Talk:Food additives and addiction

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Food for thought (pun intended): the FDA has rated MSG as GRAS (generally recognized as safe) and its "acceptable daily intake" is "not specified", which is about as good as it gets. The UN and WHO both place MSG alongside salt and wheat.

I'm a little suspect of that reference. It gets its information from a book, and the author of the book (who doesn't seem to have any notoriety; he doesn't even have the bio page of his own website finished yet) just read a bunch of studies that other people made, and decided that MSG causes autism. While I haven't read the book, I'm highly suspect that this random guy figured out something that scientists can't seem to figure out, and on top of it, that the FDA doesn't know it yet. There's also (according to Amazon) a chapter in his book about "the benefit of a natural zero calorie sweetener and a natural hormone proven to reduce breast and prostate cancer". I think I hear a duck. HelpJazz 20:55, 23 November 2008 (EST)

MSG is still addictive. Chinese restaurants have to say "No MSG" because people are afraid of consuming it.-Foxtrot 21:09, 23 November 2008 (EST)
Can you find a citation for that? The FDA doesn't seem to think so. And people being afraid to consume it doesn't mean anything. See ad populum. HelpJazz 21:21, 23 November 2008 (EST)
(ec)People being afraid of it is not indicative of being addictive. I think what you're talking about is "Chinese restaurant syndrome which is kind of an urban legend [1]. The restaurants say "No MSG" because people are afraid, yes, but that doesn't mean the people who are afraid are informed. Life's a little rough over here right now, so I'm not sure if that really makes much sense. I hope it helps, though. LiamG 21:26, 23 November 2008 (EST)
(edit conflict) I have added two quotes from doctors about MSG while you were writing this comment, I believe. Also, I think you are confused in your edit comment about "regulation and food scares". There is a big difference in liberals unduly calling for bans on trans fats and conservatives calling for regulation of poison and highly addictive drugs in food. Remember that the D in FDA is there for a reason: drugs. Not acceptable in food, in playgrounds or elsewhere. -Foxtrot 21:28, 23 November 2008 (EST)
(EC) The two quotes you mentioned don't say anything about MSG's supposed addictiveness. As for calling MSG a "drug"... I think you are playing a little fast and loose there with the definition. If you want to claim that the FDA can regulate MSG (and they can and do) it falls under the F: food. Drugs are those things that pharmaceutical companies make and they sell you to cure things. You are using scare tactics (let's face it, there is no mainstream science that says MSG is poison, and I haven't even seen *bad* proof that MSG is addictive) to regulate something. That's the same thing liberals do. Does it matter that you are regulating something "bad"? No... and that's the same argument that the liberals use, isn't it? So when I said that "regulation and food scares" are a tactic liberals use, and that you are using the same tactic, I was absolutely correct. HelpJazz 21:36, 23 November 2008 (EST)
Perhaps we should create an article on MSG to explain who finds it addictive and who doesn't and why it could be a bad thing if it is (remember caffeine is one of the most addictive substances there is but no one is crying for Starbucks to be regulated) --WillB 21:34, 23 November 2008 (EST)

HelpJazz, I have added quotes about MSG's addictiveness. I am not using scare tactics and I resent you calling me a liberal (the irony of whose mouth that's coming from). If MSG is so addictive and is behind the obesity epidemic which liberals are so keen to ignore in favor of "world poverty" (see: here), then scientists and the FDA have a moral responsibility to make Americans aware of its addictive power. Depending on how addictive it is, it may need regulation, like the removal of cocaine from Coca-Cola (or do you consider that a scare tactic too?). Again, I will stress that there is a BIG difference between any sort of regulation of addictive or toxic substances (such as cocaine, the toxic additives China has put in its products, etc) and the liberal desire to regulate unhealthy components of food (like trans fats, sugars, butter). If liberals had free reign we'd all be eating boiled hemp and washing it down with seaweed puree. -Foxtrot 22:05, 23 November 2008 (EST)

