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#123809 - 11/14/09 12:36 PM MSG: anybody else think its toxic?
weight2funratio Offline
member

Registered: 02/21/08
Posts: 20
Loc: MN
Hey Folks,

I was just reading the posts about Toxins in Plastic, and was wondering if anybody else is also as sceptical of the safety of eating MSG (Monosodium Glutimate)? I avoid the use of plastics in cooking because, even if the jury is still out on whether the materials which are shown to be leaching out of them are dangerous enough to cause health problems, I have a better alternative anyways with my Ti cookware which isn't leaching anything. However, I find that when I pick up a pre-made meal for backpacking, it almost always contains MSG. Does anyone else find that to be a problem?

(I consider it another good reason to make my own, I guess, but it would be nice to have the option to buy a prepackageed item once and awhile. I really get an allergic reaction from MSG.)
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If a robot could carry my stuff, I'd make him carry me with my Osprey on my back any way.

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#123810 - 11/14/09 12:40 PM Re: MSG: anybody else think its toxic? [Re: weight2funratio]
lori Offline
member

Registered: 01/22/08
Posts: 2801
why do people persist with this misconception that anyone COOKS in plastic? You can't. It melts. People do eat out of it all the time, however. Pouring hot water in does not equal cooking!

AS for MSG - I don't eat prefab backpacker meals partially because of the ingredients, partially because they don't taste good to me. MSG tends to give me headaches.
_________________________
"In the beginner's mind there are many possibilities. In the expert's mind there are few." Shunryu Suzuki

http://hikeandbackpack.com

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#123811 - 11/14/09 12:47 PM Re: MSG: anybody else think its toxic? [Re: weight2funratio]
Zalman Offline
member

Registered: 10/25/09
Posts: 97
Loc: Olympic Peninsula, Washington,...
I don't know about the safety of eating MSG, but it's not much fun for me. Small amounts tend to upset my stomach, larger portions provide nasty headaches.

I've recently tried a handful of pre-packaged freeze dried meals from Mountain House and Backpacker's Pantry, none of which listed MSG as an ingredient. A few of the meals for sale did list MSG, and I passed over those. Some of the meals I've tried listed "natural flavors" as an ingredient, which I've heard could include MSG, but so far I haven't experienced any of the discomfort I usually associate with MSG from eating those meals.

(I've always thought that if a flavoring was really natural, the ingredients would tell you what it is, instead of what it does.)
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It's easy to be a holy man on top of a mountain.
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#123814 - 11/14/09 01:10 PM Re: MSG: anybody else think its toxic? [Re: weight2funratio]
Rick_D Offline
member

Registered: 01/06/02
Posts: 2801
Loc: NorCal
Anybody on the pursuit of umami will embrace some MSG in their food. It's a natural byproduct of fermentation. I don't seek out food loaded with the stuff, however.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Umami

Cheers,

Rick
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#123822 - 11/14/09 03:48 PM Re: MSG: anybody else think its toxic? [Re: Rick_D]
Pika Offline
member

Registered: 12/08/05
Posts: 1726
Loc: Rural Southeast Arizona
I have to avoid MSG other than in trace amounts. I am prone to migraine and MSG is one of the more potent migraine triggers for me. So is the sodium nitrite used to keep the meat in sausage from going green. MSG is a natural by-product of some types of fermentation. It is also present in hydrolyzed yeast, hydrolyzed vegetable protein, textured vegetable protein and most "natural flavors".
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#123824 - 11/14/09 04:31 PM Re: MSG: anybody else think its toxic? [Re: Pika]
bigb Offline
member

Registered: 07/05/09
Posts: 124
Loc: Maryland
All I know is msg kicks my butt, I bring ramen on the trail but not the flavor packet, add my own spice.

That doesn't mean its toxic, its just not for me.
_________________________
"In the beginers mind there are many possibilities, but in the expert's there are few."
Shunryu Suzuki

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#123831 - 11/14/09 07:31 PM Re: MSG: anybody else think its toxic? [Re: weight2funratio]
sarbar Offline
member

Registered: 07/15/05
Posts: 1453
Loc: WA
One reason why MSG can give such a bad punch is that often it goes hand in hand with high sodium. If your meal has 3K of sodium AND any form of MSG, yes, it can really do a trigger on the head. (Now before anyone says "but I don't eat that much sodium!"....if you eat a 2 person meal that is commercial, yes, you can. Sad it is.)

