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Confused on Whole Foods & Sources

Battling the MSG Myth » "Help! I Have a Question" » Confused on Whole Foods & Sources « Previous Next »

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Posted on Tuesday, July 14, 2009 - 10:40 pm:   Delete PostPrint Post   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

I'm just starting to look into this glutamate stuff. The reason is because of long suffered anxiety disorders and OCD. I came across info and articles that kids with OCD have abnormal amounts of glutamate in certain areas of their brains. I don't even know what to make of that, as the article said that parts of their brain are too high in it and other parts are too low in it! Nothing is clear or straight forward!

I also don't understand what would cause only a handful of people to have elevated glutamate or be sensitive when obviously everyone is consuming it and is exposed to it.

I am also confused about why if I was sensitive to it, why I would not have any acute reactions to it. Absolutely EVERYTHING I have been reading about people's experiences and concerns with glutamate and staying away from it is them saying that they eat certain foods and get a "reaction" from it, whatever that means. I have never been aware of any types of "reactions" to any foods and have no 'known' allergies or sensitivities like that. Except for dairy, but I've been off that for 12yrs now.

Anyways, I am willing to be open and try to reduce my exposure to glutamate to see if that does anything for my mental state. Thing is though, since it is not an acute thing, I seriously doubt I would notice any difference in 1 week or any difference in 1 meal with glutamate in it. I don't know if I am "sensitive" to certain whole foods with natural glutamate because I don't react to any of them. I eat a pretty healthy diet overall anyways. 100% organic, vegan, mostly raw and mostly whole foods. I rarely eat any processed foods and I always read labels on everything that I do. It is hard to believe that anything that has "natural flavors" in it though for instance is absolutely msg, as their are all types of flavors. If it is a sweet or fruit based thing and not savory, I wouldn't think it would be msg based. But anyways, I can easily give up all processed cooked foods and am even considering trying to go gluten free as well.

The thing is, besides for these "additive" ingredients, I don't know what I am supposed to avoid. It appears to me that anything high in protein is naturally high in glutamate. Are we supposed to eat a very low protein diet for that reason? I've been searching on and even though things like mushrooms and tomatoes have been pointed out as being high in it, they are not nearly as high as nuts and seeds. And rice and quinoa is just as high, which are boiled. I eat a lot of nuts, but I eat them raw. Do nuts cause an excess of glutamate? Is it free glutamate? I'm just confused on what I should be eating or not in terms of real whole foods. And then what about nutritional yeast? It is high, but so are nuts. I see that soy is a problem, but is that just fermented soy? What about edamame or tofu? What about lecithin which has all the aminos removed from it? If the aminos are removed, how could msg be in lecithin? And what is so wrong with sea vegetables like dulse etc? Is it just rich in free glutamate even though it is a whole food, as opposed to bound glutamate? Where would I get my iodine? Since I don't have reactions, I can't go by trying foods to see what I "react" to, so this is all as clear as mud to me.

Reading the hidden names list on this site, some of it is very hard to believe and searching seperately for info on glutamate and those ingredients brings up nothing, NO other sources that verify that there could be msg in those ingredients, so where is this info from? I mean, just anything at all with "protein" in it? What is wrong with protein? Wheat grass? Seriously? How would whole wheat grass have msg? It's a grass, it doesn't even have gluten in it. Are these made up? And if brown rice is supposedly o.k. then why would brown rice syrup have msg in it? Guar gum, how? Are their sources to verify any of this? I thought my diet was super strict and limiting enough as it was, but this is just so complicated, I have no idea what to even eat anymore. Thanks.
Deb A.
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Posted on Wednesday, July 15, 2009 - 3:43 pm:   Delete PostPrint Post   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Anxiety disorder and OCD are not small things. You say you don't react to MSG, but the disorders you describe are very commonly caused by glutamate toxicity as have been reported to us for years. Do a search on obesity, anxiety, and some of the other symptoms to find more scientific backing...and go to You are confusing naturally occurring bound glutamate as found in naturally occurring foods to processed MSG, which is 78% free glutamate. Highly processed foods like rice syrup will have more free glutamate than rice steamed on low heat...not boiled. Not all lecithin producers make it the same way. Some producers take time to remove the glutamate residues, and some processes leave some of it in. You've seen the words, hydrolyzed, autolyzed, cured, modified, fermented as processes used in food manufacturing. If these are used on food rich in natural glutamate, the altered form of the glutamate will allow it to enter the bloodstream immediately, bypassing the need for the digestive tract to slowly break it down. This is where the problem starts..we get far to much of it today. There are 100% organic products out there that are extremely high in free glutamate due to the processes used to make them...such as veggie burgers. Most people who cannot tolerate MSG avoid soy, which is high in natural glutamate. Most soybeans used in products have been subjected to one of the processes mentioned. I do fine with most nuts as long as they are not sprayed with chemicals. But I eat naturally glutamate rich items in moderation...I eat tomatoes that are not too ripe. As they ripen, they contain more free glutamate in the flesh. The seeds and pulp contain even more glutamate. We need more studies to find out why some of us are more susceptible to excesses of glutamate. My guess is that it is part genetics and partly the effects of MSG itself on the mechanisms of the brain that rid it of excess glutamate..I think damage is being done on fetuses, too. As for natural flavor, true, sometimes it is just vanilla or rosemary. But by law, they do not have to tell you, since it indicates their proprietary blend or secret spices. This makes it very confusing. We have to play detective with a company spokesman or we have to take a chance now and then to see if we react to a product we want to try....Easy, no...worth it, yes! It's hard at first...that's why we wrote a book to help the newcomer. You might consider it. I hate to sound like an ad for it, because that is not the reason we are here...we just want to help others regain their health, both physical and mental.
Unregistered guest
Posted on Wednesday, July 15, 2009 - 6:41 pm:   Delete PostPrint Post   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Please start with Deb's test diet as posted on the main page. Also, avoid everything with Aspartame in it.
Many people are affected by this, even though they think they are not. They are just not as in tuned with their bodies as many of us who post here are.
If there is a circumstance where you must eat out at a restaurant, or consume any processed foods, make detailed notes about how you feel a few hours later, up to and including an entire day later. If you eat out at suppertime, makes notes on how you sleep that night.
Yes, it is complicated, and limiting at first. But it gets better as you come to know how and what to avoid.
Roy Piwovar
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Posted on Wednesday, July 15, 2009 - 9:13 pm:   Delete PostPrint Post   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)


