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Hidden food additives that cause anxiety and panic attacks

Updated on August 27, 2013

MSG, not for me!

For all those health conscious people reading this, I think you might have heard the saying, "If you can't pronounce it, don't eat it" right? I think this used to be a fairly safe assumption. Unfortunately today, many forms of chemicals are hidden in easy to pronounce words that seem innocent upon first glance, words like natural flavors, and soy protein. Both these examples refer to MSG. This lens is recommended for people with children, anxiety sufferers, like me, and people that love to be the first to tell their friends about the newest health buzz :)

the mean little bottle
the mean little bottle

Stir-fried Madness

Where it all began....

Hi, I'd like to introduce you to my new favorite nemesis, "House of Tsang" stir-fry sauce. It's a rather innocent looking bottle, as you can see, with a nice, comforting label of NO ADDED MSG. Great, I think to myself, generously sloshing it on to my carefully crafted, all organic, home made stir-fry. BIG mistake, BIG!...(think Julia Roberts in "Pretty Woman").

About 2 minutes after I finish a heaping plate of my stir-fry, I start to feel sick. Really sick. My stomach drops into my abdomen and tries to scratch it's way out. I become dizzy and feel like I can't breathe. I attributed this to having a hard day and thought maybe I ate too fast...2 hours later and 3 trips to the bathroom, I thought I was coming down with something. At the 3 hour mark I began to feel relief but the discomfort lasted well into the next day. I ate the stir-fry again for lunch...felt like crap again but not as bad as before, as I had eaten less for lunch. It wasn't until I ate it for the 3rd time that I figured it out. This time I pinned it on the food.

I ran to the fridge like a madwoman, hell bent on revenge and snatched up the mean little bottle. MSG. The label clearly marked the bottle NO MSG what gives? Here are the ingredients...can you find the MSG?

Soy sauce Sherry Wine Sugar Water Vinegar Modified Corn Starch Cotton seed Oil Sesame Seed Oil Salt Dried Garlic Hydrolyzed Wheat and Soy protein Dried Onions Xanthan Gum Natural flavor Disodium Inosinate and Disoduim Guanylate sodium benzoate (preservative). Soy Sauce Modified Corn Starch Hydrolyzed Wheat and Soy Protein Natural Flavor Disodium Inosinate and Disoduim GuanylateHow did you do? Now that I'm educated on the subject, thanks to Truth In Labeling, I can see it in that list 5 TIMES! In order, MSG is the same as: Soy Sauce Modified Corn Starch Hydrolyzed Wheat and Soy Protein Natural Flavor Disodium Inosinate and Disoduim GuanylatePretty crazy huh? As it turns out, the food industry thinks MSG on their food label looks bad...wonder why, so they decide to give it cute, simple or fancy names. SNEAKY, SNEAKY BAD FOOD INDUSTRY!


The Low Down...

brief history of MSG, a must read


o here's the lowdown. About a century ago, a Japanese scientist found that when he extracted a certain type of salt found in everything, but mainly seaweed, and mixed it into bland food, it became YUMMY. Then he gave it to the army so they could keep their troops happier with the slop they were being fed. The word quickly spread to other nations near Japan and eventually found it's way to America. YAY.

Fast forward a few decades. People, mainly our parents thought, hey man, like, that DDT stuff is like, bad man. They also figured out a bit later MSG was not so good either, and created a ruckus that paved the road for food labels and the FDA's responsibility to monitor them. So, in response to the outcry, the food industry's idea was, hey, ok my peeps, we'll take it out of your food unless we mark it clearly on this nice label we provide for your peace of mind, but what really happened was the hiring of a bunch of lawyers and spin doctors to come up with cute labeling tricks to circumvent the new laws...GROSS. By my count they have successfully come up with 50+ new words for MSG and 1 tricky tactic.

30 seconds of fun - Me at the computer

Oldie but a goodie....


50+ Words for MSG and One Tricky Tactic

"If you want to make someone angry, tell him a lie; if you want to make him furious, tell him the truth." ~Arthur Schopenhauer, Philosopher, 1788-1860

I'll start with the tricky tactic first, since it's the one that killed my sanity in that damnable stir-fry sauce. Technically, Disodium Inosinate and Disodium Guanylate are not MSG, HOWEVER, those two substances only job is to enhance the power of MSG!! So where you find Disodium Inosinate and Disoduim Guanylate, you know it's only reason is to react with MSG. Further, they reason that since MSG is extracted from "NATURAL SOURCES" I will quote Truth in Labeling again here:

"The not so new game is to label hydrolyzed proteins as pea protein, whey protein, corn protein, etc. If a pea, for example, were whole, it would be identified as a pea. Calling an ingredient pea protein indicates that the pea has been hydrolyzed, at least in part, and that processed free glutamic acid (MSG) is present. Relatively new to the list are wheat protein and soy protein."

Ok, ok, one more, just for laughs...what is NATURAL FLAVORS...HMMMM? Got a guess? YEP...most likely MSG!!! It's cheap, it makes people like eating out of a box or can (think dog food), and the food industry hasn't quite figured out how to sell their crappy products without it they changed the game.

Helmets on? Because here's some incoming!!! May I present THE LIST (found here)

These ALWAYS contain MSG

Glutamate Glutamic acid Monosodium glutamate Monopotassium glutamate Calcium glutamate Monoammonium glutamate Magnesium glutamate Natrium glutamate Gelatin Calcium caseinatean Sodium caseinate Textured protein "hydrolyzed" "hydrolyzed ... protein" Yeast nutrient Yeast extract Yeast food Autolyzed yeast Vetsin AjinomotoThese OFTEN contain MSG or create MSG during processing Carrageenan Maltodextrin Malt extract Natural pork flavoring Citric acid Malt flavoring Bouillon and Broth Natural chicken flavoring Soy protein isolate Natural beef flavoring Ultra-pasteurized Soy sauce Stock Barley malt Soy sauce extract Whey protein concentrate Pectin Whey protein Protease Soy protein concentrate Protease enzymes Anything protein fortified Flavors(s) & Flavoring(s) Anything enzyme modified Anything fermented Natural flavor(s) Enzymes anything the word "seasonings"These ingredients work synergistically with MSG to enhance flavor(If they are present for flavoring purposes, so is MSG) Disodium 5'-guanylate Disodium 5'-inosinate Disodium 5'-ribonucleotides


My so called revenge

"Sweet is revenge--especially to women." ~Lord Byron (George Gordon Noel Byron)


'm definitely not taking all this new info and laying down. You are welcome to read here as I continue my journey down the rabbit hole towards whatever may come. This list details action I am currently taking, some to help other people, and one for well, revenge I guess.

1. I am following the advice of the Truth In Labeling site I've found and I'm submitting "House of Tsang" to the BAD list.

2. I am calling the FDA and reporting this company and product. (To report mis-branded products to the FDA, please call the FDA at 888-723-3366 between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., eastern time - and keep a record of your call.)

3. I have found a phone number for the company responsible for either manufacturing or distributing this poison errr...stuff...I'm not sure which. The company is Hormel. I have called and received a call back from Cheryl at Hormel (727-453-XXXX), but I was on the phone...we are playing phone tag at this point...I can't wait to get in touch with Cheryl and ask her a few questions.

the guy in the white coat
the guy in the white coat

Wrap up

"That's not a lie, it's a terminological inexactitude. Also, a tactical misrepresentation." ~ Alexander Haig

In short... Being an anxiety sufferer for over 10 years I know my triggers. I carefully check labels and thought I knew what to avoid...My 2 biggest problems come from caffeine and MSG. I really thought I was crazy for the last couple years and thought my anxiety was back because i was stressed out. I kept going to doctors and they'd look at me with that patented, concerned face and write me out another script for Ativan. I hate taking drugs and I have developed a particular loathing for doctors that look at me funny when I ask them if it could be food (other than caffeine) triggering me. I no longer have "white coat syndrome" or that inherent trust of those that don the white jacket. They don't know JACK.

C' honest

Please choose the one that best fits your mood after reading the article...

Were you aware of all the names for MSG?

See results

Cool things I've used and loved to help me relax on Amazon - Warning! Relax is a relative term...see Franky Goes to Hollywood

Things i find relaxing.

Heavens Therapy Motorized Head Wizard Scalp Massager
Heavens Therapy Motorized Head Wizard Scalp Massager

A neat head scratchy thingy. Looks like an octopus feels like a goosebumps making, dream cloud of too but not the same if you have to use it on yourself...bummer :D

A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life's Purpose (Oprah's Book Club, Selection 61)
A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life's Purpose (Oprah's Book Club, Selection 61)

Eckhart Tolle's "A new earth" - he sounds like every other self help "guru" until you realize your once strong urge to hurl the book across the room has magically transformed into your ,have to have it, security blanket of restful the heck do you do it man?...every time.


FEEDBACK! - Feed me Seymore!

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    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      Thank you for this list! I get severe migraines from MSG. I knew it was hidden in some of these ingredients, but not all that you listed.

    • profile image

      TanoCalvenoa 5 years ago

      Good article. I just finished one about MSG myself. As a panic attack sufferer plus bipolar disorder sufferer I am extra careful with what I swallow. I actually wish MSG could be banned.

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      I get to the point I am afraid to eat, my heart pounds very hard, I sweat, and I have had panic/anxiety attacks last for 2 hours because I am high. They are trying to kill us with food, who ever they could be, and I am certain white flour is causing the heart attacks scrubbing peoples arteries out and inflaming hearts. Anyway, thanks for the info!

    • AnxiousAthena LM profile image

      AnxiousAthena LM 5 years ago

      @anonymous: Yes, it has helped me a ton as well. I too get weird skin sensations, like a tiny bug is crawling on me that isn't there. Next food to write about for me is Aspartame...finding I have reactions to that as well.

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      MSG has been a problem for me as it is a trigger for my migraines. It also gives me weird skin crawling reactions. My face will start tingling and will last for several hours. This list will help me avoid what I think is the worst stuff on the planet.

