View Full Version : What's MSG? and why do people ask for No MSG?

Onan the Clumsy
12th May 2005, 21:53
Was just wondering. Do you avoid it?

12th May 2005, 22:13
It is a food additive which works on your taste buds to make them more receptive and therefore the flavours more intense.

It gives some people headaches and makes them feel thirsty. It can bring on migranes for some.

'Chinese Restaurant Syndrome' is these sort of symptoms caused by eating MSG hence some people try to avoid it.

My biggest concern with MSG, particularly with children, is that they get used to the intense flavours and aren't interested in eating ordinary food because it seems bland. It is my honest opinion that, very often, MSG is used to add 'zing' to sub-standard food and make it seem better than it is.

It is a natural product used by the Chinese for hundreds (maybe thousands) of years but that does not make it a good additive.


12th May 2005, 22:16
MSG = Monosodium Glutamate = E621 :ooh:

It's a flavour enhancer, the one that makes you want it more and more - think Pringles... supposed to be an allergin for some people.

Personally I avoid it like the plague! :yuk:

It's usually found in crisps, processed ready meals and most salty processed stuff.

Confab :uhoh:

12th May 2005, 22:16
MonoSodium Glutamate

12th May 2005, 22:19
Monosodium gluta, mate...... :rolleyes:

12th May 2005, 22:40
MonoSodium Glutamate

12th May 2005, 22:51
Well I SUPPOSE they ask for "no MSG" because they don't like it...

jeezzuzz keerist.... :rolleyes:

Kaptin M
12th May 2005, 23:23
IMO, there's been a lot of unneccessary hype surrounding msg - it seemed to be the fad pet hate food a decade or so ago.

Glutamate is a naturally occurring substance in many foods (see the chart below), and monosodium glutamate is the salt derived from these products - just as sugar is the "salt" derived from sugar beet, and table salt (sodium chloride/NaCl) from sea water - albeit by a fermentation process.
Nature provides these ingredients in the correct proportions, in the plants in which these products occur - man concentrates them by removing the "bulk" that would normally fill our stomachs before we "over-dosed".
However, the small amounts of msg generally used to enhance flavours are not enough to cause a "reaction" in normal, healthy individuals.
My guess is it's probably the result of the associated intake of liquid refreshments at meal time, that cause the sleeplessness, headaches and upset stomachs people blame on msg.
Free* Glutamate Content of Foods (mg/100g)
Cow's Milk 2
Human Milk 22
Eggs 23
Beef 33
Fish (Mackerel) 36
Chicken 44
Potatoes 102
Corn 130
Oysters 137
Tomatoes 140
Broccoli 176
Mushrooms 180
Peas 200
Grape juice 258
Fresh tomato juice 260
Walnuts 658
Soy Sauce 1090
Parmesan cheese 1200
Roquefort cheese 1280
*There are actually two forms of glutamate found in foods: bound and free. Since only free glutamate is effective in enhancing the flavor of food, the numbers above reflect only the amount of free glutamate for each item listed.

13th May 2005, 01:18
All good stuff Kapt M.

MSG - Odourless and tasteless, about one third of the sodium as table salt.

MSG excites the salivary glands which produce more saliva which as a result then collects more flavour from the food and passes it over your taste buds, thereby enhancing the flavour.

Lot of hype about MSG, IMHO, even been blamed for increasing the risk of stomach cancer but the medical jury is once again out on this one, I believe. Some allergic reaction is recorded though.

It was used for years and years without anyone being the wiser, then it suddenly became a fad.
If you want to be sure of getting the maximum flavour from the dish, use it, if you are happy for your food to be more bland, leave it out.

13th May 2005, 04:09
Its the sodium that's dodgy. Put too much salt in something and it gets too salty too eat. MSG doesn't have the same repulsion effect, so you can easily overdose on sodium.

