Author Topic: Question: If I stay away from Chinese Restaurants, then I can avoid MSG, right?  (Read 8475 times)

Offline Sassafras

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Monosodium Glutamate (MSG) is everywhere, not just in Chinese restaurants.  The old phrase "Chinese Restaurant Syndrome" is a misnomer, especially with all the chain restaurants using MSG or some other form of flavor enhancer.  These days "Fast and Easy" or "Good Food Made Fast" or "Home Style Cooking" or "Just Like Mom's/Grandma's Cooking" or some other homey, feel-good saying is another way of saying "We Use Flavor Enhancers".

A non-complete list of flavor enhancers:

Monosodium Glutamate (MSG)
Glutamate anything
Glutamic Acid
Hydrolyzed anything
Hydrolyzed Corn Gluten
Hydrolyzed Pea Protein
Plant Protein
Textured Protein
Autolyzed anything
Autolyzed Yeast Extract
Autolyzed Plant Protein
Yeast Extract
Yeast Nutrient
Caseinate anything
Calcium Caseinate
Sodium Caseinate
Aspartame (any artificial sugar)
Disodium Guanylate
Disodium Inosinate
Carrageenan (ingredient in Chocolate Milk)
Xanthum Gum (ingredient in Salad Dressings)
Maltodextrin (ingredient in Splenda)
Flavor(s) and Flavoring(s) anything
Malt Flavoring
Natural Flavor(s) & Flavoring(s) anything
beef, pork, chicken, etc
Bouillon and Broth anything
Barley Malt
Malt Extract
Soy Sauce Extract
Soy Protein Isolate
Ultra-pasteurized Soy Sauce
Whey Protein Concentrate
Soy Protein Concentrate
Pectin Soy Protein
Whey Protein Isolate
Whey Protein Protease
Protease Enzymes
Protein Fortified anything
Enzyme Modified anything
Enzymes anything
Fermented anything
Citric Acid
Seasoning(s) (the actual word)
Spice(s) (the actual word)

Basically, any ingredient which has hydrolyzed, autolyzed, protein (including protein concentrate), extract, or caseinate in the name should be avoid, along with Disodium Guanylate, Disodium Inosinate, Carrageenan, Xanthum Gum and fake sugars like Maltodextrin, Splenda, Aspartame, and more.   Citric Acid should be avoided too, especially if it is high on the list of ingredients.  If Citric Acid is toward the bottom, then it tends to be less harmful.

Incorporating this information into everyday life. 

If you are fixing food at home, it is much easier to check labels.  And believe me, you have to check labels.

If you are eating out, some restaurants will show you the ingredients label from a box or package, which is very helpful.  Even if this is the case, you might find out you're not able to have that item, then the questions and checking start all over again.  Have patience, be polite, and you and your waitress/waiter can get through the ordeal without problems.  They are there to serve you and make money (via tips).  Sometimes they don't know the answers to your questions.  Sometimes they jump to the wrong conclusion, like Gluten Allergy rather than Glutamate Allergy.  That's where talking to the manager is sometimes the best bet.  He/She should be very knowledgeable about what foods to avoid and how the cooks can prepare your food without using seasonings and on a clean grill or skillet.

I am getting a little bit more involved than what the question asked, so just to paraphrase, MSG is only one name of many of flavor enhancers.  And it is not just found in Eastern style cooking.  MSG and other flavor enhancers/excitotoxins can be found in ALL chain restaurants and even the family owner restaurant on the corner of your home town.

Keep up the good fight!!

It is not for him to pride himself who loveth his own country, but rather for him who loveth the whole world. The earth is but one country, and mankind its citizens. ~~Baha'u'llah

The chief idols in the desecrated temple of mankind are none other than the triple gods of Nationalism, Racialism and Communism, at whose altars governments and peoples, whether democratic or totalitarian, at peace or at war, of the East or of the West, Christian or Islamic, are, in various forms and in different degrees, now worshiping. ~~Shoghi Effendi, The Promised Day is Come