MSG is safe enough for me

LOL - ya, no. If you want me to be specific I will: artificial scents. Air freshners, febreeze, laundry detergent, dryer sheets, cheap drugstore perfume, anything with that “fresh” scent (what is that!?) some scented candles. Essential oils however are fine. (real ones, not fake ones) - I’m sure if you wanted to fund the research we could pin point what the exact chemicals are that trigger my reaction. BTW - I say “sensitivity” because its not an allergy, no histamine reaction, just an irritation, so flushing helps remove the irritant faster than my mucus.

@Medievalist - oh ho! Hello fellow well met! :wink:


OP seems a bit over the top. I don’t remember “hysteria” about MSG being an engineered food additive. What I do remember is that some people apparently found they would get a headache after having Chinese food with MSG added. Then lots of other people started avoiding it, and as a result a lot of Chinese restaurants began advertising their food as MSG-free.

I would portray the whole thing as overreaction out of ignorance, much the same as how people are reacting to gluten nowadays (genuine sufferers of conditions that cause a reaction to gluten excepted, of course).


I think MSG was condemned in the 70s because a small number of people are allergic - probably including the gentleman above.

I find meat and butter provide all the umami I need. Anchovies are particularly nice. No need to buy the refined stuff.

EDIT: Oh, but BoingBoing doesn’t get paid if you use butter, so never mind.


Oh, is tetrodoxin in tomatoes, cheese, and mushrooms? I had no idea.

I’m not talking about neurotoxins, I’m talking about chemicals that naturally occur in commonly-eaten foods, that can be isolated and used as a flavor additive/enhancer. If someone gets headaches from MSG added to food, they’d get the same headaches from eating a big hunk of parmesan.


Infinitely more enjoyable than eating a full bag of potato chips. @JonBristow - you in? :wink:


Yes, a huge bag of potato chips will cause issues, the ones I meant were the little snack size - it’s crazy to eat a pillow of chips. I can replicate my problem with MSG with a serving of instant ramen, or practically any given standard portion of food seasoned with it. I only discovered MSG was the cause of my migraines by radically altering my diet (I was in college and living off processed and fast food) and slowly adding items back in until I had a migraine again. The only common ingredient in those items was MSG.

Again, I understand that science says it’s safe, but for some of us that simply isn’t true. Or to be more accurate - it’s safe in that it won’t kill me, just make life significantly less enjoyable. Many people have problems processing many different things, this one just happens to be mine.

No, I do not have science confirming alteration of taste after consuming a diet containing MSG, only a hunch and a lot of time spent cooking. Perhaps someone motivated can get some sweet grant money figuring that out for the rest of us. If i’m wrong about it, then you’ll have yet another item to tell me why I should be eating this thing my body doesn’t want.


So out of curiosity, does this happen when you eat flavors that don’t have MSG, like:

LAY’S Barbecue Flavored Potato Chips
LAY’S Cheddar Bacon Mac & Cheese Flavored Potato Chips
LAY’S Cheddar & Sour Cream Flavored Potato Chips
LAY’S Cheesy Garlic Bread Flavored Potato Chips
LAY’S Dill Pickle Flavored Potato Chips

I’m just wondering if it’s MSG in particular, or excessive amounts of salts in general (or maybe even something else).

\I’m not going to ask you to give yourself a migraine on purpose…just wondering if super salty potato chips full of weird artificial flavors give you migraines always, or just the specific flavors that have MSG? Can you go to town on a bag of Lays bacon mac and cheese chips and be just fine?


That’s like saying you have a “food” sensitivity, but only to “artificial food.” You are painting with a very broad brush. And, again, I’m not denying your condition, but I do say that “scent” sensitivity is like the vague “toxins” gambit. Which toxins, exactly? “Scents” don’t all have the same chemicals in common.


Oh hell yes. Can I add garlic?

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I honestly have no idea what you’re arguing with me about. You ask specifics, I gave them. I’m not a chemical engineer, I don’t know whats in those things that trigger a reaction, and I’m not saying all scents… so maybe point your vitriol elsewhere?


