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I love dispelling myths…

Posted by Sandra on June 16, 2009

The Fried Food Myth

I remember watching this episode of Alton Brown on the Food Network and forgot about it – but recently I was frying up some ravioli and remembered it, so I thought I would find it out there in Internet-land and share it with my friends!

Fried food really does get a bad rap.  We may begin frying a few more things here, because frankly, you just can’t get the same taste and texture from a baked french fry… or fish stick… or mmm… I have a great Bloomin’ Onion recipe.

In case you missed it… in an entire two to three person portion of fish sticks and french fries – deep fried PROPERLY – only about 1.5 teaspoons of oil that got absorbed by the foods.  Mmm… I smell some homemade french fries in our future!


The MSG Myth

Even my own step father thinks he gets ill from MSG.  I still read today, on message boards and blogs, that people avoid it.  The Food Detectives did a show about this too – long after I already know there was no evidence of any harm from this monosodium glutamate.  One guy plus a headache in 1968 started this myth.  Ironically, the people that think they get headaches or nausea after eating foods with MSG don’t get the same effects from eating, say, a STEAK – which has it naturally.   MSG is nothing but an amino acid with a little sodium.  That’s it.  No secrets, no chemical creations, no big agenda to poison you, nothing.  And guess what?  It’s natural.

(Part 1):

(Part 2):

(I get a kick out of all the people that, upon believing they ate it, “felt the effects of” the MSG, even though they didn’t get any!)

I’ve always cooked with it – it really brings out the flavors of meats and other foods wonderfully.  You can pick up a shaker full at your local grocery store in the spice aisle – my cupboard would be empty without it.  And studies have CLEARLY SHOWN it does not cause headaches or other ill effects.  Period.  Isn’t that great news?

MSG Causes Headaches (aka Chinese Restaurant Syndrome): “Jeffery Steingarten, food editor of the Vogue in New York, debunked this myth pretty comprehensively. Given the widespread use of MSG in China, he asked why weren’t there a billion Chinese people with headaches? He then went around relentlessly researching the theory in his characteristically thorough way, and came to the conclusion that MSG, taken in normal quantities, was perfectly safe.” (I know many people who swear they get headaches after eating MSG, so I’m reluctant to accept this as an urban legend. But some quick research reveals that a controlled study at Harvard University also concluded that MSG in food doesn’t cause headaches.)

These are just two of the hundreds (maybe thousands!) of documents debunking MSG.  And I’ll bet, if you really think about it, WHY do you think MSG is bad?  Probably because someone told you it was.  You’ve never seen “proof”.  You’ve just “heard it was”. 

You must be aware that MSG, a compound of sodium and glutamic acid, an amino acid, is also found in many natural foods, including peas, tomatoes, mushrooms, and cheese. In fact, every time you eat a food containing protein you are certain to ingest glutamate, according to the Tufts University Diet & Nutritional Letter, Vol. 9, No. 12.

Now, I don’t want regaled with everyone’s personal stories of getting a headache after eating at Dim Yong Song’s restaurant.  You probably ate a spice or drank a cocktail… but really, if your mind is going to create a pain, there’s not much that anyone can do to dispel it.  Just don’t come to my house to eat dinner… I probably added MSG to the meal!

What you eat and what you feed your family is always a very personal choice.  Just like I don’t buy into the whole organic “hype” (the tomatos I buy at half the price, rinsed off in my sink, are just as good!), I also know some things get so exaggerated in the media and among internet chat rooms; so my family chooses to LIVE, enjoy good foods while still eating healthy, and have a great time doing it!

Ciao!  (and CHOW!)


2 Responses to “I love dispelling myths…”

  1. Christina said

    I especially loved the Good Eats bit. I don’t get to see that show often enough! I too will be doing some proper frying in my future 😀 Thanks!

  2. Holly said

    Mmm, now I want fish and chips! Thanks a lot. 🙂 A thought on MSG – it can give me a headache, just as I can get a headache from plain ole table salt. If I’m not properly hydrated, I always get a very intense headache after eating chips, ham, and other high-sodium foods. I say, fill up your glass and pass the MSG!

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