As an example, at a local outdoor restaurant the food is cooked to order. The four people at the next table ordered Kuey Teow Goreng (fried flat noodles) I watched the cook shovel four heaped tablespoonfuls of MSG into the wok - one for each person. Try even a third of that amount with salt and you wouldn't be able to eat it.

Of course, he could have used more fresh ingredients to make it tasty, but that would have put his 'food costs' up and reduced the profit.

13th May 2005, 07:02
Mrs W is allergic to this stuff among other things and I am allergic to some other E numbers. We got onto this years ago when we spotted the effect on our youngster of certain food-colouring agents.

Taken in the round, any preservative, colour-enhancer or flavour-enhancer is not good for us. Much of this stuff has a detrimental physical or mental effect on the average human being, however small. Food is best eaten fresh, in-season and as close as possible to the point of production in time and space.

I think it is behind a lot of bad behaviour and not just among school-children. The food industry has a lot to answer for.

13th May 2005, 07:39
Madison Square Gardens.

OK, it is getting on a bit now but I don't see why so many of you are against it :8

13th May 2005, 11:06
Blacksheep you put your finger precisely on it when you said:
"Of course, he could have used more fresh ingredients to make it tasty".

That is my point exactly ......... it is used so often to disguise the fact that substandard or cheap ingredients have been used to cut costs and make more money.

It is interesting that children who are used to eating crisps with MSG to enhance the flavour, won't consider eating ready salted crisps or crisps which have been flavoured with the 'real' flavours (eg vinegar, onion, etc) and no MSG, because they seem too plain and boring to them. I find that the MSG type of crisps taste so strongly that it can be actually unpleasant and can feel uncomfortable on the tongue. What on earth are we doing to our children's taste buds? No wonder a lot of children only want to eat junk food. :(

13th May 2005, 11:32
I think I've been hooked on MSG ever since I left the womb... Cow's Milk 2
Human Milk 22
...which might also go a long way in explaining one's continued attraction to ladies breasts. :O

tall and tasty
13th May 2005, 11:44
Spells :yuk: :yuk: to me

Try to avoid it like the plague!

TnT :p

Kaptin M
13th May 2005, 12:20
It is interesting that children who are used to eating crisps with MSG to enhance the flavour, won't consider eating ready salted crisps or crisps which have been flavoured with the 'real' flavours (eg vinegar, onion, etc) The "real flavours" you reference, tart 1, are - in fact - concentrates of the products (salts) you use as an example.

MSG is a "real", ie. naturally occurring substance, (usually) derived from plants.
When you eat tomatoes, you are eating MSG.
When you use soya sauce - a product made from fermented soy beans, and supposedly healthier than normal, refined table salt - you are consuming MSG.

MSG has been identified as one of the NATURALLY OCCURRING SUBSTANCES that "delights" the human palate.
It enhances food, NATURALLY

Some people have food allergies - or pollen allergies.
Salt, taken in excess, causes hardening of the arteries.
Sugar will pile on the weight.

Artificial colours, and sweetners can apparently wreak havoc on healthy human beings.

MSG is NOT an artificial product, but taken in isolation, or excess, like almost anything, might test the body.

13th May 2005, 14:14
Ignoring any attached science, if I order chinese food and don't say anything, I often get a blinding headache. If I say No MSG, I don't get a blinding headache.

Often I would get the same type of headache after drinking red wine. Usually the type that gets delivered in tankers. Now I mostly drink white wine or expensive red wine. Happily, whisky doesn't give me headaches.

13th May 2005, 16:25
Yes I see what you're saying Kaptin. :D

I am quite happy to consume MSG in natuarally occurring amounts but when it is added in excessive amounts, it is not necessarily a good thing. I don't want to eat a heaped tablespoon of MSG which has been added to some noodles to make them taste more exciting.

And have you tried products like Square Crisps and Discos in, for example, salt and vinegar flavour? The in-your-face flavour is enough to bring tears to your eyes. :{ :{

In my own very humble opinion of course!! :\

(I don't really do science - it gives me a headache. ):(