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David Jamieson
02-28-2005, 07:50 AM
Let's not forget the mono sodium glutamate that McD's uses in many of it's products. also known as MSG. It has been shown that MSG actually can be a step on teh road to obesity! go figure. the glutamate industry folks are up in arms about that though....

anyway, they aren't going out of business anytime soon.
People don't wanna make a meal for themselves it seems.

It would seem that humans in general are innately lazy. The conditions of survival weigh heavy on whether or not we are active or not. But put us into a western society where not much effort is required to survive and watch us get lazier and lazier.

Face it, the whole machine is a bit of a weird thing. The meek have inherited the earth, natural selection is not really applicable in a lot of ways anymore except for teh worst cases of genetic mutation. But frequently, the "weak" do better than the "strong" in our new societies. I wonder what kind of effect that is going to have after 1000 years or so.

I would say that earth stands a chance of being a real quiet planet eventually. :p

GeneChing
09-12-2018, 02:31 PM
Are Ramen Noodles Bad for You, or Good? (https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/ramen-noodles)

Ramen noodles are a type of instant noodle enjoyed by many around the world.

Because they’re inexpensive and only require minutes to prepare, they appeal to people who are on a budget or short on time.

Though instant ramen noodles may be convenient, there’s confusion as to whether it’s healthy to eat them on a regular basis.

This article takes an objective look at instant ramen noodles to help you decide whether this convenient dish can fit into a healthy diet.

Lacking in Key Nutrients

https://www.healthline.com/assets/0x1528/hlcmsresource/images/AN_images/ramen-noodles-1296x728-feature.jpg.webp

Ramen noodles are a packaged, instant type of noodle made from wheat flour, various vegetable oils and flavorings.

The noodles are pre-cooked, meaning they have been steamed and then air dried or fried to shorten cooking time for consumers.

Instant ramen noodles are sold in packages with a small packet of seasoning or in cups to which water can be added and then microwaved.

Preparing instant ramen noodles involves adding the noodles to a pot of seasoned boiling water. The noodles can also be cooked in a microwave, which is why they’re often a staple food for college students living in dormitories.

There’s no doubt that Ramen noodles are tasty and convenient, but their nutritional value deserves closer examination.

Nutrition

Though nutritional information varies between products, most instant ramen noodles are low in calories but lack key nutrients.

For example, one serving of chicken-flavored instant ramen noodles has (1):

Calories: 188
Carbs: 27 grams
Total fat: 7 grams
Protein: 5 grams
Fiber: 1 gram
Sodium: 891 mg
Thiamine: 16% of the Reference Daily Intake (RDI)
Folate: 13% of the RDI
Manganese: 10% of the RDI
Iron: 9% of the RDI
Niacin: 9% of the RDI
Riboflavin: 6% of the RDI

Instant ramen noodles are made with wheat flour that’s been fortified with synthetic forms of certain nutrients like iron and B vitamins to make the noodles more nutritious (2).

However, they lack many important nutrients, including protein, fiber, vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin B12, calcium, magnesium and potassium.

What’s more, unlike whole, fresh foods, packaged foods like instant ramen noodles fall short in antioxidants and phytochemicals that positively impact health in many ways (3).

Not to mention, they pack in a good amount of calories without the wide array of nutrients that a more balanced meal consisting of a protein, vegetables and complex carbs would contain.

Though one serving (43 grams) of ramen noodles has only 188 calories, most people consume an entire package, which equates to two servings and 371 calories.

It should be noted that instant ramen noodles are different from fresh ramen noodles, which are traditional Chinese or Japanese noodles typically served in soup form and topped with nutritious ingredients like eggs, duck meat and vegetables.

SUMMARY

While instant ramen noodles provide several nutrients like iron, B vitamins and manganese, they lack fiber, protein and other important vitamins and minerals.

Loaded with Sodium

Sodium is a mineral that’s essential for the proper functioning of your body.

However, too much sodium from excess salt in the diet isn’t good for your health.

One of the largest contributors to dietary sodium intake is processed foods, including packaged foods like ramen noodles (4).

Not consuming enough sodium has been linked to adverse effects, but taking in too much can negatively impact health as well.

For example, having a diet high in salt has been linked to an increased risk of stomach cancer, heart disease and stroke (5, 6).

What’s more, in certain people who are considered salt sensitive, a high-sodium diet may raise blood pressure, which can negatively impact heart and kidney health (7).

Though there’s debate over the validity of the current intake recommendation of two grams of sodium per day set forth by the World Health Organization, it’s clear that limiting foods that are extremely high in salt is best (8).

Instant ramen noodles are very high in sodium, with one package containing 1,760 mg of sodium, or 73% of the RDI.

Consuming just one package of ramen noodles per day would make it very difficult to keep sodium intake close to the current dietary recommendations.

But since ramen noodles are cheap and quick to prepare, it’s an easy food to rely on for people who are crunched for time.

For this reason, it’s likely that many people consume ramen multiple times per day, which can lead to massive amounts of ingested sodium.

SUMMARY

Ramen noodles are a high-sodium food. Consuming too much sodium can negatively impact your health and has been linked to an increased risk of heart disease, stomach cancer and stroke.

Contain MSG and TBHQ

Like many processed foods, instant ramen noodles contain ingredients like flavor enhancers and preservatives, which can be harmful to your health.

Tertiary butylhydroquinone — more commonly known as TBHQ — is a common ingredient in instant ramen noodles.

It’s a preservative used to extend shelf life and prevent spoilage of processed foods.

While TBHQ is considered safe in very small doses, animal studies have shown that chronic exposure to TBHQ may lead to neurological damage, increase the risk of lymphoma and cause liver enlargement (9).

Plus, some people exposed to TBHQ have experienced vision disturbances, and test-tube studies have shown that this preservative can damage DNA (10).

Another controversial ingredient found in most brands of instant ramen noodles is monosodium glutamate (MSG).

It’s an additive used to enhance the flavor of savory foods and make them more palatable.

Certain people may be more sensitive to MSG than others. Consumption of this preservative has been linked to symptoms like headaches, nausea, high blood pressure, weakness, muscle tightness and flushing of the skin (11, 12).

Though these ingredients have been linked to several adverse health effects in large doses, the small amounts found in food are likely safe in moderation.

