Chip experiment!

Well, some of you may remember a couple of weeks ago I posted that I suspected a link between a chip-shop lunch, and subsequent very severe cramps. But I accepted it could have been just a run of coincidences.

So today - largely because I’m very low on groceries, and new supplies aren’t coming 'til tomorrow, I frequented the chip shop once again.

I ate rather late, at getting on for two’ish (next door neighbour has had a happening which I won’t go into), and afterwards sat in the garden for an hour, instead of lying down, which tends to exacerbate it.

But after that, I was hot, and went for my usual lie down. Yes, the severe cramps have begun. Definitely something in the chip shop meal. Do you think I shall be able to narrow it down to what? Do you think it might just be the salt and vinegar on it?

I usually eat quite a varied diet, and haven’t noticed this with any other meal - healthy or unhealthy.

It’s a really weird one.



Definitely experiment/ explore, have you tried non chip shop chips? Chips from different chip shop, with/ without salt & vinegar.

Sorry to hear it happened again, was it without the long walk this time? If so good news it’s not that

Let us know what happens, I am intrigued.

Snowqueen x

I’m definitely OK with oven chips, though I accept that’s not really comparing like with like. I never deep-fry at home, so don’t have home-prepared chips.

There was no walk at all again this time - except as far as the chippy and back - about 5 mins each way. So I’m convinced I’ve been wrongly blaming the walks, and never thinking it might be my habits afterwards.

Vinegar (acetic acid) seems mostly to be cited as a possible remedy for cramps, so I don’t understand why it might be having an opposite effect on me. Apparently, though, it does increase levels of an excitatory neurotransmitter. Drugs like baclofen, I believe, increase levels of an inhibitory neurotransmitter. So if nerve excitation is what we’re trying to avoid, and inhibition is what we’re trying to promote (with stuff like baclofen), perhaps it explains why vinegar might be counter-productive in people with MS only. In “normal” people, there’s evidence it reduces cramps.

I could try with no vinegar next time, although I have to say, I don’t think it would be as nice.

I’m not usually sensitive to food - MS-wise, or at all. Some people have long lists of things they know don’t agree with them. I’ve never had any - until the recent appearance of this one thing.

I’ll have to ask the neuro - but I’m signed-off for a whole year this time, and won’t be seeing him 'til March.

He’s quite open-minded, and I think would be interested if I said it’s been repeatable on several occasions.

I’m also pretty sure I haven’t had such bad cramps for a long time, when I didn’t eat from the chippy, so it reduces the chance that it’s just coincidence, and I’m having them all the time, but only registering it when it happens after the chippy.



I’d be tempted to ring the shop and ask them what they fry with, what they make their batter with, and what if anything they put on their chips (whitening agent). Also ask them if they have made any changes lately that could account for your reaction.

I rarely have fish and chips these days as I’m usually watching my weight but the thought of never having them again is enough to send me into total meltdown. Good luck in your quest to find an answer.

Jan x

Unless it’s in the sausage? You may be unfairly maligning the chips!

Have you been for a long walk yet without the subsequent chip shop reward?


Well, I need to tread very carefully, as they’re so nice in there - I don’t want to give the impression in any way that I’m complaining, or accusing them of anything. I’m sure there can be nothing in the frying that causes a bad reaction in “normal” people, or they wouldn’t do the trade they do, but whether there could be anything that’s ONLY an issue if you happen to have MS, I’ve no idea, and it probably wouldn’t be reasonable to expect them to.

If I started interrogating them as to the ingredients, it would certainly look as if I’m an unhappy customer. I suppose I’m a disappointed customer, in a way, but only in the sense it will be a shame if my occasional treat is off-limits - not because I believe it’s the fault of the shop, or anybody in there.

They should know about any known allergens in the food, and they do have a sign up saying some of their oil may contain genetically modified ingredients, but cramp isn’t an allergy, and I doubt it has anything to do with genetically modified foods, either. So my neuro might have a theory, but I doubt the chip shop would.

