What You Didn’t Know About Cooking Oils and MSG

If you enjoy cooking as I do, you probably have a favorite oil or two that you like to use for your culinary exploits. My personal favorite is extra virgin Olive oil, and at times, I will cook with butter as the recipe calls for.

When I discovered my MSG allergy in January of 2014, it became necessary for me to review all the things that were regularly in my diet, among them cooking oils — and not just the oils I personally cook with, but it also became necessary to check which oils were used to prepare foods I would order out in restaurants, and in pre-prepared foods bought at the supermarket.

In my research I was pleased to discover that Olive oil was indeed safe. However, there are other popular cooking oils that shouldn’t be used or consumed by anyone with an MSG allergy.

It should be noted that these oils are bad for anyone with an MSG allergy not because of any additives, but because they can bring on MSG reactions naturally.

The first oil is Soybean Oil.  Soy products and derivatives are guaranteed to bring on MSG reactions. If you are using Soybean Oil or eating products containing it, stop. Another cooking oil to avoid, I was very surprised to find out, is Corn Oil. Corn products can mimic MSG reactions in some people. I have cooked with corn oil in the last year, but I haven’t noticed any reactions to it personally, but it is something to be mindful of.

Sunflower Oil is another cooking oil to avoid. Oils from seeds can also mimic MSG allergy symptoms.

While I could find no link between MSG allergy and Vegetable oil, Vegetable oils contain mostly heat-sensitive polyunsaturated fats. When heated, these fragile fats turn into toxic compounds including trans fat, which of course is linked to heart disease. Canola oil should also be avoided for this reason. Canola Oil, quite frankly, is as bad for you as margarine. I simply avoid it.

Coconut Oil is safe to cook with if you have an MSG allergy, though it is high in saturated fat. Peanut oil is safe as long as you do not have a peanut allergy.

When buying prepared foods, be sure to check your labels! The oils used to cook the foods will appear either second or next to last on the ingredient list. If you’re dining out, it’s absolutely okay to ask your server what oil the chef will be using to prepare your meal. They may not be able to substitute, but they can certainly suggest something else on the menu as an alternative. In fast foods, many fast food restaurants fry in canola oil and corn oil. So be mindful of that.

It was a completely new experience for me reading labels and asking chefs questions, once I discovered my MSG allergy. It’s been a challenge, and I’ve learned so much about the ingredients put into our foods. Last year, after discovering I was allergic to MSG, I suffered seven different incidents of MSG poisoning. This year, just one incident, which occurred when I had Chinese food from a restaurant I don’t normally frequent.

I attribute the decrease in my exposure to MSG to checking my labels, and also to all the research I continue to do, and share with you via this blog.

Knowledge is power.

NEXT: Canned soup is NOT your friend.