Dear Jillian Michaels – Shut Your Lips About Pop Chips!

IMG 0295

Dear Jillian Michaels -

Can you please kindly shut your lips about Pop Chips? You say in this video I linked to below that Pop Chips have “no preservatives, no trans fat, no msg, no artificial nothing” – These are chips “Your kids will love ” and “Something you can feel good about…”

But I don’t think so.

You see, I know you know what I’m about to tell you.  The reason I know you know this is because you are very well educated about the topic of chemicals in your food and have access to world renowned nutritionists, biochemists and all sorts of other experts at the top of their fields.  You wrote a well explained and eye opening book called ”Master Your Metabolism” – remember?

You also have the most amazing podcast every week, where you share incredible information about living chemical free. And when you were on the Biggest Loser – I really loved the fact that you didn’t want to promote certain products like “Brita Filter” until they discontinued the use of BPA in their plastics, remember?! !

So what happened?!  Did Popchips give you an offer you couldn’t refuse?…Maybe they are giving you their first born child?  I know you are looking to adopt, but seriously.

Jillian, you specifically say that Popchips “don’t have MSG” …. but when I look at the back of a package of BBQ, Sour Cream Onion, Sea Salt & Vinegar or other flavors – I see the words “YEAST EXTRACT, AUTOLYZED YEAST, SODIUM CASEINATE, AND/OR NATURAL FLAVOR” all glaring back at me.  I know you know these are all hidden names for MSG.  Don’t even act like for one minute you didn’t know this and play dumb.


Screen Shot 2012 01 24 at 8 48 06 PM

Screen Shot 2012 01 23 at 11 08 23 PM

Let’s pretend, however, for a minute you didn’t know this.  Using the word “yeast extract” in replace for MSG is a common deceptive tactic used by food manufactures to hide “glutamic acid” in our foods without labeling it.  (This is the same acid that makes up the majority of MSG.) Because yeast is naturally occurring, Popchips and other companies can legally say they don’t use MSG.  This is a ridiculous, because the additives whether they are called “natural flavor” or “yeast extract” or “autolyzed yeast” can still contain up to 75% glutamic acid – the acid associated with “reproductive disorders, migraine headaches, permanent damage to the endocrine system leading to obesity and other serious disorders.”

Due to lack of FDA regulation, it is impossible to determine what percentage MSG is in food – so the food industry gets away with using it several times in a product under different names and in any amount they see fit to literally “excite” your taste buds. Glutamic Acid is absorbed very quickly in the gastrointestinal tract, causing brain cell damage and neurotoxicity.  Glutamic acid literally excites your brain cells to death.

IMG 0298

Looking at back at your book – You say MSG is “downright evil” and to “avoid it at all costs,” which makes total sense to me considering the effects from its consumption. So why are you now saying it’s ok to eat Pop Chips that contain not 1 but potentially 3 hidden sources of MSG?

I really didn’t think that anyone could fool “America’s Toughest Trainer” – but maybe I was wrong.

With Great Respect,

Food Babe

P.S. If I ever meet you, please don’t beat me up.

Photo 1

Check out the FAQs from The Pop Chips website about MSG in their products – They are pulling a similar move as Yoforia – Selling a better for you “base” product and then playing tricks on you.

do popchips have msg or other flavor enhancers? no way. we only use all-natural flavors. because we promise our fellow snackers all-natural, and we mean it.

Here’s the video from Jillian Michaels where she states that Pop Chips don’t have MSG -

More Information:

Read about why using “yeast extract” allows food manufactures to pull a fast one on you Here and Here and Here.

Check out what happens when Amy’s Kitchen receives complaints about using Yeast Extract in their organic and natural products Here.

Find all the sources of hidden msg in your food via Truth in Labeling Here and Here.

And last but not least…

Check out my Facebook Fan Page where I share info like this all the time!  If you like this letter – Like me too, ok?

food babe subscribe healthy habits icon
Healthy Habits
food babe subscribe left green arrow
Subscribe to Food Babe!
Get a free copy of Food Babe's Healthy Habits, enter amazing product giveaways, and be the first to get the latest blog post.
, , ,
Posts may contain affiliate links for products Food Babe has approved and researched herself. If you purchase a product through an affiliate link, your cost will be the same (or at a discount if a special code is offered) and Food Babe will automatically receive a small referral fee. Your support is crucial because it helps fund this blog and helps us continue to spread the word. Thank you.

82 Responses to “Dear Jillian Michaels – Shut Your Lips About Pop Chips!”

  1. Ruth

    I’m just getting into all this health and organic eating and I didn’t know that about the yeast extract. I think I may have seen something about it, but couldn’t remember what.
    I will make it a point to remember what it is.

