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MSG by any other name? NYT article,

Posted by kindlizard at 03/05/2008

That article really hit a nerve with me.

The hydrolized soy protein and autolyzed yeast are MSG; both are in products sold in health food stores.

Personally, I am very allergic/sensitive to MSG and when I was young passed out in Chinatown (Philly) when out with a friend's family. They put me in the car!! I remember a foggy scary feeling about being in their car all drugged up.

The fact they they re-market it is BS!! I know pico de gallo chips have them in it. I can't off hand remember all the items I read those ingredients in, but I think a call to those companies is in order.

The writer's slant is not a health conscious one to say the least; that's not why I post the article. More so that I found it informative and disturbing as to what I did not know.



whole103/06/2008 17:31:40
Kindlizard, another hidden source of MSG is call "glutamic acid". Look for this name when avoiding allergic reactions as well. There is a great little book called "Food Additives, a Shopper's Guide to Additives" by C.H. Farlow. Great to have when shopping.
tatiana03/06/2008 17:49:24
MSG seems to cause adverse reactions in a certain percentage of people. While most people are perfectly fine with it, it is important to recognize it like any other food that causes allergies and sensitivities in people. You wouldn't tell someone with Celiac's disease that gluten is suddenly good for them or someone with a peanut allergy to enjoy a PBJ sandwich because it's remarketed. I think writer is "trying" to put out a more objective piece but I'd agree that there is definitely a lot of slant in that article, by the things he emphasizes and the way he wraps the negative issues with positive issues so you get positive at the beginning and at the end. Luckily so many people on these forums are educated and can see through so many of the subjective stories out there. Interesting read, thanks for posting it.
kindlizard03/08/2008 14:13:28
I was in a store last night and for kicks I looked around; saw the ingredients in Boca Burgers and Morningstar burgers. Also in soups and such. They turned the lights off on me though, so I can't tell any more last night.

kindlizard03/17/2008 21:48:06
I believe Braggs Liquid Aminos is solely consisted of this; I am looking into this...

Let it be known if you know of any "health" foods that have it too.
kindlizard03/27/2008 00:41:12
There are plenty of truths out there about MSG. Don't look at McDougall's site about it; he uses it in his prepackaged crappy soups. Of course he isn't about to denounce his own product. The guy is not a legit Dr anyway, just a corporate schill.
kindlizard03/27/2008 00:55:41
Braggs liquid aminos contains glutamic acid, a main thing to watch for if sensitive....
johnnysensible03/27/2008 03:23:51
MSG - the angle for conspiracy theorists!
Mr. Zhang, the chef, who teaches cooking at the Beijing Service and Management School, said that when he worked in Switzerland for a year, he was forbidden to use MSG after a customer fainted at her table. His boss explained that a very small number of Europeans are allergic to MSG, but he remains unconvinced that such an allergy is real.

''I've worked in restaurants since 1963 in China, and I've never heard of such a problem,'' he said, adding: ''Look, this is a very big country, and people eat a lot of MSG. I think if people were getting sick it would be obvious.

''The government researches these things, and a lot of dangerous food additives, colorings and sweeteners are forbidden. But MSG is not among them.''

Ms. Wang, 60, an earnest engineer with close-cropped hair, says she has eaten ''lots of MSG'' for decades without ill effect. ''The more you use it, the more you want to add,'' she said. She falls backs on a conspiracy theory to explain why MSG got its bad reputation in the West.

''I think some restaurant owners were jealous of the good business of Chinese restaurants,'' she said, ''so they started this rumor about MSG.''

johnnysensible03/27/2008 03:30:17
Hypochondriac's & MSG -
"There is no evidence orally consumed glutamate has any effect on the brain," said Dr. Richard Wurtman of Massachusetts Institute of Technology. The anecdotal experiences of individuals is superstition, not science, he said. "I don't think glutamate has made them sick," he added.

johnnysensible03/27/2008 03:39:38
[edited by webmaster]
Non-vegan 'Ajinomoto' MSG - an article about the cow source of a protein used to cultivate bacteria.
Excerpt's -
Muslim authorities have accused Ajinomoto of contaminating the MSG it makes here by using hog protein in its production, affecting roughly 3,000 tons of it. Ajinomoto's MSG is labeled halal, meaning it does not contain anything forbidden under Islamic law -- including pork and pork byproducts. Ajinimoto has acknowledged once using hog protein to make its MSG and has apologized. But it said it stopped using hog protein in November (2,000) and no pork byproducts ended up in the final product.
Molasses is the basic ingredient in MSG, but late last month, the Indonesian Council of Ulemas, an organization of Muslim clerics, said Ajinomoto had replaced a protein derived from cows used in the production process with another that comes from pork fat. The protein is used to cultivate bacteria whose enzymes catalyze production. Government scientists confirmed this week that no pork-related residues were present in Ajinomoto's MSG.
whole103/27/2008 19:13:24
Not trying to jump in the abyss of this foray here, but I just read a very good book called "Excitoxins-The Taste That Kills" By Dr. Russell L. Blaylock, MD. He is a real doctor, a neurosurgeon who writes in the medical journals often about Alzheimer's and Parkinson's disease. His specialty is the study of the brain. He says that "excitotoxins are substances added to foods and beverages that literally stimulate neorons to death, causing brain damage of varying degrees. These excitotoxins can be found in such ingredients as monosodium glutamate (MSG), aspartame (Nutrasweet), cysteine, hydrolyzed protein and aspartic acid." It is a thorough and well documented book. Just throwing that out there in the mix, FYI. Remember when disagreeing with each other, keep it clean and civil. We are all entitled to our opinions.
johnnysensible03/27/2008 22:24:07
whole1 - thank you for the info. & thank you also for the very timely guidance.

