It’s time to break up with salt. OK – not a complete separation. But it is time to make up with ways to reduce the amount of sodium in what we eat and try cooking techniques and flavorful ingredients to enhance flavors of food with using less or no salt.
So from the Stylistics – “What does it take to please you? Tell me just how” – here are some easy ways to reduce sodium in your diet.
This is the year you’re going to do it! This is the year you will stick to your New Year Resolutions! How am I so sure? Because this year, you’ll have MSG to help you “Meet Simple Goals!”
MSG, of course, is monosodium glutamate, the flavor enhancer that is glutamic acid, found naturally in our foods and in our bodies combined with a single sodium molecule for stability.
So how exactly will this umami seasoning (aka flavor enhancer) make your year better? Keep reading!
The current U.S. dietary recommendations emphasize the need for Americans to significantly reduce sodium in their diets. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 90 percent of all Americans eat too much sodium in their daily diets.
But for those of us who love salty foods and are used to grabbing the salt shaker the minute dinner is served, how do we lower our sodium intake without sacrificing taste? A recent research study on monosodium glutamate (MSG) and its effect on palatability is enlightening. The results are pretty tasty if we say so ourselves. While we’ve addressed MSG and taste in several of our blogs here at MSGdish, this research offers further proof of how important MSG can be to enhance the flavor of food (in this case, spicy soups).
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.
There’s a widely held skepticism about MSG that started with a letter published in the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM) in 1968. In an opinion piece, a physician noted radiating pain in his arms, weakness and heart palpitations after eating at Chinese restaurants, and speculated that cooking wine, MSG or excessive salt might be to blame. Readers replied that they too experienced this “Chinese Restaurant Syndrome,” and MSG became suspect in the public eye. Its presence at the top of people’s minds has ebbed and flowed over the past 50 years, but it is in the public consciousness enough that quite a few food labels today often still tout a food’s MSG-free status. But is MSG bad for you?
Let’s take a look at what the science has to say.