However, those who are particularly sensitive to additives like MSG may want to steer clear of instant ramen noodles, as well as other highly processed foods.

SUMMARY

Instant ramen noodles may contain MSG and TBHQ — food additives that may be detrimental to health when consumed in large doses.

Should You Avoid Ramen Noodles?

Though eating instant ramen noodles occasionally won’t harm your health, regular consumption has been linked to poor overall diet quality and several adverse health effects.

A study in 6,440 Korean adults found that those who regularly ate instant noodles had lower intakes of protein, phosphorus, calcium, iron, potassium, niacin and vitamins A and C, compared to those who didn’t consume this food.

Plus, those who frequently ate instant noodles consumed significantly fewer vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, meat and fish (13).

Regular instant noodle consumption has also been associated with an increased risk of metabolic syndrome, a group of symptoms including excess abdominal fat, high blood pressure, high blood sugar and abnormal blood lipid levels (14).

As a result, it’s best to limit your intake of instant ramen noodles and not use them as a meal substitute on a regular basis.

How to Make Ramen Noodles Healthier

For those who enjoy eating instant ramen noodles, there are several ways to make this convenient dish healthier.

Add vegetables: Adding fresh or cooked vegetables like carrots, broccoli, onions or mushrooms to instant ramen noodles will help add nutrients that plain ramen noodles lack.
Pile on protein: Since ramen noodles are low in protein, topping them with eggs, chicken, fish or tofu will provide a source of protein that will keep you fuller longer.
Choose low-sodium versions: Instant ramen noodles are available in low-sodium options, which can cut the salt content of the dish drastically.
Ditch the flavor packet: Create your own broth by mixing low-sodium chicken stock with fresh herbs and spices for a healthier, lower-sodium version of ramen noodles.
While instant ramen noodles are a cheap carbohydrate source, there are many other healthy, affordable carb options out there.

Brown rice, oats and potatoes are examples of versatile, inexpensive carbs for those looking to save money.

SUMMARY

Diets high in instant noodles have been linked to poor diet quality and an increased risk of heart disease and metabolic syndrome. Adding vegetables and protein to instant ramen is an easy way to boost the nutrition content of the meal.

The Bottom Line

Though instant ramen noodles provide iron, B vitamins and manganese, they lack fiber, protein and other crucial vitamins and minerals.

Additionally, their MSG, TBHQ and high sodium contents may negatively affect health, such as by increasing your risk of heart disease, stomach cancer and metabolic syndrome.

Limiting consumption of processed foods like instant ramen noodles and eating plenty of whole, unprocessed foods is always the best choice for your health.

I eat a lot of ramen. It's still a comfort food. :o

GeneChing
12-27-2019, 08:57 AM
https://melmagazine.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/12/MSG-1-1280x533.jpg
© 2019 MEL MAGAZINE
FOOD Andrew Fiouzi 2 weeks ago
THE RISE AND FALL AND RISE AGAIN OF MSG (https://melmagazine.com/en-us/story/the-rise-and-fall-and-rise-again-of-msg?utm_source=pocket-newtab)

You probably know monosodium glutamate from its link to so-called ‘Chinese Restaurant Syndrome’ — and that’s precisely the problem

I’m a casualty of the MSG subterfuge. I was fooled more than a decade ago — when I was still an impressionable high school student in the suburbs of L.A. In “the valley,” the main street — Ventura Boulevard — was beset by sushi spots, weed dispensaries, and of course, a bevy of Chinese restaurants.

Some of these were hiding in strip malls behind beige signs and tinted windows, while others stood alone, clear, beneath the glow of a neon-lit sign, one of its letters sometimes burned out — an easy tell that the food was worth the wait. My favorite, The Plum Tree Inn, boasted an aquatic experience in the form of a tank that housed lobsters that could be delivered to your table — all you had to do was order the special. I loved it there.

Until, that is, the anti-monosodium glutamate lobby told me that if I loved myself, I shouldn’t love those places anymore.

For the uninitiated, monosodium glutamate, more commonly (and ominously) known as MSG, is a chemical compound often used to enhance the flavor of food. It’s kind of like salt, only supercharged. “In 2002, the discovery of the umami taste receptor officially established umami as the fifth basic taste,” explains Taylor Wallace, a food scientist at George Mason University. “MSG combines sodium (like that in table salt) with glutamate, the most abundant amino acid in nature and one that provides umami, a savory taste.”

So despite its unsettlingly scientific moniker, MSG is nothing more than sodium mixed with one of the 20 amino acids crucial to the human body. “MSG is glutamic acid, which is an amino acid that, when it forms a salt with sodium, changes to glutamate instead of glutamic acid,” says Wallace. “And so, if you think about it, your body is made up of many essential amino acids, one of which is glutamic acid.” As per John Mahoney’s 2013 BuzzFeed article on MSG, we consume this substance in three different ways: Through proteins that contain glutamic acid; foods like Parmesan cheese, tomatoes, seaweed or soy sauce; and lastly through MSG itself — “of which the FDA estimates that most of us eat a little over a half a gram of every day,” according to Mahoney’s article.

But the decades-long hysteria around MSG has largely ignored the facts above, and indeed its history, which — though easy enough to uncover — isn’t widely known. The substance was originally discovered by Japanese chemist Kikunae Ikeda in 1907, after he noticed a common flavor between foods like asparagus, tomatoes and the broth his wife made with seaweed. “Ikeda was as enterprising as he was curious, so soon after his discovery, he refined and patented a way to produce pure glutamic acid, stabilizing it with a salt ion to create what we now know as monosodium glutamate,” reports Mahoney. “He called the company he founded to produce MSG Ajinomoto (‘the essence of taste’), thus forever linking umami, the taste, with glutamic acid, the chemical. It remains one of the largest producers of MSG in the world today.”

