In praise of MSG

When I go to a Chinese restaurant, I am always disappointed when the menu says “No MSG.” I used to be on the “MSG is bad” bandwagon too until I learned some neuroscience. Glutamate is the primary excitatory neurotransmitter in the brain and now I’m always hoping to get extra glutamate into my system and brain. I don’t really know if MSG is going to supercharge my brain but hey the placebo effect is real. Research has never found any bad effects of MSG. See this article for details. This is also an interesting case where other people’s beliefs do directly affect me. Because, the public is hugely biased against MSG, I will be deprived of it at my local Chinese take out place. I don’t know why you have a headache after you eat at a Chinese restaurant. It might be from drinking too much tea or the salt but it’s probably not because of the MSG.

5 thoughts on “In praise of MSG

  1. Totally agree with you here. I’ve also been reading how MSG is not that bad for you and gets a bad rap. I need to do some more reading though. I’ve heard of studies where they tell people the food has MSG, and they get a headache — even though there was no MSG added! The mind is a powerful thing.


  2. i went and bought a veggie sub at my local chinese carryout up the street. i dont even know if its ‘chinese’ but its asian of some sort by the way the people look. it was very good—tons of broccoli, carrots, and more. but next day i woke up flipped out. i figured it was the msg. different people have different reactions—even peatnut butter causes some people to flip out or die. i know a person who works off and on at that place. it only cost like 5$ . and it was enoough really fo 2 days. everyplace around here has been robbed at gunpoint even safeway and CVS (hit that brinks car or whatever they are called —i iknew who did it —didnt agree—and got killed too–plenty of casualties) so i try to avoid the street. now we have a nice rain. nobody gonna be out here. i may try again for that chinese veggie thing. see if its the msg or somethuing else. besides msg we have ms-13 down the alley from the chinese carryout. thiis is a ‘gang’. i am actuallty on very good terms so far with them.


  3. i’ll write a report on my experiment. i actually got two—put one in the freezer for later. ate the first one, without the bread—i save that for emergencies in the freezer, but there’s something about msg, like potato chips, so i had the second one. was supposed to last through tuesday. woke up after my walk and nap, and i realized i had made a big mistake. i may lose 2 days trying to get over this—about to go crazy. so, now is the time for some house chores—laundry, dishes, sweeping—anything to burn this stuff off. fortunately i also had a 6 pack of beer so that is a kind of antidote, if not anecdote. i just hope noone shows up. (i keep my lights off so noone knows i’m home.)

    bbc has some very good shows on wamu after midnite. bbc news hour ‘extra’. talking about metallic hydrogen which can be used as fuel, how to create underground gardens with piped in solar light (up in NYC), the issue of the ‘price of oil’ and world economics (all that fracked oil in north dakota—one of my home territories–is changing world dynamics), and too many to remember. i hear david bowie died today at 69 of cancer. 69 is also name of a famous VU album.


  4. It’s just another example of the widespread chemophobia prevalent in our society. The original study on MSG’s “negative effects” injected MSG directly into the extracellular space of the brain. There is pretty much nothing, probably even ACSF, that wouldn’t cause adverse effects if injected right into the brain.

    Fortunately many people are now standing up for MSG. I personally will dock restaurants a star in yelp reviews if they participate in MSG and other aspects of chemophobia. I can’t decide if it’s either ignorance or cynical exploitation of the ignorant that the likes of Chipotle like to perpetuate.


  5. If you eat anything with a full amino acid profile and add salt in the cooking process, you’re eating MSG. Glutamic acid is an amino acid. Add salt, you get MSG. If you don’t believe me, just look at their chemical structures. So if you salt your steak, MSG. When restaurants claim they don’t have MSG, they probably don’t realize that they still do, but just less of it because they aren’t adding extra salt or something. If you want a glutamate placebo boost, eat lots of glutamic acid (i.e. protein).


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