I am working to lose weight, and over the last week, my weight loss has completely stalled. I have been stuck at the same weight for 6 days now despite exercise and calorie restriction for the most part. I'm only 2 weeks into my weight loss journey, which compounds my frustration since most people talk about how they lose 10-20 lbs in their first week and I am stuck so early on.

The only thing I can think of that I did differently this week, was that I added MSG to my home cooked meals. I didn't think much of it at first, but after being stuck at this weight, I did some research and I found that MSG can cause weight gain even when calories are normalized, which was shocking.

So is the MSG the issue here?

In case its relevant: I'm a 26 year old male.

  • 3
    "I did some research and I found that MSG can cause weight gain even when calories are normalized" [citation needed]
    – Thomas Markov
    Commented Jun 20, 2022 at 16:43
  • @ThomasMarkov ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2610632 Commented Jun 20, 2022 at 17:31
  • The MSG groups in that study are not calorie matched.
    – Thomas Markov
    Commented Jun 20, 2022 at 17:38
  • Idk, i read it somewhere in the links I looked up. in any case, the article mentions multiple times a positive correlation between MSG and weight gain and that this human study replicates animal studies done in the past and how msg causes hypothalamic lesions possibly affecting leptin resistance. Commented Jun 20, 2022 at 17:45
  • Also, "However, our findings are independent of total energy intake. Presumably, the weight gain independent of total energy intake and physical activity was due to decreased non-exercise energy expenditure, e.g., thermogenesis.39, 40" Commented Jun 20, 2022 at 17:48

1 Answer 1


which compounds my frustration since most people talk about how they lose 10-20 lbs in their first week and I am stuck so early on.

Ignore those statements. Dramatic weight drops like those are often superficial and meaningless in the long run.

Most likely what has happened here is the MSG is causing a bit of water retention which is masking the fat loss, or you are also adding salt or some other food additive that is known to cause water retention.

When people say they want to "lose weight", what they really mean is they want to "lose bodyfat". There is a distinct difference between "losing weight" and "losing bodyfat". You can "lose weight" pretty fast, but to "lose bodyfat" you have to be patient.

There are many things that can affect weight. Almost all of it is about water retention. Salt, carbohydrates, fiber, and creatine are the most common things that cause people to retain water. Almost everyone who starts a diet will lower their salt and carbs due to less food intake or different "healthier" food choices. Their body will then flush out a lot of water causing a relatively massive drop in scale weight. After this initial drop, the weight will stall to a new baseline. If the person is still in a calorie deficit, they should still see a subtle yet noticeable drop over time, but it will never be as dramatic as that first drop.

Now, on the flip side, it is possible to stall this weight drop by increasing your sodium intake which will mask the fat loss.

Having said that, since you're not a robot, you'll probably have a variable diet which means you'll have weight fluctuations with some high days and some low days. So instead of tracking progress over six days, it would be better to track weekly average. Weigh yourself at the same time every day, preferably just as you wake up to remove as many variables as possible. Remove the highest and lowest measurements to get rid of any massive outliers. Then average the numbers for the remaining 5 days. You should (hopefully) see a small decrease week-to-week.

You can instead track fat loss by taking body measurements. Once a week (again at the same time), just take a couple measurements around your waist and hip with a tape measure. Log it somewhere and track the number. You should see the number go down over time which shows you are on the right track.

  • I do all of this already. I weigh myself in the morning every day, fasted, and track in excel as a weekly average. But the last 7 days have been exactly the same weight. Before this happened, despite being in a calorie deficit + working out and being significantly active, my weight spiked up by 1.5 lbs. Then it dropped by like .6 lbs and stayed there for the last 6 days. I know i should ignore those statements but its so frustrating that some others seem to get this happy amazing drop of 20lbs Commented Jun 20, 2022 at 21:38
  • @JeremyFisher I can't tell you what they did to do that, but I'll tell you this. The most weight I ever lost in a week was 14lbs. I had severe food poisoning which caused my body to.... "evacuate" everything it could. After which I did what was essentially a water, rice, and plain chicken fast. So if these people truly lost twenty pounds in a week, they didn't feel good doing it. Also I regained almost all of it back within two weeks after I recovered. Nobody loses twenty pounds of bodyfat in a week.
    – DeeV
    Commented Jun 20, 2022 at 22:42
  • It also matters how much body fat you start with and how aggressive is the calorie deficit. Someone at 40%BF will lose weight much faster than someone at 14%.
    – Luciano
    Commented Jun 22, 2022 at 9:36
  • I'm already at 40% bf. Is there any positive spin to this? Could the weight stall be from muscle gain? could there be another reason why I didnt have the big 20lb initial drop in water weight? Commented Jun 22, 2022 at 15:50
  • @JeremyFisher - Which part of "Ignore the people talking about 20 lb weight loss" is confusing? Yes, that's blunt, but nobody actually loses that much weight in a week. Honestly, if I could throw every scale out from every "dieting" person I would. Are you happy with your body shape? No? Then work to fix your shape. Chasing an arbitrary number on a meaningless machine (That could be off by quite a few pounds) is a guaranteed path to quitting out of frustration. Let the mirror be your guide.
    – JohnP
    Commented Jun 23, 2022 at 14:44

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