But despite being created by a Japanese chemist, MSG would, as we all know, gain notoriety in the U.S. due to its association with Chinese-American cuisine. “A lot of it has to do with political, social and cultural trends that were happening in the 1960s,” says journalist Thomas Germain, who has previously written about the MSG debate for the Columbia Undergraduate Research Journal. “So at the beginning of the 1960s, a writer named Rachel Carson published a book called Silent Spring, which is about the dangers of pesticides and chemical companies.” Carson’s book, says Germain, spurred an idea “that became really popular in the U.S.” — namely, that chemicals and additives that are made artificially are inherently dangerous and able to harm you in mysterious ways. “You don’t even realize it’s happening,” Germain says in summary of the book’s main takeaway about pesticides. “It can be invisible, almost.”

Germain continues to say that just a few years later, in 1968, Dr. Robert Ho Man Kwok — a then-recent Chinese immigrant — wrote a letter to the editors of the New England Journal of Medicine, stating that he got headaches when he ate in Chinese restaurants, but didn’t get them with his own home cooking, reasoning that the culprit might be MSG. “Almost immediately, this idea caught on and it just exploded,” says Germain.

Compounding this, Germain notes in his article on MSG that, in 1969, a different study showed a “causal link” between MSG, headaches and CRS [Chinese Restaurant Syndrome]. “That same year, Washington University’s Dr. John Olney published an article in Science which found that mice dosed with MSG developed brain lesions, stunted skeletal growth, obesity and female sterility,” writes Germain. “A few years later, Olney published a new study that found similar defects in infant primates.”

As Wallace points out, though, these rat studies were highly medically problematic, with rats being given an IV injection of MSG at levels far above those you’d ever experience with your food. Even had those studies been more realistic, he adds, they still wouldn’t necessarily be relevant. “We do a lot of rat studies at George Mason, but the bad thing about rat studies is, it’s only about 10 percent of the time they translate to what actually happens in humans,” he says. “It’s kind of like how chocolate is a neurotoxin in dogs, but we can all eat chocolate and we’re just fine. It’s the same thing with rats.”

A similar example, according to Wallace, occurs in studies on saccharin. “If you drink 20,000 Diet Cokes a day for 15 years, maybe it’s detrimental, but who’s going to consume that level of it?” he says. “And when you have an intravenous injection, that’s completely different than what happens when you digest something and it’s broken down and then absorbed.”

Beyond the dubious nature of these studies, there’s also the simple fact that MSG isn’t unique to Chinese food — it’s in everything from Campbell’s soup to Doritos to Ranch dressing, not to mention that it’s naturally found in, for example, kelp. So why, then, did Chinese restaurants shoulder the brunt of the MSG hysteria?

“At the base of it, it’s really xenophobia that’s been passed down,” says food and travel journalist Kristie Hang. “MSG is found in so many food items, but no one complains or even thinks twice about it until they set foot in a Chinese restaurant.” Germain agrees, telling me that the anti-MSG narrative plays into a long history of anti-Chinese racism in the U.S. “Part of that has to do with the fact that this was happening at the height of the Cold War,” he says. “So the idea that the Chinese were doing something that was sneaky and harmful with chemicals was just a very easy idea to believe for a lot of Americans. It was just this confluence of all these different ideas that hit at once that made it the perfect storm to strike fear in the hearts and stomachs of America.”
continued next post

GeneChing
12-27-2019, 08:57 AM
crass iron skillet
@SouthrnGothHick
· Nov 24, 2019
Controversial food opinions are frequently used to be Overtly Racist about different people's cuisine https://twitter.com/jonbecker_/status/1196805486907052033 …


Jon Becker
@jonbecker_
Please quote tweet this with your most controversial food opinion, I love controversial food opinions

crass iron skillet
@SouthrnGothHick
If you are "allergic to MSG" but it only strikes when you eat Chinese food and not when you eat a tomato, then you're having headaches because you're a dehydrated racist

1,106
7:32 AM - Nov 24, 2019
Twitter Ads info and privacy
440 people are talking about this
According to Wallace, in spite of the fact that you’ve probably heard someone tell you that they have an “MSG intolerance,” or that they’re “allergic to Chinese food” because of the MSG, the truth is, that’s physiologically impossible, considering “seven pounds of your body weight is actually made up of glutamic acid.” For those reasons, Wallace says that even though there’s been plenty of pressure advocating for an MSG ban, it’s always remained on the FDA’s “generally recognized as safe” food list.

It should be noted that some researchers believe there are those who’ve shown signs of genuine MSG sensitivity. “In my research on the effects of MSG in individuals with irritable bowel syndrome and the chronic pain condition fibromyalgia, I observed headache (including migraine), diarrhea, gastrointestinal pain and bloating, extreme fatigue, muscle pain and cognitive dysfunction — all of which improved when subjects were put on a diet low in free glutamate, and which returned with re-introduction of MSG,” writes Kathleen Holton, a professor in the School of Education, Teaching and Health and the Center for Behavioral Neuroscience at American University, for Live Science.

Interestingly, Hang tells me that it’s not just non-Chinese people who share the anti-MSG opinion. “Chinese and Chinese-Americans have thought very lowly of their own food as well,” she says. “It’s a cultural perception, unfortunately.”

But as is often the case with the winds of food trends, the direction appears to be changing. Thanks in large part to chefs like David Chang, who have worked to rewrite the narrative around Asian cuisine being considered “cheap food,” MSG is no longer the universal food ingredient pariah it once was.


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ji74pUeMayg

As per Mahoney’s BuzzFeed article, one of the focuses of Chang’s Momofuku research and development lab in New York’s East Village is to find different ways to achieve the much-sought after umami flavor provided by MSG. And although technically speaking, what they’re developing there is done via a natural fermentation process, the final product is chemically identical to the much maligned non-essential amino acid. “It just so happens that inside that tin of MSG is the exact molecule Chang and his chefs have worked so hard for the last three years to tease out of pots of fermenting beans and nuts,” writes Mahoney. “It’s pure glutamic acid, crystallized with a single sodium ion to stabilize it; five pounds of uncut, un-stepped-on umami, made from fermented corn in a factory in Iowa.”

In addition to Chang’s reinvestment in MSG as a viable, non-hazardous flavor enhancer, researchers are also actively working to dispel the unfounded and racist MSG narrative. Most recently, Wallace and his team at George Mason found that glutamates like MSG can actually help reduce America’s sodium intake. “MSG contains about 12 percent sodium, which is two-thirds less than that contained in table salt, and data shows a 25 to 40 percent reduction in sodium is possible in specific product categories when MSG is substituted for some salt,” Wallace told Eureka Alert. “As Americans begin to understand that MSG is completely safe, I think we’ll see a shift toward using the ingredient as a replacement for some salt to improve health outcomes.”

