important to me to demonstrate the weeding-out process of evaluating studies.
                                                                          That's why I made the effort.

                                                                            1. re: sal_acid

                                                                              While I don't disagree, this is a fine line.

                                                                              maria (as well as you and others) are right that debating or refuting the points made by Carol are important to properly and fully inform those that may be less than ideally educated about these issues, there comes a point where continuing to acknowledge the issue as a debatable point actually lends credibility to the other side's position.

                                                                              For example, no one whips out their Twitter accounts or fires up their blogs to debate the flat-earth society acolytes. Similarly, if someone said that 10 Big Macs at McDonalds is a better fine-dining experience than a tasting menu at The French Laundry, people would just shrug, think "cookoo" and move on. Nothing really to rebut because regular and rational people don't really consider it debatable.

                                                                              Again, I don't say this to belittle the work maria has undertaken in this debate/discussion, just that at some point one wonders whether the diminishing marginal utility of an additional rebuttal shrinks so rapidly that it actually turns negative.

                                                                              Trust me, I understand the desire to have the last word (and I mean I *really* understand that desire), but ask yourself if you really want or need to have the last word with someone who comes to you and exclaims self-righteously, "the earth is flat!"

                                                                              1. re: ipsedixit

                                                                                <<maria (as well as you and others) are right that debating or refuting the points made by Carol are important to properly and fully inform those that may be less than ideally educated about these issues, there comes a point where continuing to acknowledge the issue as a debatable point actually lends credibility to the other side's position. >>

                                                                                I understand your comment about trying to "convince" a flat-lander that the earth is round. I am aware I probably cannot.

                                                                                Even so, it was of merit to me to analyze the 188 articles listed that supposedly support the MSG horribleness claim, and find not a one does indeed support that claim.

                                                                                Doing so revealed the evidence and claim are even more specious than ever. Going through that exercise was for my own benefit (if only to ascertain how unsupported the "evidence" is), and for the benefit of other readers and Chowhounds. I have understood all along that Carol and other MSG-horribleness believers may not be swayed.

                                                            2. Ha ha Ha, too funny!
                                                              Does this mean that I now can put my jar of Accent front and center in my spice cabinet, not hidden behind some little used obscure spices, when dinner guests are coming?

                                                              1. "Sir, would you like a bit of fresh ground MSG on your salmon this evening?"

                                                                1. I like the chapter in one of Jeffrey Steingarten's books which asks something like, "Why don 't a billion Chinese have headaches?"

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