MSG is NOT your friend

Once again it’s been a while since my last post. Please forgive me. We close on our first house in less than 2 weeks so things are a bit crazy right now. But it’s a good kind of crazy. 🙂

We’ve been doing pretty well eating at home most every day and very rarely eating out. We have enjoyed trying new recipes and spending the money we would have spent eating out on better quality food. 🙂 However, the other day we were heading to see some fireworks and it was pretty late at night and we hadn’t had dinner yet. So we pulled into the Chick-fil-A drive thru. We sat at the menu board and I could barely look at the pictures without feeling sick. I used to LOVE CFA. We ate there a good bit. But a few months ago I researched what is in their food and I haven’t had it since. I almost ordered the grilled nuggets for the kids (because grilled is always better than fried) but I just couldn’t do it knowing that they contain something awful called MSG. We finally all ordered a fruit cup and that was it. The fruit is not organic but at least it’s a better option than MSG. So what is MSG and why has it ruined all my old favorite fast food items like Jack in the Box’s tacos, Wendy’s chili, and CFA chicken sandwiches?

Monosodium Glutamate (MSG) is a flavor enhancer that comes from fermented sugar beets (which means it’s also a GMO since sugar beets are GMOs) and is found in so many things (salad dressing, ranch packets, Campbell’s Soup and Gravies, Doritos, etc.). According to Wikipedia, MSG “is the sodium salt of glutamic acid, one of the most abundant naturally occurring non-essential amino acids.” The FDA “generally regards it as safe” but is it? MSG is an excitotoxin that can excite brain cells to death (I won’t even try to explain it. Click the link if you want to know how it works). So why do companies use it? According to “Because MSG is so cheap, the food industry can use much lower quality foods and simply add MSG as a flavor enhancer.” Unfortunately there are no regulations are on how much MSG is allowed in food.

Many people are sensitive or allergic to MSG or have something called MSG symptom complex. Accroding to the Mayo Clinic it can cause all sorts of problems like migraines, headaches, chest pain, nausea, and weakness. MSG can also potentially trigger or worsen learning disabilities, Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, Lou Gehrig’s disease and more.

So how can we avoid MSG? Well, first of all we can buy real whole foods that don’t have labels. 🙂 But we all know most of us can’t do that 100% of the time (especially if you have kids). So it should be easy, right? Just look for natural foods at health food stores, right? Wrong. MSG has so many hidden names it’s nearly impossible to memorize them all (yes, I have tried). The government requires companies to list MSG if it’s used in a product and many “health food” companies know that consumers won’t buy their products if they see MSG on the label. So you know what they do? They find another ingredient to hide it in so they don’t have to list it. They mostly hide it in something you’ll see labeled as “yeast extract.” Go ahead. Check your labels. Even the things from Trader Joe’s. It’s in Goldfish, crackers, Organic chicken broth, Annie’s Cheddar Snack Mix, etc. etc.

Autolyzed Yeast Extract (aka MSG) in Trader Joe's Organic Low Sodium Chicken Broth

Autolyzed Yeast Extract (aka MSG) in Trader Joe’s Organic Low Sodium Chicken Broth

MSG is hard to avoid because it has so many code names (Here is a link to a few.). The biggest ones I try my best to avoid are:

• Glutamic Acid
• Glutamate
• Monosodium glutamate
• Monopotassium glutamate
• Calcium glutamate
• Monoammonium glutamate
• Magnesium glutamate
• Natrium glutamate
• Yeast extract
• Anything “Hydrolyzed”
• Any “hydrolyzed protein”
• Calcium caseinate
• Sodium caseinate
• Yeast food
• Yeast nutrient
• Autolyzed yeast
• Gelatain
• Texured protein
• Soy protein
• Soy protein concentrate
• Soy protein isolate
• Whey protein
• Whey protein concentrate
• Whey protein isolate
• Anything “…protein” such as corn protein or tomato protein

(that list is taken from this article)

Yeast Extract in Annie's Organic Cheddar Snack Mix

Yeast Extract in Annie’s Organic Cheddar Snack Mix

If that’s too much to remember start with avoiding yeast extract, anything with the word hydrolyzed (like hydrolyzed pea protein) and anything with the word autolyzed (like autolyzed yeast extract). According to, “Current FDA regulations also allow certain MSG-containing ingredients to be included under the label descriptors “flavor(s)”, “flavoring(s)”, “natural flavor(s)”, and “natural flavoring(s)” without disclosure of the processed free glutamic acid (MSG) in them, or even mention of the ingredients’ names.” This is one reason I avoid purchasing items with these words on the labels. (I dare you to go to the store and find me 5 things without “natural flavors” on the label.) Here is another list of some of the code names of MSG. Just remember that even organic food can contain these ingredients. Just keep reading your labels and buying label-less food. 🙂

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8 Responses to MSG is NOT your friend

  1. Pingback: TOXIC MSG |

  2. Pingback: MSG is a toxic waste product in the body. Heed carefully Dr. Blaylocks warning. | The Web Sweep Eclectic Colletion

  3. Nathalia says:

    I ate a sanwich at one of my favorite Fast Foods and was very tastey! When I returned home, I had a migraine and didn’t have any thing to stop it. I was prescribed a drug that was called butabital/ASA/Caff/Codeine!! The Aspitin made stomach paim, the Caffeine made me nervous and the Codeine made ringing in my ears! It took most the night to quiet down the migraine and I now had the other problemsoo because I treated myself. to a Fast Burger which left me the worst headache one can get.

    • erindallison says:

      I’m so sorry to hear you were sick. I’ve had migraines before and they are awful.

    • Nathalia says:

      I encounter this with Soups and other bought products. Why can’t they do like they do Salt? Put a shaker full of enhansers/MSG on all tables that who wants ican shke all they want. They give us hand fulls of Salt/pepper packets, why not ask if a customer wants MSG or the Enhancer of the ones used in their business? I worked in a place which buckets full to fool the public. In the long run, it works on the Blood.

  4. erindallison says:

    I believe it’s because the flavor enhancers trick your brain and help people to become addicted. It makes you want more. So it’s all about money. Nothing about health. 😦

  5. Pingback: Aldi for Organics?! | knowwhatUReating

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