Which brings us back to my decade-long abandonment of an entire nation’s cuisine, all because of a three-lettered ingredient I was brainwashed to believe was no good for me. The Plum Tree Inn, my favorite Chinese restaurant in the valley, has since shuttered its doors, and as such, I will never eat there again. This, I accept as my deserved punishment for a decade of ignorance. But as anyone who lives in any American city knows, Chinese restaurants are plentiful, and never have I been more excited to get some MSG — by way of a giant helping of sesame chicken — back in my belly.


Andrew Fiouzi
Andrew Fiouzi is a staff writer at MEL.

As my family hails from Hawaii, we had aji-no-moto on the table right next to the salt, pepper & soy sauce when I was growing up, long before the MSG thing hit.

GeneChing
01-16-2020, 08:48 AM
I'm making a separate indie thread 'Chinese restaurant syndrome' off the 'Chinese food' (http://www.kungfumagazine.com/forum/showthread.php?16444-Chinese-food) thread now.

And I don't think all Asians are cringing. I think only the Chinese Amer-azns are cringing. The Japanese are laughing because aji-no-moto is a Japanese thing, and the rest probably don't care.


Asians cringe at 'Chinese restaurant syndrome' in dictionary (https://abcnews.go.com/Entertainment/wireStory/asians-cringe-chinese-food-syndrome-entry-dictionary-68276203)
A social media campaign backed by a Japanese seasonings company is targeting the persistent idea that Chinese food is packed with MSG and can make you sick
By TERRY TANG Associated Press
January 14, 2020, 11:25 AM
5 min read

https://s.abcnews.com/images/Entertainment/WireAP_c965bd68812c49c7bd8f69f6cbf04ea0_16x9_992.j pg
People are seen in the window eating at a Chinese restaurant decorated with menu items on its shop front on Friday Jan. 10, 2020, in New York City. A social media campaign backed by a Japanese seasonings company is targeting the persistent idea that Chinese food is packed with MSG and can make you sick. So entrenched is the notion in American culture, it shows up in the dictionary: Merriam-Webster.com lists “Chinese restaurant syndrome." as a real illness. But much of the mythology around the idea has been debunked: monosodium glutamate, also known as MSG, shows up in many foods from tomatoes to breast milk, and there's no evidence to link it to illness. (AP Photo/Wong Maye-E)People are seen in the window eating at a Chinese restaurant decorated with menu items on its shop front on Friday Jan. 10, 2020, in New York City. A social media campaign backed by a Japanese seasonings company is targeting the persistent idea that Chinese food is packed with MSG and can make you sick. So entrenched is the notion in American culture, it shows up in the dictionary: Merriam-Webster.com lists “Chinese restaurant syndrome." as a real illness. But much of the mythology around the idea has been debunked: monosodium glutamate, also known as MSG, shows up in many foods from tomatoes to breast milk, and there's no evidence to link it to illness. (AP Photo/Wong Maye-E)
The Associated Press
A social media campaign backed by a Japanese seasonings company is targeting the persistent idea that Chinese food is packed with MSG and can make you sick.

So entrenched is the notion in American culture, it shows up in the dictionary: Merriam-Webster.com lists “ Chinese restaurant syndrome " as a real illness that has been around since 1968. But much of the mythology around the idea has been debunked: monosodium glutamate, also known as MSG, shows up in many foods from tomatoes to breast milk, and there's no evidence to link it to illness.

“For me, it’s another thing to point to other people and say ‘Look, if you think racism toward Asians doesn’t exist in this country, like here it is,'” said restaurateur Eddie Huang. “I know how white people see us. ‘They’re cool, they’re acceptable, they’re non-threatening. But they’re weird, their food.'"

Huang, a New York City-based chef and author (his memoir inspired the ABC sitcom “Fresh Off the Boat”), and TV's “The Real” co-host Jeannie Mai are launching a social media effort Tuesday with Ajinomoto, the longtime Japanese producer of MSG seasonings. They plan to use the hashtag #RedefineCRS to challenge Merriam-Webster to rewrite the definition.

When reached for comment Tuesday, Merriam-Webster said it had not received complaints before about “Chinese restaurant syndrome" but would reconsider the term.

“Our aim is always to provide accurate information about what words mean, which includes providing information about whether a use is offensive or dated,” senior editor Emily Brewster said in a statement. "We’ll be reviewing this particular entry and will revise it according to the evidence of the term in use.

Shifts in culture and attitudes put the dictionary in a constant state of revision, she added.

Before joining the effort, neither Huang nor Mai had any idea the phrase was in the dictionary.

“The dictionary I thought was a reputable kind of Bible that was fact-checked all the way through in order to get us information,” said Mai, who is Vietnamese and Chinese. “'Chinese restaurant syndrome' is truly an outdated, super racist term.”

The symptoms are listed as numbness of the neck, arms, and back as well as headaches, dizziness, and palpitations. It affects people eating food but “especially Chinese food heavily seasoned with monosodium glutamate.”

The campaign isn't looking to wipe the phrase out, but update it.

“I actually think it'd be interesting if they just kept it and just noted this is an outdated, antiquated thing,” Huang said. “I do think these things are important to remember and point to.”

Huang and Mai say the campaign is not about trying to help boost sales at Ajinomoto, which was founded in 1908 after a Japanese professor figured out how to isolate glutamate from a seaweed broth.

“They’re already selling tons of their products. They don’t really need my help to be honest,” Huang said.

So, how did the myth endure for more than five decades?

It started with a letter to the New England Journal of Medicine in 1968, according to Robert Ku, author of “Dubious Gastronomy: The Cultural Politics of Eating Asian in the USA.” Dr. Ho Man Kwok, who was Chinese American, wrote a letter speculating that some Chinese restaurants left him feeling numbness and other symptoms. Other readers, doctors themselves, then wrote in saying they experienced something similar. Some researchers claimed that MSG was the source, Ku said. The journal's editors decided to call it “Chinese restaurant syndrome.”