Thank you for adding quotes/cites. Now let's go through them:
  • this (which I found as well) does not say that MSG is addictive; it says that GBGA (which is created from, but not the same as MSG) "may be addictive". The quality of the source itself is rather suspect. It uses big words, but is a rather unprofessional design and doesn't cite any studies which show that MSG is addictive
  • This cite (which is redundant; it's just linked from the first cite) again doesn't say that MSG is addictive. In fact, the source doesn't mention MSG (nor addiction, for that matter), it mentions the essential role of glutamate in the body. So if glutamate can be gained from MSG (and without looking it up, I honestly don't know), then that citation says that MSG is essential for brain function.
  • This cite is from a user-generated site. In other words, anyone can write whatever they want. But let's assume, for sake of discussion, that the reference is realiable: it still doesn't say that MSG is addictive. It says that MSG makes you hungry by stimulating insulin production. Eating a bowl of sugar does the exact same thing. Should we add sugar to this page? The article tries to say that you crave chips because they have MSG, but clearly chips are craved for some other reason: potato chips don't contain MSG.
I'm sorry if you think I called you a liberal, but I didn't mean to. I said you were using liberal tactics, which I still think is true. (I'm not a liberal, as I've said numerous times, but now you know what it feels like, eh? I don't think you ever incorrectly call people liberals, but maybe you can tell your friends to be more careful.)
As to cocaine in Coke: as an economic conservative, I believe that the free market will remove harmful additives from food. In the case of Coke, the free market worked. The same is happening with the "evil" trans fats -- liberal NYC and Chicago banned trans fats, but most companies simply removed them from their products when they found out consumers didn't like them. We also already mentioned Chinese food: the free market worked again (and most of these people aren't even born Americans!) So are you as bad as the liberals who want to have us eat boiled hemp? No. Are you using bad science to advocate that the government force regulation onto the free market? Yes. I don't call this economic conservatism; if that's what you call it then we'll agree to disagree on that point. HelpJazz 23:30, 23 November 2008 (EST)
HelpJazz, that was a compelling argument, especially with regards to free market forces doing the job anyway. I would certainly agree that that has been the case with Chinese restaurants -- once enough people were aware that the Chinese use MSG liberally and that it was a bad substance, the Chinese restaurants had no economically sensible choice but to pull the ingredient and plaster NO MSG on their menus and doors. It just seemed from those sources I cited that MSG was present in numerous foods we weren't aware of -- from ramen noodles to potato chips, and under numerous pseudonyms, like hydrolized protein. But if, as you say, these cites are questionable, then I believe I have fallen victim to the liberal scare tactics. However, I thought it was a common truth that MSG was addictive. Maybe the liberals were just scaring the public by inflating the ubiquitous presence of MSG across food products? Do you know? -Foxtrot 01:22, 24 November 2008 (EST)
Wow, as I'm looking deeper and deeper into this issue, I'm finding very little concrete evidence characterizing the addictive nature of MSG and more and more liberals[1] who are using the hype around MSG and aspartane and everything else to blindly accuse Bush of collusion with the food industry. This is nonsense. I appear to have been very wrong about this issue. The article needs a MAJOR rewrite. Thanks, HelpJazz, for your dogged persistence on this topic :-) We wouldn't want CP to have the wrong stance! -Foxtrot 01:33, 24 November 2008 (EST)
I didn't mean to be harsh, but the public's fear of chemicals is a preeeeeeety big pet peeve of mine. You'know, having that chemical engineering degree and all :) (Coincidentally, food regulation is also a big interest of mine, so the two converged with an unhappy result in this article). All's well that ends well :) HelpJazz 02:01, 24 November 2008 (EST)
Yes, I was quite aware of your expertise in chemical engineering, so I was willing to listen to your reasoning. After all, I'm not like those liberals who are obstinate in the face of reason! -Foxtrot 02:05, 24 November 2008 (EST)