2

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Have you become sensitive to MSG since going paleo?

Answered on September 12, 2014
Created June 20, 2011 at 10:53 PM

I'm sure MSG was something I regularly consumed on previous SAD diet without noticeable effects. A couple months ago (after being paleo for 8 weeks) i went to a chinese buffet and had some shrimp and sauce - after we left I had mild symptoms - felt like my heart was racing and my chest was tight. Came home and did some research and found that it was probably MSG sensitivity.

Fast forward today when I was desperate for something to eat and found some salmon burgers (with salsa, sour cream and 2 squares of Lindt 85%) that I had purchased at Sam's when we first started paleo because they were "healthy" - about hour after eating I'm sitting on couch and talking on phone and the room starts spinning and I'm having trouble talking - silly me thinking it's my imagination, just need to get some fresh air - i go out to the store and end up pulling off the road because I feel like I'm driving drunk. Nauseous,..spinning, heart feels like its racing, hard to breath,...end up having to go home a sleep it off. It was bad, real bad,..I don't want to ever feel like that again. A really bad strange drunk.

Get around to reading box and find autolyzed yeast extract as an ingredient - searching around seems to link it with MSG.

Have you become extra sensitive to MSG since going Paleo?

669790861549f3c6d54d88a65296ed19

(452)

on September 01, 2011
at 12:22 PM

Yes,definitely....Insomnia bc of a racing heartbeat

199e1758b73a72416fba6c10a55f93f3

(203)

on September 01, 2011
at 09:39 AM

It's a salt, correct. My bad. The connection between MSG and ill health effects is not "controversial" at all, it simply doesn't (seem to) exist. Check the literature (start at Wikipedia, for example). Like you, I get funny symptoms when eating MSG-rich Chinese takeaway (you can tell it's in there when they use too much - it tastes foul), but I don't get them when eating parmezan cheese (those crystal thingies in parmezan are pure MSG) so I figure it's probably something else in the takeaway that's causing the symptoms. Like salt, sugar, nasty veggie oil or whatever.

9a5e2da94ad63ea3186dfa494e16a8d1

(15833)

on September 01, 2011
at 08:05 AM

Glutamate and MSG are not the same thing. MSG is a salt. Glutamate is a neurotransmitter and is essential in small quantities and toxic in large quantities. The MSG lobbying groups call any connection between MSG and ill health effects "controversial" but I think the connection is plainly obvious. Maybe not for everyone, but for some. I know after one bite if I have eaten something with MSG and if I have too much of it I get dry mouth, a blood sugar roller coaster, headaches snd poor digestion.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on July 06, 2011
at 12:38 AM

Yes, and there are other herbs that they use in Chinese cooking that can cause problems for some people. In addition to that, I am sorry to say that the sanitary conditions in a lot of Chinese restaurants are abysmal. DO NOT EAT AT A CHINESE BUFFET, because they will keep the food past rotting point. Very often they use the cheapest oil OVER AND OVER AGAIN.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on July 06, 2011
at 12:37 AM

Yes, and there are other herbs that they use in Chinese cooking that can cause problems for some people. In addition to that, I am sorry to say that the sanitary conditions in a lot of Chinese restaurants is abysmal. DO NOT EAT AT A CHINESE BUFFET, because they will keep the food past rotting point. Very often they use the cheapest oil OVER AND OVER AGAIN.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on July 06, 2011
at 12:33 AM

If you look at Vegans or other dieters, they will make similar complaints about a different set of foods.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on July 06, 2011
at 12:32 AM

That's an interesting thought. I also wonder if it might not be psychological. Think somebody who fears being alone in a house. Every little noise becomes a potential burglar. Maybe Paleos expect to have adverse reactions at restaurants.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on July 06, 2011
at 12:29 AM

Even if they don't add MSG, they use a lot of packaged foods that contain it.

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10 Answers

2
696079a860ef54810406ae25e4650863

on June 21, 2011
at 12:32 AM

Yep- msg causes me to slur my words and have most of the symptoms of being drunk without the fun.

Interesting short article here: http://www.truthinlabeling.org/I.AreYouSensitive.html

I haven't had a chance to follow this up thoroughly and read through the pubmed articles on this, but if you're interested here's the link to one of the google scholar search terms that looked most promising.

1
06325b762f78a2b8aaa977161cca4a1f

(539)

on September 01, 2011
at 05:21 AM

Oh man- I am feeling massively sick due to the consumption of terra chips. I thought they were a safe food but hadnt had them in a while because I was trying to avoid foods that came out of a bag. I am now having horrific reflux, bad brain fog and a headache. I was confused so I double checked the ingredients and sure enough: autolyzed yeast extract. GREAT.

Also, I know its not the seed oils because Ive had them sporadically since going lacto-paleo and have had no immediate problems like I had with this.