“For a long time, Chinese restaurant syndrome was considered a legitimate ailment that the medical community seemed to back,” Ku said.

The New York Times picked up on the debate. Chinese restaurants everywhere were putting up signs and menus that said “No MSG” because of the backlash.

It wasn't until the 1990s that specialists doing more research began disproving the syndrome, Ku said. They found MSG was in just about every processed food.

“It made no sense that only Chinese food that has MSG causes these ill effects but you can't get it from Campbell's Soup,” Ku said.

MSG comes from glutamate, a common amino acid or protein building block found in food, according to Julie Stefanski, a spokeswoman for the Academy of Nutrition & Dietetics. Glutamate is present in foods like ham and some cheeses.

The Food and Drug Administration says MSG is generally recognized as a safe addition to food. In previous studies with people identifying as sensitive to MSG, researchers found that neither MSG nor a placebo caused consistent reactions, the agency said.

At a Chinese restaurant in Phoenix, some patrons had never even heard of the term.

Linda Saldana is bothered by one culture’s food getting singled out.

“I’m obviously not Asian,” said Saldana, who was having lunch with her husband, son and two nieces. “But if that was to be said about Mexican food, I’d feel a little offended because how could food cause all that?”

——— Terry Tang reported from Phoenix and is a member of The Associated Press’ race and ethnicity team. Follow her on Twitter at https://twitter.com/ttangAP

ShaolinDan
01-16-2020, 11:32 AM
MSG is good stuff. Naturally occurring in a lot of food we eat, including tomatoes, mushrooms, aged meat, and fermented foods...shows up when protein chains break down. It can really help when trying to make a dish vegetarian—For example I use it (and more salt) in place of fish sauce when I’m making Thai style curry.

GeneChing
01-17-2020, 08:48 AM
https://www.vice.com/en_us/article/g5xq5x/people-are-fighting-to-change-an-anti-msg-term-in-the-merriam-webster-dictionary
Chef Eddie Huang and TV host Jeannie Mai are calling out the dictionary's outdated definition for "Chinese restaurant syndrome."
By Bettina Makalintal
Jan 16 2020, 5:00amShareTweetSnap

https://video-images.vice.com/articles/5e1f70782efebc0095d561fe/lede/1579127217030-GettyImages-1141666369-spoon-holding-monosodium-glutamate-msg.jpeg
PHOTO BY PANIDA WIJITPANYA VIA ISTOCK/GETTY IMAGES PLUS

Earlier this week, chef, author, and entrepreneur Eddie Huang began tweeting a new campaign, followed soon after by similar promotion from TV host Jeannie Mai: #redefineCRS, they wrote, calling out Merriam-Webster.

The CRS in this case is "Chinese restaurant syndrome," a relic of the late 1960s that's responsible for the backlash and negative discourse over monosodium glutamate, the umami food additive colloquially known as MSG. Huang and Mai's campaign to redefine the term is a collaboration with MSG producer Ajinomoto, which was started after Japanese chemist Ikeda Kikunae discovered a process to isolate MSG from sea kelp to create the savory flavoring in 1908.

Despite its promotional aspect, the redefine campaign has a point: The current definition of "Chinese restaurant syndrome" doesn't quite take into account the shoddy science supporting the existence of the "condition," or the term's xenophobic undertones.

Currently, Merriam-Webster's definition for "Chinese restaurant syndrome" describes the phrase in straightforward terms: "A group of symptoms (such as numbness of the neck, arms, and back with headache, dizziness, and palpitations) that is held to affect susceptible persons eating food and especially Chinese food heavily seasoned with monosodium glutamate." That isn't the whole story, though, and plenty of dishes beyond Chinese food contain MSG, from Doritos to Chick-fil-A sandwiches.

The anti-MSG controversy started in 1968 when Dr. Robert Ho Man Kwok published a letter in the New England Journal of Medicine in which he, a researcher at the National Biomedical Research Foundation, described a condition that he dubbed as "Chinese Restaurant Syndrome." Kwok wrote that after eating at Chinese restaurants, he experienced numbness, weakness, and palpitations, which he attributed first to Chinese cooking wine, and then to MSG.

Kwok called on the medical community for more research, and what he set off was a decades-long discussion about the safety of MSG. People wrote in to the publication agreeing with Kwok's experience, and CRS gained coverage in places like the New York Times. In the 50 years since that starting point, MSG has continued to be demonized and avoided, with some Chinese restaurants still touting its exclusion.

But contrary to what Americans might have thought a few decades ago, today's perspective is more skeptical of the condition's existence, after scientific studies calling MSG into question were found to have large flaws. According to FiveThirtyEight, those issues included research that allowed participants to know whether or not they were eating MSG, scientifically frowned upon due to the placebo effect.

Today, the racist and xenophobic ties of the anti-MSG movement also seem more clear. As MSG's champions—including food science writer Harold McGee and chef Dave Chang—have pointed out, MSG occurs naturally in foods like Parmesan cheese, tomatoes, and steak—foods people eat without claiming feelings of "Chinese restaurant syndrome." Clearly, something about the cuisine MSG was most often associated with impacted public view of the ingredient and contributed to its backlash.

What the #redefineCRS campaign is asking for is a definition that reflects that increased knowledge, not one that simply validates the term. Emily Brewster, a senior editor at Merriam-Webster, told VICE via email that while Merriam-Webster had no record of anyone contacting it about the term until the morning the #redefineCRS campaign began, its staff will be reviewing the entry and "will revise it according to the evidence of the term in use." The Merriam-Webster Twitter account responded to Huang similarly.

Reviews like this are part of the process at Merriam-Webster as words change meaning and connotation over time.

"The ongoing evolution of language means that we are in a constant state of revision. Keeping up with it is a challenge, so we are always grateful to readers for pointing us to vocabulary that is in need of review," Brewster wrote. "As usages change, our entries change to reflect those shifts. Our aim is always to provide accurate information about what words mean, which includes providing information about whether a use is offensive or dated."

The dictionary's current definition might have seemed true at a time, but language changes alongside our understanding of science and culture, and the dictionary only really reflects the perspective of a given moment. Sometimes, we need to give it all a fresh look.