MSG is well hidden of course in many foods, both in naturally occurring forms (mushrooms for example) and in crafty labels for it as mentioned.

One reason to make your own meals of course. MSG though is something to consider of this vein "Use in moderation". In other words....small amounts don't affect most people, but chowing down a feast of it will. So avoid eating the 4 serving meal high in it in one serving wink It is like my brother and his migraine triggers - he can drink one orange soda but not 6 of 'em. Same with me - 1 red cookie won't do it, but a whole package...and yeah, not good.
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#123846 - 11/15/09 12:23 AM Re: MSG: anybody else think its toxic? [Re: lori]
Fishnaked Offline
member

Registered: 01/18/03
Posts: 191
Loc: West
Originally Posted By lori
why do people persist with this misconception that anyone COOKS in plastic? You can't. It melts. People do eat out of it all the time, however. Pouring hot water in does not equal cooking!


Well, perhaps it's because they do cook in plastic...routinely...in the microwave.

To the original poster; I have never seen MSG listed as an ingredient in Mary Janes or the organic Backpacker Pantry meals. As far as packaged "backpacking" food goes, both taste exceptional to me.

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#123848 - 11/15/09 07:25 AM Re: MSG: anybody else think its toxic? [Re: Fishnaked]
Pika Offline
member

Registered: 12/08/05
Posts: 1726
Loc: Rural Southeast Arizona
Rusty, if you need to worry about MSG be aware that it doesn't need to be listed as an ingredient for it to be included in a packaged food. For an introduction to some of the ingredients in which you will find it, check out:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Glutamic_acid_(flavor)
Since I am sensitive to MSG and other glutamates, I have to read labels quite carefully to avoid them. A lot of true organic packaged foods contain, if not MSG, then at least glutamate-containing flavorings.


Edited by Pika (11/15/09 07:26 AM)
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#123850 - 11/15/09 09:57 AM Re: MSG: anybody else think its toxic? [Re: Pika]
bigb Offline
member

Registered: 07/05/09
Posts: 124
Loc: Maryland
Mary Janes contains no MSG, pretty sure Enertia trail foods is MSG free as well, not sure about others.

Mary Janes is amazing btw, best prepackaged food in a bag I've had and the bags burn away in your campfire.
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"In the beginers mind there are many possibilities, but in the expert's there are few."
Shunryu Suzuki

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#123864 - 11/15/09 01:12 PM Re: MSG: anybody else think its toxic? [Re: Pika]
Fishnaked Offline
member

Registered: 01/18/03
Posts: 191
Loc: West
Thanks for the info, Pika.

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#123903 - 11/16/09 09:20 AM Re: MSG: anybody else think its toxic? [Re: weight2funratio]
Roocketman Offline
member

Registered: 03/10/07
Posts: 203
In my experience it seems to have the same toxicity as peanuts.

Neither one of these bothers me at all. No one that I know has died of either.

Those who are sensitive to peanuts generally manage to take care of themselves by careful label reading.

I haven't seen anything near the negative publicity of MSG as I do peanuts.

In this line of thinking, "Are peanuts toxic?"

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#123906 - 11/16/09 10:07 AM Re: MSG: anybody else think its toxic? [Re: Roocketman]
Pika Offline
member

Registered: 12/08/05
Posts: 1726
Loc: Rural Southeast Arizona
Quote:
"Are peanuts toxic?"

If by "toxic" you mean that eating peanuts can cause death, then the answer is emphatically yes. Check this:

http://www.associatedcontent.com/article/425790/peanut_allergies_are_you_nuts_you_better.html?cat=5

Or just Google "Fatalities due to Peanuts".

No evidence of MSG fatalities unless consumed in exceedingly large doses. But, if a person is subject to migraine and MSG is a trigger, an MSG migraine can make you wish for death.
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#123911 - 11/16/09 10:49 AM Re: MSG: anybody else think its toxic? [Re: bigb]
sarbar Offline
member

Registered: 07/15/05
Posts: 1453
Loc: WA
Originally Posted By bigb
pretty sure Enertia trail foods is MSG free as well, not sure about others.