You may want to do a longer self survey. My reactions to a single ingestion of MSG can last for a week.
Unregistered guest
Posted on Wednesday, July 15, 2009 - 9:48 pm:   Delete PostPrint Post   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Thanks everyone. It is no wonder that I am confused, as it is complicated and I just found out about this link, so I've been researching everything and it's all fragmented info with different sites. Some sites said to avoid all gluten, but yet I am not so sure. Maybe it's just a problem for foods like seitan or products with added gluten in them and not whole wheat flour.

I guess I just have so many questions, like is this or that o.k. now, and how would I know? I really don't eat many processed things anymore, except for some condiments like sauces, oils, vinegars, pickles, agave, maple syrup etc. which I am rechecking the labels of. I rarely ever ate any soy. I don't think my diet was high in glutamate to begin with, but I am certainly re modifying it now. I just need to know and decide what that is. At first that is all I was thinking about - o.k. no more soy sauce, no miso soup, no pasta with tomato sauces, no mushrooms, etc. And then I started looking at the glutamate levels of different nuts, seeds and grains that I eat and freaked out about not having anything left.

As far as reactions go, I don't even know what to look for as far as for immediate noticeable effects. I never eat out anyways. I usually notice if something effects me negatively though. Like when I eat chocolate at night, I am Extremely aware of how messed up my sleep is that night and for several nights afterwards. Or before certain foods I had tried places like roasted corn I had always noticed immediate brain fog and a sleepy drug like feeling after eating it. I am also hyper-aware and sensitive to whenever foods spike my bloodsugar or mess with it. So, I do notice things like that, therefore I would think I would notice with high glutamate foods of there being something up.

As far as what makes people more sensitive to glutamate, I think it could be multiple things. Genetic factors and also environmental like mercury toxicity. That is what I suspect for myself. My symptoms really came on strong and increased over years after having a possible high exposure to mercury. Because I had a silver filling that chipped and fell out one day. I had to get it refilled and they used some composite filling, but that's when everything started. I recently started putting it together and realized that since there are extreme precautions with the safety of removing mercury fillings, that since mine came out on it's own I might have had an unprotected exposure then, maybe even swallowed some of it. And then when they drilled, maybe there was some of it left as well and I was unprotected then. I really need to detox. Mercury really messes with glutamate and with causing it to be more toxic.

"mercury can paralyze the glutamate removal mechanism, leading to significant damage to synapses, dendrites and neurons themselves."

"This glutamate removal mechanism is critical to brain protection. Additionally, mercury in very low concentrations increases glutamate release, primarily by stimulating the brainís immune cell, the microglia. Chronic microglial activation, as seen with mercury exposure, has been solidly linked to all of the neurodegenerative diseases.

At least two studies have shown that mercury increases the toxicity of glutamate. Interestingly, excess glutamate can also produce the same neurofibrillary tangles seen with mercury exposure. In essence, we have the mechanism by which these diseases are produced by mercury vapor and know that it can occur in concentrations commonly found in people having dental amalgam fillings."

I also just came across an article that suggested there is some evidence that people who are sensitive to glutamate are deficient in B6, and that when they take B6 they are not so sensitive anymore.
Lisa Marie
Unregistered guest
Posted on Thursday, July 16, 2009 - 2:59 am:   Delete PostPrint Post   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

"vinegars, pickles"
Could potentially be a problem. Also, sulfites. I can't tolerate them at all.
Just because something is labeled, does not mean it is labeled properly. I sometimes react to something even with a 'clean' label. Deb says to eat things with the shortest ingredient list possible, and if there are more than 4 ingredients, proceed with caution.
Posted From:
Posted on Thursday, July 16, 2009 - 3:56 am:   Delete PostPrint Post   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

What does the amount of ingredients got to do with it? And sulfates are not glutamate right? There are natural sulfates in wine, but I buy the ones with no sulfates added and have never had a problem, although I rarely ever drink any alcohol. The pickles just have water, vinegar, salt and Calcium Chloride which I was worried about, but it doesn't seem to be on any of the lists. Nutrition Data rates pickles as being very low in Glutamic Acid -
Unregistered guest
Posted on Thursday, July 16, 2009 - 9:18 am:   Delete PostPrint Post   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Anonymous, I guarantee you that once you go for a week or so without ingesting free glutamic acid you will be more in tune to what your body tells you. My son never complained about symptoms of msg toxicity but wanted to try the test diet when he saw my results (I was very sick so the improvement was dramatic and immediately noticeable). Once he started avoiding FGA (free glutamic acid) we realized that his ankles and wrists had been swollen for a long time and we just thought it was excess weight. We didn't realize they were swollen until they shrunk in a matter of days. I guess what I am saying is that you get used to the effects of FGA gradually until you think it is normal. My teenagers are a dream to be around now that we avoid FGA and even my daughter's reading has improved (she is severely dyslexic and has struggled to read all her life). This problem is insidious and takes many forms - I'm not sure that this is the only problem that I have or if I will get completely well by avoiding it but I am sure that this has made a dramatic difference in all our lives.

Here are a list of symptoms that were unnoticed (or written off as caused by age or being overweight) until they disappeared: very dry skin, oily hair, overproduction of wax in ears, itchy scalp, slumped shoulder stance, swollen fingers/hands and ankles/feet, bad breath, receding gums, loss of balance, dragging feet or awkward gait, acne, irritability, anxiety, brain fog, bad memory, head congestion, heartburn, restless legs, insomnia, sleepiness, light sensitivity, blurry vision, the list goes on.....These are symptoms that either me or my children experienced until January 1st when we dropped all processed foods from our diet.
It sounds as if you are accustomed to a limited diet so one week of the test diet should be no problem for you. You should try it and see if it makes a difference for you. Most people on this board we were searching for answers to health problems and Deb's book made the most sense. You will know after following the test diet whether it is worthwhile for you. All of your symptoms won't magically disappear after one week but you will be able to see improvement in the way you feel overall.

By the way, my daughter's symptoms included anxiety (she said she always just knew that something horrible was going to happen) and horrible nightmares (she sometimes get these again when she accidentally ingests FGA). We all had OCD tendencies (we really thought it ran in my family but maybe glutamate sensitivity is what runs in my family) and had nervous habits (my son and I bit our nails and my daughter still sucked her thumb) but now these behaviors are warning signs that a reaction is starting and other symptoms are on the way.
Unregistered guest
Posted on Thursday, July 16, 2009 - 11:36 am:   Delete PostPrint Post   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Hi Kristy,

Thanks. I am very glad that you and your family are eating way healthier and you all feel so much better. Were you guys eating a typical junk highly processed diet though before you switched? I imagine that most people on "regular" Western diets are consuming a lot of free glutamate as well as a lot of other toxic ingredients. And I imagine if I tested such a diet I would end up with tons of horrible symptoms as well. Would it be just the glutamate? Probably not. I'm sure it would be a mix of that and all the other junk that also has tons of research for causing ill health. All the symptoms you mention, people have blamed on lots of various things and have all said that once they got rid of that thing they went away. Like heavy metals, processed sugar, candida, hypoglycemia, etc. How would we ever know what the exact culprit was? I just think they all have a role and an unprocessed diet would take care of much of it beyond FGA.

I am all for trying the 'test' diet. I'm not sure I totally understand it though as a lot is not explained in it. Like, how is there FGA in tea? I don't see that on any lists, yet it says to avoid it. Other then that though, the test diet is already very much in line with my typical diet as it is, so it will be very little to avoid. Easy, I will certainly do it.
Deb A.
Unregistered guest
Posted on Thursday, July 16, 2009 - 7:04 pm:   Delete PostPrint Post   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

If you drink organic decaf tea during the test, you will be avoid caffeine, which can be a problem for some people. Some teas contain flavorings or preservatives that might cause some people problems. The idea of the test diet is to make eating as simple and as clean as possible for a few days.

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