The Secret Names for MSG

The Secret Names of MSG

Excerpted from the book Freedom from Fibromyalgia: 7 Steps to Complete Recovery, ©2014 by Leah E. McCullough, All Rights Reserved

I used “secret names” in the title of this chapter because on food labels, the words monosodium glutamate (MSG) do not always appear even though it is an ingredient. As I’ve been researching natural health I’ve been shocked to find that not all ingredients listed on food labels are all the ingredients in the food—some don’t have to be listed at all and some can be listed under such terms as “spices” to disguise what they really are.

You see, it’s required by the FDA that food manufacturers list the ingredient monosodium glutamate on food labels, but they do not have to label ingredients that contain free glutamic acid, even though it’s the main component of MSG. There are over forty labeled ingredients that contain glutamic acid,26 but you’d never know it just from their names alone. Further, in some foods glutamic acid is formed during processing and, again, food labels give you no way of knowing for sure.27

If you see any of the below-mentioned terms on a food label, I would avoid that food because, unless it is labeled as organic, more than likely it contains MSG. Also, the vast majority of restaurant food has MSG in it. Not only is it a neurotoxin but it can cause you to gain weight!

Here is a list of ingredients that ALWAYS contain MSG:28

Autolyzed yeast Calcium caseinate
Glutamate Glutamic acid
Monopotassium glutamate Monosodium glutamate
Textured protein Yeast extract
Yeast nutrient Sodium caseinate
Gelatin Yeast food
Hydrolyzed protein

These ingredients OFTEN contain MSG or create MSG  during processing:29

Flavors and flavorings Seasonings Natural flavors and flavorings
Natural chicken flavoring Soy sauce Soy protein isolate
Stock Broth Malt extract
Anything enzymemodified Carrageenan Maltodextrin
Protease Corn starch Citric acid
Natural pork flavoring Anything ultrapasteurized Soy protein
Malt flavoring Pectin Powdered milk
Natural beef flavoring Bouillon Barley malt
Enzymes Anything proteinfortified

Note: Natural, homemade stock and broth may contain some trace amounts of glutamic acid or glutamates. Gelatin, such as Bernard Jensen’s 100% Bovine Gelatin, and traditionally fermented soy sauce do contain trace amounts of naturally occurring glutamates. Unless you are extremely sensitive, the health benefits of these foods (with the exception of the traditionally fermented soy sauce) far outweigh the minute amounts of glutamates.

End notes:

26 “MSG: Is This Silent Killer Lurking in Your Cabinets?” Joseph Mercola, last modified April 21, 2009, accessed March 19, 2014, sites/articles/archive/2009/04/21/msg-is-this-silent-killer-lurking-in-your-kitchencabinets.aspx.

27 Ibid.

28 Ibid.

29 Ibid.


  1. Lisa Campbell says

    Dear Leah, I have been following your advice as closely as possible. I have so many questions. Btw, thank you for our previous correspondences. I know you are super busy. I am also trying to use Hal’s food guide but find it extremely restrictive, especially no potatoes. I lost weight initially on the total cleanse but things have hit a wall. I read from you that stress could be the reason, but my hubby just lost his job of 20 years, we are in the middle of major, messy renovations and I have 5 grandkids that need care regularly. I will work on trying to relax.
    My ?’s are:
    You say no sweetener but stevia yet I see recipes on your FB site using honey and coconut sugar. What gives? I just started using erythritol and xylitol for baking. Sure is trial and error. I made a huge batch of sauerkraut that turned out wonderfully but my sourdough needs work.
    What soy sauce Can I use?
    What is your stance on potatoes?
    I cannot connect to Hope Army.
    Can I use corn starch?
    I thank you profusely for all you do and for giving me hope for the first time. I have to make some adjustments to your recommended supplements as I can no longer afford Green Pastures fclo and am just taking regular clo. I am also taking probiotics that meet your guidelines, magnesium, vitamin D, zeolite and omega 3 , all in therapeutic doses. I am sleeping through the night for the first time in nine years and can usually get out of bed without taking my painkillers and they work way better than before. I hope to get off them eventually. I am weaning myself off HRT. I am still in considerable pain most days, though not like before I changed things. My pantry still needs another going through to get rid of msg. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
    Thank you so much!

    • Hi, Lisa,

      My name is Teri. I help Leah with the website and the social media. She is out of town, so I am going to answer as many questions as I can until she returns:

      Sugar Alternatives: I know she approves honey. Coconut sugar also makes sense because it is a pure source of sugar. As long as it’s the most organic, pure, least processed form, but even the most natural sugars could be causing issues. Leah is so much happier and healthier without any sugar in her diet that she gave it up completely. She says her life is so much better that it’s worth not eating any sugar at all. So for that reason, she has a difficult time recommending any sugar. (She has mentioned Xylitol as something she tried that did not work for her as an alternative.)

      In the MSG article, soy sauce is on the list of ingredients to stay away from. If you need the salty taste, Real Salt or Himalayan Sea Salt are alternatives I know she would recommend.

      Corn Starch: Here is the link to the page on her website that explains how to avoid MSG…corn starch is on her list of ingredients that may have MSG in them.

      There are recipes on her site that include potatoes, that most likely means fresh organic potatoes, not anything in a box (even if it says “made with real potatoes”).

      The Hope Army: I have access to her Facebook pages, so I should be able to approve you to join.

      I hope this was helpful. I will have Leah follow up when she returns.
      Hang in there! I sounds like you are determined and making strides!

      Unconventional Traditional

Tell Us What You Think


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.