I’ve never had anything like this - it’s such a damn nuisance! The chips are not even a weekly indulgence, but just like you, I wouldn’t like to think I can never have them again. :frowning:



Hi Sue,

Haven’t been for a long walk in ages (need a slipped-halo icon), but although physical exertion was the logical culprit, it’s at least four times now I’ve had the cramp after the chip-shop meal alone, so it looks as if the walk may never have had anything to do with it - just me assuming I’d overdone things, but never made the link to food at all.

My neuro, too, naturally assumed the walks had been the cause, so we didn’t even get into a discussion about: “And what do you usually do after that?”, because it seemed so self-explanatory.

Yes, it could be the sausages, or the chips, or the stuff that goes on them.

I could try without vinegar next time, and see if we can gradually narrow down what it is. Salt should be OK, as I use salt at home - although probably not in quite the quantities they chuck on at the chippy.

But thinking about it, vinegar should be OK too. I sometimes mix up a tin of tuna with vinegar, and slap it in a sandwich. Can’t remember any cramps after that.

I’m always a bit susceptible to them, even on a good day, otherwise I wouldn’t be on all the stuff I am for them (baclofen, diazepam, quinine). But with the help of that lot, it’s usually at the “annoying” level, rather than incapacitating. These much rarer really bad ones can certainly stop me standing. :frowning:



Hi Tina, I quite often have a stomach cramps after a ‘chippy’ visit. In my case I think it’s the batter. Just a suggestion (you may not have batter on your sausage). Good luck finding out the problem. Cherry x

Hi Cherry,

May or may not be relevant, but it’s not my stomach at all - it’s my legs! Doesn’t seem to be a digestive problem, as I don’t get stomach pain, or indigestion, or bloating, or anything like that.

Just one to two hours later, I get very severe and hard to control (usually uncontrollable) leg cramps.

It does seem to be some sort of chemical reaction, but it doesn’t affect my stomach.

I think I’ll start by skipping vinegar next time. If that doesn’t help, maybe try sausages without the batter, or perhaps have a pie instead. It looks like it’s going to be a case of keep dabbling about until I’ve identified the culprit - or just give up, and accept I may never know. :frowning:

I really thought I was going to be OK today, when it got to four o’clock without anything happening. But I forgot I’d eaten much later than usual, so the whole effect was simply delayed.



You poor thing, I suffer allergies to lots of unknown food stuffs, nightmare when its one of your favs. I have to take the batter off my fish now. Hope you find out what it is. C x

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Aw, well while I’m glad you’re homing in on the cramps culprit, I’m sad it looks to be turning out to be your chippy treat!

You don’t think it could be because it’s a deep fried meal then?

hi tina

in the spirit of conclusive tests and not avoiding fried chips have you ever considered home frying chips in advance? rest assured that I don’t mean oven chips as these are rarely an alternative, but shop bought fish and home fried chips- it’s a faff I know but may be for the greater good (or greater ’ food’ hehe!)

anyway, failing that, have you considered an air fryer??? hope it goes ok fluffyollie xx

I really don’t know! It’s true I don’t eat much else deep-fried, and have certainly never engaged in it at home, so it’s not easy to put to the test. I do buy Chinese ready-meals of battered pork or battered chicken from time to time, but can’t recall ever having a similar problem with those. In general, I’ve always been able to eat anything, whether it was a green salad, or junk full of E-numbers.

I do have a mild allergic reaction to almost any food, with a runny nose, and sometimes getting wheezy - it seems to be the mere act of eating, rather than any particular food. But none of it associated with MS, I’m sure.

The MS-related cramps have been with me a few years now - since well before diagnosis. I vividly remember having a really bad one one night, and wondering if I should call an ambulance, even though I knew it was “only” cramp, as I was unable to stand, and had visions of spending the whole night collapsed on the floor, which would not have been good. I’ve no idea whether I may coincidentally have visited the chippy that night too, but it was the first indication I ever had that I got cramps well beyond the normal ones that everyone gets once in a while. I knew it wasn’t normal to be unable to get up - and I’m not usually a drama queen - but I just did the usual self-delusional stuff of convincing myself I must have injured myself without realising, earlier that day/week, and that was all.

I never heard of anyone calling an ambulance for cramp, anyway, and thought the emergency services would take a bit of a dim view, so I lay on the floor until it passed.