1
13c5a9f1678d75b93f269cdcf69f14d5

(2339)

on June 22, 2011
at 12:17 AM

several of these comments reference foods with MSG but also with soy sauce (with wheat)

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on July 06, 2011
at 12:38 AM

Yes, and there are other herbs that they use in Chinese cooking that can cause problems for some people. In addition to that, I am sorry to say that the sanitary conditions in a lot of Chinese restaurants are abysmal. DO NOT EAT AT A CHINESE BUFFET, because they will keep the food past rotting point. Very often they use the cheapest oil OVER AND OVER AGAIN.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on July 06, 2011
at 12:37 AM

Yes, and there are other herbs that they use in Chinese cooking that can cause problems for some people. In addition to that, I am sorry to say that the sanitary conditions in a lot of Chinese restaurants is abysmal. DO NOT EAT AT A CHINESE BUFFET, because they will keep the food past rotting point. Very often they use the cheapest oil OVER AND OVER AGAIN.

1
9a5e2da94ad63ea3186dfa494e16a8d1

on June 21, 2011
at 01:07 AM

I had chinese food recently and specifically asked for no MSG, but I suspect that they had some kind of food starch in there. The beef had a silky smooth sauce that was only possible with a thickener.

I went on the energy rollercoaster and had mild flu symptoms for 2 days. Not sure if it was MSG, but something like it. I used to have food from this same place all the time without these effects.

I've also become very sensitive to wheat and sugar after not having it for 2 months.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on July 06, 2011
at 12:29 AM

Even if they don't add MSG, they use a lot of packaged foods that contain it.

1
4a585ea8059f71614597a56805cc60c7

(390)

on June 21, 2011
at 12:09 AM

I had horrible insomnia and restless legs after eating Chinese and being paleo for several months. Self punishing crime, never did it again!

1
Fcb6545ea5f3057c80bfd345991fe85f

on June 21, 2011
at 12:04 AM

Yes. I went to dim sum and was wiped out for two days afterwards.

1
1fc9c11cf23b2f62ac78979de933ad83

(2435)

on June 20, 2011
at 11:42 PM

When I had a bad weekend I ate a bunch of cup of soups (4 or so?) and I felt kinda crappy, but my baby who I breastfeed and is normally happy-go-lucky was cranky and spitting up a lot for a few days.

0
199e1758b73a72416fba6c10a55f93f3

(203)

on September 01, 2011
at 06:13 AM

You guys do know MSG is simply glutamate, right? Which is a compound naturally occuring in all meat (and tomatoes and cheese too) that is apparently so important to our survival we have special receptors on our tongue to detect it?

I'm sure Chinese take away or terra chips or what have you can cause all sorts of symptoms, but they're due to some of the other processed junk that's in there. Glutamate is perfectly fine, paleo or otherwise.

9a5e2da94ad63ea3186dfa494e16a8d1

(15833)

on September 01, 2011
at 08:05 AM

Glutamate and MSG are not the same thing. MSG is a salt. Glutamate is a neurotransmitter and is essential in small quantities and toxic in large quantities. The MSG lobbying groups call any connection between MSG and ill health effects "controversial" but I think the connection is plainly obvious. Maybe not for everyone, but for some. I know after one bite if I have eaten something with MSG and if I have too much of it I get dry mouth, a blood sugar roller coaster, headaches snd poor digestion.

199e1758b73a72416fba6c10a55f93f3

(203)

on September 01, 2011
at 09:39 AM

It's a salt, correct. My bad. The connection between MSG and ill health effects is not "controversial" at all, it simply doesn't (seem to) exist. Check the literature (start at Wikipedia, for example). Like you, I get funny symptoms when eating MSG-rich Chinese takeaway (you can tell it's in there when they use too much - it tastes foul), but I don't get them when eating parmezan cheese (those crystal thingies in parmezan are pure MSG) so I figure it's probably something else in the takeaway that's causing the symptoms. Like salt, sugar, nasty veggie oil or whatever.

0
32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41757)

on June 21, 2011
at 11:46 AM

Interesting. The first time I was probing paleo diets I noticed people would complain of sensitivities out of nowhere. I used that as an excuse to not eat paleo, as it seemed eating paleo would make you increasingly insensitive to certain things (grains, dairy, MSG, artificial sweeteners, etc). And the more anecdotal evidence I see, the more I suspect it's likely the paleo diet itself that's causing or aggravating sensitivities.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on July 06, 2011
at 12:32 AM

That's an interesting thought. I also wonder if it might not be psychological. Think somebody who fears being alone in a house. Every little noise becomes a potential burglar. Maybe Paleos expect to have adverse reactions at restaurants.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on July 06, 2011
at 12:33 AM

If you look at Vegans or other dieters, they will make similar complaints about a different set of foods.

0
A0cc1bfd57d2a52a7468f8a06e930bbc

on June 20, 2011
at 11:36 PM

I've had the same reaction. Like you I didn't notice it until after I changed my diet. If anyone finds out more about it please share it with all.

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