Naturally occurring in a lot of food we eat, including tomatoes, mushrooms, aged meat, and fermented foods...shows up when protein chains break down. Very true but a lot of toxins are naturally occuring too. I'm just playing devil's advocate here. ;)

ShaolinDan
01-17-2020, 09:36 AM
Very true but a lot of toxins are naturally occuring too. I'm just playing devil's advocate here. ;)

That’s also true. And MSG can be toxic...but the lethal dose for rats is five times the lethal dose of salt. Not that it’s necessarily the same for us... But we’ll die from lack of salt too. Gotta have balance. :cool:I only use MSG in my cooking rarely, but sometimes a dish just needs that extra savor.

It is hard to change people’s minds about things though. Those first “anti-gluten” studies were retracted years ago too, and gluten free is still the rage. Frankly, as a cook, all these special diets and sensitivities can be pretty irritating. It gets worse every year. Give your kids peanuts! Please! :mad:

GeneChing
01-20-2020, 09:41 AM
MSG in Chinese food isn't unhealthy -- you're just racist, activists say (https://www.cnn.com/2020/01/18/asia/chinese-restaurant-syndrome-msg-intl-hnk-scli/index.html?fbclid=IwAR2DEBZKHPP4tSR2PGUUdbca1hlVL5 5NL1nXtQpA4xaPatHJzu5sQWckO3s)
Analysis by Jessie Yeung, CNN
Updated 7:13 PM ET, Sat January 18, 2020

https://cdn.cnn.com/cnnnext/dam/assets/200117175150-02-ajinomoto-msg-seasoning-exlarge-169.jpg
A jar of Ajinomoto MSG (monosodium glutamate) seasoning.

(CNN)If you've heard of the term "MSG," you might have also heard of its common -- but inaccurate -- connotations.
For years, monosodium glutamate, a food additive known as MSG, has been branded as an unhealthy processed ingredient mainly found in Chinese food, despite a lack of supporting scientific evidence.
This perception, which activists argue is outdated and racist, is so widespread that the Merriam-Webster dictionary has an entry for the term "Chinese restaurant syndrome" -- a type of condition that allegedly affects people eating "Chinese food heavily seasoned with monosodium glutamate," with symptoms like dizziness and palpitations.
Now, activists have launched a campaign called "Redefine CRS." Headed by Japanese food and seasoning company Ajinomoto, the online campaign urges Merriam-Webster to change its entry to reflect the scientific consensus on MSG -- and the impact of misinformation on the American public's perception of Asian cuisine.

https://cdn.cnn.com/cnnnext/dam/assets/200117174105-ajinomoto-msg-seasoning-exlarge-169.jpg
Japanese company Ajinomoto produces MSG seasoning and spice mixes.

"To this day, the myth around MSG is ingrained in America's consciousness, with Asian food and culture still receiving unfair blame," said the company in its campaign website. "Chinese Restaurant Syndrome isn't just scientifically false — it's xenophobic."
In a video released by Ajinomoto, several Asian American figures, restaurateurs, and medical professionals spoke out against the misconceptions surrounding MSG and Chinese food.
"Calling it Chinese restaurant syndrome is really ignorant," said restaurateur Eddie Huang, whose memoir was adapted into the hit sitcom "Fresh Off the Boat." In the video, he pointed out that MSG is not only delicious -- but found in practically all processed foods, from ranch dressing to Doritos.


Why Use MSG
@why_use_msg
This is long overdue. @mreddiehuang @jeanniemai and @askdrbilly want to make things right. RT to tell @merriamwebster to #RedefineCRS. Find out more about ‘Chinese Restaurant Syndrome:’ http://redefineCRS.com

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The campaign proposed a new definition for "Chinese restaurant syndrome" in the Merriam-Webster -- "an outdated term that falsely blamed Chinese food containing MSG, or monosodium glutamate, for a group of symptoms."
In response, Merriam-Webster tweeted on Wednesday that it would be "reviewing the term and revising accordingly."
"We're constantly in the process of updating as usage and attitudes evolve, so we're grateful when readers can point us toward a definition that needs attention," said the company.

What MSG is -- and isn't

First off: what is MSG?
Chances are, you've eaten it. It's a common amino acid naturally found in foods like tomatoes and cheese, which people then figured out how to extract and ferment -- a process similar to how we make yogurt and wine.
This fermented MSG is now used to flavor lots of different foods like stews or chicken stock. It's so widely used because it taps into our fifth basic taste: umami (pronounced oo-maa-mee). Umami is less well known than the other tastes like saltiness or sweetness, but it's everywhere -- it's the complex, savory taste you find in mushrooms or Parmesan cheese.

https://cdn.cnn.com/cnnnext/dam/assets/200117174106-msg-salt-seasoning-exlarge-169.jpg
MSG is used as a food additive in dishes like stews, canned soups, and stocks.

People have consumed MSG throughout history, according to the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) -- but the debate over its health effects began in 1968, when a man wrote a letter to the New England Journal of Medicine, complaining of numbness after eating at Chinese restaurants.
The idea that Chinese food was dangerous spread quickly, and was lent legitimacy by some medical professionals at the time. A 1969 scientific paper identified MSG as "the cause of the Chinese restaurant syndrome," and warned that it caused "burning sensations, facial pressure, and chest pain."
That's not to say it was scientifically proven. A 1986 paper in the journal Food and Chemical Toxicology argued that a decade of research had "failed to reveal any objective sign" that MSG was dangerous, and that the very idea of "Chinese restaurant syndrome" was "questionable."
The FDA even set up an independent inquiry into MSG in the 1990s -- which ultimately concluded that MSG is safe.
Still, it was too late to contain public fear and anxiety. MSG had effectively been vilified in the American imagination, and was shunned for decades afterward. Even now, a quick Google search for MSG turns up countless pages that ask: is MSG harmful?
Many regulatory bodies and scientific groups have answered this definitively: No. The addition of MSG in foods is "generally recognized as safe," says the FDA site.
continued next post

GeneChing
01-20-2020, 09:41 AM
https://cdn.cnn.com/cnnnext/dam/assets/200117020619-02-chinese-restaurant-syndrome-exlarge-169.jpg
MSG is found in Chinese cuisine -- but also in tomatoes, cheese, canned soup, and a range of foods.