No, some of it does. Just not marked MSG. It is hidden well.......you have to read the labels very well.
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#123918 - 11/16/09 01:07 PM Re: MSG: anybody else think its toxic? [Re: sarbar]
hikerduane Offline
member

Registered: 02/23/03
Posts: 2123
Loc: Meadow Valley, CA
Sarbar, did you get your vertigo under control or figured out, I would like to know. I get a bout three-four times a year, especially after cutting firewood and splitting it for too long of a time. That is the only time I have missed work the last five years is when I get sick and have vertigo. Thank you.

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#123922 - 11/16/09 01:54 PM Re: MSG: anybody else think its toxic? [Re: hikerduane]
Fishnaked Offline
member

Registered: 01/18/03
Posts: 191
Loc: West
Originally Posted By hikerduane
Sarbar, did you get your vertigo under control or figured out, I would like to know. I get a bout three-four times a year, especially after cutting firewood and splitting it for too long of a time. That is the only time I have missed work the last five years is when I get sick and have vertigo. Thank you.


Hi,

I know it wasn't a question for me but thought I'd add my experience with cutting firewood (I assume you're doing it with a chainsaw). I used to get really bad headaches and generally, just feel sickly for a day or so after cutting wood. So, I started wearing a charcoal activated respirator and all symptoms completely disappeared. The respirator cartridges fill up w/ emissions fairly quickly so I try to cut with my back to the wind...when there is any (blows the emissions away).

Perhaps it is the saw's emissions giving you problems too, I have no idea. Just thought I'd mention it...

Good luck.

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#123930 - 11/16/09 06:28 PM Re: MSG: anybody else think its toxic? [Re: sarbar]
bigb Offline
member

Registered: 07/05/09
Posts: 124
Loc: Maryland
At least we got Mary Jane
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"In the beginers mind there are many possibilities, but in the expert's there are few."
Shunryu Suzuki

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#123934 - 11/16/09 07:18 PM Re: MSG: anybody else think its toxic? [Re: bigb]
OregonMouse Offline
member

Registered: 02/03/06
Posts: 6370
Loc: Gateway to Columbia Gorge
In addition to MSG and excessive sodium, I have to read labels for iodine or "sea salt." The latter contains enough traces of iodine that I can't use it on a regular basis without breaking out (once or twice very occasionally seems to be OK). I note that the Mary Jane's Farm stuff contains sea salt, so I have to avoid it. That's why I dehydrate my own food.
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#123937 - 11/16/09 09:44 PM Re: MSG: anybody else think its toxic? [Re: Fishnaked]
hikerduane Offline
member

Registered: 02/23/03
Posts: 2123
Loc: Meadow Valley, CA
Thank you, but no. I get vertigo at home around 4,000', elevation of 11,000' and at sea level. The last two Labor Day weekends, same day. My annual Fall trip the last two years, vertigo first day. Lost my snack this year in Oct., had no dinner then, trying to set my tent up in the wind with vertigo raging, off the next morning bping after eating and no more further effects. Last year, hiked all day, with on and off vision problems all afternoon and some vertigo, which laying down for a few minutes resolved luckily as a snow storm was coming in. Fine the rest of the trip. This summer about three weekends in a row from doing heavy labor, either shoveling road base on our private road or cutting and loading firewood. I had to lay down for 20 to 30 minutes. I think it has to do with my neck and shoulders. The quack neurologist had a MRI of my neck and brain done. Kept asking me why I thouht it was my neck. I had a migraine in his office and he was not concerned about that. Worse case, I have to lay down overnight.

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#123945 - 11/17/09 08:53 AM Re: MSG: anybody else think its toxic? [Re: Pika]
Roocketman Offline
member

Registered: 03/10/07
Posts: 203
Originally Posted By Pika
Quote:
"Are peanuts toxic?"

If by "toxic" you mean that eating peanuts can cause death, then the answer is emphatically yes. Check this:

http://www.associatedcontent.com/article/425790/peanut_allergies_are_you_nuts_you_better.html?cat=5

Or just Google "Fatalities due to Peanuts".

No evidence of MSG fatalities unless consumed in exceedingly large doses. But, if a person is subject to migraine and MSG is a trigger, an MSG migraine can make you wish for death.


Thanks, I knew all of that.

I asked my question tongue in cheek...... similar, perhaps, to the sense of the original question.