Wow, man you are all over the map. A full bag? Like snack size or full bag size? Full bag size will dehydrate anyone and dehydration will cause headaches in lots of people.

I won’t say that MSG doesn’t cause a reaction in some people, but you could say that about just about anything. Doesn’t make it unsafe.

ETA - it’s also possible to feel sick or different from the placebo affect.

For sure eating anything all the time will alter one’s perception of taste.

I don’t have sensitivities per se, but just walking by Yankee Candle with all those different scents in some hedonistic orgy makes me nauseous just thinking about it.


I just avoid flavored items like the plague. I have noticed an uptick in non MSG based snack foods, but I’ll stick to plain kettle chips or the like.

I will say that I have eaten a large amount of parmesan in a sitting and gotten a very slight aura effect from it, but it’s much more manageable then a full blown MSG migraine.

@Boundegar - a little bit of anchovy is the best thing, so glad I found out about those little guys.


This is about MSG being safe to eat the way milk is safe to eat.

If you are lactose intolerant, you should avoid milk.

If any food seems to trigger migraines, of course you should avoid it.

I’m lucky enough to have no food triggers for my migraines but nicotine exposure is a big trigger for me.

When I want to go see live music I know I will probably spend the next day vomiting and in pain. Although it’s better now that fewer places allow smoking inside.


Yes, please consume this MSG, all you can get, and leave the Earth free of its evils once and for all.

Signed: lifleong asthmatic

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Genuinely curious: Do you have the same reaction when you eat foods that have naturally occurring MSG, or only when it’s refined and processed?


Pretty much only the processed versions - I do a lot of braising and soup making at home, and only after making say, beef stew with tomato and mushrooms; then eating it for leftovers over the course of a few days do I feel a tinge of a migraine. A large single portion of items containing it naturally is fine, but if I screw up and consume something containing the processed version, I can begin feeling the effects within an hour.

This is just my experience, if you like the stuff then have at it - just warn some folks occasionally, please.

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Not accepting your overbroad claims at face value != “vitriol”. Claiming it does is a BS way of trying to shut down legitimate conversation.

And while I don’t expect you to be a chemical engineer, I would think that since you are so affected by specific chemicals you would be interested in finding out which ones those are. Seems like that could be pretty important.

I bring up the issue of “scents” because this is a public health issue, not just a Missy_Pants issue. Do “scents” cause disease? Is “multiple-chemical sensitivity” a real organic cause of disease? Or is it a sociogenic illness? Is “detoxing” a genuine health treatment?

The fact that chemicals can and do cause harm to people gives the claims above a biological plausibility, however when you take a real thing, convert it to uselessly broad and vague claims, then use those broad and vague claims to create social policy and medical treatments, then there is a problem. And that’s what claiming “scent” sensitivities does, as opposed to noting reactions to specific chemicals, same goes for “multiple chemical sensitivity”.

So, my post is about the broader issues and not just you. And any “vitriol” is entirely in your mind.


Also great, this stuff:
A mixture of 98% monosodium glutamate and 2% E635 has four times the flavor enhancing power of monosodium glutamate (MSG) alone.


If you start a thread about “toxins” or “de-toxing” or “wifi-sickness” I’m sure you’ll find loads of people to talk with. You should do that, you seem like you really want to talk about that.


You are the one who brought up scent sensitivity in a thread on MSG in a post where you criticized someone else for making overbroad claims:

[quote=“Missy_Pants, post:5, topic:75757”][quote=“HansHibbety, post:3, topic:75757”]
It’s great you love your processed bullshit,
I was totally with you until this. I use a Japanese msg-coated salt and its great, I use it while cooking non-processed “bullshit” foods, much like the OP says. And I am certainly not less sensitive to subtle flavours… that is a strange conclusion.

Sorry you have sensitivities, I have scent sensitivities and they are also hard to “prove” - apparently me crying in the corner and need to rinse my nasal cavities isn’t proof.