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Is One of Your New Year’s Resolutions “To Lose Weight”? Try Umami.

savory recipes

It’s almost January, the beginning of another dieting season. It’s the time of year when many people who are determined to lose weight try something drastic (like a quick weight loss scheme) and soon start fretting about not breaking their 2017 New Year’s resolution. So it’s not surprising that weight loss tips, tricks and techniques abound right about now.

If you are among those who are serious about losing some weight (or don’t want to gain weight), here’s an innovative piece of advice you may not have heard or read about, but you really should consider: eat more foods that provide the umami taste. Umami, the taste of savory, is one of the five basic tastes. It signals that a dish contains protein. Umami is what makes savory foods so delicious.

Can foods rich in umami really help with weight loss?

Research seems to suggest that, and here’s the scoop. In a previous blog, we talked about a 2014 scientific study on umami, published in the well-known American Journal of Clinical Nutrition (AJCN). This research found that that the popular umami taste can actually makes you feel fuller and more satisfied, thus having the potential to curb your appetite and reduce total amount of calories consumed. Check out the study for yourself here.

Time magazine: “Eat Umami: Eat Less”

If you are not interested in reading this technical research, I’ll make it easier for you; just take a look at this article in Time magazine, which provides an excellent overview of the study.

Although there is nothing magical about any single weight loss strategy, this 2014 umami research indeed demonstrates that one simple change may help you lose weight or maintain a healthy weight.

Foods that taste good can be more satisfying

To learn more about why umami-rich foods taste better and are more satisfying, I’d like to share another study from researchers in Japan that was published in the journal Flavour. For easy reading, this very significant study is discussed in our blog titled “It’s Not Just Umami Taste – Umami is Linked to Health, Too.”

How do you incorporate more umami into your diet?

Here are a few easy ways to kick up umami flavor in your favorite dishes. Many ingredients will enhance the umami experience in a dish – soy sauce, tomatoes, Worcestershire sauce, shiitake mushrooms, and Parmesan cheese. But some of these foods have a unique flavor profile in addition to umami. If you want a nice flavor boost without adding other flavors, try a sprinkle of “umami seasoning” – yes, good old-fashioned MSG (monosodium glutamate). MSG give dishes a savory, umami taste, but it is considered to be the purest form of umami.

Be sure to visit our Savory Cuisine Corner for more suggestions.


Wishing you much success in keeping your New Year’s resolutions in 2017, whatever they may be. Have a very healthy and happy New Year! 

Kaye is an author and consulting nutritionist with more than 15 years’ experience representing clients in the food industry, providing strategic leadership and consulting on meal planning, recipe development, consumer-focused educational materials relating to food and nutrition, science-based communications, and media relations. Read more about her background on the About page.

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