My point is that sometimes we overdo a concern or become over concerned about a narrow point.

Peanuts Toxic, heck yes. MSG toxic, getting close to far fetched. MSG or milk causes digestive problems? Yes. Milk Toxic? :-)

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#123946 - 11/17/09 08:57 AM Re: MSG: anybody else think its toxic? [Re: hikerduane]
CamperMom Offline
member

Registered: 01/04/02
Posts: 1185
Loc: Eastern MA, USA
Hmm-

I think I'd be checking out a good chiropractor, hopefully one with a strong background in neurology.

CM

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#123951 - 11/17/09 10:06 AM Re: MSG: anybody else think its toxic? [Re: hikerduane]
sarbar Offline
member

Registered: 07/15/05
Posts: 1453
Loc: WA
HD, for me it is a knock on wood thing. My neurologist decided that for me it is a form of a migraine - that comes with no headache. My brother and father all had severe migrianes as I was growing up, but I didn't start getting bad ones until my early 30's. From what I described of some of my dad's worse ones he most likely suffered from vertigo ones as well (at that moment I really wished he was alive to ask him). They are a type of migraine that is often overlooked and not given any attention.

For me we realized I did have signals before hand. For a couple days before I would have horrid headaches in the back of my neck and head, slowing working up to the top of my head. Then it would stop. And then, bam.

Around 3 years ago they took me off of ALL artificial dyes, lowered my sodium consumption tremendously and I went on a a steady diet of BP pills as well. This has for the most part controlled it. Like my brother and dad, red food dyes are very bad for me. I had to change my BP meds this year and ended up with headaches for the first time in a couple years - they didn't control them as well. It seems beta blockers can nearly stop them.

I'd be looking into the stress that wood chopping does to you - it may well be a trigger, the up and down, up and down. That can play havoc with your brain quickly.

PS: My other issue we solved is I have to stay hydrated when hiking. Get dehydrated and I get vertigo twinges fast - due to my BP going in the basement (BP pills + dehydration can cause low BP quickly).
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#123952 - 11/17/09 10:09 AM Re: MSG: anybody else think its toxic? [Re: CamperMom]
sarbar Offline
member

Registered: 07/15/05
Posts: 1453
Loc: WA
Originally Posted By CamperMom
Hmm-

I think I'd be checking out a good chiropractor, hopefully one with a strong background in neurology.

CM


IMO, if one has good insurance should get a referral to a neurologist. After my bouts they eventually did a couple MRI's - I was fortunate (if you can call it that) to be seen by a doctor during a vertigo bout. Worst car ride ever but worth it to be seen and have someone say "OK, this does exist".

Seeing a neurologist was priceless to be diagnosed on why I was having these issues.
_________________________
Freezer Bag Cooking, Trail Cooking, Recipes, Gear and Beyond:
www.trailcooking.com

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#123962 - 11/17/09 01:31 PM Re: MSG: anybody else think its toxic? [Re: sarbar]
hikerduane Offline
member

Registered: 02/23/03
Posts: 2123
Loc: Meadow Valley, CA
Thank you, I think mine was a quack, I did get a referral. More later.

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#123964 - 11/17/09 01:32 PM Re: MSG: anybody else think its toxic? [Re: sarbar]
CamperMom Offline
member

Registered: 01/04/02
Posts: 1185
Loc: Eastern MA, USA
He may be a rare breed, but my chiropractor has a PhD in Neurology. It is amazing what he can test for and "see." He has done me more good than my PCP, consulting MD anaesthesiologist, neurologist and neurosurgeon, combined.

CM

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#123979 - 11/17/09 09:39 PM Re: MSG: anybody else think its toxic? [Re: CamperMom]
hikerduane Offline
member

Registered: 02/23/03
Posts: 2123
Loc: Meadow Valley, CA
Well, looks like I have hijacked this thread. I have had my vertigo the last couple years, ever since a neighbor and I were taking down some trees in our neighborhood. He was throwing a line up into the tree, (need him to throw a bear bag line), then pulling up a rope so we could make sure the tree went where we wanted it and not onto sheds or power lines, he did this as a living. I was looking up into the trees too much I think and since, I have had issues with more neck pain and vertigo with upset stomach sometimes but not everytime when I have vertigo. Before this, I only had a couple episodes come out of nowhere the previous five years or so. I have seen chiropractors, massage therapists, no help. I will have to live with it I guess. We had a health fair at work last week, I had blood drawn and will get the results tomorrow, I don't know if that will have any surprises, I've never done that. At least I will know my blood type. Thank you Sarbar and the rest.