I do not consume any MSG / processed foods - my diet has been 100% wholefoods for a long time.

I am buying a copy of Dr. Blaylock's book right now from Rhio's "RawFoodInfo" site.


chia03/29/2008 23:16:03
MSG is the "secret" addictive ingredient behind so many processed food products in the USA and in Asia (especially Japan).

Also known as monosodium glutamate.

It's typically used to irritate the tongue and make the food taste more intense, flavorful, and "better."

Big food brands like Pepsi Co/Frito-Lay potato chips and Cheetos contain MSG. Conventional brands of premade soups contain some form of MSG as "hydrolyzed protein" and "flavoring."

In Asia (and in many Chinese eateries abroad), restaurants and food stalls use MSG regulary - out of habit.

Personal story:
As a young teenager visiting family in Taiwan, I went into the kitchen to help make a stir fry vegetable dish for dinner. I saw a jar of MSG, and although I knew that people in Taiwan put MSG in their home cooked dishes, I had NO idea why. So I put some into the wok anyway, because it was there and that's what people did.

Now that I know better, I avoid MSG religiously. Only because it makes me feel bad, and I don't want it.

Knowledge is Power.

chia03/29/2008 23:17:31
kindlizard03/30/2008 00:18:07
The point of why I posted this originally is that it is NOT just Fritos and the like using it. It is in a lot of items in health food stores as well. By glossing over the truth, we really are enablers, I think.

Items I saw in recent trips to health food stores:

*Dr McDougall's Soups, all of them, his entire line.

*Boca burgers and Morningstar fake frozen stuff

*Braggs Liquid Aminos

* Pico de Gallo chips (organic brand)

That's what I recall off hand. But by no means should we forgive or forget the "health" food industry for the transgression. Especially those posturing as doctors. A neurotoxin that kills brain cells and can seriously impair the young and/or those with illness(es).

While we should all strive to eat less processed food, if dipping into that realm those would be ones to avoid for sure. And like the artificial says, "natural flavor" can be MSG, or it could be something actually natural (most times not actually however).

Buyer beware
johnnysensible03/30/2008 02:45:09
HappyCow is not the place to spread misinformation about or otherwise hurt active vegans & vegan / animal friendly companies & products.
The information below is correct to the best of my knowledge - if I am wrong then please correct me -
+ "Dr McDougall's Soups, all of them, his entire line." - none of the ones which I have tried contain manufactured MSG - they do contain yeast extract - I do not like any of them but that is my personal taste.
+ "Boca burgers and Morningstar fake frozen stuff" - again not products which I would eat - but no manufactured MSG as far as I am aware - many of them do of course contain soya protein isolate & yeast extract.
+ "Braggs Liquid Aminos" - a no salt / no manufactured MSG soya sauce substitute -
+ "Pico de Gallo chips (organic brand)" -
Ingredients: Organic white corn, expeller pressed safflower oil, salt, dehydrated cilantro, spices, tomato powder, dehydrated jalapeЯ, onion powder, dehydrated bell peppers, garlic powder, natural flavor. - so no manufactured MSG disclosed as an ingredient - a phone call to the company may be wise to verify.
Confronting the meat & dairy industry is a big enough challenge - it is not amusing to see posts abusing vegan / animal friendly companies.
"posturing as doctor's" - Dr. John McDougall is an M.D. - it is "not big & not clever" to post this slur on HappyCow - he is an Advisory Board Member of Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine.
One of PCRM's main websites links to / promotes HappyCow -
HappyCow reciprocates -
Low-life groups such as CCF abuse Dr. Mc Dougall freely - - it is very, very strange to see such slur's getting past the diligent "editors" at HappyCow.
johnnysensible03/30/2008 03:13:51
I agree with kindlizard about not ingesting MSG.
I strongly disagree with his choice of using HappyCow to post misleading character slur's.
When I read kindlizard's posts his use of language strongly reminds me of CCF.
Dr. John McDougall also works with John Robbin's EarthSave International - along with many other vegan activists.
Again CCF / try their worst to defame all of them -
In my opinion it is just not appropriate for HappyCow to publish such posts without also posting adequate responses / rebuttals.

