MSG...good, bad or ugly?


Along the same lines as the nitrites and nitrates debate in cured meats…I’d like to understand what sort of credible evidence is published to confirm the effect of msg (monosodium glutamate) on our health. Also, any additional impacts to consider for ketogenic diet, or supplementation during extended fasting (instant bouillon cubes containing msg)?

(AnnaLeeThal) #2

I notice it swells me up so I avoid it. I know some people get headaches from it.

(thefeatherdustersllc) #3

I get instant headaches w msg


I don’t know a whole lot about it other than it’s not (all, I stand corrected. @carolT) man made. Pretty sure it started with a seaweed?


Cris Kresser has an article with some referenced links in it. I’m one of those “sensitive” people who get migraines from it.

(jim schafer) #6

bad / ugly i avoid it when / if possible.

(Genevieve Biggs) #7

I’m definitely sensitive. Even homemade bone broth if I cook it too long gives me headaches. :confused:


@Genevieve, really?!?! Wow. Do you know what in the homemade broth gives you a headache?

(Genevieve Biggs) #9

Read the Kresser article above. It’s the glutamate. Before MSG, humans derived it from bones and seafood.


@Genevieve, thank you for pointing that out. I really appreciate this information.

It makes me wonder why some people feel bad when they eat msg. I’d like to understand the science behind that. Is quantity or concentration of msg in broth directly related (like what Genevieve has said about boiling broth too long?).

(Derek I. Batting) #11

For your consideration:

(Siobhan) #12

As far as I’ve heard the worst it does is cause headaches in some people who are sensitive - and the research indicates that may not be the cause of MSG.
I think it’s just a type of salt, and is found naturally in many foods (kelp, for one, I think also tomatoes and other stuff).

I’d say: undetermined, but probably fine, avoid it if you want to.

(Earl Malvar) #13

Bad. Dr. Berg has long warned people that MSG can spike the insulin by 3 times in the blood than sugar. I’ve read a few arguments saying that China and Asian food are riddled with MSG and that it’s arguable to even say that it’s non-ketogenic. Most tests have been on mice, but there’s one study I found confirming that MSG also affects the insulin levels of humans. So yes, it will stop fat loss.

(New Keto Friend) #14

That’s an important study @Earl_Malvar

I can’t a study for this, but in some people it can mess with their neurotransmitters in their brain. Glutamate makes the brain more (too) active as his opposite to seretonin. By that it can disrupt sleep patterns. (melatonin is converted out of seretonin)

When people eat natural sources then it’s glutamine which the body converts to glutamate And the body makes not more than is necessary. Glutamate or MSG is like a bombardment, it’s simply to much of it. That’s why it can be disruptive.


10g of MSG seems like an awful lot in that study. I certainly don’t use anywhere near that amount of MSG when I use it in my cooking. I don’t doubt there might be people with sensitivities to it, but that’s true of any food. I’ve yet to see a convincing argument against MSG that didn’t have it’s roots in anti-Asian racism tbh.