    • AnxiousAthena LM profile image

      AnxiousAthena LM 6 years ago

      @anonymous: Wow! Good for you! I'm trying to cut processed foods PERIOD and its HARD! Little steps...Glad you feel so much better...I feel better each step I take away from chemicals as to lobby the FDA to label our GMO (genetically Modified Organisms) correctly...sheesh!

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      I have some problem which feels like a combination of a diabetic reaction and anxiety but feel very tired and at the same time crave that food or badly need something to eat about and hour to two hours after eating it. The food is a specific cereal and it's the only cereal where I've had this problem. The cereal is a honey coated or flavored cereal and it's one of the most famous brands of cereal. Do they put some additive in the cereal trying to get people to want more, more, more so they can make more, more, more money. I'm not sure if it's just an allergy problem I am experiencing or if it's something that many people have experienced. In the past, such as months ago when I ate that cereal before bedtime, I would wake up feeling like I was having a diabetic attack and as far as I know I don't have Diabetes and no serious blood sugar problem otherwise. Yesterday when I ate the cereal about an hour later I felt very weak like I was going to pass out, nervous, scared, angry, and like giving up on life. Actually, taking a few sips of iced coffee from a major fast food restaurant did help me and then eating something once I got home made a big difference. But I'm not going to eat that cereal because I think it's the problem for me.

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      I've recently stopped (7 weeks ago) eating masses of junk like coke, chips and chocolate. Have been shovelling it into my system for years, (fortunately I have a high metobolism). Anyway I had panic attacks, mood swings, sleep disorder and at one point I was told I had bi-polar.

      Well since giving all this cr#p up, I'm a new guy, not mention losing 7Kg. I feel 1000% better and for the past 3 weeks I've not had a single panic attack, mood swings even though I've been under heaps of stress. Previously I would have been going crazy, Now I've remained calmed, chilled and taken things in my stride.

    • AnxiousAthena LM profile image

      AnxiousAthena LM 8 years ago

      @GonnaFly: Yeppers..deception is the game and exposing it is my thang :)

    • AnxiousAthena LM profile image

      AnxiousAthena LM 8 years ago

      @sulcatamandy: Thanks :) Love to see your smiling face.

    • AnxiousAthena LM profile image

      AnxiousAthena LM 8 years ago

      @camdensdaddy: Thanks, you too. Awesome first lens, BTW.

    • AnxiousAthena LM profile image

      AnxiousAthena LM 8 years ago

      @KarenTBTEN: Color is the spice of life! errr or something like that :) I sooo wish i could hack the caffeine, but it is not to be, decaf only for me.

    • AnxiousAthena LM profile image

      AnxiousAthena LM 8 years ago

      @delia-delia: I looked up this Ajinomoto...sheesh...crazy stuff. Thanks for letting me know about it.

    • AnxiousAthena LM profile image

      AnxiousAthena LM 8 years ago

      @JewelRiver: LOL! I know...I can't wait until someone chooses that response.

    • AnxiousAthena LM profile image

      AnxiousAthena LM 8 years ago

      @emmahud: Yes, yes...let's spread the word! :)

    • GonnaFly profile image

      Jeanette 8 years ago from Australia

      Very informative and eye-opening lens. I don't seem to have any problems with MSG but my sister-in-law has to avoid it. What deceptive labelling! 5*

    • sulcatamandy profile image

      Mandy 8 years ago from Montana

      Great lens! Glad I checked it out! *5

    • hayleylou lm profile image

      hayleylou lm 8 years ago

      Wow thanks for the info 5*

    • camdensdaddy profile image

      camdensdaddy 8 years ago

      Great informative lens. Keep up the good work

    • KarenTBTEN profile image

      KarenTBTEN 8 years ago

      Very nicely done -- a really awesome first lens. I am MSG sensitive, at least a little. I mean that it can speed up my head a little and contribute to bad dreams, though it won't make me physically sick. I was aware that it was hidden in quite a few foods. I understand that it occurs naturally in quite a few substances that are otherwise healthy (like, as you noted seaweed) so 'no added MSG' can be true, yet to whatever percentage of the population has a problem, it's, well, a problem. It's pretty individual. I do great on caffeine -- I find it calming even -- but histamines are something I have to watch out for. Anyway, I've heard the story of how MSG made army food tasty, but you told it in a particularly colorful way.

    • delia-delia profile image

      Delia 8 years ago

      what a great lens!!!! very well written and informative...5*...Ajinomoto is the one that bothers me, but does it ever make your food taste good...but alas a headache you will not forget, and a dry mouth to boot...yep, that's what I get.

    • profile image

      JewelRiver 8 years ago

      This is a really great lens! I love this line in particular on the quiz: I'm sure this is just a conspiracy theory...just like the twin towers...GO U.S.A. !!! I'm giving this 5 stars

    • profile image

      emmahud 8 years ago

      A great informative lens written by a natural entertainer. This is definitely something we should all be aware of. Great job.


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