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Is MSG a Great Evil?

I have come to embrace MSG. After having eaten it so regularly in China, it is much less scary. And the fact is, MSG is still very present in American packaged food. Do you ever use the Spanish seasoning "Sazon"? That stuff is pure MSG.

Or just buy it in its weird, crystalized form at your local Asian market:


My mother used to eat a canned soup with MSG. She loved it. A few months ago, the producers removed the MSG to make it seem ("seem" being the key word) healthier. She stopped buying it.

There are people who are sensitive to it in the way that some people are lactose intolerant. Typically they report feeling high, sweaty, etc. when they eat it. I have definitely ODed on MSG while in China (this involves eating way more MSG than you can probably imagine). The result is unprecedented thirst and rowdy dreams. One benefit of the MSG is that you don't have to use as much salt.

So, a confession. I dumped an ENORMOUS amount of MSG into the stir-fried tofu skin I just made for lunch. Yikes. About 5 or 10 minutes later, I felt high as a kite. My body felt really heavy, sort of drunken, but my mind felt alert. I also had a weird sensation in my mouth. This has never happened to me before. I can't say for certain it's the MSG, but…? Anyway, it passed within 10 minutes. I'm fine. Just thirsty. Kind of hungry…maybe I'll eat some more…

Recipes where I have used MSG:
Spicy Soft Tofu
Stir Fried Yuba

According to this NYTimes article: "virtually all studies since then confirm that monosodium glutamate in normal concentrations has no effect on the overwhelming majority of people."

New York Times
Yes, MSG, the Secret Behind the Savor
Published: March 5, 2008
If you live in the United States and like spicy tuna rolls, Puerto Rican roast pork or Thai noodles, there is a good chance you are eating, and enjoying, MSG.

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