You are gluten free, but sometimes you feel you get “glutened” and you just don’t know why.   Or when eating out, the same thing, no success, you always get “glutened”   Well that may not be the case exactly.  I know, because I have been there.  This is what I have found.

We all know many people are sensitive to MSG.  Is there a higher incidence among Celiacs and Gluten Intolerants?  I have researched this for years, and in a nutshell, no one really seems to know.  Obviously MSG does not CONTAIN gluten, so why would there be?  So Celiac and Gluten Intolerance aside, maybe you are just one of those that have a sensitivity.  We also know it is likely not good for you anyway, so why put it in your body that already has stress.  I am very sensitive, and my reactions are almost identical to my symptoms of being “glutened”

Well avoiding MSG is not all that simple.  It is found in soooo many ingredients.  That is why I always say to avoid anything autolyzed, hydrolyzed, MSG, and “natural flavors” , torula yeast, and any yeast when found in a food other than breads.  Also Umame, I ran across this about a year ago, in a Whole Foods Spanish Rice mix.  WOWZA!   Umami is just a word for “savory flavor” and yes it contains MSG and or one of its cohorts.  For me, it was a short cut to a long night, you know where….

I could paste dozens of articles below, but I am just recommending being diligent about avoiding these things and see if it helps.

Eating out:

For me, this is the big culprit that has ruined  many attempts at enjoying a meal out.  I keep it simple, as stated in an earlier blog, I order my meats without seasoning. Many restaurants have only pre-marinated, or pre-seasoned meat.  They may not have an option, period

I never get the dressing, no matter how harmless it sounds.  I will sometimes, but rarely use the restaurant’s oil and lemon wedges (I don’t use the vinegar ever, sometimes they only put malt vinegar in their cruets) I always carry olive oil packets, mayo packets, and lemon packets.  This is for my GF needs and hygiene.  Restaurant lemons are, well, filthy, and I find that the oils are often stale.  Yuk.

So far, it does not seem to be in any tomato sauces at pizza and pasta places, but I never have them add a meat to my pizza or pasta dish.

Where you will commonly find it, in its various names:

– Broths and stocks, especially “low sodium”
– Soups
– Salad Dressings
– Sauces, Marinades and Gravies
– Processed chicken products, and many other meats.  Not just lunchmeats, but chicken nuggets, frozen dinners, etc.
– Foods with flavor/sauce packets.  Like Mrs Leeper’s Gluten Free Meals  (I can only eat the Tuna) and the last time I checked, all of the Hamburger Helper GF products did
– Gluten Free Soy Sauce and Liquid Aminos:  I am mentioning this for a couple reasons.  I cannot tolerate them.  My husband who is very sensitive to MSG, cannot tolerate them at all.  It must be due to the “soy protein” element listed below.

Monosodium glutamate (MSG) is one of several forms of glutamic acid found in foods, in large part because glutamic acid, being an amino acid, is pervasive in nature. Glutamic acid and its salts can also be present in a wide variety of other additives, including Hydrolyzed protein, hydrolyzed vegetable proteins, hydrolyzed yeast, autolyzed yeast , yeast extract, are usually used in synergy with monosodium glutamate-containing ingredients. However, the term ‘natural flavor’ is now used by the food industry when using glutamic acid (MSG without the sodium salt attached). Due to lack of FDA regulation, it is impossible to determine what percentage of ‘natural flavor’ is actually glutamic acid.

The FDA considers labels such as “No MSG” or “No Added MSG” to be misleading if the food contains ingredients that are sources of free glutamate, such as hydrolyzed protein. In 1993, the FDA proposed adding the phrase “(contains glutamate)” to the common or usual names of certain protein hydrolysates that contain substantial amounts of glutamate.  (From Wikipedia)

Names of ingredients that always contain processed free glutamic acid:
Glutamic acid,  Glutamate
Monosodium glutamate
Monopotassium glutamate
Calcium glutamate
Monoammonium glutamate
Magnesium glutamate
Natrium glutamate
Yeast extract
Anything “hydrolyzed” or “hydrolyzed protein”
Calcium caseinate,  Sodium caseinate
Yeast food, Yeast nutrient
Autolyzed yeast
Textured protein
Soy protein, soy protein concentrate, Soy protein isolate
Whey protein, whey protein concentrate
Whey protein isolate
Anything “…protein”

Names of ingredients that often contain or produce processed free glutamic acid:
Bouillon, broth and  Stock
Any “flavors” or “flavoring”
Citric acid, Citrate
Anything “ultra-pasteurized”
Barley malt
Anything “enzyme modified”
Anything containing “enzymes”
Malt extract
Soy sauce
Soy sauce extract
Anything “protein fortified”
Anything “fermented”
“Seasonings”        (From

'One Response to “What is hiding in the food that makes me sick?”'
  1. Debbie says:

    Great list and great information

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