If you are always finding yourself hungry then perhaps you need more umami in your life, after a study has found that the so-called ‘fifth taste’ that is found in sauces and meat, helps us feel satisfied and fuller for longer.
The new research released by the University of Sussex and published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition has revealed that food with umami flavours tends to reduce appetite without diminishing meal satisfaction.
“Umami” is a Japanese word for “deliciousness”, although translates best as “savouriness”. It is that bitter, salty, sour and sweet flavour that makes certain foods hard to resist, often providing that meaty and hearty element to a meal.
Popular umami-rich foods include: tomato, parmesan cheese, dry-cured ham, beef, Vegemite, Marmite, soy sauce, oyster sauce, ketchup, wine, broths and stocks.
Having existed in the East for more than a century, umami is a relatively new concept to the West where only the four primary tastes were long recognised. It is formed from glutamates being detected by receptors on the tongue and is the reason why monosodium glutamate (MSG) is used as a flavour enhancer.
In the study, researchers wanted to investigate what happened to the participant’s appetite when MSG was combined with a carbohydrate-heavy meal.
27 people, who all had the same breakfast, were split into two groups. Then before lunch, one group received a soup with no MSG, the other a bowl with plenty added.
Added to this was “another nucleotide that’s often used to boost umami flavors, known as inosine monophosphate (IMP). IMP is normally found in very high protein foods such as skipjack tuna and some forms of seaweed. It’s the additional IMP mixed with the MSG that reduced intake whilst maintaining satisfaction” lead author Una Masic explained.
When it came to eating lunch, those who’d consumed the soup with MSG before ate less, yet they still felt satisfied by their smaller meal, suggesting umami can help control appetite.
It is always best to fill your diet with as many fresh and natural flavours as possible, so for those suffering with obesity, we’ve found some foods that are naturally high in umami: