Can all this heavenly goodness be bad for you? Say it ain't so!
To follow-up on yesterday’s post about how healthy/bad Chinese food is, I’d like to post about something else that I’m probably one of the last people in China to even hear about, namely the “Chinese Restaurant Syndrome.”
I first heard this some weeks ago, when a colleague of mine came back from the hospital where she had been “diagnosed” with it, after experiencing numbness/burning in her arm (that came and went and then once stayed with her for a whole day), numbness/burning around her mouth after eating at a restaurant, high blood pressure and dizziness. She decided to head to the hospital mainly for the blood pressure, and that’s where the doctor asked her if she ate a lot of restaurant food.
Apparently, the food syndrome is believed to be caused by MSG (monosodium glutamate) that is so often added to food over here for flavour. It has not, however, been proved to be the substance that causes the condition. It’s just a belief.
According to the doctor, it wasn’t mainly Chinese food that was to blame for her condition, but all food cooked in restaurant –western food too.
-Chefs from all kinds of cuisines use MSG for flavour in China, said the doctor.
My colleague was told to stay away from the restaurant food and to follow a LCHF (low carb, high fat) diet to get rid of her problem. I felt very hesitant when I heard this. Sure, cooking your own food to make sure no unwanted, artificial flavour is added sounds like common sense, but following a strict diet and cutting out all carbs? Naaaaah…not really my cup of tea. And I really wonder what the doctors think when they tell their patients stuff like this: if you cut carbs out of your diet it must be a lifetime thing if you want to keep your weight down. Don’t believe that you can suddenly start eating carbs again once you are down to your ideal weight: you’ll get a lot of stomach problems + you’ll gain back all that lost weight. But, apparently it’s easier nowadays to tell people to cut things out of their diets and get a “quick fix” rather than having them making big, lifestyle adjustments (I am very traditional and I believe a lot of problems can be, if not cured, than at least helped with exercise –it does not have to be running or weight lifting, it can be pilates or yoga –something that is soothing, calming and relaxing for people with high blood pressure).
Anyway, what is your opinion of MSG and the Chinese Restaurant Syndrome? I have never experienced any problems myself. This colleague of mine is the first one I’ve heard of to be diagnosed with it.