    • Food Babe (to Ruth)

      Ruth – Yeah – It’s hard trying memorize all these crazy deceptive ingredients, isn’t it?!

      • kath (to Food Babe)

        is yeast extract like marmite and vegemite? so are they just jars of MSG? sorry, i’m a Brit and partial to marmite on toast and as i now live in Australia my kids eat vegemite sandwiches (easier to spread than marmite!)

      • Tricia (to kath)

        Was there ever an answer to this? I have the same question. I always assumed, Vegemite was natural and healthy…so many people hate it! So what’s the scoop on this product?

      • Assistant to Food Babe (Krista) (to Tricia)

        Yes, the main ingredient is yeast extract so it contains very high levels of MSG.

      • Wendy (to Food Babe)

        We like Snikiddy eat your vegetables chips. I know they are made with canola oil but the rest of the ingredients are good. Your thoughts?

  2. farmer_liz

    I love these posts! Go Food Babe! Just wondering why gelatin is a necessary evil…. I’ve heard that its good for you…..

    • Food Babe (to farmer_liz)

      Ha! That’s because of the all the essential amino acids it has because it comes from animals bones… however… you can get the same benefits from raw cacao, chia seeds, nuts and other plant based food – so there’s really no reason to have gelatin for any specific reason.

  3. Yella

    Wow…unbelievable! Great post Vani!

  4. Shane

    Jillian Michaels doent know who she is dealing with lmao!

  5. Christine Poole

    Luv it! We use to buy these since my hubby loves chips, I have not purchased in long time. I learned a few things, thank you!

    • Food Babe (to Christine Poole)

      I too have this problem with the husband! I’ve resorted to just buying Mary’s Gone Sticks and Twigs, Sprouted Wheat Pretzels and the Occasional Organic “Late July” tortilla chip that has no flavoring…

      • Amanda (to Food Babe)

        thanks for the healthy suggestions. I am having such a hard time getting started with all this. Something you think is healthy and then its not!

      • Food Babe (to Amanda)

        You are welcome Amanda – keep your chin up!

  6. kerry surface

    great letter! i also heard her on one of the morning shows talking about pop chips. i saw them in a grocery store and looked at the ingredients and immediately put them down! curiously, is the picture you posted of the chips at earthfare? isn’t MSG on their “banned” list ? and just like jillian, i know that they (earthfare) would have to know!

    • Food Babe (to kerry surface)

      I need to talk to Earth Fare about this one – There’s lots of yeast extract all over their store – They ban MSG but not yeast extract… maybe I can influence something here…. hmmmmm…

    • Food Babe (to kerry surface)

      Oh and… BRAVO! For reading the label and knowing what’s up!!!

  7. Alana

    Maybe she was only talking about the original ones with no flavoring! They only have potato ingredients, oils (OK not the best, but not MSG) and salt.

    • Food Babe (to Alana)

      Hi Alana – It would be nice to think this – but sadly she sells all the flavors on her website and poses with all the different flavors in her endorsements…

  8. kim

    Girlfriend…your Brain is so powerful and full…Only wish I could keep half of your facts in my brain. Thanks so much. I always stay away from MSG as it reeks havoc on my digestive system, now this explains how come it is true with other products.
    Thanks again for coming to our meeting last week with Elle.

    • Food Babe (to kim)

      You are welcome! I love coming to Elle’s potlucks – I always meet the most inspiring people! It was nice to meet you!

  9. Amber

    It’s too bad as Master Your Metabolism was one of the books that really influenced the way I eat today, but I lost all respect for Jillian as soon as she started hawking her weight loss meds. For me this is another one of those “healthy” products I can do without. If I feel the need for potato chips, I can pick some up at Trader Joe’s that contain just potatoes, oil, and salt. I’d rather splurge that way than eat something that is “healthy” but makes me feel like crap.

    • Food Babe (to Amber)

      Amber – You make a very good point!!!

      I still think JM’s book is great – I just hate the mixed messages! I might send this article to JM’s PR team to see if I can get a response!

      Wish me luck!

      • slw1957 (to Food Babe)

        Did you send the article and if so did you hear back? I’m thinking you wouldn’t hear back. The task of waking people up is unrewarding for the most part. Nobody likes their alarm clock. Especially if it involves their bank account! Let’s all just hope that she knows about this article, seen it, read it, read it again and decides to hold their feet to the fire on this to change the ingredients or minimum, post a warning label like the ones on cigarettes! X fingers crossed X something happens because all I am hearing from her camp is crickets! OH and thanks for being my alarm clock Food Babe!

