Monosodium glutamate foods UK

Hi all
I’m an avid reader of this forum but don’t usually write very much. I am a MAV sufferer of 15 years and have been under Dr Surenthiran the last 5 years although he thinks I had it as a child too.
I take nortriptyline and topirimate daily and have been coasting along for a long time.
Dr Suren’s clinic is closing in March and they are throwing a lot at me- I have spoken to a wonderful physio that’s given me new exercises to do and I have another phoning me Wednesday to talk to me about coping with stress and emotional upset (major trigger).
One thing I have never really done is the 6 c’s (now 7) diet. Its high time I kicked myself into gear and made a start. I have spent hours reading through all the forum posts but the MSG part is really stumping me. I just do not know what I can and cannot eat. If anyone has helpful suggestions i would be so grateful.
Many thanks


Hi Jo, I am also very keen to hear responses about this. Msg is largely found in Chinese food I know that. It falls under ‘natural flavour’ in a lot of foods and the chemical number 621 (here in Australia anyway).

However, it’s just so hard to work out what has it and what doesn’t. I found out last week 2 minute noodles has it in the flavour.

Would love a list!



Hi ladies, I have found MSG to be in a lot of very tasty things unfortunately!
Such as chips like Doritos, Funyuns even some seasoned pretzels. I now only eat plain tortilla chips which do not have MSG. Another sneaky place I find MSG is in flavored pork rinds which I thought might be a good alternative to chips for no carb snacks… nope, it’s there too. Seems it’s a flavor enhancer and must do a fine job of it!
So, what I’ve figured out is it also has many different names. The US allows for it to be labeled in many different ways, which makes it incredibly difficult for us to determine if it’s an ingredient. Also, some MSG occurs naturally, so there’s that added issue too. I try not to get too crazy with it but in general terms avoid all I knowingly can. Here is an overview of the most common places MSG is added:

  • Fast food. One of the best-known sources of MSG is fast food, particularly Chinese food
  • Chips and snack foods. Many manufacturers use MSG to boost the savory flavor of chips
  • Seasoning blends.
  • Frozen meals
  • Soups
  • Processed meats
  • Condiments
  • Instant noodle products

MSG is in everything!! It’s a major trigger for me so I avoid it like the plague! It’s in pretty much anything that is processed - be careful of anything that contains “natural flavourings”, that’s a real killer. I now use Kallo stock cubes as they are naturally MSG free but do check ingredients for other potential triggers. It was really hard in the beginning, especially as anything fun seems to be off the menu, but it’s easy enough once you get used to it. Plan for anything fresh and natural and homemade and you’ll be okay. Personally I found it easier to make a list of everything I COULD eat rather than what I couldn’t as the list was shorter and I also found it made me feel more positive about it all. Also some brands contain MSG, others don’t so you have to shop around - eg I used to buy Sainsbury’s low salt and sugar baked beans but have had to switch to the more expensive Heinz full sugar and salt. So things I generally avoid as a basic list are:

Any vegetarian products like sausages, pies etc
Chinese food
Dorito’s or similar
Most biscuits (plain hobnobs are fine! As are party rings strangely - my treats have become much more childlike!)
Stock cubes
Bread sticks - usually contain malt in some form
Anything processed!

Will have a look through my cupboards and add to the list later on but hope that helps in some way for now x


Thank you that is so so helpful! I want to the diet but want to do it 100%!

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The names of ingredients in which MSG is hidden will be found on the webpage of the Truth in Labeling Campaign under “Ingredient names used to hide MSG.” First check out the ingredients that “always contain” the toxic glutamate found in MSG. There is a great deal of information about MSG in the body of the webpage: truth in labeling campaign and on facebook.


Absolutely. I did the 6Cs for 4 months earlier this year but have now reintroduced citrus (apart from bananas and pineapple - haven’t dared yet!), dairy in that I now have soft cheeses, some milk in products but am still using Oatly and am not going to try hard cheeses after advice. I’ve found I can also tolerate the occasional decaf tea and have had 3 very small glasses of white wine in the last month (rock n roll eh!). Red wine definitely a no go! So it’s much less restrictive now and I’m pretty used to avoiding MSG - I will never get used to no chocolate however!!

There’s a good list of MSG names in the HYH book and also have a look on the Migraine Strong website x


I agree with CB2006, you must find something in those sources. But then again, only do what works for you.

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Hi Jo

My daughter (14) is under Dr Surenthiran too, having been diagnosed with VM nearly a year ago. We’ve worked out that MSG is one of her major triggers and sadly it’s true that convenience food is now lost to you!! No more cheats lasagne’s from M&S as a mid-week tea!! As someone else said the Kalloo stock cubes are great as all other gravy granules and oxo have a form of MSG. Fish and chip shops also put MSG in their batter to enhance the flavour of the fish, which can then transfer to the chips (took us a while to work that out). Maltodextrose is another additive that affects those with MSG intolerance and that can be found in sweet things too including Skittles. Beware some vitamins/supplements also pose a problem - a ginger supplement I picked up in H&B recently had maltodextrose as the second ingredient.
You get used to reading ingredients for everything and then tend to stick to the same safe treats - we have party rings too!


Thanks everyone I think I’m getting there.
What’s everyone’s thoughts on heinz tomato ketchup?
I’m doing well with dairy free so far… I think I’m lucky its veganuary so everything is reduced in the supermarkets right now!

Just a thought, I got an air fryer a few months ago, and I love it, and I do a lot of my cooking there, with simple pepper, oregano, little salt, and I do a lot of fries, so double win, little fat and not msg, and yummy treats. I think you need to cook more, and rely less on precooked meals, dressings, sauces, and that is how after a while you can sneak in a few treats here and there.

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I’d suggest keeping a food/pain journal. That’s what I do. Write down the date, time and everything you eat for the day. I also write if I get nauseous, a headache or any weird symptoms and the time.

For example:
January 8th
1:06pm Oatmeal, coffee
3:30pm Chinese food
4:30pm Feel nauseous, headache

Eventually you’ll get an idea of some triggers. But write EVERYTHING down.

Let me know if you need any other help or suggestions! :blush:

My partner is a chef so I’m lucky enough to have fresh meals cooked every night! But I’ve read how oxo cubes have msg in them etc so just trying to get clued up for him really!

I have found a food intolerance app and have adapted it to mav symptoms so I think I’m making a good start to diarise.

Just to don’t want to trip up on small things like ketchup if we’ve made homemade chips.

Will definitely get some party rings if I’m mourning chocolate!!

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Hi. Yes kicking the 6 c’s is really important. I found it has helped and have identified some trigger foods. I’m also a patient of Dr Surenthiran’s but only since last June so worried he’s closing. Do you mean permanently? Who has he recommended you see now or as well as him? Thanks!

Are you an NHS patient of Dr Suren’s or do you see him privately?

I see him privately at his private Marleybone clinic. Which clinic were you seeing him and which one were you told he’s closing? Thanks

I see him on the nhs so you’re fine :slight_smile:

Getting off topic guys.

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thanks for confirming. I was a bit nervous there! good luck and hope you continue to get better.

I recently had a sickening attack of dizziness and nausea an hour after eating. I went and looked on the back of a packet of brown gravy I used for a shepherd’s pie dish and couldn’t believe my eyes. I have been doing well avoiding all the trigger foods but let my guard down. The list of MSG ingredients in this packet of gravy were hydrolyzed corn gluten, soy protein, sodium caseinate, flavor enhancers, natural flavor and malted barley. I assumed it was okay because it said on the front of the packet “no artificial ingredients.” That was a wake up call for me.