Scientific research continues to document the many benefits of umami, most recently with regard to umami’s role in nutrition among the elderly, appetite control and potentially weight management.
One recent study, published in the Journal of Food Science, related to umami and healthy aging, reviewed research on the molecular mechanism of umami tastants. It concluded: “Umami ingredients may help to reduce the consumption of salts and fats in the general population and increase food consumption in the elderly.”
In another recent study, published in Hypertension Research, researchers concluded that sodium levels in food may be partially reduced due to the enhancing effect of umami on overall taste, without sacrificing palatability.
Other researchers have found that consuming a broth rich in umami — or savory taste — can cause subtle changes in the brain that promote healthy eating behaviors and food choices, especially in women at risk of obesity.
According to a report in ScienceDaily: “Previous research in humans studied the effects of umami broths on appetite. Experimental studies have shown that intake of a broth or soup supplemented with monosodium glutamate (MSG), a sodium salt of glutamate, prior to a meal can decrease appetite and food intake, especially in women with a propensity to overeat and gain weight.”
“Here, we extended these findings replicating the beneficial effects of umami on healthy eating in women at higher risk of obesity, and we used new laboratory measures that are sensitive and objective,” said senior author Miguel Alonso-Alonso, MD, PhD, an Assistant Professor at the Center for the Study of Nutrition Medicine.
“The results may open new ways to facilitate healthy eating and reduce food intake in the general population. Many cultures around the world advocate drinking a broth before a meal. Our study suggests the possibility that people at high risk of obesity could benefit from an umami-rich broth before a meal to facilitate healthy eating and healthy food choice,” said Alonso-Alonso.
“Future research should address whether these observed changes can accumulate and affect food intake over time and/or whether they can be leveraged to help people lose weight more successfully,” Alonso-Alonso noted.
More details about this food intake study can be found here.
References for other studies mentioned in this article:
- Molecular insights into human taste perception and umami tastants: A review. Journal of Food Science [IF:2.9] (2022) Pages:1-17. DOI:10.1111/1750-3841.16101
- Quantitative verification of the effect of using an umami substance (l-glutamate) to reduce salt intake. Hypertension Research (2020) 43(6), 579–581. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41440-020-0399-z