The Hateful Eight: Snack Foods to Avoid Like the Plague If You’re Allergic to MSG

Everyone loves to snack. Whether it’s crunchy or sweet or sour or salty, we all have our favorites. My MSG allergy forced me to banish my favorite snack foods from my diet forever.

There are literally thousands of different brands of snack foods — more than I could ever name in a single blog post. I have however, narrowed it down to the eight most popular snack foods to avoid if you have an MSG allergy.

I call them “The Hateful Eight.” (Cue dramatic music.)

doritos1. Doritos – One of the most popular and best selling snack foods on the market, this tasty, crunchy snack is loaded with free glutamate. ANY chips covered with cheese flavorings ALWAYS include MSG. Always. Their ranch-flavored chips should definitely be avoided as well, just like regular ranch dressing, which is lethal to anyone with an MSG allergy.

2. Cheetos & Cheese Doodles – The orange-stained fingertips are the least of the trouble with these crunchy, cheesy snacks. Like Doritos, they’re also loaded with the dreaded glutamic acid, which in addition to triggering MSG allergies, also raises blood pressure.

pringles chips3. Pringles Chips – Now this broke my heart when I realized one of my favorite snacks was also poisoning me. It’s loaded with glutamate and the salt content is also a bad thing. Avoid flavored potato chips at all costs. Also, no matter what potato chip brand, always check the labels for the type of oil the chips were cooked in. If it’s Soybean Oil or Corn Oil, leave it on the shelf.

4. Seaweed snacks – My breakup with this delicious favorite was really hard. I especially loved the Wasabi flavored ones. Anything containing seaweed can cause an MSG reaction. I had to come to terms with the fact that seaweed equals carageenan, and move on. Oh, how I miss them.

5. Microwave popcorn – Oh yeah, in addition to all the trans fats and other garbage in these snacks, there is MSG in them in the form of things like Soybean Oil, Soy Lecithin and Citric Acid. I shudder when I think of how many bags I popped in my lifetime, and just how long it was welcome in my kitchen cabinets. Popped bags of popcorn can be dangerous too. If they’re cheese flavored, don’t buy it, and pay attention to the oils used to pop it. Also, remember that corn can naturally trigger an MSG allergy.

nutrigrainbar6. Nutri-Grain Bars– Okay, so there’s no high fructose corn syrup in this very popular snack, but they’re loaded with plenty of ingredients that are guaranteed to cause a reaction to those allergic to MSG, such as Soy Lecithin, Whey, Soybean Oil, and Guar Gum. Just a tip, ANYTHING that has a fruit filling will have MSG. You may have these in your purse or desk drawer to grab for a quick snack, and not even realize you’re poisoning yourself.

7. Marshmallows – Now, the jury’s still out on this one. I e-mailed Kraft Foods and they claim their product contains none of the additives that are associated with triggering an MSG allergy, such as Soy. Personally, I’ve eaten marshmallows and not had any reaction, but my research indicates that Soy is often used in marshmallows, along with fillers like gums, that are known to trigger MSG allergies. Try to avoid cheaper, store brand marshmallows to be on the safe side.

8. Candy and Chewing Gum – In the interest of full disclosure, I am a candy fiend. Love, love, love all different kinds of candy. I don’t chew gum at all. But I am careful to avoid all candy that includes artificial sweeteners, such as Aspartame. Aspartame can trigger an MSG allergy. Something I didn’t know for the entire three decades I spent putting Equal in my cup of tea. I have used Splenda since and that has been fine. No adverse reactions at all to it. My alternative to Splenda is pure cane sugar.

A dishonorable mention to any and all Planters Dry Roasted Nuts. They include and list Monosodium Glutamate among their ingredients as af this writing. Avoid them!

So there they are, the “Hateful Eight” snacks to avoid with an MSG allergy.


Next: How to enjoy Asian cuisine safely.