Monday, November 22, 2010

The Depressing Truth about MSG

First of all, I apologize for not posting for so long again. I've been in a creative funk lately. I'm afraid that the cognitive impairment that comes along with fibro has made me into a worse writer than I was before. I can't remember how to use commas most of the time, I use the same words over and over and I can't remember what some words mean. Also, I can't seem to stay focused on my topic or make the points I want to make. *sigh* I really have my doubts about whether I'll every be able to achieve my dream of writing and publishing a book, thanks to stupid fibro.

Anyhow, while I was already wallowing in these depressing thoughts, I ran across a couple of websites about MSG. Let me tell ya, this did nothing to improve my feelings of hopelessness!

I've long heard that MSG and artificial sweeteners, particularly aspartame, are bad, bad, bad and should be avoided but I never did any research to find out why. The immediate and intense pain that followed the consumption of aspartame was enough to convince me that I should stay away from it.  Even just a small amount of aspartame leaves me with a horrible headache and intense "phantom" pains in my extremities. The effects of MSG aren't as dramatic for me though. Sometimes I eat it and seem to be just fine. Other times I feel like it works with salt to make me retain water, feel generally yucky all over and have aching in my hips, shoulders and joints.

I finally ran across an article that said that aspartame and MSG are both excitotoxins that act on the nervous system. Now, I'm no doctor or scientist, but knowing that my nervous system is already overexcited and out of whack, avoiding anything called an excitotoxin seemed like a good idea. I did my best to avoid items that had MSG listed as an ingredient. But, when I'm in my PMS food craving stage, it seems like I actually crave food that has MSG in it, such as cheese flavored potato chips.

And, unfortunately, my willpower was very weak during my last PMS food craving stage and I gave in to it. I ate some Sour Cream and Cheddar Ruffles and I've been paying for it for almost two weeks now. I puffed up with fluid that just won't go away and I'm having terrible aching in my hips and shoulders and my arms ache and go to sleep almost every night. Plus, I feel...polluted, like there is gunk in between all the cells of my body. This prompted me to do some more research on MSG.

These are the two websites I visited: and

From what I read, it doesn't seem like my reaction to MSG is typical. What was depressing about it though is the list of foods to avoid. (Found here: )  Food companies are putting MSG in everything! Pretty much every time we eat we're poisoning our body and nervous system.

Upon first reading this information, I wasn't sure whether I should just lay down and die because I could never survive on nothing but brown rice and organic veggies (that's mostly whats on the elimination diet at msgtruth suggests) or, just drown myself in a bag of Sour Cream and Cheddar ruffles because there's no way to avoid this stuff anyway.

After reflecting on this for a day or two, I decided to print out a list of all the hidden names of MSG and avoid foods that have them. The website says that all milk except whole milk has MSG of some form but my Organic Valley nonfat milk doesn't list MSG by any name so I'm going to trust they don't put it in there. Maybe this is naive of me but I think a moderate approach to this MSG thing is probably best. Trying to avoid every food that might have it because some website says so seems a bit too extreme for me.  I'm for sure going to try to large amounts of it which, sadly, means not eating out often. Applebee's and Taco Bell were two places suspected of using a lot of MSG and I have noticed I sometimes feel yucky after eating there, even when I have something relatively healthy at Applebee's.

Below is the list of the hidden names of MSG that contain the highest amounts. I recognize a lot of ingredients on products that I thought to be safe!

MSGGelatinCalcium Caseinate
Monosodium glutamateHydrolyzed Vegetable Protein (HVP)Textured Protein
Monopotassium glutamateHydrolyzed Plant Protein (HPP)Yeast Extract
GlutamateAutolyzed Plant ProteinYeast food or nutrient
Glutamic AcidSodium CaseinateAutolyzed Yeast
Vegetable Protein ExtractSenomyx (wheat extract labeled as artificial flavor)

What about you? Do you noticed reactions to aspartame and MSG? How do they affect you?


Trisha Pearson said...

Just a note to my co-authors: Have you checked out the new template designer? From your dashboard you click "design" then "templates" in the upper left corner, then "backgrounds". Blogger has tons of new templates and backgrounds that you can use without downloading a thing. You can change the background as often as you want to suit your mood. Please feel free to personalize!

Bonnie said...

I appreciate all the information you post on Fibro. Even if I have already researched again and again, I need reminders. It is so hard to remember Every thing a person should or shouldn't have and then we start tapering our cautiousness off again, and forget about it all. Some times I get tired of trying to keep up or of remembering things. Thanks. Feel free to view my Blog! I have a few sights on there about Fibro.

Trisha Pearson said...

It is so hard to remember all of this stuff! I need constant reminders too. I really need to understand the "why" of everything or I don't follow through with it.

I visited your blog and added you to our blogroll. Thank you for sharing the link about fibro fog. That's one of the mysterious things I haven't found too much info about.