The unofficial fifth taste may help you stick to that diet. Umami is commonly described as the savory, meaty taste that can be found in cheeses, meats, mushrooms and cooked tomatoes. It is probably best known as the flavor provided by the food additive MSG.
According to a study in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, the umami flavor can make your meals more appetizing and make you feel more satisfied.
The researchers asked 27 participants to eat the same breakfast, then some ate a high-protein soup with an MSG-enzyme combination while other had soup without the pairing. Everyone then sat down for an identical lunch, and the scientists tracked how much the volunteers ate as well as asked them questions about their appetite and how full they felt. The diners who ate the MSG-laced soup consumed less of their lunch, but still say they felt satisfied, suggesting that umami may have a role in regulating eating.
A New York Times story explains that scientists have been at work identifying 10 to 20 additional tastes outside of the commonly known sweet, sour, bitter, salty and umami. The front-runner for the next possible basic taste is fattiness.
Although there is still no consensus beyond sweet, salty, sour, bitter and savory, the research makes clear there is more to taste than a handful of discrete sensations on the tongue. Before long, scientists may have to give up altogether on the idea that there are just a few basic tastes.
This greater understanding of the types and effects of different tastes suggests that the activation of certain taste buds by certain foods can affect how much of them you eat. I will take this newfound information to assume that I can now go on the Umami Burger diet and reach my weight loss goals.
Image via Shuttershock.