Archives for: February 2005, 02
I have been following a thread on the Forum about MSG. I started to post several times, but decided to blog about the subject instead. I have 12 years of experience with MSG. There was some useful information on the website, that started the thread. However some of the information on that site is out of date and some is unnecessarily alarmist.
When my son was in second grade he began to have severe headaches followed by vomiting. This was really scary. I couldn't help but think of things like brain tumors. But in between these episodes he was so healthy and normal. At first I treated it as a virus, but he never ran fever. After he vomited he would take a nap and wake up hungry and ready to play. I began to be more observant trying to see what might trigger the episodes. Most of them came on Sunday afternoons.
One Sunday night he was supposed to receive an award at church, but he was so violently ill that afternoon that he could not go. The next day I took him to the doctor. When the doctor heard that we had eaten Chinese food for lunch on Sunday, he said, "Go home and check the food in your house for MSG. I think that may be the problem."
That was the first I had heard of MSG, but I immediately began researching. This was in 1992 and we didn't have Internet. I spent a lot of time looking through magazine articles and books. I often read statements like the ones on the before mentioned web site that said food companies were hiding MSG in food and intentionally mislabeling products to sneak it in. This made me really angry, so I wrote an forceful letter saying that my son had a serious reaction to MSG and that if they could not give me a straight answer to whether MSG was in their food, I would immediately cease to be a customer. I sent copies of that letter to every restaurant we frequented and the company behind every packaged food that I bought.
With one exception I found the food companies to be extremely helpful. Naturally companies that used MSG defended it, but I found no deliberate deception. Many companies were very accommodating to people with food sensitivities. Some sent brochures showing which products contained MSG and other food additives. Some sent detailed lists of the contents of their spice and natural flavoring ingredients. Butterball would not divulge their ingredients, and I stopped buying their products. This was 12 years ago, hopefully they have changed their policy since then, but they lost me as a customer.
This blog is long enough. Tomorrow I'll share what I have learned about MSG in restaurants and watching labels for artificial ingredients that contain MSG as a byproduct.
If you are eating simple beneficial food prepared at home you don't have to worry about MSG. Just another advantage to following the BTD.