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Umami appetizers backed by science

Umami flavor enhances appetite but also increases satiety.

Study under review: Umami flavor enhances appetite but also increases satiety

Introduction

A recent study evaluated the effects of monosodium glutamate (MSG) in combination with inosine 5'-monophosphate (IMP) on satiety.

The goal of the study was to determine whether these compounds help induce satiety and thus may help us eat less. First, let's define some important terms:

Umami: Savory flavor. Foods that naturally have umami flavor include meats, seafood, mushrooms (especially shiitake mushrooms), aged cheeses like parmesan, soy sauce, and nutritional yeast. These foods are umami because they are rich in free glutamic acid, a naturally occurring amino acid, or other nucleotides such as inosine 5'-monophosphate (IMP).

Monosodium glutamate (MSG): This compound is often added to chips, sausages, and Chinese food as a flavor enhancer. MSG enhances the umami flavor of the food. In this study, MSG was used as a substitute for the free glutamic acid found in natural foods. Inosine 5'-monophosphate (IMP): This compound occurs naturally in meats exhibiting a strong umami flavor as well as other umami foods. When MSG and IMP are present together, they may act synergistically to increase the umami flavor.

The nitty-gritty

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Results

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What does this study tell us?

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The big picture

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Frequently Asked Questions

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What should I know?

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