  10. Dee

    Do you know of any websites that discuss how bad MSG is for you, but in a really clear and easy to understand way? I don’t know anything about chemistry/amino acids/etc and would like to learn more!


  11. Jes

    This just made me soooo sad! But I’ve been thinking that it sure seemed like a lot of ingredients. Thank you for opening our eyes to the things we don’t know we should be looking for!

  12. Marcia

    Does “nutritional yeast” play into this at all? Is there anything about the high processing at high heats done to create nutritional yeast to cause concern?

    • Food Babe (to Marcia)

      Nutritional yeast is not processed the same way…so you are safe with that.

  13. Gillian

    Not going to lie – I went to a huge event that had Pop Chips and I ate a ton and took some home with me! Mind you, I knew all too well they were junk food, and thought of them as just that! They left such an awful taste in my mouth in the end though, they’re not something I’ll ever purchase myself!

    • Food Babe (to Gillian)

      I am pretty sure, we’ve all done this with free food. I know I am guilty!

  14. Fawn

    Thanks for the eye opener! I actually did see them at the store and thought about getting them for my boys one day but changed my mind after looking at the long ingredient list. I wanted to research the ingredients first, but now I don’t have to!

    I also want to say, I have total respect for Jillian…love her workouts and love her book “Master your Metabolism”. I have no idea what she’s thinking with this one! I would love to hear if you get a reply about this from her.

    Keep up the good work!

    • Food Babe (to Fawn)

      Fawn – That’s why I wrote this letter… I know it is a bit sarcastic, but I was hoping to get her attention because I respect her so much.

  15. jessie

    i would be interested to learn more about msg. Do you know of any resources that I should check out? Or what other names that are used to hide msg in products?

  16. Danyelle

    I am so tired of junk foods that are marketed as healthy…it is depressing. lol. I have 4 kids, ages 17 to 3 and even they eat healthy 80% of the time. Sun Chips and Veggie Chips are others that drive me crazy when even the school swears they are healthy. MSG is terrible. Oh adn the terrible taste is the MSG!

  17. Connie Trowbridge

    This is outrageous! This letter needs to be sent to her publicist. I look up to Jillian so very much, and I would hate to think that someone who is considered to have the healthiest body, can be advertising MSG. She owes an explanation to her fans.

    • Food Babe (to Connie Trowbridge)

      I agree – I tried to contact her before I wrote it too!

      • Connie Trowbridge (to Food Babe)

        I’ve tried contacting her or a representative since finding this out….even pop chips themselves. So far the closest I have gotten to an actual response is this email below… however, I won’t be holding my breath that this actually gets resolved, or to her for that matter.

        Hello, Connie,

        Thank you for writing and pointing out this possible discrepancy. We will certainly evaluate the situation to determine what error may have occurred. Healthy food is a priority for Jillian.

        We value your input. If you have any further feedback you’d like to provide, the link below my signature will direct you to a brief survey. We look forward to hearing from you!

        If you have any further questions, please don’t hesitate to reply and let me know. If you prefer to speak to a live representative, you can always call us toll free at 1-866-348-9729, 9am-8pm EST, Monday through Friday.


        Customer Service
        Jillian Michaels Online

      • Food Babe (to Connie Trowbridge)

        Thanks for your effort and joining the fight for truth!

  18. Andrew

    People should eat kale chips….mmmmmm!

  19. Haley S

    Oh no! I love Popchips. Not anymore :( I thought they were safe!

    • Elle Ess (to Haley S)

      Unfortunately, *very* few processed foods are “safe”.

  20. Gabrielle

    I’m sure she knows what is in them. I’m also sure she gets paid to promote the product, so in the end, its about money and not about health.

  21. Lisa Koleszar

    Thanks Vani for telling it like it is!
    I am getting so sick of the downright lies by food manufacturers.
    Keep up the good fight,
    Your friend,

  22. Melissa

    PLEASE SEND THIS TO JM PR TEAM! Please please please. She has a lot of influence and thus the ability to shape the minds and habits of a lot of people (and even companies). Call her out on this, tell her that we know that she knows and we don’t approve… and we expect and NEED better from her. Thanks for all you do!

    PS: have you ever done anything on Lundberg Rice Chips? I know they have caramel coloring in them which is not ideal (at best), but I love them and they are pretty much the only type of chip I buy. I’m curious if there is even more to be skeptical about beyond the caramel coloring. Do you have an alternative that is cleaner that you would suggest?

