Does umami, which means “delicious” in Japanese, affect appetite? Can the umami flavor provide or heighten satiety?
It is well-recognized that as the fifth sense of taste, umami amplifies the flavor of savory foods, increasing the enjoyment and pleasure in eating. It also enhances appetite — the feeling of wanting to eat food. Interestingly enough, research has shown that the umami flavor can also heighten satiety — the satisfaction of being full.
You’re familiar with the saying “You eat with your eyes first,” meaning of course that the good, or bad, visual aspect of food affects its appeal even before it passes our lips and into our mouths. The Chinese have a proverb, “You eat first with your eyes, then your nose, and then with your mouth.” It’s no surprise that our senses of sight and the smell of food impact our perception of flavor. Psychologists are finding that sound, however, also augments or suppresses the taste experience.
Monosodium glutamate (MSG) has long been acknowledged as a superior flavor enhancer, delivering the great taste of umami. But did you know it also has added value as doing good for your body?
Among its benefits, MSG can help the generalized population of Americans who have been encouraged to decrease sodium consumption; benefit specific individuals with high blood pressure who must decrease sodium intake; and aid vulnerable populations such as malnourished elderly needing a more nutritious diet.
So many divisive and emotional exchanges dominate the food conversations of today. MSG is no stranger to the controversy. And while science knows that MSG and glutamate, the component responsible for the much sought umami flavor are the same, too often in the public dialogue we see umami = good; MSG = bad. But a deeper dive into the components behind umami seasoning and MSG reveals that the body does not differentiate between the glutamate element found naturally in foods and that found in
Three trends: the popularity of food trucks, the use of social media and a focus on Asian cuisines have combined to deliver food with savory umami flavors.
The interest in Asian foods continues unabated with renewed focus on Thai, Malaysian and Vietnamese cuisines as well as new takes on traditional Chinese and Japanese dishes. Asian cooking, especially Southeast Asian with bright flavors, fresh herbs and umami taste delivering ingredients are popular on food truck menus. Vast numbers of food trucks serve a wide variety of Asian foods, with dishes that are innovative and often a fusion of different Asian (and other) food cultures.