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In Bad Taste: The MSG Symptom Complex Paperback – February 1, 1999

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Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

Second only to salt and pepper in popularity, MSG (monosodium glutamate) is a chemical used to hide unpleasant or stale tastes. It causes toxic, not allergenic, reaction in all people, adversely affecting the digestive, circulatory, and central nervous systems. This book covers the chemical's history, the medical symptoms of toxicity, dangers in its use (it is frequently present in restaurant and prepared grocery foods), strategies shoppers can use to avoid it, a restaurant guide that lists specific menu items from fast food chains, and recipes that avoid MSG. This controversial treatment is highly recommended. Karen Hays Jackson, Susanna Wesley Sch., Tallahassee, Fla.
Copyright 1988 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


"Anyone who suffers migraines, depression or any other conditions possibly triggered by the virtually ubiquitous flavor-enhancer might benefit from this eye-opening book." -- Los Angeles Times Book Review


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 200 pages
  • Publisher: Health Press (NM) (February 1, 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0929173309
  • ISBN-13: 978-0929173306
  • Product Dimensions: 8.9 x 6 x 0.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,430,244 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

78 of 84 people found the following review helpful By Midwest Book Review on May 8, 2000
Format: Paperback
George Schwartz, M.D. wrote the first edition of In Bad Taste more than ten years ago. Since then "the use of MSG and MSG-containing substances has more than doubled." While some people can use MSG with no adverse effects, many others have severe reactions to it, some of them life-threatening.
Kombu, a seaweed, was first used in Japan as a flavor enhancer. A Japanese doctor isolated the main ingredient--MSG, or monosodium glutamate--and started what has become a million-dollar industry. "MSG is used in processed food, in fast-foods and in Chinese food." It's also found in nearly all canned and frozen foods. It's the "most widely used flavor enhancer in the world."
MSG has been linked to asthma, headaches, and heart irregularities. "Behavioral and physical problems of children, such as incontinence and seizures, as well as attention deficit disorder (ADD), have been diagnosed and successfully treated as MSG disorders."
Those wishing to eliminate MSG from their diets are faced with an almost impossible task. Food preparers are often unaware that they're even using MSG. Labels can be misleading. A label that says "No MSG added" doesn't mean that the food is free of MSG, it simply means that the manufacturer didn't put in additional MSG. MSG goes under many aliases, one of the most common being "hydrolyzed vegetable protein," an additive used to increase the protein content of a wide variety of foods.
Manufacturers also hide MSG as part of "natural flavorings," because it is a natural product. As Dr. Schwartz points out, arsenic is also a natural product--being natural is not the same as being harmless.
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51 of 55 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on January 23, 2002
Format: Paperback
For years, my husband suffered from anxiety attacks that hit without warning and were quite debilitating. He sought drug therapy, but as time passed, the attacks became more frequent and severe until one day he went into Bells palsy and anaphylactic shock and found himself in the emergency room surrounded by physicians with no answers.
When he received the older version of this book in 1990, it was a revelation. My husband had been becoming increasingly sensitive to MSG while at the same time unknowingly adding it to his diet. In clear, easy-to read language, the book helped identify sources of MSG. It became clear that it was in virtually everything he was consuming--from breakfast cereals to canned tuna to Coca Cola. We altered his diet drastically, choosing mostly unprocessed whole foods, and the results were incredible. His personality changed as he was no longer on edge. His concentration and memory improved dramatically. He no longer needed drug therapy, and stopped doubting himself as an anxiety-prone person. As an added bonus, he lost weight, increased muscle mass and became generally healthier.
As his allergy continued to be quite severe, we turned to the book frequently to avoid more ER visits, and have been largely successful for the past twelve years. It is hard to imagine how life would have been had we not had this book at our disposal. My husband would have continued to suffer his 'mysterious ailment' until, quite possibly, it took his life.
I cannot recommend this book heartily enough. It should be *required* reading for anyone who even suspects they have "Chinese restaurant syndrome" and recommended reading for just about everyone else. It is incredible that such a small book can make such a big difference.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Steve Burns TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on April 6, 2008
Format: Paperback
After reading this book I have become VERY careful about not consuming any foods or drinks that contain MSG. This book shows how the food enhancing additive MSG (Monosodium Glutamate)can cause migraines, depression, asthma, epilepsy, heart irregularities, rage reactions, and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and other health problems. The book explains how these foods contain Glutamate and that this amino acid can be used by the neurons in the brain to transmit signals to each other. If we increase these in our blood stream to a large enough amount they will cross the blood brain barrier in most people and burn out neurons. Long term over dose can lead to burning out sections of the brain that can cause seizures and alzheimers.It is an easy to read book that explains the foods MSG is found in and the dangers very simply. For a more advanced understanding read "Excitotoxins:The taste that kills" by Dr. Blaylock. This book however will give you all the information you need to make your diet safer.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Golden on January 18, 2008
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is such an important and easy to read book about the dangers of certain food additives that the FDA allows into food without a consumer notice or warning. The long term coverup the FDA has been involved in to favor the giant food manufacturers over vulnerable consumers children, the elderly, etc. is staggering and well detailed. And these additives are in so many prepared foods we wouldn't think to question. Dr. Schwartz's seminal book, in this case the revised edition, needs to be reprinted ASAP!

The rise in ADD, Migraines, Seizures, Neurolinguistic processing issues, Autism, Parkinson's, Alzheimers, Breast Cancer, and ALS is linked to food additives that break down into free amino acids that can pass through the blood brain barrier and in some instances promote neuron death. See also Dr. Russel Blaylock's book Excitotoxins: The Taste That Kills, with a forward by Dr. Schwartz. Both of these physicians are of the highest caliber and their works, precise and beyond important.
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