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#124419 - 11/25/09 06:17 PM Re: MSG: anybody else think its toxic? [Re: Fishnaked]
lori Offline
member

Registered: 01/22/08
Posts: 2801
Originally Posted By rusty
Originally Posted By lori
why do people persist with this misconception that anyone COOKS in plastic? You can't. It melts. People do eat out of it all the time, however. Pouring hot water in does not equal cooking!


Well, perhaps it's because they do cook in plastic...routinely...in the microwave.



You mean that counts? Everyone's got their knickers in a twist about hot water in a bag to rehydrate food, all the while microwaving raw food in a plastic container? Will the craziness NEVER END?
_________________________
"In the beginner's mind there are many possibilities. In the expert's mind there are few." Shunryu Suzuki

http://hikeandbackpack.com

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#124420 - 11/25/09 06:38 PM Re: MSG: anybody else think its toxic? [Re: lori]
sabre11004 Offline
member

Registered: 05/05/07
Posts: 513
Loc: Tennessee
No, they will not...sabre11004... lame
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#124560 - 11/30/09 08:07 PM Re: MSG: anybody else think its toxic? [Re: Roocketman]
Tango61 Offline
member

Registered: 12/27/05
Posts: 931
Loc: East Texas Piney Woods
Quote:
Milk Toxic? :-)


Absolutely! Same with eggs. My daughter is EXTREMELY allergic to milk and eggs. They can cause her to go into anaphylactic shock and die within minutes (ask me how I know...).

And just like MSG, milk by-products do not have to be included in the ingredients although most mfg's do so now to keep from being sued. Whey is milk protein so it is even worse.
Also have to look for words like 'sodium caseianate' with also a milk protein used as a thickener.
I learned very early on to read labels (after being taught by my wife what to look for) and still do so to this day if I am fixing something for her to eat.


This thread has grown legs, it's wandering so much (but it's still informative!)

Tango
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#124914 - 12/08/09 02:15 PM Re: MSG: anybody else think its toxic? [Re: Tango61]
midnightsun03 Offline
member

Registered: 08/06/03
Posts: 2936
Loc: Alaska
My son is allergic to wheat, eggs, peanuts and to a mild extent soy, although he still eats plenty of it. He avoids MSG and gets angry when manufacturers use it as an ingredient in something he could otherwise eat (I can relate, I get upset when I find barley malt as an ingredient in something that would otherwise be gluten-free). He learned to read very early, and some of the first words he learned to recognize were his allergens. He has read his own labels at least since he was 4, but still won't touch anything new before running it by me first. I'll let him read my labels too because sometimes he catches things I miss (like barley). I am not anaphylactic to my list of no-no's, but he carries an epi-pen for peanuts. He seems to be outgrowing wheat, but not egg yet.

In our experience, MSG is an allergen potentiator, which is why we avoid it (plus the fact that it signals that there are other "unnatural" ingredients in a product and we try to eat as pure as we can).

MNS
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#125186 - 12/14/09 01:01 PM Re: MSG: anybody else think its toxic? [Re: lori]
chaz Offline
member

Registered: 10/22/07
Posts: 1149
Loc: Tennessee
MSG can cause reactions. Most oriental resturants cook with MSG. Once we were dining and consumed MSG and had a weird reaction to it. Both my wife and I felt weird. We informed the resturant and went strait to the emergency room. I thought a heart attack was coming on. The Doc told us that it was the MSG and there is acctually something in the medical books called, "Chinese resturant syndrome". The Doc told us that many people think they are having a heart attack. We now order meals and ask them to not use MSG in the preperation. The resturant paid the doctor bill to avoid a problem on their end.
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Enjoy your next trip...

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#125187 - 12/14/09 01:10 PM Re: MSG: anybody else think its toxic? [Re: hikerduane]
chaz Offline
member

Registered: 10/22/07
Posts: 1149
Loc: Tennessee
Wow! I didn't realize it until now that looking up for long periods of time got me dizzy and a little disorented. I was on a 6 foot step ladder painting trim and got dizzy. Next day I was o.k. except for a sore neck.
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Enjoy your next trip...

