How MSG got a ‘bad rap.’ A tale told by the Glutes, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.


Ajinomoto began its challenge to MSG toxicity in 1968, following the revelation that MSG killed brain cells in laboratory animals.

Contrary to the myths circulated by the Glutes, the first hint that MSG might be toxic came from studies of the retina done by Lucas and Newhouse back in 1957. That was followed by a study titled “Brain lesions, obesity, and other disturbances in mice treated with monosodium glutamate” done by Olney and published in 1969 after having been shared with Ajinomoto in 1968.

The take-away from that research would have been that MSG causes brain damage and, possibly independently, also damages the retina.

Ajinomoto began its challenge to MSG toxicity in 1968 after learning of Olney’s work, by pretending to replicate Olney’s studies. They set up studies that couldn’t possibly demonstrate brain damage. Not by falsifying data, because that would have been deemed fraudulent. Instead, they rigged their studies by using methodology that would guarantee their results would come out as desired – techniques that would make it impossible to conclude “with certainty” that MSG caused brain damage.

As time went on and reports of reactions to MSG increased, Ajinomoto moved to human double-blind studies that were also rigged to guarantee that researchers could claim to find no evidence of MSG toxicity. In those studies, as many people would react to placebos as reacted to MSG because the placebos contained an excitotoxin (the aspartic acid in aspartame) that was so similar to the excitotoxic glutamic acid in MSG that it would cause the exact same reactions as would be caused by MSG.

When the Glutes talk about MSG getting a bad rap, they don’t talk about brain damage or retinal degeneration, both of which are caused by ingestion of MSG. They don’t mention MSG-induced obesity or infertility, also caused by MSG. And they’re not very specific about MSG-reactions like migraine headache either. Our research suggests that this “bad rap” they’re so fond of talking about is just another attempt to hide the truth about toxic MSG and clean up MSG’s bad name.

Out of curiosity we searched for examples of “bad raps” — statements made about MSG that industry claims are simply not true. But we couldn’t find any. We found only fallacious statements made by the Glutes about the safety of MSG.

Doesn’t look like MSG got a bad rap at all.

If you have questions or comments, we’d love to hear from you. If you have hints for others on how to avoid exposure to MfG, send them along, too, and we’ll put them up on Facebook. Or you can reach us at questionsaboutmsg@gmail.com and follow us on Twitter @truthlabeling.

References

  1. https://www.discussionist.com/10219099 (accessed 11/10/2019)
  2. https://fivethirtyeight.com/features/how-msg-got-a-bad-rap-flawed-science-and-xenophobia/ (accessed 1/0/2019)

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