A joint study by the World Health Organization and the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization "failed to confirm an involvement of MSG in 'Chinese Restaurant Syndrome'," and noted that the syndrome itself was based on "anecdotal" evidence rather than any scientific fact.
Besides, many said, if MSG was so dangerous, masses of people would have fallen sick in countries that cook with the additive, like China and Japan -- something that simply hasn't happened.

The fight for Asian food in America

As the Ajinomoto campaign points out, the public scare over MSG unfairly placed the blame on Chinese food -- and is partly why many in the United States still think of Chinese food as processed, unclean, or unhealthy.
This perception -- and the growing movement to break down this stereotype -- made national headlines in the spring of 2019, when a white woman opened a Chinese restaurant called Lucky Lee's in New York. The restaurant would serve "clean" Chinese food, she wrote in a now-deleted Instagram post -- food that wasn't "too oily," and that wouldn't make people feel "bloated and icky" afterward.

https://cdn.cnn.com/cnnnext/dam/assets/200117020534-01-chinese-restaurant-syndrome-exlarge-169.jpg
The Lucky Lee's restaurant in New York, on April 11, 2019.

Almost immediately, the internet was in uproar. Members of the Asian and Asian American community accused the owner of not just appropriating another culture's cuisine, but doing it with an offensive rather than appreciative approach.
The owner responded shortly after the backlash, acknowledging in an Instagram post that Chinese food had "health benefits" and promising to "always listen and reflect accordingly." The restaurant closed in December 2019 -- just eight months after opening.
She apologized more explicitly in an interview with The New York Times -- but still, critics argued that her original post had reinforced negative and false stereotypes around Chinese food instead of exploring what it actually is.
The controversy sparked a broader discussion on the racially-driven lines drawn around which foods are "clean" and "sophisticated." Why, for instance, is Italian or French cuisine -- both foreign to the US -- seen as high-class fine dining, while Chinese or Thai food is still often regarded as quick, cheap, and low quality?
Some also pointed out that "ethnic" foods -- a controversy in itself, because what is "ethnic" anyway? -- hold stories that have been erased or unacknowledged completely. For many, "Americanized" Chinese food was born from desperation and adapted for American tastes -- a way for immigrant families to survive in a society that demanded assimilation. To have that food, and its history of immigrant struggle, dismissed as "icky" or "oily" felt like a slap in the face for many in the Asian American community.

https://cdn.cnn.com/cnnnext/dam/assets/200117034442-04-chinese-restauruant-syndrome-restricted-exlarge-169.jpg
A Chinese restaurant menu stating "No MSG" in Danville, California, December 25, 2019.

For years, Chinese restaurants in the US often had signs inside that announced "No MSG used," in an attempt to distance themselves from the stigma. Now, some are reclaiming and openly embracing the additive; Chinese restaurant chain Mission Chinese Food has salt shakers filled with MSG, and MSG margaritas with MSG crystals in the ice cubes.
Then there's Ajinomoto, one of the biggest voices in the MSG market and the leader of the Redefine CRS campaign. You can find Ajinomoto's MSG seasoning packets and spice mixes in many American supermarkets, and it has been working for years to raise awareness about both the safety of consuming MSG and the ways it can be used to add flavor to dishes.


Mission Chinese Food
@Missionstfood
Authenticity option now available at MCF SF. @davidchang #hospitality

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Amid all the hullabaloo, restaurateurs like celebrity chef David Chang, who produced and starred in the Netflix series "Ugly Delicious," and Anthony Bourdain, the late host of CNN's award-winning series "Parts Unknown," have worked to change public perception.
The fears surrounding MSG were just a "psychosomatic myth," Chang said in a tweet. In another post, he shared how he uses MSG in his daily life, adding it as seasoning to snacks like popcorn.
Bourdain, who traveled the world and showcased an extraordinary diversity of cultures and cuisines, was more explicit. "I think (MSG) is good stuff," he said in a 2016 episode of "Parts Unknown" filmed in China. "I don't react to it -- nobody does. It's a lie."
"You know what causes Chinese restaurant syndrome?" he added as he walked through the streets of Sichuan. "Racism."


That’s also true. And MSG can be toxic...but the lethal dose for rats is five times the lethal dose of salt.
Well, sure. Anything in excess will kill ya, right? Even water...in excess.


Those first “anti-gluten” studies were retracted years ago too, and gluten free is still the rage. Frankly, as a cook, all these special diets and sensitivities can be pretty irritating. It gets worse every year. My wife suffers from gluten issues. Hers are related to an inherited malady. Beleive me - listening to her puke her guts out all night long from ingesting gluten from some undisclosed ingredient at some restaurant is much more irritating than adjusting cooking.

ShaolinDan
01-20-2020, 12:41 PM
Well, sure. Anything in excess will kill ya, right? Even water...in excess.

My wife suffers from gluten issues. Hers are related to an inherited malady. Beleive me - listening to her puke her guts out all night long from ingesting gluten from some undisclosed ingredient at some restaurant is much more irritating than adjusting cooking.

I hear ya. Celiac and it's like are no joke. Actually my college has purportedly the first gluten free college dining hall in the nation because a couple of students were getting sick just from flour particles in the air getting into food.

There's more than one thing going on here and I'm being unclear by conflating them. My bad.

1. There are food allergies and sensitivities. Always have been, always will be. Some are life threatening, or super severe and some aren't. (I'm lactose intolerant like my father--not so bad.)
2. There is a rise in food allergies. Probably from multiple causes, but one cause we know for certain is avoidance--see the relationship in peanut allergies with breast feeding. Not eating peanuts while breastfeeding increases the chance of a child developing a peanut allergy by something like 17 times. Whoops! :eek:
3. Finally there are allergy and sensitivity trends. When whole swaths of the population suddenly decide they can't eat something without diagnosis or real cause other than confirmation bias. This is what happened with MSG. It also happened with gluten, regardless of the fact that a small percent of the population is allergic to these things.