  23. Marilyn

    OMG! I just this week started eating these, as they sell them at my gym. I started having weird neuro problems/anxiety that I couldn’t explain and have been taking kali phos, niacin and magnesium because I couldn’t understand why this was all the sudden happening to me. NOW I KNOW! I am VERY sensitive to MSG and any of these types of neuro interrupters, but didn’t realize the different names for MSG. Thank you so much for this info! Glad to find out so early on and not months into this; especially as I am also trying to get pregnant. THANK YOU!

  24. Stephanie

    Good looking out! I liked to eat pop chips on occasion but i’m definitely not a fan of MSG.

    As always, you are amazing!

    Keep up the great blogging!

  25. Whitney C

    Not sure your jugular comment about adoption was really necessary to get your point across. What a disappointment. Thought you were better than that.

  26. Meagan twomey

    I totally understand your point but your comment about Jillian’s first child and her wanting to adopt was just mean… Using tactics like that only serve to discredit yourself.

    • Food Babe (to Meagan twomey)

      Sorry you didn’t find the humor in that…

      • Marie (to Food Babe)

        This is clearly coming from adopted ” triplets ” where laughing wasn’t allowed. Seriously, lighten up! My hubby ALL the time tells me I’m ‘too serious’. Morally? Yes! Truth, honor and respect are essential fibers to any human. But in this case,
        What ‘food babe’ wrote to open her perspective on JM’s support of pop chips (hiding msg) was meant to convey the seriousness of her seeming deviation to what, once upon a time, was a big NO for her. Sighhhhh, you are entitled to claim ‘offended’, but under three different names? Come on. At least space it out more than a 30 minute time frame. Food babe apologized. TWICE. So guess what? I’d say that’s bullying. And no face to go with it? Shame. But this is a free country, with free speech. So let’s all enjoy our freedoms, and respect others opinions. And try to see the good intention in people. The more one focuses on the good, the more it transpires! But I’ve also learned, critical and easily offended people typically have/had critical and sarcastic parents…. Which I find sad, and consequently find MORE patience and grace for (yes, I love Jesus!)
        Regardless, thanks Food babe! I have those chips in my pantry now, and no where does it say “no MSG”. But we (I) know everything you said is true!! Tragic. My hubby loves them, and so I choose my battles wisely;)
        Thanks for the post!!! Great site; you’re informative, passionate and adorable:)
        (and quite funny lol)

  27. Katie

    The plain chips are the only ones we eat! They have no corn products in it!!

  28. silvia alvarez

    we used to eat pop chips until i read about the hidden names for MSG…my kids got upset but iam their mom and I make the rules, and about Jillian i actually have her book and its great and i enjoy watching The Biggest Loser show…but the food they promote in that show is just not healthy and it is also sad to see that in a visit to a pharmacy i saw diet pills with Jillian picture on the box…so dissapointed. =(

  29. Tanya

    Great post, but I have to agree that the adoption comment sounded spiteful. Some things just aren’t funny no matter how you spin them

  30. Amanda

    Thanks for posting! Love reading your stuff…I especially love the PS part:). Cracking me up! Thanks for all of your hard work…I’m starting to cook whole organic foods this year and def using your site to help me:)

  31. mallory

    I have tried these chips on two different ocassions and I have gotten severely sick after eating them (severe intestinal duress, dizzy, cold sweat etc) I assumed it was due to some kind of alleregy I had to one/some of the ingredients. Makes sense now!

    • Food Babe (to mallory)

      That’s crazy. Thanks for sharing your experience Mallory.

  32. Jessica Lake

    LOL — No punch in the face, just a big fat kiss on the mouth for being such a fearless bad ass

    • Food Babe (to Jessica Lake)

      Awe… I would love a kiss from Jillian… (ok… don’t take that the wrong way… haha.)

  33. Dave

    I used to really enjoy watching the Biggest Loser until they started with all of the product placements. The focus should remain on eating whole foods and balanced exercise, rather than these packaged products that are being pushed as healthy.

    Thanks for keeping us up to date on the sneaky steps that food manufacturers take to fool the general public. You have opened my eyes to many foods that I used to think were healthy choices.

  34. Moses Adams

    Hello Vani I think you were right on with that commit. With enough money corporate can BUY just about anything. Thank you for your commitment !!!

  35. Gabrielle

    Hi Vani. Does Brita still use BPA in their plastics? What if any water filtration system do you use?

    Thank you!!

    • Food Babe (to Gabrielle)

      I am pretty sure they removed all BPA from their product line. The best water filters are 4 stage and installed directly on your sink or water supply. But for work/casual use… Brita is alright… and there are some others that use a glass bottle, which I like better…

  36. Nicole

    Hi. I’m new to eating gluten free. I know I don’t tolerate it, but I haven’t officially been tested yet for allergies or celiacs. Is there a book or website with a list of all the gluten names? I’m trying to learn how to read the labels, but there is so much stuff. If I had a list to put in my purse when shopping for groceries, that would really help.


