There is a myth that monosodium glutamate, or MSG, is unsafe or unhealthy. It is a simple amino acid, that’s all. And it’s safe.
chinese food syndrome
The old Skeptical Raptor is taking a bit of a break over the next few days to recharge his batteries for all of the pseudoscience that will be coming out in 2020. In lieu of new content, I will be republishing the top 10 most read articles on this blog during 2019. Here’s number 10 – the MSG myth.
Food additives are one of the most passionate issues amongst people who eat (which would be everyone). Aspartame. High fructose corn syrup. GMO‘s. Salt. Sugar. Trans fats. Polysorbate 80. But the MSG myth is one of the most pervasive in the food pseudoscience world (yes, I’m going to make that a thing).
Of course, these additives cause angst in people because of their scary chemical names. Or nonsense on the internet. Or random neurons firing.
Obviously, there is stuff, created by the beauty of natural sunlight and goddess blessed sweet waters from the Alps, that is better than these man-made evil chemicals. Well, no. Everything in nature is made up of “chemistry” – 25-hydroxyergocalciferol is a scary chemical name, right? Except it’s the metabolic product of the conversion of vitamin D in the human liver. It’s natural!
But let’s get back to MSG – how many times have you seen “No MSG” in a sign Chinese restaurant? Is it because China, who has been using MSG in their cuisine for centuries, has been conspiring against Americans since the first Chinese restaurant starting serving up kung pao chicken to unaware Americans?
It’s time to look at the MSG myth – is it real, or does it need a good debunking?
There are so many random claims from the anti-vaccine activists about evil chemicals in your child’s vaccines. Aluminum in vaccines is dangerous? No. Mercury in vaccines? No. Formaldehyde in vaccines is killing our kids? Nope. And of course, MSG in vaccines is causing something.
Of course, many of you have heard about MSG in our food. It’s up there on the evil food chemical list along with aspartame, high fructose corn syrup, GMO‘s, and whatever else is the food danger of the day. But MSG certainly has been on the top of the “avoid” list for decades.
I’ve been refuting nonsense about chemicals for at least 25 years on the internet (back before we had social media, yeah I’m an old dinosaur). From my perspective, I think that 50% of the issues with “chemicals” is their long complex names. And the other 50% is because of the appeal to nature logical fallacy, which is the argument that natural substances are somehow superior to “chemicals.”
Ironically, everything in nature is a chemical, and unless you think everything in the universe is designed for human health (ridiculous), a “natural” chemical is not even close to being superior to a “man-made” chemical.
But let’s get back to MSG – how many times have you seen “No MSG” in a sign Chinese restaurant? So if we don’t want to put MSG in our kung pao chicken, then why would we want MSG in vaccines?
What we’re going to show in this article is that MSG dangers are a myth. And the dangers of MSG in vaccines is a bigger myth.
In science, there is nothing more annoying than a pseudoscientific myth that is propagated to the point where everyone believes it’s a fact. For some odd reason, foods are the center of the pseudoscience universe. Eat organic. Avoid GMO (genetically modified) crops. High fructose corn syrup will kill you. Keep salt off of your food. Don’t eat this. Don’t eat that. Drink this. Don’t drink that. Yet, where is the science? Are organic foods really healthier for you? Will GMO foods harm you?
Of all the annoying myths, there’s one that is the most bothersome. MSG, or monosodium glutamate, gets the most exposure as an evil additive to foods. Yet, what is the evidence? Does it really do anything?Read More »MSG-fussing about nothing