Ok so I had never even heard of MSG and its 'dangers' until I started to read about Japanese and Oriental cooking. I have never experienced 'Chinese restaurant syndrome' nor have I met anyone who has. So I was very surprised to learn about it. Then once I had discovered its apparent dangers, I watch something on the good old BBC that seemed to suggest the opposite. The show was E-Numbers: An Edible Adventure and it was the first or second episode. If you can watch iPlayer, do so as it is awesome. If not I am sure someone has youtubed it already. Anyway basically one part of the show covered MSG. They asked chefs to discuss it but only one would Jun Tanaka (who I love!) Now he says he uses it in his cooking and says it adds something that he can't put his finger on but knows if it is missing kind of thing. There was also a sciency bit, which is what got me thinking, where they explained how MSG is absorbed in the body. Simply, the MSG seperates almost immediately when digested and the sodium part os absorbed like normal, the same as salt, and the glutamate is left the thing that causes all the problems apparently. Well glutamate is found in loads of foods like broccoli carrots chicken etc etc etc and the MSG glutamate is absorbed in the same way as in the other 'natural' stuff. What did they do, grab a bunch of people and make them eat 2 different cuisines. One group ate Chinese food with no MSG but had loads of ingredients that contained glutamate naturally. And the other ate Italian and again, had foods that contained glutamate naturally. 7 (or 8 can't remember) out of the 10 said they had symptoms associated with eating MSG. The conclusion, it was the glutamate not the MSG compound. I may not have explained it completely well, but I hope you get the idea. If not try and watch the show it was very good! So I'm wondering if this whole MSG thing was just over hyped?
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