gr8vegan04/02/2008 03:01:16
Dr. McDougall is one of the finest human beings on the planet. I owe my life to him as many others do. He's been in practice for 40 years. The McDougall Clinic/Program saves lives and its one of the few sources of proper health and nutritional information on the planet. I encourage all vegans and non to explore his site and read his books and go on his adventure travel (I went to Costa Rica with him last summer). I enjoy the soups in moderation. I leave about half the flavor packets out. His instant oatmeal is bar none the best I've ever had! Sign up for his newsletter, too. Its outstanding!
Vegan Justice
Vegan Justice01/12/2011 10:17:44
@ kindlizard,I don't know what is the fuss about MSG. I've been using it all my life and in amounts similar to the table salt I use. MSG is a substance present naturally in almost every kind of foods. It is in anmimal foods as well as in plant foods. Infact cheese, meat, brocolli, tomatoes, bok choy are just a few examples that contain naturally occuring glutamate. The chemical name is monosodium glutamate. If you're allergic to glutamate then you will have to starve to death basically because it is in almost everything you eat. It doesn't matter whether you're a meat eater or a vegan.

As for the sodium portion of MSG, it will behave exactly as consuming table salt, sodium chloride. So if you're going to restrict your total sodium intake, you may want to reduce the table salt according to the amounts of MSG added to your food since they both increase the total sodium intake. And if you're a meat eater, you may need to reduce your either your meat intake if you use a lot of salts and MSG since meat is also a concentrated source of sodium. This is one reason why some people have reported being very thirsty after a meal loaded with MSG. Although it doesn't taste salty but the sodium portion of it will behave in exactly the same way as the sodium in table salt. Apart from that, there has never been a single reported case of death due to MSG. On the other hand there has been countless numbers of deaths due to eating animals, but because people in the west are addicted to it, they wouldn't go around telling people that meat kills people. They'd rather go around telling the Asians that MSG is bad because they don't have to use it in their cookings.

MSG has been happily used by all the Asian people ever since it was discovered in 1908 by the chemistry professor, Kikunae Ikeda, at the Imperial University of Tokyo, Japan. But when the west got to taste it a little bit of it, they immediately started to say bad things about it. Although I don't doubt there may be a few who has allergic reaction to the additional amounts of MSG artificially added, just as there are a few who can't tolerate other substances; still, I do not think westerners are in a position to stigmatize MGS because they hardly use them in their daily cooking. How can someone who has never been an expert in using something in their food can say something authoritative and accurate about it. If MSG were as harmful as most westerners believes it to be, then Asians would have known and stopped using it half a century ago. This is not the case at all.

I have seen people with arthritis got much worse after eating cheese. But strangely, I haven't heard about a group of people going around telling everyone not to eat cheese. On the contrary, I have seen a lot of westerners going around spreading bad things about MSG, as if they are the expert on it. What is ironic is that the Asians that were using it almost like table salt in their cookings are now buying into the ridiculous hysteria of the few who never knew how to use it in their cookings but goes around scaring people about it. I find it ridiculous that the experts of MSG users are listening to the arrogant words of the amatures.

This reminds me of another similar situation. Asians have been eating rice as their staple diet for tens of thousands of years and no one was fat. But what is ridiculous is that young Asians are being told by people in the west not to eat rice because rice makes you fat! Has the younger generation of Asians become that naive? Who's the expert in rice consumption here? Who is actually plaque with obesity, heart disease and full blown cancers here? Sadly younger Asians are abandoning their own traditional healthy diet and naively adopting the western diet and so they are now just as obesed as any westerners. They will also develop the same kinds of dealdy diseases that a heavy diet in animal consumption does to people.

My point is if you have a problem with msg, don't eat it, just as if you have an allergy to any other substances; but don't exaggerate it out of proportion because as far as I know, MSG is just as harmful as salt and sugar and infact every material safety data sheet for MSG lists it as GRAS (Generally Regarded As Safe). This is in the same category as salt and sugar. And if you don't believe everything I said, then ask yourself this: "How can something that occurs in a lot of food be harmful to us. Remember, amongst all the hysteria, no one died from eating it.

And finally, as far as Dr. McDougall's packaged foods are concerned, I do not know if MSG is added or not, but from my life long experience, I really don't know what all the fuss is all about. You might as well create another fuss about salt and sugar. Anyway, Dr. McDougall, as far as I know about him, he well and truly deserves to be described as the king of all medical doctors. For those who are curious as to why I say this last comment, then visit and read his books or watch his DVD lectures and you'll soon agree.
kindlizard01/12/2011 23:56:13
You base your entire argument on a false notion. Because this then that. You extrapolate and avow food safety when it is not all that certain. Salt and sugar aren't that "safe" either, welcome to 2011.

And if someone has to die from it to be bad for you, then your logic and compassion is lacking, as well as your sense of wellness being a bit skewed. Neurotoxicity is an issue, salt and sugar are issues, dairy consumption is a major issue. Where do you come off coming to a vegan website w this nonsense? Your king sells garbage btw.

You don't know of a group that tells people not to eat cheese? Welcome to HappyCow!! Haha! Hey VJ, Don't eat cheese!!! Your lack of a grasp of where you are on the internet, perhaps. Just go back to the Duncan Hines recipes and packaged foods. There is nothing to see here.
kindlizard01/12/2011 23:57:15
thanks for joining for the sole sake of re-hashing an argument that has been dormant for 3 years. just feeling antagonistic?

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