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#125188 - 12/14/09 01:14 PM Re: MSG: anybody else think its toxic? [Re: midnightsun03]
chaz Offline
member

Registered: 10/22/07
Posts: 1149
Loc: Tennessee
Thanks for that info. MNS. How have you been?
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Enjoy your next trip...

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#125236 - 12/15/09 01:20 AM Re: MSG: anybody else think its toxic? [Re: weight2funratio]
Franco Offline
member

Registered: 04/05/04
Posts: 997
Loc: Australia
Not having seen a doctor for over 35 years I tended to think of MSG "poisoning" as mostly in the mind, a bit like a decade or so ago everybody developed RSI
Then one day walking around the block I felt terrible and had to go home. I felt like vomiting (I never do...) had a huge headache ( again never happens with me) and felt like I also had the runs. That lasted about 30 min. So I went to bed .Slept for a few hours and upon waking up all of the symptoms were gone. That happened again at work (I thought that I was going to soil myself coming home, a short trip at that) and a few days later at home. Finally I figured out that on those three occasions I had some vegetable spread that some friends had given me. So I Googled that spread and "reaction" and MSG came up.
Turns out that as long as the MSG part of the extract is less than 50% it can be called "flavouring/extract/vegetable enhancer" or other such names.
So Vegemite,Promite,Marmite and other yeast/vegetable extracts are full of it.
Stock cubes and some "cup a soup" type foods have a lot of it. (some occurring naturally, hence the "no added MSG" label)
BTW THE so called secret ingredient in the KFC "secret herbs and spices" (not the original,the stuff they use now...) is Accent, and that is mostly MSG and salt

Franco

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#125239 - 12/15/09 02:08 AM Re: MSG: anybody else think its toxic? [Re: chaz]
midnightsun03 Offline
member

Registered: 08/06/03
Posts: 2936
Loc: Alaska
Hey Chaz... I've been very busy with life, hopefully to get busier soon. Had an interview for PA school on Saturday. Last year I interviewed and didn't get in so we'll see what happens this year (after taking microbiology this past summer). I should know in January.

MNS
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#125277 - 12/15/09 01:13 PM Re: MSG: anybody else think its toxic? [Re: Franco]
sarbar Offline
member

Registered: 07/15/05
Posts: 1453
Loc: WA
Yep, I think that is sad/funny about KFC. Stuff is nasty!
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#125305 - 12/15/09 07:16 PM Re: MSG: anybody else think its toxic? [Re: sarbar]
Franco Offline
member

Registered: 04/05/04
Posts: 997
Loc: Australia
The way I understanding is that MSG is toxic in a similar way to alcohol. In small doses most people can tolerate it ,some more than others . At the time I had my "overdoses" I was eating a lot of sushi and stir fry , both with abundant use of soy sauce, that usually has MSG in it
It is also present in tomatoes and I eat a lot of them..
MSG (E621) is commonly listed as Hydrolized Proteins or Natural flavorings.
Franco

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#125338 - 12/16/09 11:08 AM Re: MSG: anybody else think its toxic? [Re: sarbar]
chaz Offline
member

Registered: 10/22/07
Posts: 1149
Loc: Tennessee
Originally Posted By sarbar
Yep, I think that is sad/funny about KFC. Stuff is nasty!


I can attest to the nastyness of KFC. Our last trip for a family bucket was the final straw. The pieces on the top looked normal but as we got about half way thru, everything was wet. Looks like to me they had a grease fire and doused eveything with water? I was totally unedible. We called and complained and they said they would replace or give us our next meal. We AIN'T goin back. I can still recall the taste. Yukkkk
_________________________
Enjoy your next trip...

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#128715 - 02/12/10 04:33 PM Re: MSG: anybody else think its toxic? [Re: Roocketman]
barking spider Offline
newbie

Registered: 02/12/10
Posts: 6
Loc: Springfield, IL
Don't know if it is toxic, but I have never been able to find a good reason to use it or have it in any food. I can taste no difference between foods with it and those without. I just avoid because it seems silly to add something that has no real value. In addition I prefer not to use foods with preservatives when ever possible so we dehydrate and make all of our own food for home or trail food.

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