Perhaps if I had called them and said it was so bad I was stuck on the floor and couldn’t get up, it might have triggered earlier investigations, and I might have been diagnosed sooner. But I’m not sorry, with hindsight, that I managed to pass most things off as: “not serious”.

Those cramps were the start of a lifelong issue, that is usually manageable with symptom relief, but it’s only rare I get these super-bad ones, and only lately I’ve spotted any pattern.

I did discuss with the neuro opting for some more drastic symptom relief, but we concluded it’s still rare enough not to. Yes, it’s very severe and painful when it does happen, but a bit drastic to medicate permanently, when it’s still the exception, rather than the rule. We also discussed botoxing the muscle - but again, it’s a bit drastic, if the problem is only sporadic. The other downside is it works best when a specific muscle is targeted, but as my whole leg cramps from toe to groin, they’re not realistically going to botox the whole lot - and if they did, could I still walk normally?

So we reluctantly decided the fixes were worse than the problem, and I would just put up with the odd episode of agony and swearing (mine!)

So far, it’s only ever happened at home, in private, and not on the bus, or in the middle of Sainsbury’s or anything. I guess if the latter happened, I’d end up in hospital whether I liked it or not, as onlookers probably wouldn’t understand my protestations that: “it’s just cramp”, and we need to wait for it to pass.



Hi Ollie,

I’ll be honest, I’m the antithesis of a domestic goddess: domestic liability, more like! So I rarely cook anything from scratch, and have certainly never experimented with deep-frying at home.

I’m OK with the kind of cooking where you chop everything up, and put it in a large pot with water and wine, and leave it on low heat in the oven, for absolutely ages. That seems to work OK, but I don’t try much more ambitious.

I’ve got an electric wok, and you can supposedly use it for tempura. I’ve got - horror of horrors - a tempura rack that came with it. But I’ll be honest, I’m too scared of the whole thing catching fire.

I’m even scared of normal stir-frying, when the oil starts to smoke, and I’m half poised to throw a damp cloth over it and throw it out in the garden at any moment!

I realise an air-fryer should theoretically overcome these fears, but I don’t think I’d use it enough to bother. It would be another unused gadget hogging worktop or cupboard space.



I don’t have MS but do suffer with painful leg cramps in bed after a chippy meal. I always have chips and mushy peas as being a Vegan I won’t have sausage or anything in batter such as fish, so the culprit is most likely the chips. It’s the same effect regardless of where I buy the chips from. I have no digestive problems, the cramps are always in my legs, usually below the knees, but sometimes in the thighs. Only on rare occasions can I make it go away by staying in bed and wiggling my feet around and moving my legs. I have to get out of bed and walk it off. Once or twice the pain has been so intense it’s been really difficult to get out of bed and stand up. In my case I’m inclined to blame the fat in the chips for my cramps. I have oven chips at home and they don’t have the same effect, but they sometimes give me hiccups (easily stopped with a quick drink) if I cook them per the insructions, but not so much if I add another, say, 3 minutes or so to the cooking time. I always have “salt” and vinegar on my chips. On the chippy chips I have their vinegar, on chips at home I use apple cider vinegar. I never have normal salt. Until recently I used Herbamere salt alternative - potassium chloride, but can no longer find that in health food shops so use LoSalt, which is something like 66% potassium chloride and 33% sodium chloride, so I don’t think it’s salt that’s the problem. Sometimes I get rid of the cramp, only for it to return later the same night. Sometimes it’s just one leg, other times it’s both. I don’t get the cramp in my legs until I’ve gone to bed.

Hi Tina, I quite often have a stomach cramps after a ‘chippy’ visit.

Hello Violet and Ricky

Welcome to the forum. (If you don’t mind me asking, Violet, you’ve started out by saying ‘I don’t have MS’!? Are you concerned about something that brings you here?)

Regardless, if you see the date this thread was started, and the last post until yours Violet, 6 years went by. I don’t think anyone (apart from Fluffyollie) is an active member of this forum any more.

Regardless, I have thoroughly enjoyed reading through this thread. It’s one of my fondest memories of Anitra/Tina (among many others); her sausage and chips conundrum.

I really hope Tina (@Anitra) still sometimes reads the forum and realises that she is still missed.