Instigator / Pro
6
1266
rating
119
debates
15.97%
won
Topic

Is MSG a problem?

Status
Finished

All stages have been completed. The voting points distribution and the result are presented below.

Arguments points
0
21
Sources points
2
14
Spelling and grammar points
4
7
Conduct points
0
7

With 7 votes and 43 points ahead, the winner is ...

David
Parameters
More details
Publication date
Last update date
Category
Health
Time for argument
One day
Voting system
Open voting
Voting period
One week
Point system
Four points
Rating mode
Rated
Characters per argument
30,000
Contender / Con
49
1503
rating
78
debates
48.08%
won
Description
~ 0 / 5,000

No information

Round 1
Pro
My reading of the literature is that MSG appears to be bad for one's health. Glutamate acts as a neurotransmitter (Source 1) and generally isn't part of our diet in the free form such as that found in MSG. As one would expect from ingesting neurotransmitters in free form, there appear to be negative effects. For example, in studies of mice, it appears to cause neuronal damage and have a negative effect on memory (Source 2,3,4). There also appear to be negative effects on the male reproductive systems of mice (Source 5), body weights (obesity) and thyroid function (Source 6) and oxidative damage to internal organs (Source 7).Now, it is important to note that these effects won't necessarily be the same for humans, however animal testing is used to give us a rough idea of how a given substance or stimulus will affect humans. Also human neurons are chemically no different than those of most other animals. Another issue to note is that all human research that I can find concerns MSG as a cause of headaches and "CRS": Chinese restaurant syndrome (and appears to, for the most part, reject this causation). Whether MSG causes headaches and "CRS" is completely aside from any of the effects suggested by the rodent literature.Sources:(1) http://jn.nutrition.org/content/130/4/1007.full.pdf(2) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10802387(3) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8085168(4) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29097195(5) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28962317(6) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26884820(7) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16758767
Con
Thank you pro!

Since pro did not provide a definition for the word "problem." Based on my understanding of the resolution, it is my burden to show that MSG is generally safe for the general population.

That said, no one food or substance can provide all the necessary ingredients. 

What is MSG 

"Monosodium glutamate (MSG) is a flavor enhancer commonly added to Chinese food, canned vegetables, soups and processed meats. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has classified MSG as a food ingredient that's "generally recognized as safe," but its use remains controversial. For this reason, when MSG is added to food, the FDA requires that it be listed on the label.

...[R]esearchers have found no definitive evidence of a link between MSG and these symptoms. Researchers acknowledge, though, that a small percentage of people may have short-term reactions to MSG. Symptoms are usually mild and don't require treatment. The only way to prevent a reaction is to avoid foods containing MSG. "


It should be pointed out that all foods will have some people who are allergic to that food. Prime example being gluten. While no evidence suggests that gluten is a problem or inherently dangerous, some people need to avoid it. 

What dose the evidence say?

The FDA writes;

"FDA considers the addition of MSG to foods to be “generally recognized as safe” (GRAS). Although many people identify themselves as sensitive to MSG, in studies with such individuals given MSG or a placebo, scientists have not been able to consistently trigger reactions.

Over the years, FDA has received reports of symptoms such as headache and nausea after eating foods containing MSG. However, we were never able to confirm that the MSG caused the reported effects.

These adverse event reports helped trigger FDA to ask the independent scientific group Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology (FASEB) to examine the safety of MSG in the 1990s. FASEB’s report concluded that MSG is safe. The FASEB report identified some short-term, transient, and generally mild symptoms, such as headache, numbness, flushing, tingling, palpitations, and drowsiness that may occur in some sensitive individuals who consume 3 grams or more of MSG without food. However, a typical serving of a food with added MSG contains less than 0.5 grams of MSG. Consuming more than 3 grams of MSG without food at one time is unlikely."


