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MSG and Sodium Reduction Webinar

By July 22, 2021News

reduce sodium with MSGIGIS Webinar

Research Update and Discussion:
MSG’s Important Role in Sodium Reduction

The International Glutamate Information Service (IGIS) held an interactive webinar on June 25 2021, focused on the health impact of excess sodium consumption, reasons and methods for sodium reduction, and the important role of MSG as a sodium reducer in foods.

Google Translate:

This important health and nutrition webinar focused on the public health impact of using MSG (monosodium glutamate, umami seasoning) as a sodium reduction tool.

The reduction of sodium intake is a major health concern worldwide. Although specific recommendations and actual sodium intakes vary slightly from country to country, excessive sodium intake is prevalent worldwide (see chart below). Reducing salt intake has been identified as one of the most cost-effective measures countries can take to improve population health outcomes.

excess sodium consumption

It has been a challenge for the food industry to develop sodium-reduced foods that have acceptable palatability, since salty taste is an important basic taste that significantly contributes to the palatability of food. One of the most studied solutions for reducing dietary sodium is the replacement of salt with ingredients that provide an umami taste.

The National Academy of Medicine and the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics in the United States have performed systematic reviews to evaluate the effect of umami compounds (such as MSG) or foods rich in umami (such as soy sauce, fish sauce, etc.) on the sodium content in foods and/or sodium intake. Based on the evidence reviewed, it was concluded that “the addition of umami compounds or foods rich in umami allows for reductions in sodium content of foods without sacrificing taste, liking and pleasantness. However, the resulting reduction in sodium may vary depending on the type of food consumed as well as the amount and type of umami compounds present.”

Numerous studies have shown that by increasing the level of monosodium glutamate and decreasing the level of salt (sodium chloride), sodium content can be lowered by up to 30-50 percent, while still maintaining desired flavor.

Webinar Presenters: Experts addressed the worldwide health recommendations regarding the need to reduce sodium in the diet, as well as the latest research and food applications of MSG for sodium reduction. Dr. Beauchamp, the first presenter, is Distinguished Member, Monell Chemical Senses Center, as well as Emeritus Director and President of Monell. Dr. Soo-Yeun Lee, the other presenter, is Professor of Food Science and Nutrition at University of Illinois.

Meeting Summary:

Dr Gary BeauchampDr. Beauchamp gave an overview of the salt function in foods, dietary recommendations to reduce sodium intake, proven strategies to reduce salt, and salt and MSG interactions.

He summarized the research showing that a gradual reduction of sodium in food can lead to preferences for lower levels of sodium in foods.

With regard to the flavor and palatability of MSG, Dr. Beauchamp noted the long history of MSG’s acceptability as a desirable, safe, and satisfying flavor enhancer in foods.

In conclusion, Dr. Beauchamp discussed multiple innovative strategies to reduce sodium intake, which will include use of salt enhancers, salt substitutes, as well as a gradual reduction of salt in manufactured and restaurant foods.

“This will result in an overall reduction of salt intake in the population as a whole thereby benefitting human health and well-being while maintaining the flavor and taste of foods we currently enjoy,” he concluded. 

Dr Soo-Yeun LeeDr. Lee discussed how she and her department at the university have investigated food systems intended for enhancing consumer health, such as low sodium and low sugar foods without compromising taste. She educated participants about innovative research evaluating the use of MSG to reduce salt in foods.

Dr. Lee noted that the overall need is to develop innovative methods to reduce sodium in foods while maintaining palatability, physical properties, and safety. She explained that FDA-approved flavor enhancers, such as MSG, are safe.

Dr. Lee highlighted some of the research which has found MSG to be effective in mitigating loss of sensory palatability in reduced sodium snack products as well as “better for you” food products.


Glutamate reduces sodium intake

The presentations from both of these expert presenters can be downloaded here:  Dr. Beauchamp’s “Salt and Salt Taste”, and Dr. Lee’s: “Use of Flavor Enhancers to Aid in Sodium Reduction.”

Also, you may wish to download this “Quick Facts: Advantages of Glutamate in Reducing Sodium Intake” backgrounder.


And if you are interested in viewing the recorded webinar you can watch it on the IGIS YouTube Channel, here.