I'm worried by point 2 and exasperated by point 3, but I take no issue with point one. :cool:

GeneChing
01-21-2020, 08:49 AM
Asians decry ‘Chinese restaurant syndrome’ listing in dictionary (https://chicago.suntimes.com/2020/1/20/21071245/msg-chinese-restaurant-syndrome-listing-in-dictionary-merriam-webster-food)
A social media campaign backed by a Japanese seasonings company is targeting the persistent idea that Chinese food is packed with MSG and can make you sick.
By Associated Press Jan 20, 2020, 8:00am CST
TERRY TANG, AP

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A customer helps himself to a soup dumpling at a Chinese dim sum restaurant in New York City. AP

A social media campaign backed by a Japanese seasonings company is targeting the persistent idea that Chinese food is packed with MSG and can make you sick.

So entrenched is the notion in American culture, it shows up in the dictionary: Merriam-Webster.com lists “ Chinese restaurant syndrome ” as a real illness that has been around since 1968. But much of the mythology around the idea has been debunked: monosodium glutamate, also known as MSG, shows up in many foods from tomatoes to breast milk, and there’s no evidence to link it to illness.

“For me, it’s another thing to point to other people and say ‘Look, if you think racism toward Asians doesn’t exist in this country, like here it is,’” said restaurateur Eddie Huang. “I know how white people see us. ‘They’re cool, they’re acceptable, they’re non-threatening. But they’re weird, their food.’”

Huang, a New York City-based chef and author (his memoir inspired the ABC sitcom “Fresh Off the Boat”), and TV’s “The Real” co-host Jeannie Mai are launching a social media effort Tuesday with Ajinomoto, the longtime Japanese producer of MSG seasonings. They plan to use the hashtag #RedefineCRS to challenge Merriam-Webster to rewrite the definition.

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Jeannie Mai, co-host of TV’s “The Real,” is seen in New York filming a video for a campaign challenging Merriam-Webster’s dictionary entry of “Chinese restaurant syndrome.” AP

When reached for comment last week, Merriam-Webster said it had not received complaints before about “Chinese restaurant syndrome” but would reconsider the term.

“Our aim is always to provide accurate information about what words mean, which includes providing information about whether a use is offensive or dated,” senior editor Emily Brewster said in a statement. “We’ll be reviewing this particular entry and will revise it according to the evidence of the term in use.

Shifts in culture and attitudes put the dictionary in a constant state of revision, she added.

Before joining the effort, neither Huang nor Mai had any idea the phrase was in the dictionary.

“The dictionary I thought was a reputable kind of Bible that was fact-checked all the way through in order to get us information,” said Mai, who is Vietnamese and Chinese. “‘Chinese restaurant syndrome’ is truly an outdated, super racist term.”

The symptoms are listed as numbness of the neck, arms, and back as well as headaches, dizziness, and palpitations. It affects people eating food but “especially Chinese food heavily seasoned with monosodium glutamate.”

The campaign isn’t looking to wipe the phrase out, but update it.

https://cdn.vox-cdn.com/thumbor/0Vdw_B3q6rWZ98QT7POaijiSQwY=/0x0:5904x3938/1120x0/filters:focal(0x0:5904x3938):format(webp):no_upsca le()/cdn.vox-cdn.com/uploads/chorus_asset/file/19609802/AP20014000254148.jpg
A plate of fried tofu is served at a Chinese restaurant in New York City. MSG — monosodium glutamate, also known as MSG — shows up in many foods from tomatoes to breast milk, and there’s no evidence to link it to illness. AP

“I actually think it’d be interesting if they just kept it and just noted this is an outdated, antiquated thing,” Huang said. “I do think these things are important to remember and point to.”

Huang and Mai say the campaign is not about trying to help boost sales at Ajinomoto, which was founded in 1908 after a Japanese professor figured out how to isolate glutamate from a seaweed broth.

“They’re already selling tons of their products. They don’t really need my help to be honest,” Huang said.

So, how did the myth endure for more than five decades?

It started with a letter to the New England Journal of Medicine in 1968, according to Robert Ku, author of “Dubious Gastronomy: The Cultural Politics of Eating Asian in the USA.” Dr. Ho Man Kwok, who was Chinese American, wrote a letter speculating that some Chinese restaurants left him feeling numbness and other symptoms. Other readers, doctors themselves, then wrote in saying they experienced something similar. Some researchers claimed that MSG was the source, Ku said. The journal’s editors decided to call it “Chinese restaurant syndrome.”

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A plate of sweet and sour pork is served at a Chinese restaurant in New York City. AP

“For a long time, Chinese restaurant syndrome was considered a legitimate ailment that the medical community seemed to back,” Ku said.

The New York Times picked up on the debate. Chinese restaurants everywhere were putting up signs and menus that said “No MSG” because of the backlash.

It wasn’t until the 1990s that specialists doing more research began disproving the syndrome, Ku said. They found MSG was in just about every processed food.

“It made no sense that only Chinese food that has MSG causes these ill effects but you can’t get it from Campbell’s Soup,” Ku said.

MSG comes from glutamate, a common amino acid or protein building block found in food, according to Julie Stefanski, a spokeswoman for the Academy of Nutrition & Dietetics. Glutamate is present in foods like ham and some cheeses.

The Food and Drug Administration says MSG is generally recognized as a safe addition to food. In previous studies with people identifying as sensitive to MSG, researchers found that neither MSG nor a placebo caused consistent reactions, the agency said.

At a Chinese restaurant in Phoenix, some patrons had never even heard of the term.

Linda Saldana is bothered by one culture’s food getting singled out.

“I’m obviously not Asian,” said Saldana, who was having lunch with her husband, son and two nieces. “But if that was to be said about Mexican food, I’d feel a little offended because how could food cause all that?”

I'm lactose intolerant too, Jimbo, as well as pre-diabetic now so I have to watch my sugar and starch. I'm also pescatarian largely due to my Buddhism. So many religions have dietary restrictions. The Bible is chock full of them if anyone bothered to actually read it.

Diet is such a tricky thing now. I hear people moan about all the food allergies today and how we didn't have that back in the day, stuff like 'Why is gluten an issue now? We've been eating bread for centuries.' But we didn't have factory farming and GMOs back in the day either. The food has changed. Interestingly enough, my wife could eat small amounts of bread in Europe where they take more care with their breadmaking - older cultures, non-GMO. Personally I blame the U.S. diet, which led the charge in fast food production. There should be a 'U.S. Fast Food Syndrome' in the dictionary. :p