  37. Tiffany

    Haven’t ready all of the comments, but you would be interested to know that Jillian Michaels actually has a financial stake in Popchips. She’s an admitted investor…money talks!

  38. David

    Help me out here … what exactly is wrong with glutamic acid (aka glutamate)? This is an amino acid naturally found in all food proteins. When you eat anything with protein, you are ingesting glutamic acid. Moreover, the amount of glutamic acid you get from additives like MSG or yeast extract is relatively tiny compared to what you get in your normal diet. What impact could a very small amount of glutamic acid from MSG or yeast extract have on your health when you normally get much higher amounts from food? If glutamic acid caused all the neurological problems you mention, we’d all become neurologically damaged every time we ate protein.

  39. Uju

    Informative post. Not so keen on the comment about Jillian’s child. Seems rude and insensitive. If it was meant to be humorous it really was made in bad taste.

  40. Michelle

    According to Wikipedia:

    Yeast extract contains naturally occurring glutamic acid or monosodium glutamate; this is produced from an acid-base fermentation cycle, and is only found in some yeasts, typically ones bred for use in baking.

    Many food producers have replaced monosodium glutamate with yeast extract, which requires no E-number labeling, and allows food producers to claim their product is ‘all natural’ or ‘with natural flavorings’. Health proponents claim this is a subversive move by the industry to hide an additive since the MSG contained within the yeast extract does not require explicit labeling. Food industry bodies state:

    Yeast extract is often confused with monosodium glutamate (MSG) – a common flavor enhancer – despite the fact that these ingredients differ strongly, both in composition and function. While yeast extract is made up of a rich mix of proteins, vitamins and amino acids, MSG is composed exclusively of glutamate salt. As a result, monosodium glutamate does not have a taste of its own and is only used to make existing flavors stronger.

  41. Kristin

    That explains a lot! I am gluten intolerant and ate Pop Chips last night with dinner. I am now in bed with a horrible stomachache. MSG must be the cause! No more Pop Chips for me.

  42. Katelyn Dejno

    I lost respect for Jillian a long time ago. She says things like that and then recommends and endorses products that go completely against what she recommends. She says to not take diet pills yet she has her face and name on her own brand of them! Good for you for calling her out. Thank you for this! And thank you for your honesty in this area…I feel like you’re the only one!

  43. Alessandra

    Hi!! I wanted to share this NY Times article with you, but didn’t know where to send it, so I put “chips” in the search box, and figured this would be the best match:

    It is specifically about Doritos, but there is reference to MSG…and other harmful chemicals…Hope you enjoy!!

  44. Tiffiny

    Hey did you ever get a response from Julian? Also, it astounds me that Europe still uses MSG in a lot of sauce packages & snacks. It’s called differently though ( in German Mononatriumglutamat).

  45. Tiffiny Stephan


  46. Bonnie

    Reading all of the false claims is extremely frustrating. I was watching The Biggest Loser a few days ago, and I was really annoyed/frustrated by some of the product placements. And the products that the cast were basically advertising on air which I know (just from reading Vani’s blog and other sources) are chock FULL of GMO’s and processed ingredients. Subway, Yoplait Greek Yogurt where a couple I remember. While I understand that beginning a weight loss journey can be a very overwhelming feat for anyone, there really is just no excuse for a trainer, who like you mentioned above knows better, especially since she’s written a book about it, to endorse such products or encourage the cast members to consume them. It just doesn’t make any since, and doesn’t sit well with me. Thanks for posting this information!

  47. Claire

    I really appreciate your informative posts – but was it necessary to make a joke about her desire to adopt a child? Low blow. As a woman who struggled for many years to conceive I found it offensive. More importantly, you’re better than this! You are Food Babe for goodness sake :-).

  48. Mary

    That comment about Jillian Michaels kid is really rude. I mean, we get it, you found something wrong with popchips, but you don’t have to then attack Jillian Michaels and bring into question everything she says and does.

  49. Amanda

    So I ate popchips for the first time and I have been having a HORRIBLE gluten reaction. So I have Celiac (have for 14 years). I know MSG isn’t good for you, but I don’t get bad reactions when I eat it. So it has to be the gluten that’s causing my reaction. This is the only thing I’ve eaten differently. But popchips claim to be gluten free!! What a lie! I’m doubled over in pain because of PopChips. Never again.


Leave a Reply