The “Fifth Taste” Unami May Play Important & Beneficial Role in Health; Flavour Journal Publishes Provocative Article Series Called “The Science of Taste”

The umami taste could have an important and beneficial role in health, according to research published in the open-access journal Flavour. The journal's special series of articles “The Science of Taste” also finds that “kokumi'”substances, which modify flavor, could improve the taste of low-fat foods. Flavour guest editor Ole Mouritsen, Professor of Biophysics at the University of Southern Denmark, said, "In general, our understanding of taste is inferior to our knowledge of the other human senses. An understanding and description of our sensory perception of food requires input from many different scientific disciplines. In addition to the natural and life sciences, human sciences, social sciences, as well as the arts, each contribute their perspectives on what we call 'taste'. For this special series, we've brought together researchers from a range of different disciplines with the aim of providing a composite mosaic of our current understanding of taste." Despite the widely held belief that monosodium glutamate (MSG) is an unhealthy addition to food, researchers from Tohoku University Graduate School of Dentistry, Japan, show that the taste it triggers, umami, is important for health, especially in elderly people. In a small study of 44 elderly patients, the researchers showed that some elderly patients suffer a loss of the umami taste sensation, and that all of the patients studied complained of appetite and weight loss, resulting in poor overall health. Umami taste receptors also reportedly exist in the gut, suggesting that the umami taste sensation functions in nutrient sensation and modulating digestion in the gut, which could be important for maintaining a healthy daily life.
Login Or Register To Read Full Story