Conclusion

MSG is generally safe and is not a problem. Although there are people who should avoid it, that doesn't mean MSG is a problem. Gluten, nuts, milk, eggs, soy, and shellfish are safe to eat, but are common allergens and should be avoided by certain people. 

The resolution is negated. 

Onto pro's case....

It's kinda hard for me to understand exactly what pro is arguing here. 

"My reading of the literature is that MSG appears to be bad for one's health. Glutamate acts as a neurotransmitter (Source 1) and generally isn't part of our diet in the free form such as that found in MSG."

This is straight up false. Glutamate is an acid that is naturally present in foods and bodies (source: see the fda link provided above). Furthermore, glutamate is found naturally in other foods as well. For example, cow's milk, human mother's milk, corn, potatoes, broccoli, chicken, and beef all naturally contain a significant portion of glutamate. 


"As one would expect from ingesting neurotransmitters in free form, there appear to be negative effects. For example, in studies of mice, it appears to cause neuronal damage and have a negative effect on memory (Source 2,3,4). There also appear to be negative effects on the male reproductive systems of mice (Source 5), body weights (obesity) and thyroid function (Source 6) and oxidative damage to internal organs (Source 7)."

Except no one ingests neurotransmitters in free form. It's a strawman to connect free form of a neurotransmitter to MSG. 

"Another issue to note is that all human research that I can find concerns MSG as a cause of headaches and "CRS": Chinese restaurant syndrome (and appears to, for the most part, reject this causation). Whether MSG causes headaches and "CRS" is completely aside from any of the effects suggested by the rodent literature." 

I found several studies that would disagree

"[C]ausal relationship between MSG and headache has not been proven. In addition, statistically significant differences in the incidence of headache were not observed when MSG was administered with food, except in one case of the female group where the blind integrity was questionable. It would seem premature to conclude that the MSG present in food causes headache."

"Despite a widespread belief that MSG can elicit a headache, among other symptoms, there are no consistent clinical data to support this claim. Findings from the literature indicate that there is no consistent evidence to suggest that individuals may be uniquely sensitive to MSG. Nurse practitioners should therefore concentrate their efforts on advising patients of the nutritional pitfalls of some Chinese restaurant meals and to seek more consistently documented etiologies for symptoms such as headache, xerostomia, or flushing."


I rest my case. Vote con! 

Round 2
Pro
1) The FDA is not a trustworthy source of information, they often base their decisions on faulty research which is funded by the very entities attempting to get their filth on the market. They are willing to take bribes and twist science to fit their financial incentives.

2) MSG is not safe for most people just because only some have a noticable reaction due to sensitivity. By the very nature of what it is, it should be obvious that it is harmful in the same way that processed sugar is harmful. Also, both sugar and MSG are addictive, so once again it's widespread use is thanks to the corruption inherent in capitalism. 
http://naturalsociety.com/the-real-reason-to-avoid-msg-industry-secret-ingredient-for-food-addiction/

3) You are a Janus-faced wanker appealing to authority with flawed government and corporate funded research which is deliberately designed to make products which are toxic and addictive appear safe so that capitalists can continue to make money with no concern for human health. The FDA and the US government take bribes constantly because the US government is just as much a corporation as it is a political institution.

Con
1) My opponent begins to attack my source as unreliable, which is ironic as his source is a forum post from a site dedicated to magic mushrooms. Quite ironic. He provided absolutely no examples of the FDA being corrupt or taking bribes. Pro needs to provide examples and evidence within the debate for his argument to stand. Don't let a link argue your case for you.

2) His source provides absolutely no evidence for that assertion. There are no links to research papers regarding his "GARD" diet. While too much sugar is certainly bad for you, sugar is important in our diet. Sugar is naturally present in foods like fruit. 

3) Nothing but attacks without any evidence. "You are a Janus-faced wanker appealing to authority..." Pretty awful conduct if you ask me.

Furthermore, pro drops every single case regarding my rebuttals.

I strongly urge a con vote. Thank you and good night.