March 24th, 2005

satyr, drool you bastards, bosom

They call MSG "gourmet powder" in China

I learned some faaaascinating things about MSG today:

30% of all Americans claim to be allergic to MSG.

In studies, 1% of the general population has genuine, MSG-triggered symptoms.

In that 1%, introducing more Vitamin B9 into their diets eliminated all sensitivity to MSG.

And in case you're thinking, "Studies can be manipulated!", I'll say, I agree. However, the placebo response is even easier to manipulate. People who claim MSG sensitivity react only to Chinese food, never to miso soup (which is flavored with konbu, the original source of MSG); soy sauce; shiitake mushrooms; sundried tomatoes; tomato sauce; ketchup; any fish sauce, including Worcestershire; anything containing autolyzed yeast or hydrolyzed vegetable or plant protein, which are all "polite" (and legal) names for MSG; and an impressive list of processed American foods.

The fellow who wrote the article I read also pointed out that in studies, MSG sensitivity symptoms were induced in that 1% by drinking a liquid solution containing phenomenal amounts of MSG on an empty stomach. What do you do when you go out to have a big Chinese meal? You wait until you're hungry, then you start the meal with a big bowl of salty, MSG-laden wonton soup. Instant study!

Too cool. I love it when medical mysteries come together.